I was attracted to Ron Paul’s message as an antiwar conservative who thought Bush-Cheney era neoconservatives had severely damaged the Republican Party and the country. I’ve met others who come from a more liberal perspective. I’ve met those who were generally apathetic about politics until Dr. Paul inspired them.
I’ve also met a good number of folks who’ve come to the liberty movement because of Glenn Beck. I know this sounds strange given some of the criticisms Beck has lodged at Ron Paul in the past, but we also forget the liberty things he has uniquely promoted, some of which I outlined yesterday.
I received this email from a reader today. I have received many similar emails concerning Beck, both this week and in the past:
“Mr. Hunter, I thoroughly enjoyed watching your segment on the Glenn Beck program this week. I have been a Beck fan for quite some time. I use to fall into the “George Bush-neocon” wing of the republican party. But Beck opened up my eyes; he taught me to analyze policy, not just bash a particular party. He always preaches his audience to “do your own homework.” Because of that, I found Ron Paul and thus began my transition to libertarianism.
So I definitely am one of the many that became libertarian because of Ron Paul, but I never would have gotten here without watching Glenn Beck. I subscribe to The Blaze, not just for Beck, but the entire platform of his programming. The show “Real News”…
There’s been a lot of talk on Facebook and Twitter today about Glenn Beck hosting The Future of Freedom Foundation’s Jacob Hornberger, Students for Liberty’s Zak Slayback and yours truly, on his The Blaze television show yesterday. Here’s a clip, if you missed it:
First, a few thoughts on Beck in general.
I have been critical of Beck in the past, particularly when he’s said things disagreeable to the liberty movement. Some of them pretty bad. I’ve also been praiseworthy of Beck, when he’s promoted things of interest to the liberty movement, on a platform greater than most of us will ever achieve.
In order to be successful, populist grassroots movements must have a narrow focus. The antiwar movement of the 1960s, for example, was pretty clear about its mission: End the Vietnam War. Later, other issues would become associated with the movement. Some were related. Others were not.
As long as stopping the war remained the movement’s primary focus, many Americans agreed or at least sympathized with the antiwar efforts. But when the movement began to latch onto other issues — feminism, socialism, class warfare — it muddied the waters and lost the support of Middle America.
The Tea Party began as a movement dedicated to a single purpose: to stop government spending. This populist grassroots movement began as a protest of President George W. Bush’s TARP bailout and gained momentum as President Barack Obama continued to escalate his predecessor’s big-government spending at a breakneck speed.
While the Tea Party had two different wings — one libertarian, the other socially conservative — the Tea Partiers found common cause in reducing the national debt. Some focused on reducing taxes, others the size of government itself. And there were also those who believed that the government should audit the Federal Reserve. But all of these issues were economic. There was a common theme. And as such, the Tea Party was widely popular.
According to 2009 Rasmussen poll, 51 percent of Americans viewed the massive Tax Day protests that happened that year favorably. And then as late as January 2011, the Los Angeles Times offered this factoid: “71 percent of…