Another note on Beck’s book “We have to fix ourselves”

Over this past weekend I finished Glenn Beck’s new book “Broke,” and must weigh in with one more post encouraging you to read it. Previously I commented on some of the contents up to the midway point in the book; what follows are a few words on the second half.

First I have to admit that there were quite a few things where I disagreed with Beck – for example, the use of binding commissions. Our Founders set up a Congress – it’s our responsibility to send moral people who understand basic mathematics to do the nation’s work. Setting up independent commissions to give politicians cover is a shortcut that won’t work in my view.

Second – while I wish Glenn would’ve said even more about values – it’s hard to fault a guy that is doing more than most to reintroduce Americans both to our Founding Fathers and to the Judeo-Christian moral foundation that our nation was built upon.

Chapter 13 is titled “Step One: The Rights of Man or Men?” It’s chapters like this that prompted me to recommend the book. Page after page of excellent points are made. While I remember learning much of this material while studying political science at a small liberal arts college in Virginia, it’s doubtful most Americans have been exposed to the important principles explained here by Glenn Beck.

In a section under the heading “Positive Rights, No Responsibility,” Beck writes:

“Those who push so-called positive rights are really pushing the idea that people have a right to things like health care, welfare, affordable housing, etc. In other words, the things that government attempts to provide through entitlement programs.

The reason they use the term ‘positive rights’ is that it implies the opposite is ‘negative.’ What they don’t tell you is that negative rights are also commonly known by another name: natural rights. Those are the unalienable rights that come directly from the Creator. Positive rights, on the other hand, don’t come from your Creator; they come from man and, consequently, can be taken away by man.”

Chapter 15 was one of the best in the book, “Faith in America.” Here are just two of the paragraphs which I underlined:

“A common way of looking at the necessity for religion in a republic is what is called the ‘Moral Calculus.’ In short, a republic can function only if a sufficient percentage of the population is virtuous. But virtue requires morality and morality requires religion, or at least a belief in a higher power to which we will ultimately be accountable. As Benjamin Franklin, who by his own admission was a Deist, once said, ‘Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.’

Professors Donald S. Lutz and the late Charles S. Hyneman once studied 15,000 political items that were published or written by the American Founders. They also reviewed 2,200 books, pamphlets and newspaper articles on politics from the period surrounding the Revolution. What they found was that the most commonly referenced source in these materials was the Bible, making up 34 percent of all citations. The most cited writers and thinkers were not deists or agnostics, but Christian thinkers like Montesquiue and Blackstone.”

A couple of pages later Beck writes, “As soon as God is taken out of the equation, then nothing is left but man. And if our rights come from man, they can be taken away by man.” I’d add that the same applies to morality. Mankind has about as much chance of coming up with a working moral order as he has of inventing the laws of physics or gravity.

Pick up a copy of Glenn Beck’s “Broke” and take a few cold winter days to read through it.

©2010 John Francis Biver