[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Well, I just got to spend ten blissfully Glenn-Beck-free days in China, which is probably the only place one can safely escape his wingnuttery these days. It's quite a different world there, and certainly nothing like what Beck himself frequently depicts it as (more on that later).
And what better way to reacclimate myself to the USA than to turn on Fox the afternoon of my return and watch yet another of Beck's patented eliminationist attacks on progressives -- followed the next night by yet another?
Ah, some things never change, do they?
On Monday, Beck continued his current theme that "progressives are a disease" by ripping into the effort to push health-care reform through Congress. He again warned that America was being destroyed from within by progressives:
Beck: I was, way back then, I said that America could never be destroyed from the outside. I remember the day that I said it because it was September 11th, and people were freaking out, and I was on my radio program and I said, militarily there is no equal, don't worry, if the world tries to attack us, and we've decided we're not going to bother with smart bombs, we'd control the world in a heartbeat, but that's not who we are.A little later, he used the disease metaphor again to describe health-care reform:
Don't worry. The only way to destroy America is to rot it from the inside -- collapse our system from the inside. It's got to be one of us that brings us to our knees.
When I said that, I was trying to give hope to people. But I didn't have the full truth, because little did I know that there were people, our own countrymen, who are already here who are on the inside who actually want to do that -- bring our country to its knees. That's insanity.
... Progressives -- progressives are the ones that say you've got to rot America from the inside. You have to be inside in order to bring her down. It has been the plan the whole time. Make progress -- baby steps. Well, progress from where to what? From the Constitution to a democracy. We're not a democracy.
So now that it's happening, why is America surprised? They've been clear for a hundred years. Radical progressives are infecting America! By deceiving unsuspecting people on their true intentions!
Beck: What they're about to pass is not a tumor. Because the doctor can come over here and say, 'Yeah, there's a tumor here, and we've got to go in and cut this out.' I don't know if you can cut this tumor out. Maybe not. But you can try. But what they're about to pass is a bloodstream disease. It will be injected into our system and it will be incurable.Then on yesterday's show, he continued (h/t Media Matters) to attack the health-care reform effort:
Beck: I think they're gonna pass this thing. They are gonna do whatever it takes to pass this, and they're not going to go the traditional way, they are gonna go the way of snakes and cockroaches. They're gonna crawl out in the cover of darkness, and they're going to pass this, make it happen one way or another.In case anyone needs reminding, here's how I explained the nature of eliminationism in my last book, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right:
What motivates this kind of talk and behavior is called eliminationism: a politics and a culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas in favor of the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through suppression, exile, and ejection, or extermination.Beck, of course, has a long history of using such rhetoric to attack progressives:
Rhetorically, eliminationism takes on certain distinctive shapes. It always depicts its opposition as beyond the pale, the embodiment of evil itself, unfit for participation in their vision of society, and thus worthy of elimination. It often further depicts its designated Enemy as vermin (especially rats and cockroaches) or diseases, and disease-like cancers on the body politic. A close corollary—but not as nakedly eliminationist—are claims that opponents are traitors or criminals and that they pose a threat to our national security.
Eliminationism is often voiced as crude "jokes," a sense of humor inevitably predicated on venomous hatred. And such rhetoric—we know as surely as we know that night follows day—eventually begets action, with inevitably tragic results.
It's almost enough to make you want to go live in China, isn't it?