To Glenn Beck....Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is reporting, according to FBI statistics that there's been a spike in anti-Latino hate crimes. This trend seems to be picking up steam side by side with the national debate over immigration reform. The report also takes a direct aim at politicians’ anti-immigrant rhetoric. For example, Texas Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert and Debbie Riddle warned the world of “terrorist babies” They claimed pregnant terrorists were sneaking across the border and give birth to future terrorists who would later “destroy our way of life.” FBI Director Tom Fuentes eventually took to CNN to debunk the rumor. “There was never a credible report—or any report, for that matter … to indicate that there was such a plan for these ‘terror babies’ to be born." Meanwhile, a new CBS survey of 1,082 adults finds that just 24% of respondents have a "favorable" view of Islam. Nearly 40% said they had an "unfavorable" view of the second-largest religion on the planet, while 37% said they don't have no opinion. Just 22% of all respondents said it was "appropriate" for the Muslim cultural center to be built near Ground Zero, while 71% said it was "inappropriate." These statistics demonstrate that extraordinary power of right wig hate radio and Rupert Murdock's propaganda machine, Fox News, to influence public opinion when they join with Republican party hacks. To paraphrase American founder Samuel Johnson, "Hateful, exaggerated patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"


Boris31's picture
Boris31 12 years 40 weeks ago

Beckaplooza: Messiah for the down-trodden White people ??? There will be the cursory lip service to the Troops and a whole lot of "We are a Christian Nation" jive. (Jefferson's Treaty of Tripoli, anyone ?)
The preordained narrative is odious & obvious, but my question is who gets named the Devil ??? Batman always needs a Joker.

speedbird9's picture
speedbird9 12 years 40 weeks ago

Actually Thom, I believe that Ambrose Bierce's definition of patriotism is a more appropriate title. Quoting: "In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but interior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first."

Sanford Russell's picture
Sanford Russell 12 years 40 weeks ago

If you want to read the very best analysis of patriotism (my opinion) get your hands on Fernando Savater's "Contra Las Patrias" written by a courageous man who daily lives under a very real death threat - so real that his government provides him with a security escort. My copy is in Spanish but there may be an English translation. Find time to read it, even if you have to hire a Spanish speaker to read and translate it for you.

Thom, people (especially on Fridays with Bernie) often call in wanting to know what the president or congress is going to do about the nation's problems. They don't seem to recall another trusted and true cliche "people get the government they deserve." Ultimately only the people can solve the nation's problems. The tools are there, rusty and unused. It looks, though, as if the people have been so dumbed down they can't even distinguish friend from foe. It may be too late. The only recourse left for decent, intelligent folks may be to get out while the gettin's good.

Another thing. What is this business about "...lovers of democracy and the American way" anyway? The U.S. is no longer a democracy, there are three Americas, and the U.S. way seems to be perpetual war, killing innocents with predator drones, refusal to sign both the land mine and the cluster bomb treaties, torture, incarceration without trial or counsel and on and on. The U.S. is a truly sick nation.

dwalker81's picture
dwalker81 12 years 40 weeks ago

I can only assume the flack I can catch by saying this, but let me start off by saying that I am against Glen Beck trying to co-sign his name to such a precious speech as MLK's. Also, I support the community center being built 2 blocks from ground zero.

However, what is the difference from a 1st Amendment standpoint?

Of course we could both pick to the core of these issues and see obvious differences, but I would assert that only comes from the political perspectives one stems from. A liberal or conservative could argue or defend these issues just as vehemently.

If the community center can rely upon the 1st amendment to express their faith, Glenn Beck has just as much right to be a divisive, ignorant hillbilly.

We must remain constant in our beliefs and defend those we oppose with just as much vigor as those we do agree with.

Or, at best, I plan to just remain silent on the Glenn Beck issue.

denny245 12 years 40 weeks ago

The first Amendment gives any religion the right to form. There is historical precedent for hostility toward a new religion such as the Mormon religion where the Mormons were driven out to Utah with pitch forks, and torches. Take note Glenn Beck. The government can not prohibit the free excercise of religion or promote any religion. But US citizens can assemble, and protest any religion or any other issue for that matter. Glenn Beck and other demiGods are attempting to manipulate the crazies of the far right into putting the super rich back at the helm of the country so they can continue to fleece the US and the world.

denny245 12 years 40 weeks ago

Maybe the The Southern Poverty Law Center could file a lawsuit against Glenn Beck, and others for stirring up hatred causing people to be harmed, or killed as they did years ago against the KKK. The KKK lost some property to a mother of a murdered victim of the KKK's hate after the Southern Poverty Law Center sued the KKK on behalf of the mother.

jtyrpak81's picture
jtyrpak81 12 years 40 weeks ago

The bit about terrorist babies is absolutely idiotic- just demagogues spitting nonsense. But I wish Thom and others like him would not give groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center any credibility, for they have none. They are a political organization who lobbies against our Constitution. Period. Their writings show a disdain for the beliefs on which this nation was founded. They seek to divide the people at every opportunity. Their name says it all (they're poverty pimps, pushing minority entitlement way past the will of the majority). They seek to undermine popular sentiment for sovereignty, and have pushed for a top down, heavy handed federal government. The worst part is their influence is in the law enforcement community. Along with the ADL, they have managed to push their ideology into all levels of policing. Their website censors any dissenting views. They manipulate polls, overstate the existance of white racism, and completely ignore the overt racism- and racial crimes- of minority groups (esp. in pro-immigrant organizing). Please, folks, our country is in bankrupt and in serious trouble. Can we not look out for eachother, as Americans of any color, before worrying about the other 6 trillion people on earth? There's nothing progressive about allowing the dissolution of our borders and our Constitution.

IsaRevived's picture
IsaRevived 12 years 40 weeks ago

I'm sorry about the much-touted quote about patriotism being the last refuge of a scoundrel, but it just so happens that Samuel Johnson wasn't an American founder at all. As a matter of fact, he was opposed to American independence and even went so far as to write a book in which he maintained that the punitive taxes which the English government had levied on the American colonists were by no means tyrannical but that, when the colonists emigrated from England to America they had essentially resigned their citizenship and, if they wanted to have representation in Parliament, they should move back to England and buy property.

The context in which Johnson's quote emerged was in response to John Stuart, the third Earl of Bute, who was Minister of Patriotism, and did not refer to patriotism in general but rather to Stuart's use of the term.

dhavid 12 years 40 weeks ago

Patriotism is glorified tribalism. I love my country, my state, my town and high school, and also my sports team. All are identifications of the ego, which give meaning to life for many. Unfortunately it is a violent and ultimately empty pursuit. As the retired monk says - ideology is a disease.

What if, instead, we defined ourselves as spiritual beings and world citizens?

Sanford Russell's picture
Sanford Russell 12 years 40 weeks ago

The origin of the quote doesn't matter, the sense does. And the short, pithy aphorism makes a lot of sense just as the other equally true and much revered cliché: “…people get the government they deserve.” Why quibble about origins or context when the truth is held to be self-evident?

Sanford Russell's picture
Sanford Russell 12 years 40 weeks ago

dwalker81 says: Or, at best, I plan to just remain silent on the Glenn Beck issue.

Why would you not speak out against Beck? Sure, allow him his right but that doesn’t mean that those who oppose his views should remain silent, quite the contrary. Let him speak, yes, but then counter and oppose his garbage as vigorously, as loudly and as intelligently as you possibly can. Good people have been silent too long. We have surrendered the field to the hateful demagogues.

idiut 12 years 40 weeks ago

Here's a bumper sticker:

Fox News Nation: The Last Refuge for Scoundrels

idiut 12 years 40 weeks ago

Here's a bumper sticker

Fox News Nation: The Last Refuge for Scoundrels

Norm E's picture
Norm E 12 years 40 weeks ago

Our LDS neighbors were driven out of several states, such as Missouri and Illinois. Utah is where Brigham Young led them. The separation of church and state was established by men to whom the memories of the wars fought between Catholics and Protestants were still recent history. There was and remains a necessary need for the division between church and state. I fear the empty rhetoric of Sharron Angle and those who purport that the Christian right holds the answers for our nation. Funny, but I became a liberal because I am Christian.

dwalker81's picture
dwalker81 12 years 40 weeks ago

Because this issue illustrates that the left will drift to such lows of hypocrisy as the right. Mad about people protesting the community center, but were mad about people attending a rally at a public memorial? At that point, there is no high ground to surrender. It's gone. What did he say there to stand up against, anyway? Fight the imaginary, connect-the-dot chalkboard? It's the same right-wing mirage lacking substance. What is there to debate what he said?

The lines are drawn. There is nothing to say to this when were as fickle as them. There is no one on the left with the courage to raise our own movement to such heights and do something as Glenn did.

Where was Ed? Steph? Thom? They were at home watching it on TV, or trying to uncover some corporate funding that made this event possible. It's bad enough that we don't have anyone on our side with the humility to follow, but the lack of leadership surrendered our cause well before our egos bloated.

LoL, we can't beat a handful of uneducated liars? That goes to show you that they're not the reason why. We are. It's like a footrace. You keep looking over at your opponent, you will lose the race.

DFMM's picture
DFMM 12 years 39 weeks ago

For Glenn Beck ---and many others--- patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel; and religion is the next to last refuge; (or it could be vice versa.) Religion is often used to further ulterior motives (George Bush,) or it is turned to as a way out when somebody gets their butt in a sling (Ted Haggard, Mark Sanford.)

Textynnn's picture
Textynnn 12 years 39 weeks ago

You should play this Gorge Carlin clip on the air because it is particular relevant AGAIN concerning SS. It is actually amazing accurate and EXACTLY what is going on. Watch out there is a curse word or two.

Personally, I don't see Obama being for the people what so ever. He tries to appease them like a man who appeases a wife he doesn't really care about but doesn't want to divorce. He showed us who he really was during the phony health care debate and I bet the farm he is going to do something really sickening to SS , proving once again that he is more Repub than anything else.

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