A Philosopher's Blog

Beck: Bringing Honor Back

Posted in Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on August 28, 2010
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Glenn Beck is holding a rally today to restore honor. Today is also the anniversary of Dr. King’s speech, a fact regarding which Beck had made a claim of ignorance.

While I am all for true honor (not the vanity and false pride that masquerades as honor), Beck’s “Restoring Honor” title clearly implies that honor has been lost. Otherwise it would not need to be restored.

I do agree that America has suffered a loss of honor in recent years. Our invasion of Iraq damaged our honor. The way we conducted the war on terror also damaged our honor. Pretty much everything about the economic collapse damaged our honor. As such, Beck is right to claim that we are in need of an honor restoration. I am not sure that Beck is the man for the job, however.

Will he lead people to right the wrongs that have been committed in our name and by us? Will he guide people on the honorable path of truth, virtue and righteousness? Assuming, of course, that honor in this case is taken as being a measure of goodness. Does he have the knowledge of virtue that it takes (as per Aristotle) to serve as the moral educator of America?

Somehow, I think not. But, I do not like to judge in haste. Let us see if Beck fulfills his promise and restores honor. After all, it is easy to talk about what is right. It is a simple thing to draw things on a blackboard. It is no trouble at all to tape up images. But, it is a hard thing to guide oneself and others to an honorable life.

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23 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on August 28, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I suspect this is what the protesters are concerned about:

    In the age of Obama, the notion of not being exceptional or preeminent comes as a relief to millions on the left who pretty much are in sync with the protocols of the United Nations. On the right, there is a sense that Obama is the ultimate expression of downfall; given the wild spending, the iconic efforts abroad at apology, and the rampant entitlements we simply aren’t what we once were. In between, most aren’t quite sure—but sure are worried that we may never climb out of our self-created indebtedness crater, and that the culture’s education, the nation’s borders, and the civilization’s values are eroding.

    I agree with the latter take, but see decline in history as largely psychological. After all, a Rome that was little more than 4 million and half of Italy almost simultaneously fought both Hannibal and Philip V and ploughed on after losing over 100,000 dead between 219-216 BC to victory, while by AD 450-80 an empire of 70 million, with a million square miles of territory, could not thwart thuggish tribes across the Rhine and Danube.


    • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 28, 2010 at 7:16 pm

      Neither of those views seems to capture the reality of the situation. I don’t see Obama attacking the idea of being exceptional, nor do I see him spending any more wildly than Reagan or Bush. He is, however, not doing as well as Clinton did in terms of the deficit. As far as rampant entitlements, that is also not an Age of Obama thing. The wealthy and corporations have been feasting well on entitlements for quite some time.

      The reality is that Obama is not the new left messiah (as the left is slowly learning) nor is he the socialist destroyer of all that is great in America. He is just another president doing business pretty much as usual.

      • kernunos said, on August 28, 2010 at 11:17 pm

        “….nor do I see him spending any more wildly than Reagan or Bush.” Really????? Are you serious Mike? Compared to what? What drugs are you on because I want some.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm

          I am serious. Look at the numbers under Reagan and Bush. Adjust for inflation, of course. This is pure math and not a matter of political perspective.

          I am not defending the spending, my point is that the so called Age of Obama is not really much of a new age. The whiny left is starting to realize this-that is why Obama’s press secretary got mad at them for being ungrateful. They believe he has not pushed hard to the left. The hateful right thinks that Obama has gone hard left, but that is not the case. They are not seeing the reality of the situation: Obama is a moderate who leans just a bit left on some issues.

          • kernunos said, on August 29, 2010 at 10:07 pm

            You are saying that Bush and Reagan spent more in their first 18 months even adjusting with inflation? I’m not buying it. Then add in over 20% even nearing 30% debt to GDP and you see where the real problem is with Obama’s time as President….so far.

          • kernunos said, on August 29, 2010 at 10:14 pm

            Spending at the current rate cannot be sustained so me thinks your math is flawed somehow or you are using Obamanomics. Money saved or created maybe or spending blamed on bush? Not only is spending out of control but economic growth is down to 1.6% from 5% when Obama took office.

      • magus71 said, on August 30, 2010 at 5:32 am

        “nor do I see him spending any more wildly than Reagan or Bush.”

        Again, can’t help himself….

        “He is just another president doing business pretty much as usual.”

        Than why did you, and why do you continue, to endorse him? Why don’t you write scathing reviews about him, like you did Bush. Why don’t you have nick-names for those in his cabinet? You loved the term “Bushies” when Bush was in office.

        Is the country doing as well as under Reagan? Even Reagan’s opponents don’t think so; that’s why they always talk about Reagan: He set the standard and it scares them that the standard may not be what liberals think it should be.

        One termer, this one. And you can complain all you want about the misperceptions of the public. That argument didn’t mean anything to you when it came to media perception of Bush. But Bush got elected twice. And he did so without having to constantly resort to blaming everyone else for what went on.

        Just admit your bias. I admit mine. You hate all the conservative talk people. You present all the conservative presidents in a bad light, but even Carter holds a special place in your heart, because being nice is enough to be president.

        You completely overstate the position of Obama’s detractors in order to make them look strupid. You create strawmen and assign their construction to those who don’t believe Obama likes America that much. It did give him lots of opportunity for change, though. The views of Obama missed the mark because they tried to mimic Europe’s. But the context was not the same for America as Europe. Europe bathed in the protective sphere of the American Hegemon, all the while complaining like a spoiled teenager. Near-zero defense budgets, early retirements and low birth rates (all the playground of liberal elite) have forced Europe to change his course. Hopefully we learn faster than they did…

        But still, the liberal must wallow in all their old dogma. They just can’t let go:


        Nothing will convince you that this course is wrong. But it doesn’t matter because the voters are going to annihilate this movement soon.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 30, 2010 at 2:17 pm

          It is a relevant point. Using the term “Age of Obama” implies that this age has some distinct qualities. Obama’s spending seems to be no more wild than in other presidential “ages.” Of course, a good question is whether the spending will be effective or not.

          I don’t hate the conservative talk people. Those that provide measured, rational criticism are (in fact) rather important.

          Well, if you insist on a nickname, how about Obamies?

          There are legitimate criticism’s of Obama and I have raised some; such as concerns about the war on terror, how we are not handling the immigration problem, and so on.

      • T. J. Babson said, on August 31, 2010 at 7:59 am

        “…nor do I see him spending any more wildly than Reagan or Bush.”

        It’s the Democratic Congress that has been doing the spending.

        So Treasury debt held by the public has grown from an easily manageable 36 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal 2007 to a troubling 62 percent at the end of 2010. Only once in U.S. history—during and right after World War II—has the debt-to-GDP ratio ever exceeded 50 percent.


        • T. J. Babson said, on August 31, 2010 at 8:00 am

          Facts are stubborn things.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 31, 2010 at 11:17 am

          The upward swing in debt (post WWII) began with Reagan and has been climbing since. Clinton pushed it down a bit, but that was the exception rather than the rule. I will agree that more debt in dollars is accruing now. However, my main point is that the “Age of Obama” is not really a new age in this regard. Also, you point about post WWII is rather apt-after all, the spending is in response to another crisis. Of course, it seems that much of the money spent was not well spent, at least in terms of helping the majority of people. The companies (as always) benefited from this (thus casting doubt on the absurd claims that Obama is anti-business).

  2. T. J. Babson said, on August 29, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Here’s an example of what those dangerous tea partiers were up to at their rally.

  3. kernunos said, on August 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    The Mall in washington after Glenn Beck’s 8/28 event.

    The Mall in Washington after the inauguration of Obama.

    I thought this was the party of the environmentally responsible. Reality is interesting isn’t it?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 31, 2010 at 11:05 am

      While inconsistent actions do not disprove claims, it is fair to be critical of folks who say one thing and act another way. One of my first publications (“Body & Environment) was a piece on environmental ethics that was inspired by the seeming inconsistency of pro-environment people who polluted their own bodies with drugs.

      Your remark reminded me of seeing cars festooned with environmental stickers being driven by smokers who flick their butts into the streets. The left has at least as many hypocrites and inconsistent folk as the right.

      • kernunos said, on August 31, 2010 at 12:41 pm

        I’m glad you brought this up. I was really taken by surprise when I went to college. It was a real eye openning experience to see first how angry the pseudo-hippy granolas were and how easily they would litter.

  4. ajmacdonaldjr said, on August 31, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I agree. I happened to be in DC this past weekend, so I went to see the crowd at the Beck rally. Beck appears to be an anti-intellectual, propagandistic, media mouthpiece for the military-intelligence complex. However, if he’s going to endorse Dr. King–a true intellectual–Beck’s followers might appreciate a deeper explanation of King’s legal/social theory.

    • kernunos said, on August 31, 2010 at 12:31 pm

      Do tell. Nobody is stopping you here.

      “Beck appears to be an anti-intellectual, propagandistic, media mouthpiece for the military-intelligence complex.” Is this sarcasm? If not lolz !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • magus71 said, on September 5, 2010 at 1:26 am

      “media mouthpiece for the military-intelligence complex.”

      And this is what the blogoshere has brought the world. Which is why I don’t post very often anymore.

      Thanks for playing, aj. Now go back to watching your Oliver Stone movie.

  5. […] I think not. (Nor am I (by far) the only one who thinks he is not.) […]

    • kernunos said, on September 3, 2010 at 9:40 am

      Yes there are others who think 9/11 was caused by George Bush and a bunch of Jews and then there are the birthers, oh let’s not leave out people who feel that Obama is a Muslim. Listen to radio overnight and you will hear groups of people that believe things like the US government controlling hurricanes with a device called HARP. Then there are the hard liner man made global warming fanatics. In each of those groups there are a significant amount of people who think the same way but it doesn’t make them right by numbers. While Dr. King was a very smart man but his import was was not in his legal/social theories. Content of character instead of color of skin was where he hit his home runs.

  6. T. J. Babson said, on September 3, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Thomas Straubhaar in Der Spiegel hits the nail on the head. A must read for those who don’t understand why the rest of us are so upset:

    Both the behavior of the American government and the Federal Reserve makes one thing clear: They do not see the solution to the US’s economic woes in a return to traditional American virtues. Obama is not calling for the unleashing of market forces, as Ronald Reagan once did during an equally critical period in the early 1980s. On the contrary: Obama, driven by his own convictions and advised by economists who believe in government intervention, has taken a path that leads far away from those things that catapulted America to the top of the world in the past century.

    The Obama administration’s current policies rely on more government rather than personal responsibility and self-determination. They are administering to the patient more, not less, of exactly those things that led to the crisis.

    The crash was partially caused by a policy of cheap money. If interest rates stay as low as they are, the state will get into more and more debt. One day these debts will have to be repaid, together with interest and compound interest. This will result in tax increases, which will reduce wages, the result of individuals’ hard work. In addition, low interest rates will make saving unattractive for private individuals, thereby making it harder for America to break with its addiction to credit.

    But what is good for Europe and Germany does not automatically work for the US. The settlers of the New World rejected everything, which included throwing out anything with a semblance of state authority. They fled Europe to find freedom. The sole shared goal of the settlers was to obtain individual freedom and live independently, which included the freedom to say what they wanted, believe what they wanted and write what they wanted. The state was seen as a way to facilitate this goal. The state should not interfere in people’s lives, aside from securing freedom, peace and security. Economic prosperity was seen as the responsibility of the individual.

    End of the American Way?

    If you take this belief away from Americans, you are destroying the binds which interlink America’s heterogeneous society. Removing this belief could lead to conflicts between different sections of society, clashes which have long bubbled beneath the surface.


  7. kernunos said, on September 3, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Nothing like getting votes from people you have given other peoples’ hard earned money to. That number is growing by the day and the moeny is running out.

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