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Glenn Beck Would Make P.T. Barnum Proud And Founding Fathers Sad


Dare To Dream has often pointed out the similarities of Fox News personality Glenn Beck to Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here and have stated our belief that America has more to fear from the far right than from the left.

We also have pointed out the many similarities to “Elmer Gantry” and Beck’s religious zeal and hypocrisy.

After watching Mr. Beck the other night, I have come to the conclusion that P.T. Barnum would be very proud of the Fox News “huckster” and would be proud that he sees someone using the Barnum’s adage about “suckers.” Oh well, Beck, like Barnum, does call himself an “entertainer.”

Beck’s fascination to the “founding fathers”, their faith and Beck’s fight against the “radical left” does seem more show than fact.

Beck has elevated to almost hero and god like status, Thomas Paine. Even trying to legitimize Beck’s new book by making it look like Paine’s pamphlets and writings. But can we say Paine was a “founding father,” I say the facts point otherwise.

Thomas Paine’s signature does not appear on the Declaration of Independence and he did not sign the Constitution. He was never a representative in any year of the Continental Congress, in fact my distant relative, General Edward Hand, has more claim to the title of “founding father” for being by George Washington’s side at Yorktown and because of his representation as a member of the Continental Congress in 1784, then Thomas Paine.

Beck has elevated Paine to hero like status without ever mentioning that in 1777 he became Secretary to the Congressional Committee of Foreign Affairs, but was obligated to resign in 1779, because he gave away confidential state secrets about negotiations with France. Wouldn’t that put him in the same class as General Benedict Arnold?

John Quincy Adams writings show that Paine was not one of his heroes. “To say that he hated the Monarchy (Paine) is inaccurate and misleading. He hated all government and was an Anarchist.”

Beck has an “anarchist” as a hero but goes after the left for being “socialist and surrounded by anarchist.” Hypocrisy, which does seem to be the favorite tool of the “far right” when pontificating on issues.

What do real “founding fathers” say about Thomas Paine?

Benjamin Rush says of Paine, “…absurd and impious.”

Charles Carroll states Paine’s works are, “blasphemous.”

John Witherspoon writes that Paine is “ignorant of human nature as well as an enemy to the Christian religion.

Back in April of this year, the Conservative Blog PrawfsBlawg, called on conservatives to obtain “more accurate historical icons” and preceded to take Glenn Beck to task for using Paine as an inspiration, even calling Thomas Paine a “Tax and Spend Liberal.”

Maybe Glenn Beck should heed the words of “founding father” William Paterson, signer of the Constitution and a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. When Paterson learned that some Americans seemed to agree with Paine’s work, he stated, “Infatuated Americans, why renounce your country, your religion, and your God?.”

Why Mr. Beck, Why?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. katie permalink
    08/06/2010 10:25 pm

    Excellent article as always Professor T, and truly informative…many facts here I did not know……thanks again….Katie

  2. 08/07/2010 1:06 am

    This would be a good time to also mention about Beck’s obsession that the “founders” had the idea that this was a Christian nation. Beck stresses that it was the “Christian” values that were the backbone of the founding of America.

    Dare to Dream came across this quote in our research for this post which I’ll share: “The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion.” -1797 Treaty of Tripoli: drafted in part by the Washington administration, ratified by the United States Congress and signed by Presidents George Washington and John Adams.

  3. elecpencil permalink
    08/07/2010 1:28 am

    Thanks for exposing what an ahole Beck is. Paine is actually one of my favorite liberals. His writings inspired the “founding fathers.” Let’s be honest most of the founding fathers were elitists. They set up a form of government which the common man could pick from which elitists would represent the commoners. We’d have been better represented if Paine had set up the government.I would disagree with Paine being a traitor. The whole mess had to do with the Silas Deane Affair. Deane was sent to negotiate with the French for money and ships, but became a war-profiteer selling French goods to the Americans at Haliburton like inflated prices and kept the differences. As a patriot, Paine found out and reported the whole affair in print. That angered Washington and others who called Paine a traitor for exposed dealings with France. The founders also disliked Paine for calling them elitists. In letters to his brother Deane called the Revolution hopeless and suggested the colonies reunite with England. This led to Deane being barred from entry and branded a traitor at home. Check out this video about Paine from one of my favorite poets:

  4. 08/07/2010 12:23 pm

    I’m a fifth-grade teacher in Colorado, and a crucial part of teaching civics is providing students with our primary sources: the founding documents. This is critical in understanding what “We the People” means. Today, like 230 years ago, those documents instill in students the belief that all voices are important. Every one of our citizens is needed to pursue liberty. Futures do not have to be inevitable and “Little voices” can make dramatic impacts on events. That is Paine’s greatest contribution to our country. His pamphlet, Common Sense, spoke to all the voices in the 13 colonies during a time of great indecision. He gave a vast number of citizens a vision of what each could do, 176 days before the Declaration. A belief that power should radiate from the citizens. That message is still foundational for all our students today. Is that not a definition of a founding father?

    Mark Wilensky,
    author of “The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine: An Interactive Adaptation for All Ages”

  5. 08/07/2010 12:33 pm

    Mark, thank you for your input and I look forward to reading your piece on Thomas Paine.

  6. 09/13/2010 5:16 pm

    Thom Paine’s fame lies in the fact that he was an excellent propagandist who could turn a stirring phrase. In a way, he is like Beck because they can both sway the minds of the unthinking with hollow phrases.

    Paine was not a patriot in any manner. He left the US after the Revolution to return to England. Then, He went to France for the French Revolution, but that was too anarchic even for Paine. Paine came close to losing his head.

    Arnold would be far more of a Patriot than Paine since Arnold at least his actions came out of a sense of patriotism. Arnold’s switiching sides was due to his seeing that (a) the goals of the revolution had been met and (b) the rebels/patriots had to ally with France in order to further their war.

    Paine, as his life shows, had no loyalties whatsoever. He was far more interested in agitation for agitation’s sake.

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