It has been an interesting development that I knew was coming. Recently on his television program, Beck has been linking an Islamic Caliphate with the American Left. Many conservative commentators have finally had enough. Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol launched the first salvo:
Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it’s a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.
But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.
Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it’s a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition.
Beck countered on his radio show:
“I don’t even know if you understand what conservatives are anymore, Billy,” Beck said. “People like Bill Kristol — I don’t think they stand for anything anymore. All they stand for is power. They’ll do anything to keep their little fiefdom together, and they’ll do anything to keep the Republican power entrenched.”
But as Americans grapple with these ideas, there’s one thing that is especially unhelpful to the discussion — and that’s the distribution of blatant misinformation. Glenn Beck, instead of taking a hard, sober look at a situation that will have major ramifications for the U.S., has been using his high-profile FOX and radio shows to, in fact, misinform. The new theory Beck appears to be pushing is that the Egyptian revolt is being controlled by an alliance between leftist American organizations and Islamists…
…The danger of Beck’s theorizing is that he’s spreading the misconception that the uprising in Egypt was initiated by anti-democratic groups, and that it’s Islamist at its core. While there’s no doubt that the Muslim Brotherhood and socialist organizations have become involved in the protests, they didn’t start the uprising, and that’s not what the protests are about.
The Goodman piece squares with my sources in Eqypt and those in the states who have links in Cairo. There is no conspiratorial rouse to institute a theocratic government in Egypt. Indeed, the protests are more moderating forces that are at play, against the conservative regime and laws in place presently.
I did not know about this debate between Beck and Kristol until late today. But earlier in the day I had a discussion with others and Beck came up. A comparison to Fr. Coughlin was made. It remains to be seen how this develops, but on the right there is a rift that is now in the open and public. Another Buckley moment could be in the offing. Stay tuned.