That was far from the only low spot. Beck has been pretending of late that he is either A. a libertarian or B. trying to understand libertarianism. The show started with a discussion about the legalization of street drugs. Beck's addition to the discussion can only be described as a train wreck.
Beck created a bizarre straw man. With a little help from another guest on the show, Zak Slayback, Beck argued that if street drugs were legalized, the access to the drugs would cause many more to become homeless, and thus become a drain on the rest of us.
Here are the problems with Beck framing the argument this way.
1. A black market exists in street drugs. The druggies are already getting their drugs. Beck's implication that a new massive rush of druggies would hit the streets suggests an inability to recognize reality. I repeat, the druggies are getting their drugs, now.
2. The cost of street drugs is very high precisely because they are illegal and carry severe penalties for selling them. It is dangerous to be a street dealer. If drugs were legalized, the prices would plummet and you would have less homeless, not more.
This is libertarianism 101. Beck is far from close to understanding libertarianism if he gets himself tangled and confused on this basic libertarianism stuff.
3. By introducing the argument that more homeless would result if drugs were legalized, in addition to problem 2, Beck creates a further complication because he argues these new druggies (which don't exist) will want government services and the libertarians will have to deal with those who want to provide welfare type services to these new druggies. Let's just assume for a minute that the legalization of drugs does cause more druggies that become homeless. Beck is now arguing that we shouldn't advance the legalization of street drugs because we will then have to argue against more welfare-type services. What freedoms would Beck like libertarians to advocate? We can't argue legalization of drugs and apparently in Beck's world we can't argue against welfare. In other words, Beck seems to want to be a libertarian that doesn't want to object against the current system, at all. How is that libertarian in any way? Jacob Hornberger, another guest on the show, correctly argued that libertarianism should be about advocating freedom. He pointed out that there is no inconsistency in arguing in favor of the legalization of street drugs and advocating the abolishment of welfare. Beck gets none of this.
Beck then goes on to frame another problem by way of a massive aggregation. He warns about theocracies, whose goal it is to behead Americans. I am not making this up. He is concerned with some outside government that wants to "control us" and "behead us."
I note, he makes this argument while sitting in the middle of a country that has the greatest incarceration rate in the world. What country wants to control people, Glenn?
The libertarian ideal is to recognize the non-aggression principle. We deal with those who do us harm, beginning and end of story. Libertarians are not advocates of invading Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran or some other theocracy. On a practical level, the United States is the most powerful military force in the world. Does Beck seriously think these countries are somehow threats to America?
If there are operators in these countries that want to maim and kill us, then they should be stopped, like Christopher Droner was stopped, on an individual basis. (Though, perhaps, with greater respect for judicial process than was displayed by government officials in the Droner killing) Or does Beck think the Army should attack the LA police and the US marines because Droner was trained to kill by them?
Bottom line: Beck is no libertarian. Despite what Jack Hunter says about the matter. Hunter writes:
If someone was trying to pass off big government Bush-style conservatism as libertarianism, I’d be the first to go on the attack. But that’s not what’s going on with Beck. He attacks that era and the Republicans who screwed up the country. He says he was completely wrong in his former support of the Patriot Act (when does a national talk host ever say they are wrong about anything?). He says we can’t police the world. He’s even said that the answer to the same-sex marriage question is to remove the state from the equation altogether.
He says he absolutely loves Rand Paul. [Jack, this Rand Paul?-RW]
And we should especially want those with a microphone as loud and as far reaching as Glenn Beck’s to come our way.Jack,
The last thing we need is someone with a microphone as loud as Beck's posing as a libertarian, or pretending to search for libertarian answers, when he sees threats to the United States from theocracies and can't even get the basics down on the libertarian anti-drug war argument.
The man should shut his show down and take time to understand libertarian thinking.
He should read:
For A New Liberty by Murray Rothbard
The Ethics of Liberty by Murray Rothbard
Defending the Undefendable by Walter Block
Once he has absorbed these books, he should only then relaunch his show. He may then not agree with libertarian positions, but he will at least, hopefully, understand them.
During our appearance, Beck told me, Jacob and Zak that he’d like The Blaze to be a platform to promote libertarian leaders and ideas. He noted, correctly, that none of the other major outlets are covering this stuff adequately, or framing the debate correctly. He’s 100% right.
If Glenn Beck wants to help us, we’d be fools not to let him. If the advancement of liberty is the goal, he could be an important ally. If purity is the litmus test, we will never have any allies–and each of us should resign from this movement effective immediately.Yeah, well Jack, if Beck presented the libertarian position that would be great. He's not. He doesn't understand it. At this point, he can't be a platform for libertarianism. He can only be a platform for confusion, starting with that damn stupid Lincoln poster on his set, next to the poster of that other evil monster Teddy Roosevelt.
What's the deal with those, Jack? How is he, as you put it, attacking "that era and the Republicans who screwed up the country," when he has banners of two of the most evil Republicans the country has ever witnessed, hanging right behind your head on the set?