The other day I saw this Glen Beck tirade on crooksandliars.com. Now, I could spend years on what is wrong with it but I’m gonna focus on one thing in particular. The part where he starts to characterize progressives as a disease.

The same day I saw this clip, by happy coincidence, I was reading Antony Beevor’s Battle of Spain. I’m getting to the end. Its the sad part. (I’m almost finished! only taken 7 months!) And in talking about the massacres perpetrated on the populace after the nationalists took power Beevor writes the following:

Another paradoxical parallel between Franquism and Stalinist Russia was the obsessive fear of ideological contagion. While most of the senior Soviet advisers from Spain were being forced to confess by the NKVD to treasonous contacts abroad and then shot, in nationalist Spain the rhetoric called for drastic surgery of the body politic. The Bishop of Vic called for a ‘scalpel to drain the pus from Spain’s entrails’. Franco’s press attache, the Count de Alba y Yeltes, said during the war to one Englishman that they had to rid Spain of the virus of bolshevism, if necessary by eliminating a third of the male population of Spain. Now that the nationalists had almost all the republican prisoners in their power, they could embark on their thorough cleansing. [emphasis mine]

Eerily similar to the rhetoric Beck is employing now. From the vid above, starting around 1:15:

Progressives were lurking like a virus, waiting for their chance to suck all of the blood out of the Democratic neck. They were looking for the opening to infect the system. And once they were inside that system, I warned in 2004, the Democrats — it will be a battle to the end of your party to get them out.

… What we are talking about is an ideological movement that has set its sights on the destruction of the Constitution and the fundamental transformation of our Republic. It is called the progressive movement, and it has been using both parties for a long, long time.

But mainly, it’s the Democratic Party that has played host to it. And this parasite has been feeding on that host.

I was horrified when I saw this segment. This is just the type of rhetoric used by, ummmm, well, the Nazis, the Fascists, Communists, and whoever else has ever tried to justify the mass murder of their own citizens in an effort of ethnic or ideological cleansing. You characterize an idea as something physical, a virus. And you can’t eradicate a virus with civil discourse can you? No, you have to remove something physical with physical violence. It is the essence of extremist rhetoric. No one who believes in a civil society that solves its problems with discussion, education, enlightened debate and free exchange of ideas characterizes their opponents as a physical disease. No one.

Either Glen Beck is using this rhetoric out of a complete ignorance of it’s history, it’s previous uses, a complete ignorance of the kind of intolerance and violence, and society-wide psychosis it has led to in the past, or he’s using it because he knows that’s EXACTLY how it was used in the past, which is even more disturbing than the possibility of his just being a moron.

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