Dear Libertarians, Stop Hating on Glenn Beck

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Yesterday, the Thoughts on Liberty Facebook page posted Andrew Kirell’s open letter to Glenn Beck on Mediaite, headlined “Dear Glenn Beck, Please Don’t Call Yourself A ‘Libertarian’.”

In it, Kirell writes directly to Beck: “You’re free to call yourself whatever you want. But that doesn’t mean we should accept you.”

I understand the irony in having someone who just posted a video challenging a prominent libertarian vlogger about what libertarianism is and isn’t challenging a libertarian writer on his challenge of another recently libertarian writer/speaker/radio host, etc.

But I think saying “We don’t want you,” is much different than saying “This view doesn’t represent all of us.” And to me, friendliness even when arguing finer points is the difference between groups that win people over (ahem, liberals and conservatives) and groups that spend more time excluding people than trying to figure out how to appeal to them (ahem, libertarians).

Glenn Beck has a huge, devoted audience. Much, much bigger than Kirell’s. This means two things. First, there is something libertarians like Kirell can learn from Beck about how to get attention and win people over. Second, it means that Glenn Beck can be extremely useful to libertarians, in that he can expose his huge audience to libertarian ideas.

So here’s my own open letter to Glenn Beck, headlined: Dear Glenn Beck, Welcome to Libertarianism!

Dear Mr. Beck,

I am so excited to hear about your recent decision to reconfigure and rebrand The Blaze as a libertarian news outlet. I can’t wait to see your massive, active following introduced to libertarian ideas and reporting.

You and I don’t agree on everything. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work together to help sell people on the benefits of a smaller, less-active government.

I want to apologize for certain other libertarians who like to push people out of their sandboxes and simultaneously wonder why more people aren’t trying to get in. They don’t recognize the value in what you’ve accomplished in producing content that many people love and cultivating an image that many people trust. They don’t understand what an opportunity this is for libertarianism.

But I do. So, welcome, Mr. Beck. And if you ever need a writer or on-air personality for The Blaze with libertarian bonafides, a great style and a winning smile, I’m your girl.

Sincerely,

Cathy Reisenwitz

P.S. I thought An Inconvenient Book was hilarious.

Photos by by Clover_1 and Deadline Hollywood.

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Cathy Reisenwitz

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Cathy Reisenwitz is a Young Voices Associate and a D.C.-based writer and political commentator. She is Editor-in-Chief of Sex and the State and her writing has appeared in Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, Reason magazine, Talking Points Memo, the Washington Examiner and the Daily Caller. She has spoken on topics of economic freedom, Bitcoin and feminism at Tea Party conferences, CryptoCurrency Conference, ISFLC, the Heritage Foundation and various other events. She has also appeared on Al Jazeera America.

  • http://twitter.com/goodinohio John

    He’s a committed neocon, warmonger, police state statist, He can’t be reasoned with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robsrahm Robert Rahm

    I disagree. I think that the libertarian movement needs to be kept “pure” in the sense that libertarians should all start their reasoning from the non-aggression axiom. Beck does not seem to do this. For example, he is a war-mongering police statist so either he doesn’t accept the non-aggression axiom (really bad) or does a bad job of reasoning (less bad, but still bad.)

    Why do I think the libertarian movement should be kept “pure” in this sense? Well, if there are a bunch of war-mongering statsits calling themselves libertarians, then our message is going to turn off, for example, the anti-war left. If Beck is now what people think of as the token libertarian, then the anti-war leftists, who could be our allies, will now become our enemies. A similar thing has happened with the term “capitalist”. Guys like Bush and Cheney call themselves capitalists, and now when many people hear the term “capitalist” they think “crony capitalism,” not what we libertarians mean by capitalism.

    Obviously, I do not think that every libertarian should have the same opinion on every issue. For example, Walter Block is a huge supporter of Ron Paul, yet they have different stances on abortion. Prominent libertarian Hans-Hermann Hoppe is in favour of immigration laws and Walter Block disagrees with him on this issue. But, all of these men make their arguments starting with the non-aggression axiom and proceeding logically from there.

    So, until Beck stops suggesting the Ron Paul supporters are terrorists (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Rc4OJWH1nE) (has he ever said he was wrong about this?) he is no libertarian and libertarians should distance themselves from him.

    • JoeD

      The left will never be Libertarian allies. Wake up.

      • http://www.facebook.com/robsrahm Robert Rahm

        The left most certainly has been and can be allies of libertarians. During the Vietnam War era, the anti-war left was perhaps the biggest ally of libertarians. Murray Rothbard noticed this and tried to cultivate an alliance.

      • http://twitter.com/CathyReisenwitz Cathy Reisenwitz

        My knee jerk reaction is the same but I try to stay hopeful.

    • http://twitter.com/CathyReisenwitz Cathy Reisenwitz

      Purity is less important than effecting change to me.

      • http://www.facebook.com/robsrahm Robert Rahm

        If Beck can convince a bunch of people that, say, high taxes and gun control are bad, then I applaud this. My concern is that if he is what people think of when they think “libertarian”, we libertarians now have to work overtime. First we will have to explain that many of Beck’s views are not libertarian, and then we must explain why the libertarian view is correct.

        • http://twitter.com/CathyReisenwitz Cathy Reisenwitz

          We should always work overtime!

  • bgilman45

    Cathy, i appreciate your heart for inclusiveness and in most cases i’d totally agree. But Glenn Beck is either a madman or a fraud. His persona is either real or fake. If it’s fake, he has no place in a movement about honesty. If it is real … he is a certifiable madman … just as crazy (and possibly as violent) as the Newtown shooter. I believe he is insane and dangerous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hilgi Mark Hilgenberg

    I am not a fan of the purity patrol either but when someone is calling left/right tinged, corporatist, conservatism the same thing as libertarianism, we need to call him on it.

    Liberty will never be popular if we continue to brand it as “me” centered, paranoid, bigoted and conservative it needs to be known as heartfelt and “we” centered.

    • http://twitter.com/CathyReisenwitz Cathy Reisenwitz

      Calling his views out I agree with. It’s telling him what he is or isn’t that’s counterproductive IMO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1061438638 Chrystal S. Green

    I agree with you and THANK YOU for calling out the Libertarian Elite on their abhorrent behavior!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=693982535 Mick Anthony Casanovaa

      I am against this, but I never said no good can come from it. This is going to end in one of two ways. With the positive outcome such as your suggesting, OR Beck’s brand of pseudo half assed libertarianism becomes the definition of libertarianism in america. I hope you’re right.

      • http://twitter.com/CathyReisenwitz Cathy Reisenwitz

        How it turns out is in part up to us, and the first step is being positive!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=693982535 Mick Anthony Casanovaa

          I’m personally more of the same opinion as Robert.

          I can appreciate your enthusiasm. As far as all of this goes, I’ve got one foot on board and one foot off. The second that Beck starts trying to redefine Libertarianism to fit his idiotic stances, im off.

    • http://twitter.com/CathyReisenwitz Cathy Reisenwitz

      Thanks Chrystal. I think you hit the nail in the head. In fact, what you said should be everyone’s motto about everything! Be proactive, make (whatever) a positive and take advantage of opportunities to reach people!

  • Patrick

    comments like these are the reasons that many people who would otherwise find quite a nice home in the libertarian movement instead think that libertarians are just a rebranding of liberals and democrats.