The Tea Party – Level III Conservatism. (Is Glenn Beck Smarter Than He Acts on TV?)
My initial take on Glenn Beck has been mixed. He deserves credit for identifying that America’s elite has decayed into a sarcoma within the body of our glorious republic. Not only that, he has the guts to take them on. Somebody had to step up in America. The Rick Santellis, the Glenn Becks; they exist because they would eventually have to.
I’ve felt these people were admirable, but limited in their strategic thinking. They were people who went on with their lives and careers until one day the society they lived in got to the point where they slammed down the newspaper in utter disgust and decided something had to be done. What I haven’t seen enough from them is what.
Blogger, Lexington Green in a posting entitled “I Think I See What Glenn Beck is Doing” on The Chicago Boyz blog, suggests something that made me take a new measurement, perhaps, of Glenn Beck’s intellectual and spiritual depth. Excerpts from an entry that I would nominate as Blog Post of The Year 2010 follows below.
He is aiming far beyond what most people consider to be the goalposts. Using Boyd’s continuum for war: Material, Intellectual, Moral. Analogously for political change: Elections, Institutions, Culture.
Beck sees correctly that the Conservative movement had only limited success because it was good at level 1, for a while, weak on level 2, and barely touched level 3. Talk Radio and the Tea Party are level 3 phenomena, popular outbreaks, which are blowing back into politics.
(HT:Chicago Boyz as cited above)
Lexington Green just invented a new taxonomy. We have Level I conservatives who do brilliant jobs of winning elections. Level II conservatives who labor in the intellectual engine room on behalf of Conservative ideals. What we need and lack are Level III conservatives who connect with and change the popular culture to make it more amenable to Conservative values.
As examples of Level I Conservatives, I offer you Nikki Haley and Scott Brown. While I agree more with the stated political philosophies of Mrs Haley more than Mr. Brown, who can deny that either of these people did great good for the GOP by beating back corrupt challengers in difficult elections. It enhances the brand, so to speak, of the party when our “Good Guys” win a tough election.
We have our Level II operatives as well. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama probably knows and understands more about immigration policy then either George W. Bush or Barack Obama have ever forgotten. He is able to intelligently explain why the popular and seemingly kind policy of open borders has become an increasingly disastrous state of affairs for Working Class America. His is a sterling example of an intellect that will empower the GOP to swing the Jacksonian wrecking-ball into Nancy Pelosi’s corrupt and paternalistic House of Representatives Majority.
Senator Tom Coburn, and Congressman Paul Ryan, both have growing Level II Conservative credibility. Coburn led the fight against earmarking long before Senator McCain made it a cause célèbre of his diminutive campaign for the presidency. Congressman Ryan has laid out the best and thus far only economic and budgetary alternative to be put up against our current Keynesian Suicide Cocktail.
So the GOP has charismatic winners (Con Level I), and it has capable thinkers (Con Level II). What we haven’t done yet to any appreciable amount, is move America’s soul. Lexington Green credits Glenn Beck with an attempt to do just that.
Beck is building solidarity and cultural confidence in America, its Constitution, its military heritage, its freedom. This is a vision that is despised by the people who have long held the commanding heights of the culture. But is obviously alive and kicking.
Beck is creating positive themes of unity and patriotism and freedom and independence which are above mere political or policy choices, but not irrelevant to them. Political and policy choices rest on a foundation of philosophy, culture, self-image, ideals, religion. Change the foundation, and the rest will flow from that. Defeat the enemy on that plane, and any merely tactical defeat will always be reversible.
(HT: Chicago Boyz again).
This one makes me stop and say “Hmm…” If LG has this one right, and cognitively his idea does seem to “taste good”, that would make Glenn Beck a legitimate Existential Philosopher. He attempts to confer an existential authenticity to the Conservatism that we lost between 1994 and 2006. He seeks to dispel the existential angst that made John McCain willing to suspend a campaign for the presidency for several days in 2008.
This gets to the reason why the Left hates Beck. He doesn’t have to tell anyone to vote Republican and is too intelligent to fall into that trap. He goes one level beyond that by challenging what we have been ordered by our “betters” to mindlessly believe.
It’s when we make the collective American Mind go back and reevaluate the validity of the Postmodern assumptions that undergird Liberal thought that we can seriously argue for change. In undertaking this task, Glenn Beck is rebooting our social operating system with a different and better compilation of moral software.
At times Glenn Beck may remind me more of Al Snow than The Hardcore King, Mick Foley, but this time, if Lexington Green’s post is steel on target, he’s just reached up and caught the very lightning. Start bringing these “crazy” things like G_d back into the equation of how we make decisions, and maybe, just maybe the “Progressive” Democrats and the Assistant Democrats of the GOP Yacht Aristocracy, had better start to pray.
In the end, if Glenn Beck gets his way, and coincidentally, I get most of mine as a positive externality, I’ll have to eat some the words I wrote about Glenn Beck yesterday. I can eat that crow with a dash of Tobasco Sauce. But only after I’ve had time to digest a good, warm shot of brandy to make the humility go down better.