Somehow, Larry David teaches us what community means

Some weeks ago, my husband and I were walking to church when we observed a peculiar scene: a man in a white Mercedes paused at a stop sign, blaring his horn and yelling at a couple in the car in front. Unwilling to let this man's impatience disrupt Sunday worshipers, my husband approached the man in the car and demanded he hush. Of course, the curmudgeon turned his ire on us, telling us precisely whose business we could mind. But he did stop honking.

Something worked.

It's easy to imagine a similar scene occuring in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, of which its tenth season debuted last week. Everyone's favorite misanthrope, Larry David, certainly would have likely been a bit more invective than my husband in scolding the stop sign offender, but such incidents make for good—if slightly awkward—television.

But with a more critical watch, "Curb" is good for more than just a laugh. It unmasks something crucial in our society: Our desperate need for accountability.

A recurring scene in "Curb" involves LD confronting a person for something selfish—someone cutting in line at a buffet or taking up two parking spaces. He's become famous for giving voice to what viewers are thinking. Often, bystanders in the show come to LD's defense, affirming the reprimand of the selfish citizen.

There are some superficial similarities between the way that Larry David operates and the soft, overly-sensitive culture that has sprung up these days as a result of leftist relativism. You might even call Larry a sort of "social justice warrior," though one with a very particular definition of both "social" and "justice."

But there are crucial differences at play.

David is a staunch defender of near-universally accepted norms of etiquette that affect people on a day-to-day basis. The principles he invokes are not about controversial and divisive political ideals, but rather, he usually confronts someone because their selfishness has inconvenienced others in a practical way. His call-outs aren't empty posturing about social politics or a signal to his friends of his self-awareness. He just doesn't like thoughtlessness, and none of us should.

He just doesn't like thoughtlessness, and none of us should.

Unlike the knights of social justice raging on Twitter today, Larry David's confrontations are nearly always in-person, too, which is better for the simple reason that face-to-face scoldings are less likely to happen. The transactions costs are far lower in shooting off a sarcastic tweet than in confronting a real person in the street. So, then, they're much more likely to happen only when they're warranted—not at slight and unforeseeable offenses.

It seems that while the angry and political get caught up in the outrage mob, we've forgotten all about the most basic niceties that come with being human. We have lost an important respect of the social infrastructure we erected in order to co-exist in the first place. It's worn down our own understandings of what is necessary to live together in community. The result is a much more fraught society that makes living together unnecessarily difficult. It's not surprising that, as a people, we are rather divided.

We're forever trying to rid ourselves of the concept of "norms," but cultures throughout time and place have had them for a reason. Of course, the mere existence of norms has never been enough to stop people from breaking them. When we do shrug them off, we do so for bad yet widely-accepted reasons. We break them to make a political statement, such as women forgoing bras in the name of social and gender equality. We break them because our selfish impulses overpower our desire to maintain conscientiousness behavior. (We're rude to a cashier because we're having a bad day or we fail to hold the door open for the woman behind us at the cafe because we're too busy thinking about work.) And, ultimately, we do these things because we know that selfishness is the way of our world—and we'll encounter no objection.

But we need objections from real people, because we ought to be taken to task when we're actively squashing the community we so desperately need.

That kind of accountability doesn't need to come from our formal institutions. Yes, our federal, state, and local governments were established to limit the negative consequences of people's selfishness. Our formal institutions protect us from, and deter, thieves who might want to rob us and companies who might want to defraud us.

Larry David, though neurotic and obsessive compulsive, is on to something.

Yet formal institutions alone are insufficient for a fully flourishing society, because they only address the most egregious examples of human selfishness. Informal institutions and norms, then, ought to take care of the rest. And that's the way we want it keep it, lest we bring upon ourselves something akin to China's horrifying Social Credit system. An acerbic Larry David-type is infinitely preferable.

We are individuals, but we're more than that. We're people who need other people, and when we shirk our duty to customs, norms, and basic human kindness, we're insisting we don't. Though if we're to find community once more, we need to take each other to task—not for microaggressions, but, rather, for forgetting we're not islands. Community is equal parts building up when deserved and tearing down when needed.

Larry David, though neurotic and obsessive compulsive, is on to something. Instead of just chuckling at his ridiculous antics, perhaps we should all be taking notes instead.

Alexandra Hudson is a writer, Young Voices Contributor and Novak Fellow based out of Indianapolis. Follow her on Twitter @lexiohudson.

Bill O'Reilly joined the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" on Friday for his weekly take on the 2020 presidential race.

O'Reilly emphasized what a dangerous candidate socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) really is, and how the media is working to mislead voters by depicting other Democratic candidates, such as former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as "moderate."

"The Democratic Party has been hijacked -- and this is no breaking news -- by the progressive left. Which is now being enabled by the national media," said O'Reilly.

"Bernie Sanders is a dangerous man. In any sane time, media time, that would be clear to everybody. But it's not," he added. "It's like, 'Oh, there's uncle Bernie and he just wants to give stuff away. What a great guy.' [He's] not a great guy, all right? He's a totalitarian. He'll take your freedom, in every area, away. Every area. There isn't one area, that Bernie Sanders wouldn't intrude upon, in your personal freedom. Yet, that's not reported. You don't know it unless you pay attention. It's all a bunch of dishonest blather that has obliterated the so-called moderate Democrat. And there are millions of those people. They don't know what to do because they have no voice in the media."

Glenn pointed out that the media has been "trying to make Pete Buttigieg into a moderate" ever since his strong showing in the Iowa caucuses last week.

"So, Pete Buttigieg: Harvard grad. Rhodes Scholar. Brilliant man, he is brilliant. Great speaker. Almost as good as Beck and I. Not quite, but almost," O'Reilly said. "He's only 38, all right? So, the guy goes out and runs for president after being the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, for eight years, and almost destroying that city. The city is in chaos, yet he's re-elected with 80% of the vote the second time. That's what a good BS'er Pete Buttigieg is.

The two went on to break down Buttegieg's radical policy plans on immigration, abortion, gun control, and more.

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck and his chief researcher, Jason Buttrill, have uncovered new evidence that suggests the coronavirus death toll numbers coming from China are grossly inaccurate.

After vetting several deep-fake videos circulating on social media, Jason unearthed shocking whistleblower-videos released by citizens of the communist state that show entire warehouses filled with body bags, along with other atrocities.

Jason and Glenn break down the real numbers and discuss the possibilities of the outbreak coming to America. Watch the video below for more details:

Don't miss next Wednesday's TV special on the coronavirus in its new time slot at 9PM ET.

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Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has surged in the polls in the past month.

With former Vice President Joe Biden dropping below far-left presidential candidates such as the unapologetically socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), and the almost equally extremist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass), Democratic voters seeking a more moderate alternative are setting their sights on Mayor Pete.

But are Buttigieg's policies actually moderate? Not even close, Glenn Beck said Thursday on the radio program.

"[Pete Buttigieg] wants people to see him as a moderate. The mayor of a Midwest city in a red state ... and he's going for the middle, even though he is not a moderate candidate in any way," said Glenn.

Here are just a few example of where Buttigieg stands on the issues:

  • Supports late-term, partial-birth abortion
  • Eliminate the Electoral College
  • Buyback program for assault weapons
  • Raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour
  • Expand Medicare
  • Decriminalize illegal immigration
  • Pay for infrastructure through changing taxes on corporations, the wealthy
  • Study reparations
  • Legalize marijuana
  • Increase existing taxes on upper-income Americans
  • Cancel some student debt
  • Don't use tariffs to pressure countries
Watch the video clip below for more information:

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An official at the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations' health agency, has issued a warning, calling the coronavirus "the worst enemy you can imagine" and more of a threat than "any terrorist attack," during a media briefing on Tuesday.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's director general, said that a vaccine for the coronavirus will likely take 18 months to develop. The virus has reportedly killed hundreds and infected tens of thousands of people, primarily in China.

"To be honest, a virus is more powerful in creating political, social and economic upheaval than any terrorist attack. It's the worst enemy you can imagine," added Ghebreyesus.

On the radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck noted that the same agency in charge of developing this life-saving vaccine, has taken the time to officially change the disease's name to COVID-19, citing the concern of "stigmatizing" any specific geographical location, individual, or group of people.

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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