This article was originally written in late 2016, hence the outdated references to Hillary, Milo, and Steve Bannon. It is reposted now for three reasons:
1) to show how far we have come in 6 months; the alt-right and antifa between them are making political moderates and talk radio less relevant every day.
2)to show how the average Republican hears about the alt-right. Many of these people are Trump supporters, but they are no less committed to opposing 'fascism' than the SJWs
3) to show how intellectually and morally bankrupt platitudinous conservatism really is (as if we need further confirmation that the alt-right is the future of the Republican Party)
The alt-right is going to take over the Republican Party and destroy the conservative movement. In this single opinion Richard Spencer and Glenn Beck are in complete agreement. Many on the alt-right do not pay much attention to Beck’s opinions, and some even doubt his authenticity. I am not suggesting that you necessarily tune in to his show; in fact, I listen so you do not have to, but I am suggesting that we take Beck seriously. His predictions about the alt-right, and especially his opposition to it, bode well for the future. If Hillary Clinton's 'deplorables' speech was the alt-right's official introduction to the American political scene, the Glenn Beck program is going to make the alt-right a household name.
After a decade and a half of following Beck’s show, no one will convince me that Glenn is insincere. Beck is first and foremost a true believer, and unlike many members of Conservatism Inc. his wild pronouncements stem not from showmanship but from heartfelt urgency. Beck offers us an opportunity to respond to honest conservatism without second guessing the motives of the conservative. Deconstruct Glenn Beck’s ideas and there is no need to read or critique the myriad second rate conservative pundits, because Glenn embodies all the conservative dogmas that the alt-right rejects.
In the ultimate irony for a radio host who forthrightly critiques the progressive movement, Beck is, like all American conservatives, an unwitting progressive. To test this contention for yourself, simply compare the orthodox conservative positions on gay rights over the last forty years. As Steven Hayward has observed, American conservatives are committed to preserving the legacy of the Revolutionary War. This places the American right on par with Bolshevik revolutionaries, because the legacy of the American Revolution is radical and progressive. The Constitution is inherently progressive; it enshrines in the amendment process a means by which any strongly held opinion can become law. Given the right mix of public sentiment and political will, Sharia or Luddism could become the legitimate law of the land. Conservatives often lapse into rhetoric about the ‘real America’ when a liberal victory looms, but this rings hollow if transgender bathrooms or partial birth abortion become the true legacy of the Revolution when duly enacted into law. The only logical opposition to the Left that a Constitutionalist can ever offer is, essentially: but you didn’t overturn the fundamental institutions of our society using the process outlined in Article V!
Conservatives really are just liberals moving at a slower pace, and the Republican Party joins every progressive cause a few years late. Ten years after Cindy Sheehan protested the Iraq War, Glenn Beck declared that liberals were right about Iraq and expressed aversion to even one more drop of American blood shed in Mideast wars. The inherent vapidity of conservatism, detected by Left and alt-right alike, stems from the inability of conservatives to reconcile the implicitly white, Christian, European culture they love with the progressive nature of the Constitution. It was a contingent quirk of 20th century history, a fortuitous confluence of foreign and domestic circumstances, that allowed conservatism to flourish at all. Now that the Cold War, the European demographic base and economic primacy have disappeared, conservatives look set to vanish as well, perhaps only slightly slower than libertarians. It is under these circumstances that Glenn Beck has turned his attention to the alt-right. And yes, the result is as hilarious as you might imagine.
On August 26 Beck devoted considerable time to the strange new alt-right phenomenon. He first admitted that he had not heard of the movement until about six months prior, and proceeded to explain that he was just starting to make the connections between the alt-right and the Trump campaign. Beck's producer then read a few quotes from alt-right thinkers, including Richard Spencer’s call for an ethnostate, which elicited a “wow, just wow” from the host. Next came a quote from Steve Sailer alleging that Jews are influential in American media. At this point Beck stopped quoting actual members of the alt-right and focused on Steve Bannon’s proclamation of Breitbart as a platform for the movement. Beck next made a series of inferences. Alt-right equals Nazi, Breitbart is a platform for the alt-right, and Bannon runs Breitbart and Trump's campaign. Therefore, Trump is the front man for Nazis, just like Hillary said in her speech. Glenn had previously stated that Trump is a potential dictator who heralds the end of the republic, and he now had evidence of actual fascism only a few steps removed from the candidate.
By August 29 Glenn was prepared to reveal a weekend of feverish research to the world, and he lived up to Steve Sailer's characterization of him as a man excitedly sharing insights from every book he is half finished reading. In an attempt to explain the rise of the alt-right, Beck offered a powerful, unintentional critique of conservatism. He described the decline of social trust, the wreck of the family, and the rise of gay and transgender activism; the entire legacy of the Left and their unwitting allies in the conservative movement. The caveats Glenn must offer before every monologue on the alt-right are telling. He acknowledges the victories of the Left but insists that white identity politics is not the answer, openly worrying that dissatisfied conservatives will be duped by the clever rhetoric of the alt-right. It does not help that reality tends to confirm alt-right contentions. Glenn does our work for us when he discusses illegal immigration, cop killers, and black crime rates. Indeed, when Beck is at his most lucid, a casual listener during the right segment could almost mistake him for a supporter of the alt-right.
After the initial furor of August, alt-right simply became the new term for Nazi in Beckworld, and I began to lose hope that Glenn would discuss the alt-right in depth. Beck will never seriously engage with our ideas, but the media exposure would still be welcome. I foolishly believed that either Glenn or someone on his staff had enough self-awareness to realize that accurately quoting the alt-right would only help red pill a talk radio audience that until recently had no idea they could be anything but Republicans. In late October, my hope was renewed. Glenn took to Facebook to reveal a post-election alt-right exposé, complete with chalkboards, similar to his extensive lectures about progressivism. Let me emphasize this point again. After the election, when every media outlet will have major incentives to pretend the alt-right is not important or does not exist, Glenn Beck, Mormon, constitutionalist and #NeverTrumper, has vowed to personally keep the alt-right in the news by giving an in-depth analysis of our racist, reactionary views.
There are some niggling points that will annoy actual members of the alt-right, such as Beck’s insistence that Breitbart and Steve Bannon are pillars of the movement. A long time Dugin-phobe, Glenn is obsessed with the nefarious influence of the Russians, who are expanding their influence in America by deploying an unstoppable agent known as Richard Spencer's wife. The statement that probably best epitomizes Beck's style of investigative journalism is his insistence that Milo, the gay Jew who dates black men and repeatedly insists that he is neither a leader nor even a member of the alt-right, is a "self-proclaimed leader" of this homophobic, antisemitic, racist movement.
Why should we care what Glenn Beck thinks or does? His unshakable faith in the Constitution and limited government makes him a near perfect embodiment of all the inconsistencies and weaknesses of conservatism. Like the movement itself, Beck cannot offer compelling solutions to the besetting problems of our age, nor can he convince anyone of the efficacy of conservative tropes. I do not doubt the sincerity of Beck’s conservatism in his personal life. But it is the conservatism of a rich man insulated from the harsh choices of the working class, and can not be scaled up to form a viable political community. The harm done to average citizens by principled conservatives like Beck, clinging to hollow forms of Constitutional government that are now anything but representative, is incalculable.
Beck has explicitly ranked the danger of the alt-right alongside ISIS, and he considers the far-right in Europe and America existential threats to Western values. But as P.J. O’Rourke once said, every moral compass needs a butt end. Amid all the conservative pundits opposing the alt-right, the ire of Glenn Beck is truly the best sign for our movement since the Hillary speech. Glenn is always ahead of the curve when it comes to predicting the next great threat to the established American order. Beck warned about Osama bin Laden, the financial crisis, and the Muslim Caliphate years before they became headlines. As a prophet able to foresee exactly which group he will next be unable to prevent from defeating conservatives, Glenn has a track record to rival Cassandra.