The Best of Both Worlds

So, I was just reading my sister-in-law's blog. She's not politically oriented (in fact, I think reading this blog regularly would take 20 years off her life) but once in awhile she gets fired up about something courtesy of Mr. Glenn Beck.

Now, I'm not familiar with him or his show, because I pretty successfully avoid all talking-head-type of media, but I did go through and read the 9 principles he is touting. And you know what?

I agree with them. All of them.

1. America is good.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

I know I'm supposed to get my panties all in a twist like a good Liberal, because this came out of the serpent mouth of a Conservative, who as any leftie knows are always wrong! I must immediately go down this list point by point and refute them, pick them apart until there's nothing left and I can stand alone on my Pedestal of Truth again. After all, if I do not identify myself as Conservative, and these principles are obviously meant to resonate with Conservatives, so I can't agree with them! That would be, like, treasonous or something.

But just hang with me for a minute.

If I were to write these exact same principles myself, I would word some of them differently. That's my personal spin on things, and as Mr. Beck so rightly said, it is not un-American to share my opinion. But I think these 9 statements are much of what is right with the Conservative viewpoint, and I applaud them. I don't know what Mr. Beck plans to do with the results of his campaign (and from the sound of the rest of the article it is not necessarily something that I am going to like), but the way I see it, the foundation is there. People are people, and we pretty much all want the same things.

We want to be respected for who we are and the opinions we hold.

We want to be able to express those opinions, without fear of derision or retribution.

We want to be able to live according to our principles.

We want to be happy. We want our families to be happy.

We want the same things - we just don't always agree on the best way to affect those outcomes. And even Mr. Beck very graciously left room in his club for Godless Atheists, etc, by saying that anyone who agrees with 7 out of the 9 is good enough for him.

Really, can't we all agree on 7 out of 9? Is that so much to ask? Can't we stop nitpicking for a minute, extend each other some grace, and get to the spirit of the law, as it were - to the heart of what is underneath our ballots and our petitions? What would this country - the world! - be like if we all believed that even if someone is advocating something you violently disagree with, that their motivation is probably the very same as yours? That if someone asked you and your opponent why you do what you do, the answers might be identical?

Now, I'm not quite ready to send my picture in to Mr. Beck, because I'm not sure what he means by his promise to "pull back the curtain". I'm a little suspicious that he intends to unite us so he can once again pit us against each other once he's got us all in the same room. And I will say that it strikes me as premature at best to be complaining so bitterly about the "opposing" party in power only a month into (at least) a four year term. The pendulum has swung, as it always does, and will again, and that's how it is supposed to be (see Prinicple #1).

The fact is, "we" do not surround "them". We are them. They are us. We are all in this together, and the sooner we realize that, the more we can learn from each other.

Together we stand, divided we fall.

28 comments:

big.bald.dave said...

Ah, Glenn Beck. He's better than Limbaugh or Hannity, at least. I also basically agree with every principle in his list. The problem I have with his list is not the list itself, but that some of these principles, when applied to certain scenarios, point out glaring inconsistencies in the Republican platform. And yes, I know Glenn Beck is not a Republican. He just speaks and acts like one. :)

1. America is good.
America is good, and it is filled with lots of good people. But America can also be not so good (see Abu Gharab, Guantanamo Bay, Iraq in general). I'd say America has the potential for greatness and for world leadership, but the last eight years have shown us that our standing in the world is not safe from ineptitude.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
I'm with you there, Glenn. But a lot of people aren't, and that doesn't mean they should be discriminated against by the government or anyone else.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
No argument here.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
I completely agree, but I'm also completely curious as to how Mr. Beck applies this to the decision to terminate a pregnancy. Despite his list, I bet Mr. Beck has the government deciding this one.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
As long as this applies to George W. Bush and his administration officials in their violation of the Geneva conventions' war crimes statutes, I'm in complete agreement here as well.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
I like this one.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
This one is good to a degree. In concert with #6, I believe in the government helping to provide opportunity for all, but not guaranteeing the results.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
Rather, it's un-American to not disagree with authority, loudly if necessary.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Absolutely, which is why #5 is so tremendously important.

Unfortunately for Mr. Beck, the world is not black and white. I'm sure there are some very cut-and-dry principles after which we should pattern on lives, but I'm also sure they should be thought out and written more carefully than these. :)

The Faithful Dissident said...

Even though I'm a socialist, I still agree with #7. But I'm guessing that Brother Beck and I disagree on the definition of "charity." :)

The Wizzle said...

Yeah - I purposely did not go down the list and explain the differences that I see point by point (because it seemed counter to the spirit of my post!) but that was definitely one of them. Of course, the government cannot mandate charity. Charity is in your heart. But I do believe the government has a responsibility to promote a basic standard of living. That's just humanity. The differences lie in whether one considers basic healthcare coverage a right vs. a handout, to use just one example.

Rick said...

I just don't like Glen Beck - I think he's, personally, a schmuck. That being said.

1) I agree with Dave - sometimes.
2) Agree with Dave again - and who is to say that the God I believe in is the same as...Glen Beck's?
4) I'm going to go with the Individual being sacred there, above the family. Family is sacred, but the individual is, IMO, more sacred.
5) So the difference comes in when I say, "what is the penalty? And, what if the Law isn't just?
7) I get that this is some people's war cries, but it just sounds so...mean.

I can agree with the principal behind most of these, but not with the priggish superior way he says them. THATS my issue - so many of these guys are so cocky and ring with such an air of superiority, I can't handle it!

The irritating thing: so many Mormons just eat this guy up because...he's Mormon. I've known plenty of concieted, misled mormons, some in positions of power, and "Brother" Beck is, IMO, just as falible as the next guy. Maybe if he rephrased some of those to read more charitably and more lovingly, then I'd jump on the wagon and he'd get my Photo. I'd throw in "I must always try to be a more loving person than I was yesterday."

Rick said...

btw, Wizzle, I think some of your text got cut out -you don't really explain what the deal is with your Sister in Law, or tie the Beck article in - I had to follow that through on a bunch of links in order to know what you are talking about. You kind of end mid sentance,and start talking about the 7 points - probably something just got deleted or something.

The Wizzle said...

Yeah, I'm not sure what's going on. It looks fine on some computers, and weird on others. It was all there in the post preview, and it's all there in my email notification.

I'll have to have David look at it when he gets home.

The Wizzle said...

OK, fixed! Thanks BBD.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Rick brings up a good point about the sacredness of the individual vs. family. I think we can all agree on what constitutes an "individual," but we (not just us here, but everyone in society) probably has different definitions of what a "family" is. And Beck uses the term "spouse," even though that can also have a broader definition than he intended it to.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie.

I was just reading comments from The King Family blog and you had commented on the song that they chose to do their picture video to. I don't want to bother them, but am really wanting the name and singer of that song. Could you please provide it for me?
Thanks for your time.-Laurie
ldn@accesscomm.ca

Stephanie said...

Sure, Laurie. Just sent you an email.

I like Glenn Beck. He makes a lot of sense. I feel lucky when he's on the radio when I'm in the car (maybe 20 minutes a day).

I must immediately go down this list point by point and refute them, pick them apart until there's nothing left and I can stand alone on my Pedestal of Truth again.

Good thing BBD did it for you (although not necessarily to refute the points themselves, just to refute Republicans).

I suspect that if we tried to see the good in other viewpoints, we'd find a lot more points of commonality. Frankly, I'm tired of the contention. I'm more conservative than ever and think it might be a better use of my time to campaign for my causes rather than argue with liberals who are likely now more liberal than ever. :)

Stephanie said...

You left off his 12 values. I listened to a segment on his show today (I got to listen to about 45 minutes because I had to drive downtown!). He explained his whole "We surround them" campaign and "Unite or Die" with the rattlesnake logo. Pretty cool symbolism (taken from Benjamin Franklin).

Here are Glenn Beck's 12 values

Honesty
Reverence
Hope
Thrift
Humility
Charity
Sincerity
Moderation
Hard Work
Courage
Personal Responsibility
Friendship

It seems to me that those are values that can be embraced by everyone.

matt said...

BBD,
Is it bad to speak and act like a republican?

1.Since when does the opinion of other countries dictate if America is good?

2.It's ironic that it's usually those that don't belive in God that get to discriminate against the majority that do.

4.I would bet Beck does have the government deciding pregnancy termination. Imagine that! The government doing exactly what it is supposed to do, protecting the innocent.

5. I hope the same applies to Obama's administration officials. We are required to pay our taxes ya know. And Rezco, Blogojevich, Burris, and I'm sure that will soon find a lot of dirt on the Man himself after blogojevich comes clean.

7. Government is there to provide opportunity only after every other viable option is exhausted, that being Family, then church, then community, then very very last, the government.


Rick,
I agree with you that he does come off arrogant and rude quite often. You'd think being Mormon he'd try to be a better example. I think a lot of it has to do with it being a "show". He's got to crank out ratings so he'll do whatever gets em'. I also agree that many Mormons jump on his bandwagon just because he's Mormon. Despite his harsh tone, he has had several "predictions" about the economy and such come to show he is right on the money. He is a worst case scenario guy, but usually ends up to be correct.

4. I agree that the individual is sacred, but it's ultimately the family the will either make or break future generations.

One last point, I think we need to go back to "cut and dry" in America.
If it's wrong, it's wrong. If it's right, it's right.
FD said this to me on another post,"What's more important, being "right" or being compassionate?"
I truly believe being right is the first priority. Compassion is truly important, but it need to be applied after what is right.

Thanks for the post wizzle,

Stephanie said...

If it's wrong, it's wrong. If it's right, it's right.

The problem is that we live in times when good is called evil and evil is called good. Most people don't even know what is "right" anymore.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"The problem is that we live in times when good is called evil and evil is called good. Most people don't even know what is "right" anymore."

Stephanie, do you know what is "right?" Can you look someone in the eyes that shares neither your faith, nor your culture, nor your political beliefs and say honestly, "I know what is right."

Aside from the basic fundamentals that most human beings can agree on (i.e. murder is bad, theft is bad, rape is bad, etc.) what we, as individuals, conclude to be "right" and "wrong" is heavily influenced things like our culture, religion, and life experience. I think this can be true even within the Church as a people. As Mormons, we can decide for ourselves -- as individuals -- what is "right" or "wrong" or "good" or "evil." We can even disagree about it. But are we, as Mormons, the ultimate authority on what is "good" or "evil?" The problem with thinking that we are is that we lose our humility and start labelling people. And then we start seeing the world in black and white.

Of course, all of us have the right to our own beliefs and opinions. I can look people in the eye and honestly say, that I believe certain things to be right or wrong, good or evil, and my actions will reflect those personal beliefs. But I cannot say to people that I know that I am right and they are wrong, or that what I'm doing is good and what they are doing is evil.

In the Church, we talk a lot about pride. But I think more and more that Mormons fail to see the pride that comes along with thinking that we're right and everyone else is just wrong.

If it's wrong, it may be right. If it's right, it may be wrong. Your guess is as good as mine.

Stephanie said...

And yet, that's kind of what God told Joseph Smith when he said that he should join none of the churches because "they were all wrong". There is such thing as absolute truth. If I believe the gospel is true, I am not sure why I would think the things it teaches might be wrong. I am not sure why someone else not knowing or understanding or believing it would make it any less right.

If it's wrong, it may be right. If it's right, it may be wrong. Your guess is as good as mine.

I just don't believe this at all. The Lord isn't leaving us to figure it out for ourselves. He tells us very clearly in the scriptures and by his prophets what is right.

Stephanie said...

Although, I agree, FD that my opinion is not always "right". I can't look someone in the eye and say my opinion is absolute truth. But, I believe the gospel is true, and I believe that principles and doctrines coming through the proper channel (scriptures, apostles speaking under authority) are true and right. Things like you shouldn't have sex before marriage, pornography is bad, etc. These things are truth, so yes, I could look someone in the eye regardless of their beliefs, culture, political affiliation and say "I know these things are wrong" even though most of society is saying they are okay.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"The Lord isn't leaving us to figure it out for ourselves. He tells us very clearly in the scriptures and by his prophets what is right."

I think that when it comes to a lot of specifics, the Lord is "leaving us to figure it out for ourselves." And not just "us," but even the prophets. It's interesting to look back at Church history and see how certain things have evolved over time. What once was "absolute truth" has, in some cases, changed completely over time. I'm not saying that prophets can't be inspired or speak God's will. I just think that we forget how fallible they are.

If I were to ask whether you (not just Stephanie, but the others as well) believe that the prophet is infallible like the pope, you will probably say no. Right? But I've discovered through studying Catholicism that most Mormons believe in prophetic infallibility just as much as devout Catholics believe in papal infallibility.

Many assume that when Catholics say that they believe the pope is infallible, they believe he can't make any mistakes as pope. This is not true. Catholic.com explains:

"[Infallibility is a charism the Pope] enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (Luke 22:32), he proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals. Therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly held irreformable, for they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, an assistance promised to him in blessed Peter."

So, to sum it up, Catholics believe the pope can't make a mistake or "will not lead them astray" to use a Mormon term, only in matters of faith and morals, and not just in his office of pope in general.

Compare this to "the prophet will never lead us astray" and "God will remove the prophet if he ever attempts to lead us astray." I'm sure we can all acknowledge as Mormons that prophets are human beings that make mistakes in their personal lives. But how many believe that the prophet can make mistakes in his call as prophet when he is speaking for the Church? I've come to the conclusion that Catholics and Mormons both believe their leader is infallible in virtually the same way, although Mormons hate the word "infallible" and balk at the suggestion that they put as much blind faith in their leader as Catholics.

In some ways, I think that Mormons put a lot more trust and faith of infallibility into their prophets than Catholics do with their popes. Most Mormons will not dispute anything that a prophet has ever said in General Conference, the Ensign, or Church manuals, in some cases equating it with scripture. Catholics will even acknowledge that some early popes were evil, cunning men, but because of their office of pope, they maintained the power of infallibility only in matters of "faith and morals."

The Faithful Dissident said...

So I'm not saying that there is no worth in following the prophet, or that everything they say is wrong. I'm not saying that at all. What I am saying is that most Mormons believe the prophet is infallible, even though they say they don't, and then tend to label those of us who believe the prophet can make mistakes as being apostates or not having a testimony.

So I'm not saying that absolute truth doesn't exist. I'm just saying that it's foolish and presumptuous for us to say or believe that we know what it is.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"I believe the gospel is true, and I believe that principles and doctrines coming through the proper channel (scriptures, apostles speaking under authority) are true and right."

I can agree with this too, but I don't regard what they say to be infallible or unable to be misinterpreted. I think that they may be sometimes speaking with "limited understanding" (such as in the priesthood ban) or are perhaps not ready (as individuals, or as a Church) to receive a fuller knowledge.

"Things like you shouldn't have sex before marriage, pornography is bad, etc. These things are truth, so yes, I could look someone in the eye regardless of their beliefs, culture, political affiliation and say "I know these things are wrong" even though most of society is saying they are okay."

I absolutely believe what you do in this case and dedicate my life to upholding and living these values, but I can't look my friends in the eye who are, for example, living in a homosexual relationship that I know what they're doing is wrong. I just don't think it's my call.

Anonymous said...

Well, Wizzle, I think you got snookered a bit. I say this because you wrote, "But I think these 9 statements are much of what is right with the Conservative viewpoint." But most of these principles are not particularly or distinctively conservative. (I suspect that part of Beck's rhetorical game is to slyly align conservatism with All That Is Good. A prominent liberal blogger could play the same game, though I'd personally be disappointed if my side engaged in such essentially meaningless schmaltz.) Anyway, as has already been pointed out, many of the principles are honored by conservatives mostly in the breach.

That said, there are indeed problems with the list. At the risk of repeating some of what's been said above, I'll point a few of those problems out.

1. America is good. Sure--but America has also been and can also be bad. And the fact that, overall, America is good does not tell us whether any particular national policy is good. The danger here is that people tend to think, "Well, America is good, therefore it can't really be torturing people, because torturing people is bad." Too much stress on the country's overall goodness can dull the citizenry's critical edge.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. But so what? And which God? Mother Teresa's? Cotton Mather's? Osama bin Laden's?

Believing in God doesn't guarantee that you're good. Not believing in God doesn't guarantee that you're bad (though many bigots think it does). Also, Mr. Beck presumably knows that some conservatives are atheists.

Also--and this is one of the hardest things to get across in this age of watered-down Christianity--Jesus was pretty hard on nationalism. You can't be all that much of a follower of Christ and be a patriot.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. Unless, of course, you're gay. Then, says the LDS Church, the government should be the authority.

Despite what they say, conservatives do not, as a general principle, believe that government should stay off people's backs. They believe that the government should stay off the backs of themselves and people like them.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. Agreed. If only conservatives had believed that back in the day, when people were getting drafted....

Stephanie said...

We liberals and convervatives are sure predictable, aren't we? It's almost getting boring.

The Wizzle said...

Oh, don't worry, Anonymous, I'm on to Mr. Beck's talk-show-host, "watch for the big reveal on March whatever" game. :) I'm sure he's basically a hack (within his public capacity, anyway) just like anyone whose primary job it is to sell advertising or get themselves elected by taking money from anyone who will give it. But the purpose of my post was to find the good, and there was much good to be found. I specifically liked the article *because* it was mostly common, common-sense ground everyone could agree on, albeit from a conservative basis. I think that's much more realistic than a lot of bloggers and pundits would have you believe, although I certainly do question Beck's underlying motivation. Doesn't mean I can't get something meaningful out of it if I choose to take what I can and leave the rest, as they say.

Stephanie, yes, I liked his principles too. I didn't quote them but they were linked in the article, obviously. :) I'll see if I can find more on "we surround them" (I got the rattlesnake reference) so that makes more sense to me, because right now I don't like it. I agree with enough of the statements to "qualify" ;) but I still get the feeling that I might be one of the surroundees, not the surrounders.

And I hear your sarcasm on that last bit, there, Stephanie! We're only predictable if we act and say according to the party line instead of our own conscience, and assume the same of everyone else. Trying to shake things up a little here!

Stephanie said...

And I appreciate that, Wizzle. The thing about Beck is that he doesn't toe the Republican party line, but he is very conservative - that's a place that a lot of us conservatives find ourselves in. We really want smaller government, more liberty, etc. The Republican party is a big disappointment, and the Democrats don't offer much.

So, with "we surround them", he's basically saying that a few people are telling us all what to think (people on both sides, and honestly, Republicans and Democrats in office are starting to look a lot alike to me. Like one quote I read said, "The only difference is in what liberties they want to take and who they want to give money to". And that's not really what we want), so peel back the curtain, realize it's just a few people, and let's band together on what we have in common and show that WE are in charge here.

Here's a good quote by Ezra Taft Benson: Since man created government to help secure and safeguard [inalienable] rights [from God], it follows that man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around.

I think that's what Beck is getting at.

Stephanie said...

And that's the problem with "predictable" reactions that slam Beck's principles and values based on what Republicans in office have done.

Anonymous said...

I just watched Glenn Beck interview a pot-legalization advocate and I have to say, Beck strikes me as an idiot.

See here.

Stephanie said...

Anonymous, you don't watch Beck much, do you? Part of his appeal is his goofy, just-a-regular-guy charm.

matt said...

FD, I understand where you are coming from but...I think we do have a responsibility to share what we as Mormons believe is "right". I don't mean literally telling others that they are wrong (unless necessary) but sharing our beliefs by our actions. The church's unofficial motto is "choose the right", not "choose the right when convenient or politically corrrect". I do agree that Mormons need to work on humility, but this is not reason enough to not stand up for what is "Right".

I think having a strong testimony of a living prophet will become ever increasingly important as times get tougher and political correctness increases. Why would the Lord need prophets if he wanted us to figure out if what they tell us is truth. Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just leave to us for everything.

Anonymous,
These principals don't have to be distinctively conservative principals, They just happen to be what a lot of conservatives to believe.

"I'd personally be disappointed if my side engaged in such essentially meaningless schmaltz.)" Man, if we could only elect more politicians like you that belittle anything religious or good then we'd be on the right track. "My side"....might as well say, "nanny nanny boo boo, I don't like you!"

Yes, America has been and can be bad, but so can your son or daughter. Does that make them bad in general? Beck never said it's perfect. By all means, "good" is a pretty mild word .

If you cared to read into the 2nd principal you'd find that Beck repeatedly has said, "Believe in ANY GOD as long as he does not tell you to kill other people."
C'mon dude, must I explain everything to you... It's the principal of humility, that there is a greater power, and yes, we will be held accountable one day.
I must be one of those bigots that believes that what God asks of us is what we should live our lives by. You must have also missed where Beck said you need to believe in 7 of the 9.

If the government is run by the people, and the people (made up of families and spouses)say they don't want Gay marriage, then in essence, we have The people (again, families and spouses) as the ultimate authority.

"They believe that the government should stay off the backs of themselves and people like them."
Darn conservatives, always tryin to save those babies from bein' killed. I'm sorry I'll try not to protect innocent human life so much.

"The government works for me." This goes back to No.1. Unfortunately we all have weaknesses and have the potential to be bad.

Beck, strikes you as an idiot, surprising really:) Let me take a wild guess and say you feel the same about George Bush. And I'll go way out on a limb and say you think Obama is just perfect.

One thing I like about Beck and many conservatives is they call out their own party when they screw things up. Liberal talk, not a chance.

What a wonderful world we live in, everything is always half empty...

Wizzle, Thank you again for actually looking for the good in a situation.

Brent.H said...

Big Bald Dave.

While you and I probably will not agree on everything I do think that we can learn from each other. That being said I will go into my reply.

I think we as Americans forget who we are dealing with as our Enemy.

As to your comment on America is good you place the blame all on the right. I will agree with you that the last four years of the Bush administration left a bad taste in my mouth as to what it meant to be a Republican, but just because one man screws up that doesn't mean that new Administrations are inept of screwing up either.

Your comment to number Five all I want to ask is did you watch the Beheading videos from Iraq? Now I do not wish to beat a dead horse but to say that the Bush Administration should be punished for breaking Geneva conventions' war crimes you had better be willing to charge a lot more than just the Bush Administration with the title of "War Crimes" I have on my Blog a video of a torture tape that was smuggled out of the UAE that shows us what the ugly head of torture looks like. You may also want to list on your list of war crime atrocities of Kofi Anon with is Oil for food scandal, or Butros Butros-Ghali in supplying 26 million dollars in weapons to the Hutu Tribes that committed mass genocide on the Tutsi. But I'm sure you wouldn't want to attack your beloved UN!

-Brent
www.c-brentrun.blogspot.com