I was discussing the health care bill with somebody this past week, and I mentioned the inherent dangers of allowing our government to continually overstep its bounds.
When he suggested that America should implement a socialist health care program because â€œall other first-world countries have some single-payer system,â€ I responded with the age-old adage my mother perpetuated during my youth: â€œIf your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?â€
His response came down to a single retort that reduced his argument to ad absurdum: â€œStop listening to Glenn Beck!â€
This statement left me perturbed, but not because I am offended to be associated with Glenn Beck. What struck me as outright confounding was that this statement was meant as an under-cutting insult.
My use of a particular argument led this poor individual to associate me with a political commentator, one that he obviously finds distasteful. This encounter left me perplexed and mildly curious.
Why would an association with Glenn Beck be used as an insult? Perhaps Beck is an evil cultist bent on the destruction of America and the crippling of our economy. Perhaps he is a white supremacist who emits racial slurs at work and crushes the skulls of kittens in his free time.
I have seen Beckâ€™s show on a few occasions, and Iâ€™ve even read his book, â€œArguing with Idiots,â€ and I will honestly admit that I am honored to be placed in the same group as Glenn Beck. Still, I decided to do a little digging and see what skeletons may be in Beckâ€™s closet.
So I searched for quite some time to root out the controversy behind Glenn Beck. Granted, my search was limited to the results offered by the Yahoo! and Google search engines and a few unedited YouTube clips, but I feel I was more thorough than the average American voter (who, you may recall, did not thoroughly investigate Obamaâ€™s ties to racist Reverend Wright).
I even stooped to listen to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert before remembering they are merely political satirists who rely on comedy rather than facts. And before I continue, I have to take a jab at these two, considering how seriously they take themselves. Their shows are designed to preach to ultra-liberal lefties and disgorge brainwashing rhetoric while simultaneously accusing Fox of devious, malicious agendas.
But thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m not upset about. I have no problem with these two satirists dumping their sewage on a regular basis. Iâ€™m just upset that the show is never actually funny, a real tragedy considering how hard they try to make their audience laugh.
Back to Beck. Truth is, the only argument I found against this man were blanket statements such as â€œHeâ€™s crazy,â€ â€œHe is a fear-monger,â€ â€œHe is an extremist who wants to tear the very fabric of the world apart and use it to power his evil death ray that he and Bill Oâ€™Reilly are constructing in outer space, kinda like Hugo Drax from Moonraker but more like Dr. Evil from those Austin Powers movies.â€
This is the opposition? Iâ€™m almost ashamed to be pitted against them and their notoriously unjustified claims. Itâ€™s disappointing.
Perhaps Beckâ€™s most controversial statement was the one where he called Obama a racist. Considering Obamaâ€™s 20-year brainwashing in a black liberation theology church, I would say Beck isnâ€™t too far off.
The bottom line is this: A statement such as â€œstop listening to Glenn Beckâ€ is a stereotypical catch-all argument that holds zero weight and is designed specifically to demonize the opposition. It serves absolutely no purpose, but ironically reveals the ineptitude of its user as he or she attempts to insult and degrade their detractors.
I find myself in the company of Glenn Beck, an admittedly recovering alcoholic who values personal freedoms and the inherent benefits of free market capitalism, and who is legitimately concerned for the countryâ€™s welfare.
His critics, as well as mine, are in Obamaâ€™s company, who believes himself to be above the U.S. Constitution and the people he was elected to serve. They are in the company of Stewart and Colbert, who believe that their blanket statements and abusive witticisms are above logic and critical reasoning skills.
Josh Phillips is a senior business administration major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.