Posted Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, at 12:28 PM
Glenn Beck's "challenge to Americans" in response to the Tucson shooting is one long dogwhistle. He notes, for example, that Jared Lee Loughner listed The Communist Manifesto among his favorite books, but does not note that he listed Ayn Rand's We the Living. Mentioning the first book implies that Loughner was an incoherent leftist; mentioning both implies that he was simply incoherent.
Also, two of Beck's pledge are directed at the Left.
- I denounce those who wish to tear down our system and rebuild it in their own image, whatever that image may be.
- I denounce violent threats and calls for the destruction of our system – regardless of their underlying ideology – whether they come from the Hutaree Militia or Frances Fox Piven.
The first reference is clearly directed at left activists like Van Jones. Beck was talking like this about Jones on the Friday episode of his TV show.
The left is calling for a revolution. And they are calling for violence in the streets. I said earlier this week about Van Jones and how they really are -- I mean, sounding more and more like "Star Wars." Has anybody else noticed this? It's all starting to sound like "Star Wars." They're quoting the emperor and Darth Vader: "Feel your anger. Strike out."
The second reference is basically the same thing. In the 1960s, Piven co-wrote a paper arguing for left activists to overload the welfare rolls, forcing the government to expand social insurance. Since the start of 2009, Beck and other right thinkers have asked whether "the Cloward-Piven strategy" was being implemented by Democrats, to crash the economy and private enterprise and weaken them for public sector takeover.
So Beck's response to the Tucson aftermath -- some of which has focused on conservative talk and Tea Party activism -- is to flip it back and imply that the violent left needs to back down, too. Turnabout's fair play, I guess.