Glenn Beck wants to be the libertarian Walt Disney. And he has decided to build himself some kind of libertarian-utopia theme park called Independence, USA where, for a price, you can live out Beck’s dream of America The Way It Should Be: Grow your own food, your own energy and your own media. Plus, there’s a giant phallic symbol of a structure that Beck says represents “man reaching up to find God’s knowledge.”
In a voice full of hushed awe at his own amazing vision, Beck described his Fantasy Land that, he hopes, will exemplify the “rebirth of our nation through our own principles.”
Here are a few snippets:
You want an Ann Taylor, go some place else… This is where people work and create their own businesses, quintessentially American businesses.
…We have to teach how we grow food… Everything in this Independence Park… we produce more than we consume.
…I don’t know about you but my favorite vacations are not in fancy resorts. My favorite vacations are going to the mountains and just shutting off all the electronic devices – no TV, nothing – and watching the kids, after about two days, their imaginations start running wild and they stop saying, ‘What are we gonna do? What are we gonna do? There’s nothing to do here.’ And all of a sudden, everybody’s making magic castles or for warriors out of some rocks or watching the kids be superheroes. …We have to have simpler times.
But while Beck presented this as some kind of incubator of innovation, it’s pretty clear he’s really looking to inculcate his own Beckian vision:
Before you send your kids to college… you spend a week with us… We will show them the truth. We will tell them what they’re gonna try to do and we will deprogram them every summer if you care.
But really, Beck believes schools are “a thing of the past” and is working with some “very, very wise people” on “how it can be done.”
Beckland Independence also includes what he describes as “my baby” which is “my national archives.” There, he says, “We will keep the things and the ideas and the books and the papers that tell the truth.”
You mean like David Barton's?
Beck also plans to produce some of his shows in Independence and make movies full of “common decency,” as if Beck has ever showed any. There’s also what he described as a “canyon theater” that can become Fort McHenry (among other things) if you “ever want to tell the story of 1812.”
What Beck didn’t say is how much he plans to
soak charge his truthseekers for all this wisdom and rebirth. As Sharmin Kent wrote on Think Progress:
An environment built primarily on capitalism—and Beck’s brand of news and entertainment—will have to turn a profit. And from the proposed theme park to the ranch where visitors can learn to “work the land,” Independence, USA is a vehicle for Glenn Beck to cultivate, build and benefit from his audience’s attention as well as their wallets. At its core, the concept of Independence—like the fantasy playland Walt Disney created nearly 60 years ago—sells nothing more than the make-believe world Beck has spent years building on Fox News, and later with his own media company.
But there’s one big difference between Disney’s make-believe world and Beck’s: Disney’s is full of fun and enchantment for everyone. In Independence, the magic is all about Beck.