If there’s one thing that can be discerned for sure from recent events in the Middle East, it’s the upending of Glenn Beck’s “Caliphate Conspiracy” and the rendering of that theory and its author to nothing more than a farcical sideshow to the big show now underway in the Muslim world. Moreover Beck’s latest pratfall may be the beginning of his own self inflicted marginalization and eventual irrelevance, resulting from increased criticism of Beck himself by prominent conservatives.
Beck has promoted the theory that “the Egyptian revolution is not about the citizens of the country fighting for their political rights or better economic conditions. Instead, the Egyptian people are being “played” by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is also part of larger movement by progressives and Marxist to take over much of the world in the pursuit of “social justice.” Under Beck’s theory the Egyptian revolution will not only spread to other countries the Middle East, but also to India and Europe. The caliphate will consist of India and much of Southeast Asia, in addition to Portugal, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom.”
Well it goes without saying that such a sophomorically simplistic theory should be seen as irrelevant and inapplicable in a complex world such as ours. Not only is it unlikely that devout Muslims would ever make common cause with “the hardcore socialist and the Communist left”, there isn’t enough of a “hardcore of Communists or Socialists” left in the world today to supplement the ranks of this great “Caliphate” army. Those left from yestardays Communist cadres are too busy making money in China, Russia and Southeast Asia. Likewise, today’s European Socialists seem hardly the type to saddle up for a prolonged war to affect the invasion of their own home territories. American Progressives are now, for the time being, engaged with trying to protect the gains of the past eighty years. Perhaps Mr. Beck is relying on the Maoists of Nepal to come to the aid of todays Islamic radicals. Moreover, today there are twenty two different variations of Islamic thinking, parceled beneath the two main Islamic schools of thought. Thus it would be highly unlikely that any ideological unity could be affected from one end of Islam to the other, especially when you consider the cultural and ethnic differences that one would encounter between Casabalnca and Jakarta.
To drive the point home, a sampling of what’s actually happening across the Islamic world reveals just how divorced from reality is Mr. Beck and his theory:
“The Tunisian revolution that overthrew decades of authoritarian rule has entered a delicate new phase in recent days over the role of Islam in politics… Tunisia’s liberal social policies and Western lifestyle shatter stereotypes of the Arab world…Protesters held up signs saying, “Politics ruins religion and religion ruins politics.”
[In Bahrain] “an anxious calm prevailed, with a standoff continuing between an absolute monarchy determined to preserve its full range of powers and a peaceful opposition demanding a transition to democracy with an elected government and representative Parliament.”
“But the demands in Morocco include a desire for a more legitimate democracy; with limits on the power of Mohammed VI…The Arab world is changing and the Moroccan people need a change in the Constitution for more democracy. We want a country like Britain, with a constitutional monarchy and a strong Parliament that is not corrupt.”
“The Egyptian people have spoken, and we have spoken emphatically. In two weeks of peaceful demonstrations we have persistently demanded liberation and democracy. It was groups of brave, sincere Egyptians who initiated this moment of historical opportunity on Jan. 25, and the Muslim Brotherhood is committed to joining the national effort toward reform and progress.”
“Surprised by the turnout, older opposition leaders from across the spectrum – including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood; the liberal protest group the Egyptian Movement for Change, known by its slogan, “Enough”; and the umbrella group organized by Dr. ElBaradei – joined in, vowing to turn out their supporters for another day of protest on Friday. But the same handful of young online organizers were still calling the shots.”
Thus, as shown by the above, there is little evidence of Beck’s claims that:”1. Groups from the hardcore socialist and Communist left and extreme Islam will work together because they are both a common enemy of Israel and the Jew. 2. Groups from the hardcore socialist and Communist left and extreme Islam will work together because they are the common enemy of capitalism and the western way of life. 3. Groups from the hardcore socialist and Communist left and extreme Islam will work to overturn relatively stable countries, because, in the status quo, they are both ostracized from power.” According to Ryan Witt the National Examiner:”there has been no credible evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood is behind the Egyptian uprising. The Muslim Brotherhood did not officially join the protests until days after the uprising began. There is also little chance of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood has never shown the ability to gain widespread support in Egypt, as their agenda is considered too radical for much of the relatively moderate population. Many of the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood, such as limiting the presidency in Egypt to males only, have been strongly rejected by the Egyptian population.”
Beyond the absurdity of Beck and his “Caliphate Conspiracy” theory there is the increasing irrelevance of Beck himself. It would be innaccurate to describe Glenn Beck as a legitimate political commentator, after all he is nothing more than a political entertainerer, in a sense nothing than the equivelent of a rodeo clown in American political comentary. Beck is nothing but a side show to the big show going on all around him.
Of late, as a result of the “Caliphate Conspiracy”, Beck has been taken to task by several prominent American conservatives. Foremost among Beck’s critics is the NeoConservative William Kristol who said: “When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.” Richard Lowry of the National Review echoed Kristol’s criticism, to wit: “a well-deserved shot at Glenn Beck’s latest wild theorizing.” David Brooks opined on Beck’s “delusional ravings about the caliphate coming back…For the first time, you began to see a lot of really serious conservatives taking on Beck and people like that, and saying, you know, your theories are just wacky.”
What’s the bottom line on all of Mr. Beck’s “Caliphate” blather; plummeting ratings and a declining audience. According to On Media, The Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times’ Frank Rich:” The January ratings are in and Glenn Beck had his worst performance since his Fox show started in January of 2009, drawing just 397,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic and 1.762 [million] total viewers.” This decline amounts to a 39 percent decline overall and a 48 percent drop off in the prime 25-to-54 age demographic. This figure represents the steepest decline of any cable news show. Quoting Rich:” His strenuous recent efforts to portray the Egyptian revolution as an apocalyptic leftist-jihadist conspiracy have inspired more laughs than adherents.”Or perhaps as per Business insider, Glenn Beck has merely worn out his welcome with American audiences: “It’s entirely possible viewers are simply tiring of the chalkboard and the high rhetoric, which has been notably higher of late…And needless to say Beck is not the phenom he was a year ago, merely by dint of the country becoming more familiar with him.”
e of this could sit well with Rupert Murdoch and the managers of the Fox News Network. Here we are in the midst of one of the greatest events of this new century and one of their prime time commentators is making a fool of himself peddling absurd theories which only give rise to a wave of criticism from both the left and the networks natural allies on the right. Moreover, all of this controversy is taking place against a steady stream of advertisers asking that their products not be promoted on Glenn Beck’s show. In the end, that can’t be good for Fox as it ultimately cares about advertising revenues, not the validity of the multitude of bizarre Glenn Beck conspiracies. By his recent actions, Mr. Beck has merely moved further away from the center of the national and international political discussion, taking his naive and unsophisticated viewers along with him on a magic carpet ride into the realm of irrelevance.
Steven J. Gulitti