Glenn Beck: Intellectual battle for America's soul

GLENN: All right. So I met the and for anybody who listens to this program and has listened for a long time, you have to understand that the way I do my research, and I'm at the very beginning of my research on some things that I'm working on, is I'm not coming to you with the way I believe it absolutely is. I'm at the beginning of my research, but I want to share with something that I found last night doing my research in the early progressive movement starting around the 1880s, and it was really coming from you know, we didn't have a Ph.D. program here in America. And what happened was all of our intellectuals went over to Germany at the time of Marx and Meche and everything else, and they went and they got their education over there and then they came back over here. So our intellectuals, while Europe was Germany, in fact, in the 1850s, German artist was painting the George Washington crossing the Delaware to try to inspire people over in Germany to have a revolution like the American Revolution. You have the Statue of Liberty being built over in France trying to convince the French to have an American Revolution, to be more like America. Our intellectuals here went over to Germany into their Tweed Suitville and listened to the ramblings of people who were saying, well, now, wait a minute, maybe Meche has a point, God is dead. Well, now, wait a minute here, let's look at Marx and Engels, they have got some really progressive thoughts here. And they brought that infection back here.

So while the people of Europe are struggling to break free and be more like us, we're now having our intellectuals go over there and come back here and say we should be more like the intellectuals of Europe. See what happened?

So it's called the Age of Reform, and we had all kinds of problems over here in the United States and it was because business and government like the railroads getting in bed with each other. The age of reform bloomed at the turn of the century but owned its heritage to the intellectuals of the 1880s reform movement. This is what I'm reading last night. The reformers embodied a world view. Listen to this. That saw a man as inherently perfectible. Only his environment, especially the roles cast on him by society, prevented him from obtaining that perfect state. So in other words, you could be perfect. You can be anything. But it's what society does about you or says about you that's stopping you. You see?

STU: This is why they are always trying to correct every historical ill.

GLENN: Level the playing field.

STU: Right, yeah.

GLENN: Whereas many of the intellectuals of the late 19th century came from mainstream Christian religions, few listen to this few, if any, trace their roots to the more fundamental doctrines of the Baptist or traditional Methodists. Instead they were the intellectual heirs of Emerson and Unitarianism but with a decidedly secular bent.

In other words, they went to church, but it was a Unitarian church and it was a secular Unitarian church. The reformer Jane Adams, for example, these are the seeds of the progressive movement. The reformer Jane Adams, for example, had a Quaker background. Quakers, what are Quakers? You know one thing about Quakers. What are they?

STU: Passivists?

GLENN: Okay. Antiwar. Had a Quaker background. Absorbed little Christianity. Quote, she said, Christ didn't help me in the least, end quote. After her father died she fell into a horrible depression. Adams gained no support from Christianity. "When I'm needing something more, I find myself approaching a crisis and I look weather wistfully to my friends for help." Henry Demarest Lloyd whose series in the Atlantic monthly in the 1880s made him the original muckraker. He was born to Dutch reform minister turned bookseller. Lloyd himself was religious, though well educated and you are going to see this over and over and over again though well educated at Columbia University. Columbia University was the head of the snake on the progressive unit. It is all of this nastiness comes right out of Columbia University. Like most of the early reformers, he had received a first class education. Let me say it again: Like most of the early reformers, he had received a first class education. Indeed, the reformers almost always came from families of wealthy means. They were people who seldom experienced hardship firsthand. Think of the famous progressives that we know about. Kennedys. I just had another one here. Who was this? Rockefellers.

PAT: Vanderbilts.

GLENN: Teresa Heinz. John Kerry.

PAT: Soros.

GLENN: Look at the, look at the people that are always defending. Look at the ones, look at the people in Hollywood. The uber wealthy. Mabel Dodge Luhan, the daughter of Buffalo banker attended all the best schools before coming to the conclusion that she could not trust her thoughts, only her senses. Lincoln Steffens' father was an affluent merchant who could afford to send his son to universities in Europe where he acquired a taste for expensive clothes and dabbled in philosophy. Upton Sinclair and Jack London proved exceptions to this rule. Sinclair's family came from wealth on his mother's side but Sinclair's father ruined former southern aristocrat had descended into alcoholism and supported the family by selling liquor, then hats. Unlike most of the other reformed intellectuals, Sinclair actually worked selling dime novels to put himself through... Columbia University, before turning out the muckrakers call to arms the Jungle. London, a socialist, adventurer, sailor, gold seeker and famous novelist whose Call of the Wild became a classic had grown up poor and had as a youth worked a wide range of jobs. More typical than any of these writers is Ida Tarbell, considered the original muckraker whose father Frank had a thriving oil tank building business, providing her with first class education, blah, blah blah. Another aspect of the social gospellers is worth mentioning here, that listen to this. Some two to three million fathers absent from the home because of the Civil War. Hundreds of thousands of fathers were dead, literally millions of young boys were raised in households of women only. Rather than learning masculine behavior, they had been raised by their mother who taught nurturing and caring. In the process turning to the ways of their mothers and took Christianity out of the home to save the world. It is not a stretch to suggest that the causality list of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville produced a feminized progressive world view among the emerging generation of reformers. Best known for his association with social Darwinism, Sumner's views were spent more complicated, blah, blah blah, embracing views of overpopulation. He expressed concern for the negative impact of charity and government policy, blah, blah blah, blah blah.

You are seeing the roots in all of it: Overpopulation. What was Cass Sunstein? Overpopulation. This was in the 1880s. In the 1980s progressives are still talking about overpopulation. When that doesn't become popular, what do they do? They talk about environmentalism. Teddy Roosevelt, environmentalism. Teddy Roosevelt goes into the national parks and he says you can't use any of these rivers, you can't divert these rivers, you can't use them for irrigation for your fields, and farmers lose their farms. People go hungry because environmental first it's overpopulation. Then it's save the planet, we're destroying the planet, to the expense of people. It just repeats itself over and over and over again. To the intellectuals that are overeducated, they look down on anybody who is undereducated. A lot of them are coming from Columbia University. A lot of them are godless. I mean, it's playing itself out over and over again. These people haven't changed. A lot of them are the people who have come from wealthy families or are wealthy now. And elite. How many times have you asked, why are these the ones who are so for it? The Kennedys. Why are the Kennedys, why were the Roosevelts? I mean, if you look at Teddy Roosevelt, you want to talk about a life of privilege, Teddy Roosevelt. The next one up in line was Woodrow Wilson. A life of privilege! Then the next one up? Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a life of privilege. Then the next one? The Kennedys. A life of privilege.

You ask yourself, how do these people, how do these people do it? What are they thinking? They enjoy the good life because you have to go back to de Tocqueville and democracy in America. Here's a French guy coming over here trying to study us, and how do we how is America doing this, what is happening here? And he finds the answer. But then the second part of the book is a warning. There are going to be those who become so wealthy, they are going to want an elite upper class and they are going to want to kick the door closed on everyone else. The path that they blazed, they are going to want to make sure that they protect it by kicking the door closed for everyone else. And that is exactly what's happening. Look at what they're doing now, the progressives, in Washington, D.C. They're kicking the door closed on opportunity for anyone who's not currently in the ruling class. Not currently in the moneyed class.

Look, I grew up poor. I happen to have some money now, but let me tell you something. I'm no different than you. If you're poor today, you can be rich tomorrow. It's America. That's the dream. And anybody who tries to tell you differently is a liar. Anybody who tries to tell you differently doesn't understand the principles of America or they're trying to kick the door closed so you don't go in because they have this stupid idea that there's not enough money or success for all of us. There is. You just have to do it. You just have to follow your heart. You have to follow your mind. You have to understand the American system. You have to believe it. Not everybody's going to get rich, but that's not everybody's dream. When did the American dream become, we're all going to be rich? When the progressives started changing history. The American dream was not that everybody would have a big house and two cars and everything else. That was FDR. The American dream was being able to pursue your hopes and your dreams. It is the pursuit of happiness that was the American dream. When we restore that, Americans will once again lead the world and once again there will be artists in Germany painting our founding fathers or the refounders of America. There will be people in France that say, look at them, we should build yet another statue to these, to this idea that these people have once again reinstated because it will change us. And at the same time once again there will be somebody that tries to kick the door closed so nobody else can get in.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.