Glenn Beck, mercenary propagandist

So long as Mr. Beck aimed his propaganda at the left, too many on the right were content to refrain from criticizing him in public. What they failed to appreciate is that he has always been a mercenary entertainer intent on maximizing his audience—and that folks disgusted with the Republican Party are a huge and growing demographic.

As it happens, I’d be perfectly happy to blow up America’s two-party system, so the newest incarnation of Mr. Beck puts him closer to my political preferences than he’s ever been. How tempting to fantasize about all the good this charismatic entertainer could do by bamboozling America into trusting him, were the effect a politics freed from the pernicious distortions of the Republican and Democratic party machines.

Even if Mr. Beck adopts my every political position, however—lobbying to end the War on Drugs, stop the most pernicious aspects of the War on Terror, and implement my own idiosyncratic immigration reform package, among many other things—I’d still count him a man that all principled people should denounce. A political movement built on the rhetoric of a mercenary propagandist is a bit like a house built on a flatbed truck: once you’ve built it up all nice and strong, the driver is liable to move it somewhere you hadn’t any intention of going.