Earlier today, Glenn Beck's website The Blaze posted an audio file purported to depict former SEIU employee Stephen Lerner speaking to a small crowd at a left-wing convention in New York City. In the clip, the man The Blaze identifies as Lerner suggests that citizens and community organizing groups exert pressure on the financial system through a campaign of strikes and civil disobedience.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Beck blows the import of the clip way out of proportion. But what's truly remarkable is that Beck responds to that supposedly dangerous rhetoric with full-throated apocalyptic panic:
BECK: They will force the banks -- according to this plan outlined, you will see it at TheBlaze.com -- they will force the banks to refinance all of the state loans, all of the county. And the banks will not be able to do it. And he says that's the plan, to bring them to the edge of financial collapse. Because if we can cause enough chaos, if we can bring them to the edge of financial collapse, we can collapse the system and we can cause another financial crisis. Now who in their right mind thinks another financial crisis is a good thing? And who thinks this government is going to be able to survive?
There are anarchists, there are communists, there are even people who claim to be patriots. "I want anarchy, well take it down." I'm telling you, millions will die all around the world. Mark my words: the United States of America goes down, and millions will die. If this country goes down, you better grab on to your neighbor, you better grab on to your Bible, you better grab on to your gun, you better grab on to everything and everybody that you love. Forget your stuff, and you better congregate together and stay together and get on your knees. Because I've got news for you: chaos is what will rule this country. Either that or an iron fist.
It's as if Beck doesn't hear the words coming out of his own mouth. Calling for strikes and civil disobedience is tantamount to "economic terrorism," but threatening that the United States government will collapse, predicting that "millions will die," and urging your listeners to prepare to "grab on to your gun" is indicative of a level-headed, well-reasoned assessment of the situation?