Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Glenn Beck's Common Sense

Considering today’s political environment, I feel it necessary to emphasize that this is only a review of Glenn Beck’s Common Sense. It is not a review of Glenn Beck, the man. It is not a review of Fox News Channel or the program that Mr. Beck has on that network. It is a book review – period – and that is all it is meant to be.

That said, there is a whole lot of common sense in Glenn Beck’s Common Sense (including a copy of the Thomas Paine work that inspired Beck’s book). Simply put, Beck does not trust those who have been elected to represent us in Washington D.C. and he has not trusted them for a long time. He does not trust Democrats, and he does not trust Republicans, to represent properly the wishes of the people who give them their jobs and who pay their salaries. And based on the mood of this country, particularly as expressed since early this summer, Glenn Beck has a lot of company.

According to Beck, it is impossible to trust a President and members of Congress when:

· They will not tell us any hard truth that would hurt them at the time of their next election
· Every President since Carter has promised to lower the country’s dependence on foreign oil but we import more oil than ever from our political enemies
· They promise a protective fence on our southern border, appropriate the funds, and never intend to build it
· They use racial and ethnic politics to keep themselves in office
· They see themselves less as public servants than as an entitled political class all their own
· They vote as directed by those who contribute the most to their campaign war chests rather than as would be best for those they actually represent
· So many of them have one set of tax rules for themselves and another set of rules for the rest of us

Make no mistake about it. Glenn Beck believes that we are living in dangerous times and that personal freedoms have never been more under threat in this country than they are today. According to him, these truly are desperate times – but he is not ready to surrender because he believes there is still enough time to fashion a return to the core values that made this country so unique in the world. He is convinced that our best days are not behind us, that we are already on the way back, and that public dissent and debate is what will finally get us there. Rather than waiting for others to express their unease with what is happening in Washington, Beck argues that our newfound sense of urgency should encourage each of us to express, loudly and clearly, our personal misgivings about what we see happening. The country can no longer afford our silence and apathy.

Beck believes that the average American has enough common sense to know when something does not pass the smell test. He is betting there are enough Independents to save us from those who have lost touch with their own common sense – Democrats, Republicans and Progressives, alike.

Rated at: 4.0


  1. I think it's as much a sign of the times that you felt you needed to preface your review with a disclaimer. It's true that people have become absurd in their political stances, more like rabid sports fanatics than politically involved people.

    I agree with a lot of the things you mentioned in your review, and I say that as someone who has voted Democrat in the last two presidential elections. Politicians are controlled by the rich and powerful, and no matter what promises they make when they are campaigning for the most part they do not serve the citizens they are supposed to represent.

    I also think our civil liberties are under threat, both through the excessive surveillance that everyone is subjected to, much of it without our knowledge and things like absurd protective laws. I always wear a seatbelt in the car, but don't think this should be a law, and while I am not a smoker, I think the fact that further and further restrictions are being placed on people who do smoke is taking things too far.

    So, even though I don't really care for Glenn Beck and some of his outrageous political comments, I am tempted to read Common Sense based on your review.

  2. Thanks for the insightful comments, Alissa. The points I spelled out in the review are all Beck's, not mine, although I tend to agree with almost all of them, I think.

    I admit to trying to head off the personal attacks that always come when I review a "conservative" book on Amazon and elsewhere. Not so much on this site, but very regularly everywhere else, that happens.

    But I've learned that the most vicious attacks come from those who have not read the books...just hate the authors.

    BTW, I am very concerned with the White House attacks on Fox News. That attempt to silence the only news organization that dares challenge anything the White House has to say is simply disgusting...and very scary. I feel that my right to free speech is being threatened. I never dreamed that one of my own Presidents might steal that right from me. This is not change I can believe in...it is change that scares the hell out of me.

  3. So glad to read you review on this book. I bought it, but haven't read it yet. The crap with Fox news has made me want to read it even more.

  4. Annie, it's pretty dry but I suppose that just the way "common sense" is. Obama has done Fox News a tremendous favor by acting so childishly - but the audacity to try this kind of thing so publicly scares me. Nixon did it but tried to keep it hushed up - making him both smarter and more dangerous than Obama, I suppose...and a much better president, to boot.