Glenn explains how the story of Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla applies to today

On radio this morning, Glenn shared an excerpt from chapter five of his new book Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America. The chapter, Edison vs. Westinghouse, explores the epic struggle for power between two great inventors and entrepreneurs. The story of these men, along with Nikola Tesla, offers a great lesson in business and ingenuity that has as great a meaning today as it did a century ago.

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“Until an American car company took his name, most people didn’t know who Nikola Tesla was,” Glenn said. “But you will because you need to… [Tesla] points to a future that is now totally possible… We’re on the threshold of it right now. The Jetsons, it’s here. It is the next chapter in the world.”

Tesla understood the endless possibility of technological advances that would stem from the harnessing of energy, but the profit-driven society he lived in prevented many of his ideas from being realized. Glenn explained that we currently find ourselves in a very similar predicament – one that could lead to the implosion of society or one that could lead to the next great technological revolution.

“Now the question is: Will we implode? Will we become a society that just falls in – and I mean this as globally – to communism. If China is the future, we’re all in trouble because China is not innovating. China’s not the ones that are coming up with the big inventions. We are,” Glenn explained. “The West is because you’re free, and you have a right to a patent. And because you have a right to a patent, you know if you come up with something, you’ll be able to keep it. And so you will be able to change everything, and you’ll become rich. That’s where capitalism actually works. But think of the changes that have to be [made to] court system, our government, our laws.”

Take for example Jeff Bezos’ announcement on Sunday’s 60 minutes that Amazon will be able to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less using drones. While the concept will certainly revolutionize the process of placing and shipping orders, it will also displace all of the mechanisms currently in place.

“Think of the displacement of all of the people that are in line for that delivery system now – all of the cars, all of the gas, all of the gas stations, all of the truck repair people, all of the uniforms, all of the little dolly things that they pull out of the back of the truck, all of the things right now that are dependent on something like Amazon shipping in their trucks,” Glenn said. “Now, you can fight that, but you’ll never win. You can fight that. You can do everything you can to stop it, but you never will. Think about the drone as a use of home security systems. What does that displace? How about drugs? What’s needed now to fight drugs because of drones? Think about how the world is on the precipice of change.”

A few years or even months ago, you probably would have laughed at the idea of a drone delivery system or a 3D printer. But now those advances are reality. Glenn asked the audience to really grasp that fact and to think boldly about what the future can bring.

“The way you think the world works, within 10 years, none of it will be like that. And I want you to really grasp that,” Glenn said. “I could have said to you that in the next eight months Amazon… will say we’re going to have drones deliver your packages, and I would have been laughed at. I didn’t say that because I didn’t imagine that. But somebody else did.”

“This is truly the era of imagination,” he continued. “This is truly the era where Nikola Tesla was so far ahead of the curve, and we have those people now. They do exist. Ray Kurzweil is one of them. David Gelernter is another one. We have those men that are seeing way over the horizon, and they can imagine things that you and I can’t imagine. But now we have the ability to do them. So as you think, as you create, as you believe, those things will now happen. It’s a really exciting time, should you choose to view it that way.”

  • RealRep

    You, sir, are a dipshit. Always good for a laugh but still a dipshit.

    • Sam Fisher

      A Professor from an Ivy League school called his book required reading but he is the moron? How did you type this sentence with one functioning brain cell.

      • SL

        That is more a sad reflection of our history classes. Tesla’s story is not some rare or unknown thing and anyone who considered themselves not an historian, but just moderately interested in it, should have known it. What Beck misses, of course, is the role played by JP Morgan, who owned Edison’s Company.

        • Johnathan Read


          I never knew that people watched every episode of the History channel.

          • SL

            Really sad. I gave the History channel as an example of popular history. If you were actually interested in history the “electricity wars” have been extensively covered in dozens if not hundreds of books, thousands of articles etc. Or of course, seeing the name Tesla on the car company might have made someone do just a 5 second web search.

            It’s all about curiosity. As Glenn tells you, do your own research. Rather than being snide, how about trying to learn?

        • Sam Fisher

          I think both JP Morgan and Edison both are guilty. I personally did not get to the chapter where Glenn talks about the fight over electricity but I hope he does touch on it some.

          • SL

            Actually, while the personal conflict between Tesla and Edison was strong, Morgan threatened Westinghouse, who had promised to pay Tesla his royalties. Morgan told Westinghouse that he would keep him in litigation forever, or until he gave up. Since Tesla had actually given all of his rights away to Tesla, Morgan did not compensate him at all. Remember, Morgan also forced Edison out of the Edison Co. turning it into GE.

        • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

          JP Morgan was involved to a lesser degree in the campaign to discredit Tesla, but Edison was among the chief figures to make it happen.

          A big apology is owed by the historians to Tesla, for he is a man worthy of being remembered as a great scientist in his time in our nation.

          • nutt

            If Obama had written the same article about eugenics you’d be shitting your pants in the hurry to decry him as an evil presence.

      • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

        The answer is fairly obvious: he is a standard leftist troll, and only seeking to stir up more trouble than its worth for their own egotistical satisfaction.

        The truth of Tesla speaks for itself, and he was a great scientist whose name is worth being mentioned among the greatest of his time here in America.

        • nutt

          Yeah – but then there’s his love for eugenics…

          • Infoterrorist2

            For which you have whom or what as a credible source?

          • nutt

            Nikola Tesla, Liberty Magazine, 1935

          • nutt

            You might call that ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’…

          • nutt

            (and don’t demean yourself further by demanding a link)

    • Anonymous

      You, of course are admiring YOUR PERSONAL reflection in the vast number of mirrors on all your rooms walls.(.similar to the “Pinocchio” in the now contaminated White House Oval office. & other walls there)…In, which case those of the folks that read your message here will broadly smile & nod in approval!! But, then, you are doing this by ‘MOONING’ yourself..? Right? Would make feasible your case..

  • Johnathan Read

    This would be the ‘Death Blow ‘ to Opec

    What better incentive do we need ?

  • David Kent

    Nikola Tesla was a proponent of renewable energy – solar, wind, hydroelectric, hydrothermal. He believed that fossil fuels were wasteful and consumed resources.

  • Anonymous

    According to the SCOTUS, radio personalities owe their livings to Tesla. And, drones (radio controlled vehicles and other devices) were also Tesla’s idea. Considering that he came up with these ideas in the 1800’s, one must concede that Tesla was a man before his time.

  • Anonymous

    Even I don’t always agree with Beck and that is just fine but to resort to name calling instead of a real rebutil in just plain nuts so I reckon no guns for you for you just might be the next school shooter that want’s to stur up hate and discontent.

  • Anonymous

    There were quite a few “scientists” who had visions of free energy, besides Tesla, Edison or Westinghouse. The problem is that the real serious ones missed out being exposed or conveniently disappeared. To boot, most of them did not have high academic degrees, but were curious on various subjects.

  • Anonymous

    Tesla was the man who designed the massive A.C. system which provides electricity to all of us. Edison was trying to sell the D.C. electrical system. Edison’s generating system was a failure for one reason. It would need a booster-generating station every 10 miles. Tesla also designed and built the first A.C. generating system at Niagara Falls. There is a statue of Tesla at this place. He is gone now but NOT forgotten !

    • Infoterrorist2

      More importantly, Tesla invented the polyphase generator and motors, which were licensed by Westinghouse, and would have bankrupted him if Tesla hadn’t torn up the contract, The electric grid of today didn’t exist in Tesla’s time.

    • Anonymous

      Edison Stations were every two miles cause power could only be sent one mile….meaning many many coal burners…Edison wasn’t trying to sell his power, it was already in use in New York..killing people with fallen lines all over…

  • Anonymous

    Then there was Dr. T. Henry Moray, that admired Tesla, and devised a transistor type device that could tap what is now called Zero Point Energy, and demonstrated his device, that could put out 50,000 watts of power, for an unlimited time.

    He was hounded, shot, lab broken into, and tried unsuccessfully to get intelligent support for his work. Typical of inventors that are too far beyond what is expected of “normal” course of development.

    Even though his demonstrations were witnessed by dozens of people, he couldn’t get a patent because he couldn’t demonstrate a”battery” that he was drawing power from, that patent examiners expected to see, so “no visible source of power” was the reason patents were refused. Blind, prejudiced examiners!

    A quick google look for him will give you much information on his accomplishments, and disappointments. A good man, misunderstood, as was his idol, Tesla.

    Laus Deo

    • nutt

      Was his praise of eugenics misunderstood? Or just plain evil?

      • Anonymous

        I expect by “his” you mean Tesla.

        Eugenics was not his main purpose in his work, just a side comment he made, evidently. Those that advocate the full program — pogrom? — of eugenics, like Margaret Sanger, are the ones we need to be leery of, and look to their aims. But individual expressions, as a side comment, do not especially completely damn a person. Tesla’s work on power generation and transmission were his main thrust, and his great contribution to mankind, not just our nation.

        Back in High School, I took a class called Eugenics, so does that make me “plain evil” in your eyes? “Papa” Davis was a kind and sweet teacher that taught us physiology, biology and so on, as related to human needs. One time, he slightly startled us by stopping suddenly in the middle of a sentence, and walking quickly down a row of seats, to a girl that was starting an epileptic spasm, and carefully laid her on the floor and tended her needs. Calmly, he explained the situation to us in the class, and it was a beautiful example of practical hands-on teaching, and how to handle it with love, and not to recoil in horror.

        Now, if that kind of “eugenics” is bad, I am truly sorry for you.

        Individuals may express pro or con things about elements of eugenics, without implementing them, and hopefully it does not make them “evil”. It is not an either-or situation in all things.

        Tesla did good. So he said some not nice things — no big deal.

        Laus Deo

        • nutt

          A ‘side comment’ – sorry; but that’s not the case. Read up and you’ll see that he clearly put a lot of thought into it and wrote it in an article in 1935.

          As for “Papa” Davis’ class – you appear to confuse ‘teaching people about’ with ‘advocating’. Was this kind teacher doing the latter, he would more likely have told the class that that poor girl should never be allowed to have children. However, your lovely story and the way you talk about him to this day displays that he was a clearly a very good teacher. If you think that his actions were eugenics in action, then you really need to looking into the topic.

          You also missed the point of my question.

          • Anonymous

            You missed the point I was inferring that the Eugenics class of sixty years ago was in no way connected to or like the negative “evil” connotation that the word “eugenics” conveys today. Then, eugenics was a term that referred to physical and mental health, rather than the sterilization and other negative things seen today. Yes, historically, the “Eugenics Movement” started way back then, too, but there was no connection between that movement and the teachings of Papa Davis. And no, he would not have advocated the sterilization of that girl that had an epileptic seizure. His teaching dealt with hygiene and such.

            Now, if you want to label anyone that has any inkling of a thought about eugenics as “evil,” then that’s your problem.

            Now, what was the point of your question?

            If, as you say, he wrote about and advocated it, then yes, I guess, in your estimation he was just “plain evil.”

            Is that any reason, then, to discount his contributions to humanity via his inventions that contributed to electrical utilization?

            A side observation — are any of us “purely good” or “purely evil”? I suspect we all are a compound of the two opposing forces, expressed individually, and we have to live with the consequences of our actions. For good or ill.

            Laus Deo

  • nutt

    So do we take it that, given how much Glenn’s been banging on about Tesla of late, that he’s giving him a pass on his whole ‘eugenics are the way to go’ viewpoint? I mean – that, that would be rather strange; but it’s clearly true. Unless you think that a person who does so much research to bring you The Truth somehow missed something so glaringly terrible, yet so easy to find.

    So, Glenn – which is it? Did you miss it, or omit it?

  • Noel Moldvai

    Nice, but it’s Nikola, not Nikolai.

    • Infoterrorist2

      Glenn is a lot like NIxon, who believed that because the president did it, it was legal. If he would just get all of the details correct before he stuck his foot in his mouth, Beck would be more credible.

  • starlyn

    people will shot down drones and steal the box

    • Infoterrorist2

      Why don’t they shoot down airliners and steal the cargo?

      • kanakattack

        Actually Starlyn has a point. What average person has the weaponry to bring down an airliner? Not to mention you would kill several people and obliterate most if not all of the cargo after bringing the airline down. Completely not feasible. A drone on the other hand is easily taken out with small caliber firearms or even a well-place shot from a sling shot. You don’t kill anyone and you’re less likely to damage the contents of the package.

  • Donovan Moore

    Edison was the Bill Gates of his day.

  • Senor C O Jones

    Who blew up the elephant? I cant remember, cause I am not an elephant.
    And didn’t Tesla almost blow up Russia that crazy night in 1922 in Tunguska? Good thing it was uninhabited, huh?

    :-) just effing around

  • Magic_Physicist

    I have been teaching people around the world about Nikola Tesla for the last 20 years………btw Glenn you are saying *Nikola* wrong …….it isn’t Nikoli……Edison is a money stealing fraud.

  • jason

    where is the rest of the story? i was just getting into this and then it ended.
    love the story of Westinghouse/Tesla VS Morgan/Edison. one team that
    had a dream to make the world safer and serve the greater good, the
    other with a dream of wealth, power and greed.

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