Glenn's definition of a conservative


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GLENN:  888-727-BECK.  Welcome to news radio 750 KXL in Portland, Oregon.  Thanks for joining the family of Glenn Beck program.  Glad you're here.  Let me go to Ken in Philadelphia.  Hello, Ken thanks for listening to WPHT.  What's up?

CALLER:  Hi, Glenn.  I've been listening to your program on and off for years and I'm not sure anymore what it means to be a conservative.  I was wondering if you would actually have a dialogue with me about what that means.

GLENN:  Sure.

CALLER:  Okay.  Because, like, for instance I don't -- I hear talk about a lot, like I guess soon that it means like being conservative financially.  You know, I understand that it means pro business, so you don't want to limit business maybe.  Does it mean being religious?  What does it mean?

GLENN:  Well, let me ask you, Ken.  Are we having an honest dialogue here or do you have an agenda?

CALLER:  No, an honest dialogue because like, for instance, one of the things I can't understand is it seems like religion is associated with conservatism and yet like a lot of the business that you do is judging and throwing first stones and I don't see that as a religious value as Jesus taught it.  And so I don't understand that as a basis for your program.  But I also don't understand the dividing of the country as a basis for it.  So in order for me to understand what conservatism is and its use of the word is used a lot.  And a lot of times if somebody disagrees with you on the station or with any of the hosts, it seems like if somebody disagrees, you are automatically branded a liberal and even if you are not, and you are thrown off the station and then talked over.  So I don't really have an agenda.  I just want to know what it means because it makes it difficult for me to understand and have a conversation with somebody when I don't know what the words mean and what people are talking about.

GLENN:  Sure, okay.  So now we understand your agenda, that you do have an axe to grind.  And that's fine.  I don't know what your political background is.  I'm not going to call you a liberal.  I have no idea if you're a liberal.  So I have no idea, but I appreciate you being honest and telling me where you're coming from and showing me that we're not having an honest dialogue.

So instead of operating under the cloak of, gee, Glenn, what is a conservative, why don't we just take these issues that you have that is really the reason for your phone call and take them one by one.  Let's start with the religion thing.  What is your question again on the religion issue and how it revolves -- I cannot answer for any other show.  I can answer for my actions.  So let's be specific on my actions, Ken.

CALLER:  Okay.  So you're -- you're letting me talk now.  That's nice.  It's not like I -- you think I have an axe to grind.  Maybe you can just tell me what your belief is on conservatives and I won't even -- I won't grind my axe.  Just tell me what it is and then let me talk about it.

GLENN:  Ken, you don't set the rules for the program.  And first of all, nobody is shutting you down.  I let you talk for three minutes.  So I'm not here to play a game with you.  It is a total waste of time.  If you'd like to have a real dialogue and make progress on something, we can.  You're not really interested in what a conservative means.  You have problems and issues with what I do on the air.  So let's deal with those.  Why play a game?

CALLER:  Okay.  So you're thinking that this is an agenda thing.  I just honestly think that it feels like a lot of your work divides the country.  It sets people against each other.  And like, for instance your --

GLENN:  Give me the examples.  Let's deal in specifics here.

CALLER:  Well, for example, you were just talking about some woman with -- previously to me coming on here and you were talking about her situation and yet without actually knowing the person, knowing their actual -- the depth of their situation when you speak sort of glossing over the information just based on maybe some information that's been filtered through the liberal media as it were.

GLENN:  Right.  No, I -- here's --

CALLER:  Under the circumstance it seems hard to really understand what their situation is.

GLENN:  Sure.

CALLER:  So in judging that person, in judging the situation, you are really not being fair to that individual or the story.

GLENN:  Sure.  I'm not judging anybody in the article.  What I was quoting is a story that ran in the Washington Post.  Now, I'm sorry if you think I'm being divisive by reading verbatim a story that ran in the Washington Post, but I don't know how I can be accused of being divisive by, again, reading the story verbatim.

CALLER:  Well, it's your tone, what you choose to read and how you say it in such a way where you're casting, obviously you are opining and setting the judgment on that person.

GLENN:  No, I'm not setting a judgment on any person.  I don't even know who wrote that story.  I know it ran in the Washington Post.  I am making a comment by reading that story, I'm making a comment on how is it the media would like to paint Americans as racist.  Yesterday, if you listened to yesterday's show, the story yesterday in the media was how all of the white people in West Virginia are racist because Hillary is winning by such an overwhelming number there.  The story on Friday in the media was how, by Hillary Clinton saying that she has the white vote, he has the black vote, that she somehow or another is a racist for pointing out that fact.  Today is just the third day in a very, very long cycle to come, about anybody who is against Barack Obama.  Again, the stories -- the story's facts were little, a little thin to be able to paint anybody who's against Barack Obama as a racist.  Even the campaign will not do that and yet the media needs to paint people against Barack Obama as a racist.

CALLER:  Well, I understand your point about that the story and unfortunately I didn't hear it yesterday.  And I'm actually not calling to grind an axe about racism.  My actual intention here was literally to find out what it means to be a conservative so when I'm listening to you, I can understand --

GLENN:  Yeah, I don't believe that.

CALLER:  -- I can understand what it means.

GLENN:  I wish I believed you on that, but I don't.

CALLER:  I wish you did.

GLENN:  I do, too, and we can all sing Kumbayah.  Ken, here is the question.  So let's go back to where you said I was being divisive.  Again, how was I being divisive by reading the story and trying to make the point that the media is saying that we are -- that if you're against Barack Obama, you're a racist, when that is not true.

CALLER:  You are absolutely right.  If I had been calling about that comment and I was talking about that --

GLENN:  Well, that was the comment that you used.  Would you like to try another one and maybe we could take that one away.

CALLER:  Well, no, no, no, no, no.

GLENN:  No, no, no.  Let's -- I mean, if you are going to say that I'm divisive and that was just a bad example but it was the one that you brought up, let's go with another example of yours.  Because if I'm divisive, then let's go with another example because maybe you've just misunderstood.  You said there were a lot of things that I do that are divisive.  So just give me another one and let's take that one on.

CALLER:  Well, I think, like, for instance when you said that you'd like to believe that I didn't have an agenda and stuff like that.  You say I'm being Kumbayah, you are sort of implying --

GLENN:  That would happen after your phone call.  So how would that be a motivation of something that bothers you when that happened after you made the phone call?

CALLER:  Well, you are sort of making it an implication here that I'm a liberal by being --

GLENN:  No, I never said you were a liberal.  I have no idea.  I plainly said that to you.  I don't know if you are a liberal or not.  I don't really care if you're a liberal or not.

CALLER:  Aren't you trying to by saying the Kumbayah thing and making people think that I'm --

GLENN:  No, sir.  Look, you are not disagreeing with me?  I'm having a hard time following this conversation.  So are you not disagreeing with me?

CALLER:  Actually all I asked you in the original, you know, question was what is it to be a conservative.

GLENN:  And you know what, Ken, I wanted to take your phone call because when I saw it said, "What is the definition of a conservative, what does it mean anymore," I took your phone call first because I would love to talk about that.  But I will only discuss that with an honest broker.  You are not an honest broker.  You are immediately coming and saying, "But a lot of people tie religion in, and I see you do things that don't coincide with what I believe is religion."  Well, give me one of those examples.  Because what I want to do is have the conversation of what a conservative is, but you don't want to really have that.  You'd like to try to pin me in a corner.  So that's fine.  Now that we know what your intent is, let's just have an honest conversation and tell me what your problem is on the show because -- or on me because maybe, like we've seen in the only example that you've given me so far, you were wrong.

CALLER:  Well, that's an interesting way of dealing with it, but you are still not answering my question.  What is it to be a conservative?  There it is.  You ask me what it is.  Go for it.

GLENN:  Ken, here it is.  To be a conservative is, in my definition, is somebody that believes in the power of the individual, somebody that believes, please let me make my decisions, that I have a right to succeed and not be penalized for it.  I have a right to fail and have no one run to me if I don't want them to run to me.  A conservative believes I have a right to manage my family, I have a right to discipline my family in the way I see fit, as long as it is not criminal.  A conservative believes I have the right to worship God, I have a right to worship the God of my understanding, and I do not have the right to jam my version of God down anybody else's throat or my version of no God down anybody's throat.  A conservative believes live and let live.  That's what a conservative believes.  A conservative believes in the smallest amount of government, the smallest government you can get without anarchy.  That's what a conservative believes.

CALLER:  Then I'm a conservative.  Nice talking to you.  Thank you very much for --

GLENN:  You bet, Ken.  See?  And who thought he was a liberal?  Not me.  He just ended it, "I guess I'm a conservative."  Well, good.  Then we agree.

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.