Mind your business.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

John Stossel Questions Glenn Beck On His Libertarianism [Video]

John Stossel: "Glenn, I welcome you to libertarianism and moving toward it. I hope all the time..."

Glenn Beck: "I still have a lot to learn, but I will tell ya, it's refreshing to talk to somebody who will welcome somebody with open arms... I am willing to admit when I had been wrong, and try to correct it."

This clip up at The Daily Paul today:

Top comment on the YouTube page for this video: "Glenn Beck can't be trusted."

Fine, don't trust him. But keep paying attention to him. Agree with him when he's right, disagree with him when you disagree with him. In my estimation, he's a net positive for liberty in this country because he's pushing Americans to have conversations about things and consider ideas that they have never discussed or considered before, ideas favorable to liberty.

These blanket, all-or-nothing statements about people, about parties, about historical trends and events... they fail to help libertarians and our audience to perceive clearly, because they reduce nuanced understanding to false dichotomies: good or bad entirely, trustworthy or untrustworthy completely, yes or no, good or bad, for or against, red or blue... the mainstream media and their audiences tend to love stark dichotomies, because they make critical thinking seem easy and accessible to people without having the do the tough work of really embracing complexity, nuance, and tension, of untangling things, of seeing how rough reality is about the edges, rather than smooth, straight, and perfectly euclidean. But it's not. It's "Mandelbrotian," bumpy, fractaline.

Embrace the nuance. Hug it tightly. Exult in it. Say, "I like how he's saying this, but I can't agree with him on that." Say, "I'm not sure." Say, "I think she's on the right track, but I'm confused about her recent statements regarding x..." Say, "I wonder if I'm on the right track."

In all likelihood, the reason Glenn Beck is moving in the direction of libertarianism is his ability to do just this. To embrace his confusion about issues in humility. To like some aspects about libertarianism, but struggle with others, through it all-- to keep pushing and asking questions and engaging in the conversation.

And by the way, I absolutely loved seeing Beck sitting in the hot seat as John Stossel asked probing questions and sat in judgment. You've got a powerful figure in media who commands a respectable following kowtowing to the libertarian Stossel and insisting, "No really! I am a libertarian. I've changed!" Whether he's to be trusted or not, lick your finger and hold it to the winds. They're blowing our way.