Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Glen Beck's Common Sense

I am a little reticent to write a review of this book. Once you start discussing politics, things can become heated. By way of disclaimer, I am likely what Mr. Beck calls a "Progressive" in his book. I do believe the founders of our country were great men. I think they did the best they could with the Constitution. But that does not mean that I think those man and that document are inerrant. I think this has been amply demonstrated: slavery, women's suffrage, and the civil rights movement. I strongly believe that the Constitution should be amended and grow as this great nation changes and we learn to be a better country, to be better people.

That disclaimer aside, to Mr. Beck's book. I tried not to have a knee-jerk reaction to it. I tried to be open minded. I am sure some, having read my disclaimer above, will dismiss my thoughts on this book outright. But nonetheless, here they are. I think Mr. Beck's book is awful. It a poorly written screed. The arguments were so disorganized, I quite often had a hard time following them. I had specific problems with some of his anecdotes. Take for example the one about the poor woman who broke a compact fluorescent light and was told she would have to pay $2000 to clean it up. But Mr. Beck does not tell the true story of what happened.1 It makes me wonder what else Mr. Beck has been mistaken or misleading about in this book.

What makes this book appealing, to those on both the Left and Right, is that Mr. Beck says some things that everyone can agree with. Many of those people who govern us are corrupted by the power they have. That is not any great revelation. What I find interesting is how he contrasts the "bad" government with the "good" capitalist private sector. Government is a human institution that is prey to human foibles. But so is capitalism. (That is not to say that I think capitalism is bad. I see it as a flawed human institution that can be both good and bad, just like our government.)


1 See the Snopes.com entry to see what really happened.

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