Roger Ebert on Glenn Beck’s latest, um, crusade?
What are the words “social justice” code for? Why, Nazism and Communism, says Beck: “Social justice was the rallying cry–economic justice and social justice–the rallying cry on both the communist front and the fascist front.” Beck even went so far as to cite Jesus Christ, saying, and I quote: “Nowhere does Jesus say, Hey, if somebody asks for your shirt, give your coat to the government and have the government give them a pair of slacks.” Well, Beck has me there. It is quite true that nowhere does Jesus say that. Nor, for that matter, does he ever say, A wop bop a lu bop, a wop bam boom!
There are so many reasons to criticize the Catholic Church — just ask my Catholic friends — but the “social justice thing” tends to work in its favor. As Ebert points out, religions in general have social justice at the heart of their creeds; including The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (i.e., Mormonism), as demonstrated by their monumental relief efforts in New Orleans after the hurricane.
Indeed, you would think Beck would point out what a superior job religious charitable organizations did compared to the “heckuva” fuck-up performed by U.S. and Louisiana state governments. That would certainly play into his anti-government rant. But for Beck and the rest of his far right crowd, the whole point of opposing any government effort to help out the poor, the suffering and the unfortunate goes beyond anti-government libertarianism. At heart it is a lack of heart. It’s reflexive white supremacy, resentment against the imagined threats posed by “those people” to the dominant culture of passive suburban consumerism (ironically, given how easily immigrant cultures from all over the world assimilate to America’s shopping malls and ex-urban housing developments.) You hear it every time some yahoo says, “I don’t want my tax dollars going to those people.” The credo of Beck’s ilk can be summed up in two words, “Fuck them.”