June 14, 2011

My problem with Glenn Beck

On the one hand, we’re supposed to believe that anyone can read and understand the Constitution — meaning, we don’t need a special priesthood to interpret the thing (and of course, this is true, assuming a base level of reading comprehension and intelligence, and assuming one can get past the fact that the document itself is like, over a hundred years old!); and yet at the same time, the Federalist Papers, we’re to understand today, are so arcane and abstruse and unintelligible that they aren’t even being taught anymore — a problem happily solved by Beck’s latest offering, a book that rewrites the Federalist Papers using modern language, which can be yours for only however many dollars (through the website, blah blah blah).

Listen: I understand and appreciate the impulse to get people to read and understand the foundational documents of this country. The goal is laudable, and the rewards of a more engaged and informed citizenry are invaluable.

But for Chrissakes, think through the pitches you make to sell your audience — and understand that, to a certain segment of your potential listeners, it is clear that should people take your arguments at face value (rather than contextualize them as the sales pitches they are), you are laying the groundwork for more harm than good, when it comes to the argument of Constitutional interpretation and judicial hermeneutics.

Okay?

Good. Fine, then.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 2:57pm
157 comments | Trackback

Comments (157)

  1. The Left keeps telling us that those Dead Old White Guys aren’t relevant anymore. If Beck has managed to make the Federalist Papers accessible to those who have difficulty understanding what a “well-regulated militia” meant in the late 1700s, then good on him.

  2. I’ve heard and had similar arguments about dumbed-down translations of the Bible, like the New International and {shudder} the Living Bible. The pro-dumb argument is that the King James is really old and not relevant and that NIS/Living/etc can be understood by third graders and that’s a good thing! My argument (which I cribbed from someone else) is that the Bible perhaps contains concepts that can’t be grasped by a third grader and that the translation should reflect that, and that the goal of parents and preachers is to teach third graders to grow into adults who can understand the full Bible — not to dumb the Bible down into a pablum that adults with third grade brains won’t be offended by.

    /rant

  3. We need merely bear in mind that when we resort to translators we make ourselves into their slaves. If we see this with clarity, it may help.

  4. I’m more of an Anti-Federalist chick myself, btw. Those guys knew what was going on.

  5. sdferr, wise words for Biblical scholars and classical liberals, alike.

  6. The Federalist Papers are all well and good, but one should check out the Anti Federalist Papers. I heard the pitch on Beck this AM and thought that Beck didn’t do his research thoroughly enough.

    See Free Republic threads here:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2433293/posts
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2686142/posts

    I followed the threads and it was interesting to read, in the Anti Federalist Papers, fears expressed that have since become a reality.

  7. It also helps to remember that translator and traitor share the same Latin root.

  8. Hey Ella,

    Wasn’t the King James translation an attempt to make the Vulgate Bible more … what’s that word? Relevant?

    scurries away before getting shit on his shoes

  9. It’s still too, way too textual. Why not go Classic and aim a little lower.

  10. crystal clear prose

    Were it admitted, however, that the Federal government may feel an equal disposition with the State governments to extend its power beyond the due limits, the latter would still have the advantage in the means of defeating such encroachments. If an act of a particular State, though unfriendly to the national government, be generally popular in that State and should not too grossly violate the oaths of the State officers, it is executed immediately and, of course, by means on the spot and depending on the State alone. The opposition of the federal government, or the interposition of federal officers, would but inflame the zeal of all parties on the side of the State, and the evil could not be prevented or repaired, if at all, without the employment of means which must always be resorted to with reluctance and difficulty. On the other hand, should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.

    Madison’s Federalist #46.

    link

  11. Yo. If the Fed Man be like all getting up in your face, like the State Man can be all “whatever dude.”

    Or is that not what Beck has in mind?

  12. But for Chrissakes, think through the pitches you make to sell your audience — and understand that, to a certain segment of your potential listeners, it is clear that should people take your arguments at face value (rather than contextualize them as the sales pitches they are), you are laying the groundwork for more harm than good, when it comes to the argument of Constitutional interpretation and judicial hermeneutics.

    Here’s the thing. He’s selling the ideas, because that’s what he does. His longtime tagline has been “The fusion of entertainment and enlightenment” and he’s masterful at it. He is an unabashed capitalist. But he also knows how to connect with an audience, and he’s put an awful lot of classical liberal ideas and the history behind them into an awful lot of heads. He’s rolling out a huge expansion of his company, the publishing arm is part of it, and people need to get paid. That said, this one is pretty short money.

    Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the book?

  13. I can translate into New York/New Jersey too*

    Hey Co-lum-be-YA! I got your fucking encroachment right He-YAH!

    *full disclosure: I have to back everything through Minnesotan first, so bear that in mind with my translations.

  14. Does he provide the original text along with the “translation”? That would solve some of the “dumbing-down” problem.

    it is clear that should people take your arguments at face value (rather than contextualize them as the sales pitches they are), you are laying the groundwork for more harm than good, when it comes to the argument of Constitutional interpretation and judicial hermeneutics.

    Can you expand on this? I’m not sure what you mean. Even though I probably should.

  15. I get that, Pablo, and I’ve said as much. But inasmuch as he actually believes in what he’s selling, he needs to take care with the argument he makes. Had his pitch been, “we’ve made it a lot quicker to read through” rather than “nobody can understand the Federalist Papers, given that they were written so long ago by such erudite men using a language that has since passed us all by,” I’d have been cool with. Because not only would it have been more honest, but it would have the double advantage of not fueling the kinds of arguments made by proponents of the Living Constitution or Ezra Klein, et al.

    The Federalist Papers are written in English and are easily understood with a modicum of patience and use of a dictionary if needs be. They weren’t written in Renaissance Italian. Suggesting that they were only fuels arguments that they aren’t particular germane to our generation. Which reminds me of Donald Sutherland’s character in Animal House talking about Milton. It’s a cop-out, one that justifies and rationalizes laziness.

  16. Ernst,

    Wasn’t the King James translation an attempt to make the Vulgate Bible more … what’s that word? Relevant?

    Well, yes and no. More properly, it was intended to be more accurate (at least, as far as the C-of-E saw it), by translating from the earliest original language (Hebrew and Greek) texts that could be found, rather than just transcribing Latin into 17th century English.

  17. Setting jocularity to the side now,

    I think an annotated edition of The Federalist coupled with a full commentary would be very useful.

    So useful in fact, that it’s probably already been done.

    I don’t think that’s what Beck has in mind, however, based on Jeff’s description.

  18. Spiny,

    What do you suppose St. Jerome was working from?

    (For the most part, I’m funnin’ with myself here –kinda like Weiner only less repulsive!)

  19. One of Beck’s Friday history lesson episodes last year included a professor of English literature lady, to whom Beck said something along the lines of *he wished he had a good translation of Shakespeare because when he read Shakespeare it all came out as gobbledy-gook in his head and it drove him crazy*. The professor lady, somewhat taken aback merely gently commented *Oh, that’s too bad.*

    I suspect this episode is a function of the same impulse at work.

  20. The Federalist Papers are written in English and are easily understood with a modicum of patience and use of a dictionary if need be.

    Most people don’t have the patience or the time or the reading skills (hello? public schools!) to plow through that kind of prose. They were written for an audience that had a different educational background than we do and who were not afflicted with Twittery attention spans.

    Furthermore, some of the terms are being used in a way that we don’t quite use them today, so you wouldn’t think to consult the dictionary, and yet you’d misunderstand without knowing it.

    I’m not sure that the existence of the “translation” implies that the original text is arcane and therefore slipping toward obscurity and irrelevance. Beck is thinking in terms of what he—non-college-educated guy—would not be put off by. His audience consists largely of people who couldn’t read pw without complaining about Jeff’s sentence length. Most of them, upon attempting to read the original text, would decide that the effort it isn’t worth it.

    think through the pitches you make to sell your audience

    Beck has the attention span of a gnat. He probably changed the sale pitch eighteen times before settling on one that he got bored of within the hour.

    And he doesn’t have a clue about the linguistic issues we tackle here. Maybe Harsanyi can put him some knowledge.

  21. Hasn’t this been done already?

    Plus there is this guide available.

  22. One of Beck’s Friday history lesson episodes last year included a professor of English literature lady, to whom Beck said something along the lines of *he wished he had a good translation of Shakespeare because when he read Shakespeare it all came out as gobbledy-gook in his head and it drove him crazy*. The professor lady, somewhat taken aback merely gently commented *Oh, that’s too bad.*

    I guess that mean’s Beck prefer’s Slater’s Hamlet to either Olivier’s or Brannaugh’s

  23. I dunno Ernst, but I had the sense then that the question was more about reading and the way his eyeballs went swimming than it was about watching a performance. Only he could say as to that.

  24. Speaking of Constitutions, apparently Judge Sumi hadn’t read the Wisconsin one very well. The decision is in:

    Accordingly, because the circuit court did not follow the court’s directive in Goodland, it exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers under Article IV, Section 1 and Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution, and erred in enjoining the publication and further implementation of the Act.

    From Prof Jacobson

  25. I guess that mean’s Beck prefer’s Slater’s Hamlet to either Olivier’s or Brannaugh’s

    Where does Bowlder’s fit in?

    I’m totally sympathetic to Jeff’s point. But, we must still deal with the reality, which is, most of us are way too fucking stupid and incurious (intellectually speaking) to plow through the federalist papers and understand them.

    The constitution, at least, is short.

    While it is better NOT to bowdlerize them, we still have the fact facing us that no one will read them.

    I’m also reminded – although I’m not sure if it’s of any significance, it just comes to mind – that we routinely do this with the Bible. Even the Bible. Ostensibly even the literal Word of God is gobbledy-gook after ‘like 100 years’ and needs updating.

    Epistemically speaking, if we can’t get them to throw away the NIV I don’t think we’ve hope of changing the underlying operative assumptions in how they use language and texts.

  26. Excellent news SW, thanks.

  27. I do love a colossal bitchslap.

  28. Ernst, if I could speak Hebrew and ancient Greek, the original texts would be the way to go. :) William Tyndale (as well as Erasmus in Germany and even St Jerome) were trying to make the Bible readable by people who didn’t speak dead languages. However, they did that without compromising the text, which modern “translations” not only do, but brag about doing.

    The C-of-E wasn’t exactly on board with the King James, btw. Tyndale was executed, then dug up and re-executed for heresy. Dedicating the King James Bible to the king was a political ploy by the finishing translator to try to keep his head. (And it didn’t hurt that James was Protestant while Henry VIII was at one point a devout Catholic.)

  29. … we still have the fact facing us that no one will read them.

    Or relatedly, beyond them. I mean, when Madison or Hamilton invoke Montesquieu as an Authority, has Beck seen fit to go see what they mean by that? And if he had, when once arriving at Montesquieu and finding there Montesquieu invoking Polybius, say, does he then chase that down too?

  30. sdferr, I think Mencius Moldbug calls that “slow history,” and Beck is more a MacDonald’s drive-thru history kind of guy.

  31. Re: The decision is in

    I say impeach the bitch. She knew what she was doing.

  32. Or, possibly, not history at all.

  33. Ah hell, as everyone who’s read The Bible according to Vinci already knows, it was just a summer creative writing workshop sponsored by the emperor at his summer villa in Nicea. At the end of the workshop, they voted on the best stories and published them in an anthology.

  34. “Beck is more a MacDonald’s drive-thru history kind of guy.”

    he senses we are living in perilous times and bringing as many people up to speed as quickly as possible is imperative?

  35. What we really could use would be for the guys at Liberty Fund to start putting out a reader’s digest version of their catalog.

  36. Pingback: Dumbing Down the Federalist Papers | The American Catholic

  37. Hrm. Having read the comments, I see some of you beat me to the bible example.

    However, none of you beat me to the copyright office. So cut it the fuck out or I’ll sue you, you time travelling theives.

  38. newrouter, my only problem with Beck is that he senses we live in perilous times and falls back on rah-rah platitudes, misplaced patriotism, and a kumbya certitude that the Other Side is full of Good Men who are just wrong but if we think enough good thoughts Team R will take over and everything will be as non-catastrophic as it was under Bush the Younger But Still Good.

    I quit listening to him about a year ago, so maybe he’s sobered up some. But he would get so close to that precipice and then scare himself backward.

  39. “and a kumbya certitude that the Other Side is full of Good Men who are just wrong ”

    he calls the other side(leftists/islamists) evil these days.

  40. I’ve read the federalist papers a few times. I’m no rocket scientist but I get it.

    Ya got yer liberty and ya got yer responsibilty.

    How hard is this stuff?

  41. “How hard is this stuff?”

    making the text accessible to a larger(progg dumb down) audience is bad?

  42. Follow the argument I’m making, newrouter. No, it’s not bad to make the text accessible to more people. Yes, it is dangerous to do so using the argument that the original can no longer really be understood — particularly at a time when progressives are using the same argument to call for the marginalization of the Constitution as written and intended.

    I thought I’d made that clear. Reducing the argument to what it isn’t and then throwing an ironic / bemused question mark on the end doesn’t further the discussion.

  43. I quit listening to him about a year ago, so maybe he’s sobered up some. But he would get so close to that precipice and then scare himself backward.

    Honestly, what originally gave me my generally positive impression of Beck and made me notice him was that he does get so close to the precipice. And that’s not to be taken for granted.

    He may scare himself backward, but so few with his kind of audience dare even acknowledge the thing.

    I first really took note and remembered him when he was arguing it might be better not to vote for republicans if republicans won’t really oppose the left agenda.

    That was a mindblowing thing to hear coming out of a mainstream-y, Fox News republican sort of media mouthpiece.

    He ain’t perfect, but compared to his competition there is little contest. If not Beck, who instead should your relatives and friends be watching, O’Reilly? Bill Maher?

    That being said I’m not a regular listener/viewer either. I just think he’s great for the generic you to listen to, not me… The clips I’ve seen/heard, he ain’t terrible though, seems to have both his entertaining moments as well as his informative/edifying ones.

  44. I get Jeff’s argument, but I think it’s probably on balance a good thing if it gets more people curious about our foundational documents. I’d be curious to see how different his version is from the original wording.

    Also, I’m torn as to whether this gives ammuntion to the left since they already say that the fed papers can’t be understood. The case could be made that by offering a modern “translation”, Beck puts paid to that argument.

  45. Once again: it is of course a good thing if more people get curious about our foundational documents. And Beck’s role in making that happen is to be applauded. So long as in doing so he doesn’t inadvertently advance arguments that are on balance damaging to the principles of originalism, classical liberalism, and the transference of meaning through language.

  46. “it is dangerous to do so using the argument that the original can no longer really be understood”

    i think beck is trying to make the text “readily understood” to his buyers. he’s selling to joe/jane the plumber. to compare the writing in the federalist to the language of the constitution is to examine apples and oranges. the constitution is written in short declarative sentences while the federalists papers have more of an academic “on the one hand” quality to them. i’ll be partial to your concern when beck starts selling “glenn beck’s updated constitution”.

  47. It is like rewriting Shakespeare–You go from Taming of the Shrew to Ten Things I Hate About You.

  48. also some back story: beck threw this out on his show 2-3 years ago. a listener decided to do it. the listener showed his manuscript of the updated version to beck at a function 6-9 months ago. so this is a glenn beck product ie many folks working on it.

  49. “It is like rewriting Shakespeare”

    could rewrite @10 madison for a general audience?

  50. Understood Jeff, I’m just holding out the possibility – in devil’s advocate fashion – that it’s not as damaging as you may be assessing. That, indeed, it may be damaging to the left’s argument.

    Mea culpa: I haven’t actually seen Beck’s sales pitch, so I don’t really know how egregious it is…so, I should probably just shut the hell up.

  51. I know what Beck is doing. I’m saying he’s going about selling it using a dangerous argument. To make the text easier to get through is one thing; to suggest the original can’t be read nowadays given the difficult of the language — as he did today — is problematic.

  52. “Yes, it is dangerous to do so using the argument that the original can no longer really be understood”

    I don’t think Beck said that, just that it can be a pain in the ass to understand, not impossible (like Shakespeare is, at least to him). To him, this is an education tool, like a textbook aid, not a replacement for the text.

    I think the thing to have in mind is, Beck has made a mantra out of “Don’t trust what anyone says, even me, check things out yourself”.

    He admits he was a big ‘ol loser, and has been on a personal journey of discovery (sorry, it’s hard to take Becks perspective and not be corny). He reports what he has come across, while urging his listeners to research it themselves. All while using the above mantra.

    All in all, I think Beck has been responsible for more people actually cracking open the Federalist Papers than anyone in the last twenty years. He gets a lot of feedback, I’m sure, and I would surmise much of it commenting on the difficulty of the prose and sentence structure. This book is a stab at helping.

    Worse case it’s just another edition of cliff notes. That’s not so bad, is it?

  53. Problematic, yes.

    Problematic still though, in that it’s … well… kinda… well… true.

    Unless someone is selling a book or program that substitutes for the classical education no one got in school, I don’t give John Q. Public a snowball’s chance in hell. Might as well give them Dante. In fact, to give them Dante, might as well give them Dante in the original Italian. Or the Old English Beowulf.

    I wonder how many people these days really can’t make sense of Shakespeare.

    Problematic, but still. To phrase things your way is more helpful to the cause, but inconvienently, and sadly, to say ‘the federalist papers are these days basically utterly incomprehensible to most people’ is probably accurate.

  54. Most people don’t have the patience or the time or the reading skills (hello? public schools!) to plow through that kind of prose. They were written for an audience that had a different educational background than we do and who were not afflicted with Twittery attention spans.

    It’s almost like you’re referring to the courts.

    …which is to say that this:

    Unless someone is selling a book or program that substitutes for the classical education no one got in school, I don’t give John Q. Public a snowball’s chance in hell.

    …confirms that we are indeed talking about the courts, insofar that they’re not doing their damn jobs.

  55. To make the text easier to get through is one thing; to suggest the original can’t be read nowadays given the difficult of the language — as he did today — is problematic.

    He is, as he likes to say, riddled with ADD. He’s done this sort of thing before, with Thomas Paine. Sold 2 million copies, read by God only knows how many people. They sold that cheap too.

    In the pantheon of problems we’re facing, where does the notion that the proggs are going to use Glenn Beck as an argument against literal Constitutionalism fall? Your concern is valid, and it certainly emanates from your wheelhouse, but is how the left might spin Beck higher on our list of concerns than the fact that Beck will get a lot of people looking at the Federalist Papers is on theirs?

  56. “I’m saying he’s going about selling it using a dangerous argument.”

    i say no. “beck” is taking this @ 10:

    “Were it admitted, however, that the Federal government may feel an equal disposition with the State governments to extend its power beyond the due limits, the latter would still have the advantage in the means of defeating such encroachments.”

    to this:

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    “”I prefer clarity over agreement” – Dennis Prager “

  57. Problematic, but still. To phrase things your way is more helpful to the cause, but inconvienently, and sadly, to say ‘the federalist papers are these days basically utterly incomprehensible to most people’ is probably accurate.

    Just to argue with myself…

    To say ‘the federalist papers were, in the days of their writing, basically utterly incomprehensible to most people’ is probably also accurate.

    Hell what was literacy back then 30% or something?

    So who knows.

  58. It’s almost like you’re referring to the courts.

    Ah, but they usually don’t understand it either. They pretend as much as the next guy. Which you know, I’m sure.

  59. In the pantheon of problems we’re facing, where does the notion that the proggs are going to use Glenn Beck as an argument against literal Constitutionalism fall?

    I thought about saying as much Pablo, to point hey “hey, don’t expect the guy to be perfect on every sentance!”

    But then, no one does – it’s not like Jeff is calling for him to be boycotted or frogmarched to Canada or something. On the one hand, I don’t think we can fault Beck too much for this, but on the other hand, a bit of honest criticism isn’t too much.

  60. mr. jeff g.,

    you might want to sell a book review of this publication comparing it to the original to beck’s website the blaze. just a thought. always good to get in on the ground floor:)

  61. Glenn Beck has a nice smile and the best of intentions. I hope he lives to be a thousand.

  62. Ah, but they usually don’t understand it either. They pretend as much as the next guy. Which you know, I’m sure.

    The SOB’s should be the common man’s constitutional backstop, for all those times he’s too busy farming to read and fully comprehend the FP. Come to think of it, there was a time when farming and comprehending the FP was likely considered paramount and therefore un-noteworthy.

    We are so screwed.

  63. But then, no one does – it’s not like Jeff is calling for him to be boycotted or frogmarched to Canada or something. On the one hand, I don’t think we can fault Beck too much for this, but on the other hand, a bit of honest criticism isn’t too much.

    Yes, I agree completely. No one is above critique, and certainly not somebody who makes millions with the talky talky. I’m just going down the list and identifying priorities. Beck is too. Hate makes a nice thermometer, doesn’t it?

  64. We are so screwed.

    Thank a teacher(‘s union.)

  65. I’m totally with newrouter at#60

  66. i say no.

    Again, I didn’t say the translation itself was problematic — an example of which you reference to suggest that it isn’t, to answer an assertion I never made. Instead, I said the problem is the way he is selling the book, suggesting that the original can’t be understood.

    If you can’t connect the dots between his sales pitch and the sales pitches of an Ezra Klein, or the Living Constitution crowd, I don’t know what else to do to get you there.

  67. Ha. Remember that time Beck sold Paul Ryan as a progressive to his audience on the strength of some moron writing as much at Hot Air? Good times.

  68. but is how the left might spin Beck higher on our list of concerns than the fact that Beck will get a lot of people looking at the Federalist Papers is on theirs?

    It has nothing really to do with how the left might spin him; it has to do with how they might cite him as an example of a “conservative” admitting to the very premise that they use to counter originalism as the only proper lens through which to interpret the Constitution.

    To me, as all of you well know, avoiding the surrendering of linguistic ground is paramount. And that slippage often goes unnoticed until it’s too late — as should be evident by just how many conservatives have adopted (and will defend) leftist assumptions about language.

  69. Wouldn’t it be nice if people would read something specifically because they found it challenging in some fashion? That’s half the fun. Checking out this or that thread of the story. Filling in gaps you didn’t even know were there.

    I suppose, in this context, the effort is the thing though, isn’t it? You can always trace our foundations both wider and deeper. The motivation behind that search is still a real positive.

    (Nah, I’m not a big fan of new editions or modern translations where it’s not required. But, with that flaw noted, I’m sorta psyched about the underlying motivation from both Beck and his listeners.)

  70. I remember an occasion last year when I actually watched his show. I can’t remember the discussion, but it was one of his audience participation things, Kieth Ablow was on and such.

    I remember at that time him interviewing a law student in the audience who was in his final year, and spoke about being 3/4 of the way through writing just such a textbook; he called it the Federalist written in modern english. I wonder if Beck hired him, or bought his manuscript?

    Or is this something he says he’s written himself?

    I personally admire Beck’s attempts at thumbnail history lessons. But as often as not he glosses over important points of distinction. I think these are the kind of nuances that are in danger of being lost in any “translation”.

    As sdferr said upstream, by partaking of this work one puts oneself at the mercy of the translator.

    I agree with JeffG on this, The Federalist is easy to read and comprehend if you actually concentrate; that is, it can’t be cursorily read like a comic strip or the like…

  71. It has nothing really to do with how the left might spin him; it has to do with how they might cite him as an example of a “conservative” admitting to the very premise that they use to counter originalism as the only proper lens through which to interpret the Constitution.

    You say tomato, I say tomahto. Again, what are the odds?

    Ha. Remember that time Beck sold Paul Ryan as a progressive to his audience on the strength of some moron writing as much at Hot Air? Good times.

    Sold him that way, or considered the question? You know where that wound up, right? So, on balance, what?

  72. On balance he had some portion of his audience off on a wild goose chase for an afternoon or so. I don’t reckon they missed the time.

  73. I remember at that time him interviewing a law student in the audience who was in his final year, and spoke about being 3/4 of the way through writing just such a textbook; he called it the Federalist written in modern english. I wonder if Beck hired him, or bought his manuscript?

    Or is this something he says he’s written himself?

    No, he didn’t write it, and it may well be the guy you suggest who did. It’s something very much like that. According to him, he took the manuscript and set a research team upon it, and the product of that is the book.

    Here’s an issue I have with it. In discussing it, he’s been very straightforward with the genesis of the book. There’s even a divine intervention angle to its happening, if you’re given to such things. But if you look at the official blurb, you’d really have to pay attention to note that he didn’t do it, though it is there, if you’re paying attention. Fucking capitalists.

    I’m also noticing that it’s a “selection of thee essential essays” when there are but 85 of them, and not impressed by it.

  74. On balance he had some portion of his audience off on a wild goose chase for an afternoon or so. I don’t reckon they missed the time.

    Sure. But vis-à-vis Beck/Ryan, where are we? Net positive or negative? A help to the cause or a hindrance?

  75. I mean, it’s certainly no worse than the wild goose chase Descartes kicked up for a few centuries with his idiotic cogito crap.

  76. I cannot believe that Beck doesn’t understand Shakespeare. I can believe he’d like a Cliff’s Notes version of the more historical plays, but the man can focus like a laser beam if he wants.

    He’s a huckster, and a patient one. If you see his actions more as someone who is slowly building something rather than just offering opinion, it becomes less mystifying. If he was making a comment about Shakespeare being difficult to read you can bet it was a bit of a marketing lead-in for later. He is priming his loyal listeners to buy more of him.

    Whereas Rush is a bit more straightforward in his product placement, Glen is much more subtle and patient. He has to be, because his own products bring in a much higher profit margin than huckstering for someone else. His loyal fans and true-believers are an easy tap for money, and not worrying so much about third-party products gives him leeway to play lots of angles.

    If you’ve never delved into how televangelists operate, you won’t likely see what I and others see in Beck. He’s a televangelist for the Constitution, sure, which suits most of us just fine. But it has that same squicky element to it.

  77. my problem with glenn beck is his smarminess
    his pointing out stuff and t h e n pausing
    and looking the camera in the eye and shit- like we got a tree-house and eddie haskills a liar!
    rachel maddow got that same,,,pause- smarmy know it all
    pause.. the only time u should pause is
    if u can’t swim and u gotta swim so ur gonna have to make a decision and u should just jump in feet first
    cuz u know ur mom hates u and wants u to die
    so u want to get her back with ur bloated corpse so u jump in…
    all in!..
    but life is cruel and u surface all elbows and snots
    gasping like george burns oh god part 7 and..
    ur momma
    ur bitch momma= is there to wipe the snots off ur face,,
    hail mary indeed/ the mother of sorrows

  78. I mean, it’s certainly no worse than the wild goose chase Descartes kicked up for a few centuries with his idiotic cogito crap.

    Hey, that’s been an easy paper to write for generations, sdferr.

    What, do you hate college kids?

    Hater.

  79. Probably missed a block quote somewhere up there.

  80. Branagh’s hamlet is, IIRC, the most complete version extant in film pulling together virtually all of the text from the different versions.

    Myself, I think Glenn Beck is too paleoconservatoreactive to ever be pointed to approvingly by Young Mr. Klein, Young Mr. Yglesias, or any of the other juicebox mafia. Can you imagine the self hatred it would create to admit agreeing with Glenn Beck on anything?

  81. If he was making a comment about Shakespeare being difficult to read you can bet it was a bit of a marketing lead-in for later.

    Nah Joan, I don’t buy that for a second. Hearing it in real-time it was just an offhand admission in the course of conversation he was having, and one you could see him instantly wishing he hadn’t said too, as he began backpedaling instanter.

  82. I agree with JeffG on this, The Federalist is easy to read and comprehend if you actually concentrate;

    Seriously?!? If by “you” you are referring to anyone who reads this site, sure.

    But the thought of most anyone making it through even Newrouter’s excerpt strikes me as really very pure fantasy.

    I think perhaps it is wishful thinking. What the hell would lead you to believe such a thing?

    I’ll tell you what, I’ve decided to test it a bit.

    I’m going to give newrouter’s excerpt to my parents and ask them to translate it into plain english.

  83. If you see his actions more as someone who is slowly building something rather than just offering opinion, it becomes less mystifying.

    If you don’t see him that way, you’re not paying attention.

    2:50 through 8:50 should do ya, if you’re in a hurry.

  84. He’s a televangelist for the Constitution, sure, which suits most of us just fine. But it has that same squicky element to it.

    In religion, that disgusts me, even though I’m not religious.

    In politics… meh. Ain’t feeling nothing.

  85. buttons! ‘sup, homie?

  86. “It has nothing really to do with how the left might spin him; it has to do with how they might cite him as an example of a “conservative” admitting to the very premise that they use to counter originalism as the only proper lens through which to interpret the Constitution.”

    so you accept the leftoid’s premise? me not so much. the leftoid’s are a joke why not just state it openly? their whole spiel is idiotic. the leftoids are credential idiots. fight them on their degrees. fight them on assumptions. always fight them.

  87. so you accept the leftoid’s premise?

    No. I don’t accept Beck’s premise, which mirrors the leftoid’s premise. Which is why I’m saying Beck should alter his premise.

    Let me say this again: Beck’s premise for selling the book today, that the Federalist Papers are written in some unintelligible secret language that no one today can understand, is wrong, fosters laziness, and supports the leftoid assumption that because a document is old and may prove difficult, in certain instances, to understand, we’re allowed to simply read it as though it were written today, not taking into account what the original author’s meant when they used a particular word.

    Hell, had Beck sold it as a kind of study guide or cliffs notes, I’d have been cool with that. Instead, he sold it as a document we today can no longer understand — a fact rendered dubious by the very book he’s selling, which has to lay claim to understanding the source material in order to exist in the first place.

  88. I’ll be happy enough to be wrong about Beck. I enjoyed him, I love his radio show when it’s being fun. His sidekicks crack me up.

    But. . . no. Can’t go exactly where he’s going. Spidey-senses tingling and something is 5 degrees off-center. It can all look really good, really, really close to good, but there’s an intangible something, and since I cannot fully articulate it, I should keep it to myself. I suppose. If I were smart. Big IF. :o)

  89. Branagh’s hamlet is, IIRC, the most complete version extant in film pulling together virtually all of the text from the different versions.

    I loved it.

  90. I didn’t hear enough of Beck to catch all his promotion, so I guess I missed something. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it and my wife agrees with Jeff.

  91. how does one even go about encountering an ad for Glenn Beck books?

  92. Stray thought:

    In terms of relative chronology, we are as far away from the language of the Framers as they were from the language of Shakespeare, as he was from the language of Chaucer (I think … don’t care enough to look it up).

    So maybe it is time to hold a Convention and decide just what exactly it is that we’re all assenting to, instead of relying on unelected and minimally accountable judges to decide for us.

  93. our elected officials aren’t up to the task of a convention Mr. Ernst

    they’re feeble and they’re corrupt and they’re pandering and they’re cowardly

    unless maybe we just invited Mr. Ryan

  94. “Instead, he sold it as a document we today can no longer understand”

    source please. a link or sumthing. even a swiss cake roll.

  95. “It can all look really good, really, really close to good, but there’s an intangible something, and since I cannot fully articulate it, I should keep it to myself”

    Here’s the way I heard it; if you change one word, you’re opening that word up for various interpretations, on top of the original word.

    Gives the unscrupulous unnecessary purchase.

  96. how does one even go about encountering an ad for Glenn Beck books?

    I heard it on the radio today. His show follows Limbaugh’s on the station I was listening to on my iPhone. I was outside lifting. I stopped to come in and write the post.

    Then I went back outside and listened to my iPod.

  97. source please

    Me. I’m the source. I was listening to the pitch. After which I immediately came in side and wrote the post.

  98. Well, for what it’s worth I hope the GBTV stuff works out for him and he continues being successful.

    But really I think he’s about to be very bankrupt anyway. At least this GBTV stuff will be. Prolly he’ll still make money hocking books, but prolly not as much as before.

    He’s gone into a business model that anyone who’s ever tried it, ever before, flamed straight out (except the ones that sold it on paper and ran off to Tahiti before anyone noticed).

  99. it seems to me that recasting the language into whatever happy happy beck-patois he saw fit to re-express it in is sorta kinda an assertion in itself that the meaning of this stuff is fairly tenacious and enduring

    just as the idea that the meaning can’t be distilled in anything but its current form sorta suggests that a fragility pertains

    or not I dunno Mr. Beck hasn’t tried to sell me no books yet

  100. I wish i could listen to radio more but I don’t have a commute and at work I only get the odd youtube

  101. misplaced patriotism,

    What does that mean?

    and a kumbya certitude that the Other Side is full of Good Men who are just wrong but if we think enough good thoughts Team R will take over and everything will be as non-catastrophic as it was under Bush the Younger But Still Good.

    Beck is NO fan of Bush nor of the Republican party, nor does he believe that the progressives and their fellow travellers can be reasoned with–only defeated.

    He sees his mission as getting us ready for hard times so that when it all shakes apart, there will be someone left to rebuild the Republic.

    Someone in the next generation, that is. He agrees with Reagan, who said that the American generation that loses its liberty will never see it again.

    Beck gave up on the GOP several years ago. He became heartily disillusioned with Bush over the border and the two border guards who got railroaded. He says that he’s got a lot of dirt on Bush that he won’t release because it’s not confirmed.

    Beck doesn’t think that we can avert the disaster through political means, because both parties are hopelessly corrupt. That’s why he says to stock up on canned goods, gold, and our founding documents.

    You seem to have confused him with Medved or Hewitt.

  102. glen beck baby prisons incorperated
    it[that which is]
    is a-future job creator bling bling its a foam thing. 4 [ bobby orr] padded wall thing. with velcro shit holding it together and stuff,,
    features
    poly-carbon turtle like slow fart bio-dome bubbles
    which/ when erupted squeek- pauly shore!
    baby missing replacement baby [sung to the tune by blondie-i’m gonna getcha getcha getcha..}
    maybe next week? whatever,,

  103. as he was from the language of Chaucer

    It’s why no one could ever pronounce my name or that of my namesake right my entire childhood. Darn English teacher mom.

  104. just as the idea that the meaning can’t be distilled in anything but its current form sorta suggests that a fragility pertains

    Not what I’m arguing. Of course it can be. Just say why you are doing it. The reason is to make it more accessible, not because it is currently inaccessible, just that most people don’t have the patience.

  105. Also, I should say I was enjoying the show to that point. I don’t listen much, but when he’s not too into the kind of quasi, pre-Rapture stuff, I like the show. And yes, he’s been right about a lot of things.

    But then, so have I. The difference being, he’s capitalized. Whereas I just got into decent shape.

  106. yes I get what you’re saying I’m just wondering aloud mostly for want of hearing the ads

    plus I have a kinship with Mr. Beck we rode the matterhorn together once you know

    and then parted

  107. “Me. I’m the source. I was listening to the pitch. After which I immediately came in side and wrote the post.”

    me i don’t know why you don’t capitalize on your strength. fine bitch about how this deal is done. he’s trying to show the “masses” what our country is about. you could aid this endeavor by helping beck/breitbart/et al. give a review of this book/pamphlet good/bad. i admire your work. just do it.

  108. suggesting that the original can’t be understood. …If you can’t connect the dots between his sales pitch and the sales pitches of an Ezra Klein

    Got it.

    But how is the Left going to sell this:

    Even Glenn Beck says that the Federalist Papers [and by extension any of our founding documents] are too arcane to be understood and therefore are no longer applicable.

    When they’re fully wed to this:

    Glenn Beck is a submoronic madman who flails about on stage to jack up the price of gold and besides he called Obama a racist.

    Yes, I know they rarely hesitate to juxtapose two utterly countradictory propositions and call it good, but I don’t know that they’ll point to Beck as evidence that the Contitution is outdated. They don’t listen with an ear to any kind of nuance.

    Let ‘em try: Beck has been telling us for years that the essence of Progressivism is the idea that the Constitution is out of date, and that Progressives do NOT have our best interests in mind.

    He’s not afraid to think the unthinkable; he’s got no normalcy bias to prevent him from believing that yes, the proggs really DO intend to Cloward-Piven our liberty into oblivion and yes, they can do it if they’re not stopped. (His mother committed suicide when he was 13, so he knows what it’s like for your whole world to come unhinged overnight. Once it’s happened to you, you have no trouble believing that life can turn on a dime and not in a good way. Too many people think it could never happen here. Beck knows it can. And so does Jeff.)

    Wouldn’t it be nice if people would read something specifically because they found it challenging in some fashion? That’s half the fun. Checking out this or that thread of the story. Filling in gaps you didn’t even know were there.

    It’s only fun to the people who have the disposition and ability to explore texts. I can think of dozens of things that other people find fun and intriguing because of the challenge but for me would be the very torment of hell.

    Maybe someday we’ll restore education to the level where people CAN read the Federalist Papers without training wheels. Until then, we’ll have to do with fast-food.

  109. There really are circles withing circles here (entirely new, that’s my own new thought and it’s mine, no one ever thought of it before).

    On the one hand, I’m not sure how the relevant material is challenging, let alone needing restatement.

    On the other hand, I really, really fucking hate giving up the word “intellectual”, “educated” or “elite” to our enemies.

    This shit will keep happening for so long as we continue to run away from our true heritage.

    Obama is not an elite. He is not educated. He is not an intellectual outside of a narrowly defined sense.

    Likewise, better that we’d embrace original works with commentaries, annotations and notes. Those who would read it are our friends.

    But, maybe they should struggle a bit first. Like the gangs do. Blood in, blood out.

  110. Maybe someday we’ll restore education to the level where people CAN read the Federalist Papers without training wheels. Until then, we’ll have to do with fast-food.

    That’s just one of those deals where I’m inclined to think we just do it. It’s too easy, in other words, not to do it because of this thing or that thing. Horsepucky, sez I.

  111. I think the challenging part is that it doesn’t follow the USA Today paragraphing template

    Americans like everything in digestible-looking bits anymore

    yum!

  112. The Federalist Papers: 100 Calorie Packs

  113. the man can focus like a laser beam if he wants.

    Only if he’s on his meds. Otherwise, he can’t sit through an interview answer longer than 10 seconds without drifting off. Stu and Pat pointed out that if he asks a really vague question after an answer such as “so where are we now?” it means he didn’t hear most of what his interviewee just said.

    He’s extremely scatterbrained, very seat-of-the-pants.

    I cannot believe that Beck doesn’t understand Shakespeare.

    I can. He really cannot concentrate well enough to wring out Shakespeare’s meaning, and back in his Jack Daniels days, he was much worse.

  114. “bitching” is half of what blogging is.

    I don’t think I was doing that — rather, I was pointing out a bit of inconsistency that I think it worth noting and, hopefully, correcting — but, well, it was good for a conversation if nothing else.

  115. it was good for a conversation if nothing else.

    Again, I’d love to see Beck introduced to Intentionalism. He’d get it. He’d relish it. He’d promote it.

    But only if someone taught it to him first.

    Harsanyi has Jeff’s ear, and he groks Intentionalism.

    Must.

    Prime.

    Pump.

  116. Gives the unscrupulous unnecessary purchase.

    Okay, I missed this the first time. Good line, Lee.

  117. This is for bh.

  118. By the way, when you are reading Klein’s article, do notice how those criticizing “elites” incorrectly in Klein’s view do so because of their “blind” allegiance to Sarah Palin.

    Perhaps if I pointed it out to him he’d see what he did there.

  119. S’far as I can tell, Sam Clemens and Herman Melville were pretty much autodidacts. F’in elitists.

  120. Klein and I disagree.

    Has it ever been otherwise? Seriously. Where would you suspect me on this?

    I do not like their appropriation of elite. They’re not. I do not like their appropriation of educated. They’re not. I do not like their appropriation of intellectual. They’re not.

    We use terms ironically. I’m done with that. Much as I’m willing to drop the classic from classically liberal and just reclaim liberal.

    Are they liberal? No. Elite? No. Educated? No. Intellectual? No.

    They don’t represent those markers anymore than my valuing those markers marks me as an opponent.

  121. Never debate particulars when you don’t agree with the premise. Klein’s premise is bunk, so there really is no argument to be engaged in.

  122. There’s a chance I misread things.

    Ehhh, it happens. My bad if so.

  123. Speaking of elitists:

    Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson was released from a Baltimore hospital Monday after follow-up treatment for an infection and fever. “That’s beautiful,” Showalter said. “That’s the best news I’ve heard all day.”

    Well, second best, but I doubt Bucky’s paying much attention to Wisco judicial decisions.

  124. Now, anti-elitism is associated with resentment of people who attend Ivy League schools or indulge in “brie and Chablis.”

    This is the problem:

    Yet even fellow conservatives who correctly note that quitting as governor of Alaska and starring in a reality show would not boost Palin’s chances as a presidential candidate

    While I’m no more pleased at that than anyone else, not much of a reality TV guy, rejecting a candidate on those grounds, or labeling her even ‘not elite’/not expert, is nothing more than cultural bigotry, the inverse of resenting the ‘brie and chablis’ crowd, where the brie and chablis crowd resents the beef jerky and a coke crowd.

    These people are not elite by ability, merely they fancy themselves elite by sensibility.

  125. Words are not the only symbols that have been debased by the left’s pursuit of power. All markers have been harnessed to serve the “lie.”

    We live in a world where people finger-march around on maps and ignore and call fool anyone points out the wide open territory all around them. There, there be dragons you know.

  126. Ehhh, this sucks. Walked around a bit and then reread this thread. I’m the asshole.

    I am. My bad. I guess I’m touchy. And probably half fag.

    Sorry.

  127. “Brie and chablis” huh? Now we need to specify which wines and cheeses are acceptable? Signal our upper upper middle classness (or is it lower upper classness, I’m not sure)?

    It’s the pretentiousness of the psuedo-intellectual, educated credentialed would-be elites that grates.

    Too good for beer and nuts. Can’t quite pull off champagne and caviar.

  128. Klein and I disagree.

    Has it ever been otherwise? Seriously. Where would you suspect me on this?

    I don’t. It’s just a subject you’ve been talking about so I thought you’d find the article interesting.

  129. I’m touchy and half fag, Jeff.

    Just learned it tonight. Thought I was pretty cool. But… no.

  130. Honestly, hadn’t even read the thing when I noted it for you. It was part of a group of links in an email I got. The title of the piece put me in mind with what you’d been talking about.

    Then I read it and realized Klein was kinda dickish. Unusual for the Washington Examiner. Guess they’re going for the NRO / Weekly Standard “diversity” thing.

  131. Yet even fellow conservatives who correctly [emphasis mine] note that quitting as governor of Alaska and starring in a reality show would not boost Palin’s chances as a presidential candidate

    There’s an example of that pretentiousness I was talking about. As if Palin herself was unaware of the likely consequences to her future polical prospects of her decision, not to mention decontextualizing her reasons for resigning (silly snowbilly, if you’d only stayed governor instead of giving it all up for reality TV stardom why, you might have been President someday!).

    If she wanted to pad her resume, she would have voted Present. Oh wait. She couldn’t, could she?

  132. I’m touchy and half fag, Jeff.

    Just learned it tonight. Thought I was pretty cool. But… no.

    Too many craft brews. Stick to Scotch. Maybe Bourbon, but why take the chance?

  133. … I read it and realized Klein was kinda dickish. Unusual for the Washington Examiner. Guess they’re going for the NRO / Weekly Standard “diversity” thing.

    I think they resent the fact that they keep righting her political obituary and she refuses to stay in the coffin.

  134. I am. My bad. I guess I’m touchy. And probably half fag.

    OMG! YOU’RE the real lesbian in Syria!

  135. It’s sorta funny because it’s all cool now but I was actually really pissed when I thought I was being called a snooty, top hat type of guy.

    Weird.

  136. You’re not a snooty, top hat type of guy? News to me.

    That’s a joke, son. I say, I say, pay attention when I’m talking to you.

  137. When I’m not entirely busy being a fag and start to feel like I’m getting too awful snooty, I take a Tocquevillean chill-pill as a reminder I’m just opposed to be a native Cartesian at base, naturally, so to speak. Higgity jiggity, if the Frogs can speak French it can’t be all that hard a language.

  138. If I ever say that about you slap me till I come out of it.

    BTW WI, cool first lady. Maiden name Tarantino, I like that.

  139. All y’all are good people.

    Keeping my silliness from being too awkward. Good on ya.

  140. Hell, bh I’m still trying to figure out where and how you ended up with a mangina full of sand. I’m chalking this one up to a phase of the moon.

  141. Tis the ceiling cat. Freaking pussy.

  142. Ceiling cats are the debbil.

  143. I saw this on the news earlier tonight. Somehow it all seems to fit in. Not only with this post, but also with the rest of Jeff’s ouevre (that’s not too elitist, is it?.

    As a historian, I want to be upsset about this, But let’s face it, the truth is, given what’s become of education in this country, together with the shenanigans and machinations of the political class, ignorance of American history in general, and of the Constitution in particular, is a rational response.

  144. Hell, bh I’m still trying to figure out where and how you ended up with a mangina full of sand.

    I don’t really have a joke answer for that, Ernst. Things keep bugging me more and more I guess.

    Ask ten conservatives at random which traditions are worth conserving. Some sand will build up. I guarantee it.

  145. Mr. Beck hasn’t tried to sell me no books yet

    If he tries to sell you The Overton Window just say no.

  146. I enjoyed reading that story about the first lady of Wisconsin, geoff. Thanks.

  147. Yet even fellow conservatives who correctly note that quitting as governor of Alaska and starring in a reality show would not boost Palin’s chances as a presidential candidate have been assailed by her blind defenders as “elites,” and grouped with those on the Left who engage in vitriolic attacks on her character.

    This is a carefully crafted sentence. I don’t imagine any of Palins supporters think she did those things to boost her chances as a presidential candidate. She did them as matters of necessity followed by opportunity.

    Also, I don’t hear a lot of the slack-jawed yokels assailing ideological opponents as “elites”, but rather, when the shoe fits, as “elitists”. It’s a fine distinction, but if the yokels can grasp it, surely an educated person can.

    The reality show thing is very reminiscent of 1980. “Say, did you know that yokel Reagan did movies with a monkey? *sniff* Not a serious person!”

  148. Just caught a glimpse of Beck’s schtick on the “impossible” to read Federalist Papers on tv. His attitude resembles that of some people we see, now and then, imitating the unintelligibility of a foreign language speaker, like say a Chinese speaker, by babbling nonsense syllabifications like “ching chong shu wah ji phon …. etc” in order to demonstrate what they hear. Such performances are at once a mockery of the audible but unintelligible, while at the same time often interpreted as a mockery of the source of production of the unintelligibility (hence often easily mistaken as representative of out and out bigotry), when they are much nearer in fact to a representation of the foolishness of the auditor (Beck, in this case).

    In this instance, Beck had an actor dressed in revolutionary period garb with powdered wig, smoking a clay pipe and speaking in a stilted “upper crust-ish” faux British accent, reading a few of Madison’s actual words from Federalist 10 (utterly decontextualized, I’d note), to be followed up by Beck shaking his head at how “impossible” it was to understand what was just said, then delivering “his” translated version of the text.

    I haven’t studied the “translation” closely at all, so I’m not prepared to say one way or the other whether Beck’s version captured Madison’s thought with any fidelity or no. I did have the sense that the historical context was left on the cutting room floor though.

  149. In this instance, Beck had an actor dressed in revolutionary period garb with powdered wig, smoking a clay pipe and speaking in a stilted “upper crust-ish” faux British accent…

    That’s pretty funny sdferr, especially when I’ve read assertions by historians that contend the dialect spoken on Tangier island, on the Chesapeake bay a shory boat trip from nearby Cambridge Maryland, most closely resembles American english at the time of the American revolution.

    And folks there surely don’t sound like the cartoonish “upper crust-ish” affectation that you describe.

    This vignette is illustrative indeed.

  150. I did have the sense that the historical context was left on the cutting room floor though.

    maybe true. but how many americans educated in the current system can understand these allusions to history:

    The ambitious cardinal, who was prime minister to Henry VIII., permitting his vanity to aspire to the triple crown, [5] entertained hopes of succeeding in the acquisition of that splendid prize by the influence of the Emperor Charles V. To secure the favor and interest of this enterprising and powerful monarch, he precipitated England into a war with France, contrary to the plainest dictates of policy, and at the hazard of the safety and independence, as well of the kingdom over which he presided by his counsels, as of Europe in general. For if there ever was a sovereign who bid fair to realize the project of universal monarchy, it was the Emperor Charles V., of whose intrigues Wolsey was at once the instrument and the dupe.

    federalist #6

  151. but how many americans educated in the current system can understand these allusions to history

    That’s what footnotes and annotations are for. It’s relaying history. Is it your suggestion that the new version excises the historical allusions and references?

  152. Is it your suggestion that the new version excises the historical allusions and references?

    not at all. but unpacking historically a sentence such as “The ambitious cardinal, who was prime minister to Henry VIII., permitting his vanity to aspire to the triple crown, [5] entertained hopes of succeeding in the acquisition of that splendid prize by the influence of the Emperor Charles V. ” would be useful to an american circa 2011. who are these people and what are they doing.

    madison is signalling to his compatriots certain historical precedents. the readers of his words, at that time, would readily understand what he was conveying. everyday americans in 2011 not so much.

    ps i was listening to mark levin tonight and he mention GOV. LUIS FORTUNO. could you interview him?

    oh this is fun

    GOV. LUIS FORTUNO: Well, it is true that we are not directly implicated by it, because we are American citizens by birth.

    Having said that, we all have our own opinions on that. And I’m sure that the fact that there’s intermarriage with Cubans, Colombians and others, not just here…

    RAY SUAREZ: We seem to have lost the governor, unfortunately, from San Juan.

    Sorry for that technical problem.

    link

    breitbart and the blaze await you

  153. Just by way of explanation to my own allusion to historical context being left unspoken in Beck’s presentation, I was thinking in particular of the experiences of all the new citizens of the United States of the crisis at hand, familiar to everyone, in the terrible failures of the Articles of Confederation, and particularly of that failure standing as a sort of driving force pressing everyone to remedy the problem. At least, I heard echoes of that context in the passages Beck cited today. Now that in turn doesn’t mean I mayn’t be in error there, just that this is what I had in mind in that comment.

  154. Speaking from personal experience, I found that it actually helped my read the Federalist out loud. It slows you down.

    The powdered whig, waist coat, knee breaches and stockings, however, did nothing for me.

  155. helped me to read.

    am that yet! drunk not I

  156. Even if you don’t know that the triple crown is the Papal tiara (that’s right, the Pope wore a crown back then) or that the Empire Charles V was emperor of was the Holy Roman Empire of the German People (which is funny, ’cause Charles was really Carlos, a Spaniard), I think it’s clear from the context that Madison is using Cardinal Wolsey as an example of an aristocratic politician who put his personal interests ahead of his duty to his office and his country.

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