Beck’s speech was a fascinating mix of “Harrison Bergeon”-esque science fiction and 2009-era Glenn Beck, which is to say that I’m genuinely surprised he didn’t start weeping.
It says a great deal about his speech that a significant proportion of it was devoted to discussing the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Beck wanted to turn Charlie’s “golden ticket” into a metaphor, but mostly it was, as David Frum pointed out on Twitter, exceedingly strange. The rest of it had more straw men in it than a corn maze.
Mostly, it was pretty funny. Beck’s has two tricks as an orator. The first is to conflate: To misread history and argue that progressivism caused the Holocaust and extend that observation outward to make the argument that the conservative movement is the only bulwark against fascism in America. The second is that he is America’s most portentous self-help guru: “The world will tell you that you need more government, more protection, more rules, and more edicts,” he solemnly intoned. “I tell you now that you are the most powerful being ever created by God himself.”
Discussing the national debt, Beck was typically over the top: “This is vital… if you are a person that has a child today, that child as it draws its first breath is chained. Each child is chained to one million six thousand two hundred and eight dollars. That’s their share of the debt. The minute they draw their breath. That’s their fair share.” But then Beck took a logical leap that would have been exceedingly offensive if it wasn’t so stupid. He argued that, because the Republican Party stopped real slavery, it is morally required to balance the budget, because it’s the same as real slavery because Beck’s metaphoric chains are the same as real chains.
Glenn Beck was also investigated by the Secret Service today for joking about stabbing Donald Trump.