Among the many illogical disconnects that have accompanied Glenn Beck's eliminationist jihad against progressives, none has been more glaring than Beck's seeming embrace of progressive civil-rights leaders like Martin Luther King.
That contradiction was simply glaring on Beck's show yesterday, when he started out by reminding everyone of the ground rules of his program's running thesis:
Beck: The enemy is not the Republicans. It's not the Democrats. It's not the President. It's not! It's the distortion of the truth, that's the enemy. That somehow or another, Big Government is good. That's not true! The Founders have been proven right, over and over and over again. When the government gets too big or out of control, it always ends the same way. And it's not a happy ending.
We're putting a documentary out called, "Progressivism: America's Cancer." It is an in-depth look at how progressives threw America way off track around the turn of the century.
For a sample of just how accurate this documentary will be, Beck then explained how exemplary those pro-gun protesters were outside the Capitol, and wasn't it remarkable how there wasn't even a pistol-whipping? But he couldn't even get this right: Beck proclaimed they had "loaded guns!" outside the Capitol, but that's not accurate: The people carrying guns had to protest outside D.C., in Virginia:
In the nation's capital, where possession of guns is strictly regulated, they came carrying only signs and handbills, which one man had thrust into an empty holster.
Beck then went on a rant contending that Bill Clinton was to blame for Oklahoma City because he had so angered right-wing nutcases like tim McVeigh that of course he was bound to go off sooner or later. (Sorta aligns with Beck's theory that if Tea Party violence erupts, it will have been deliberately provoked by Obama and Co.)
Ah, but because they have weathered this awful media storm of being accused of being unhinged xenophobes, the Tea Party folks therefore deserve to be compared to the gallant Civil Rights marchers of the 1960s, at least on Planet GlennBeckia -- because they used to say things just like that about Martin Luther King!
Beck: America Tea Party goers, you are in good company. Standing up against the government -- a government that you feel is grabbing too much power or is out of control. If you do it peacefully, you are in good company. And so far, that's the only evidence they have. Peace.
In a finishing touch, the "Speak Boldly" promotional segment then featured footage from the 1960s Civil Rights marches.
Ironically, it was just a couple of weeks ago that Glenn Beck was chiding John Lewis -- one of the most important figures of the Civil Rights era -- for having dared to walk through the crowd of anti-health-care Tea Partiers "because they wanted to compare themselves to the civil rights activists. How dare you!" he cried.
Even more ironic is a simple fact that seems to have eluded Beck's attention: Civil Rights always have been a progressive cause. And Martin Luther King was a major progressive figure. As we explained:
[O]ne of the most interesting omissions from Beck's parade of progressive evils is one of the real achievements of progressive politics in the past half-century -- namely, the advancement of civil rights for minorities, beginning with the civil-rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s. These movements ended Jim Crow and made life better for millions of nonwhites, and created a more just and civil society along the way.
And you know, civil rights was a progressive cause. It still is. The opposition? It has always -- ALWAYS -- been conservatives.
Yet all the time Beck has been bashing progressives, he has simultaneously been hosting shows with audiences of black conservatives wherein they sit around and complain about how mean liberals are to them for being conservative and Beck gets to ask dumb white-guy questions like: "Why not identify yourself as Americans?"
Even more to the point, in both of these shows, Beck has glowingly quoted Martin Luther King -- who was, you know, a leader in the progressive movement.
It's just all too bizarre. And when Beck asks:
You know what they said about Martin Luther King then?
You have to laugh. Yeah, we know what THEY said about King then. Especially when THEY were "right-wing conservatives." Like the fellow who told the press when he heard of King's assassination, as Rick Perlstein recalls for us:
"[It was just the sort of] great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order, and people started choosing which laws they'd break."
That was Ronald Reagan, the governor of California, arguing that King had it coming.
You know what else they said about King back then?
That he was a closet Communist, a secretly conniving Marxist:
The attempt to prove that King was a Communist was related to the feeling of many segregationists that blacks in the South were happy with their lot but had been stirred up by "communists" and "outside agitators". The civil rights movement arose from activism within the black community dating back to before World War I. Levison did have ties with the Communist Party in various business dealings, but the FBI refused to believe its own intelligence bureau reports that Levison was no longer associated in that capacity. In response to the FBI's comments regarding communists directing the civil rights movement, King said that "the Negro revolution is a genuine revolution, born from the same womb that produces all massive social upheavals—the womb of intolerable conditions and unendurable situations."