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Glenn Beck Group Bills Youth Propaganda Camps as ‘Schools’

By Arthur Goldwag on August 9, 2011 - 3:59 pm, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

Though he roundly condemned Norway’s Anders Breivik as a “madman” who is “as bad as Osama bin Laden,” Fox News and radio host Glenn Beck couldn’t help adding that there was something unsettling about the very idea of the Labor Party summer youth camp where Breivick gunned down most of his 77 victims last month. “It sounds a little like the Hitler Youth,” Beck mused out loud for his radio audience. “Who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics? Disturbing.”

This Sunday, the Louisville, Ky., Courier Journal ran a fascinating story about the Vacation Liberty School in Danville, Ky., the latest of an expanding roster of “volunteer-run programs for children mostly aged 10-15 that resemble a mix between vacation Bible school, U.S. history and tea party-style conservative ideas that supporters say aren’t taught in public schools.” The schools, the story added, are run by Glenn Beck’s Tea Party-friendly 9/12 Project.

Beck’s almost unbelievable mean-spiritedness about the murdered children of Norway did not go unnoticed by CNN and many others. But what hasn’t yet drawn attention is the screaming hypocrisy of the man’s complaints about “a camp for kids that’s all about politics.” Because that’s a description that precisely fits what Beck’s 9/12 Project’s Vacation Liberty Schools are all about.

If you want to hear about “disturbing” political indoctrination of children, listen to what students of Vacation Liberty School are being taught, according to the Courier Journal. There’s the supposedly constitutionally derived tenet of the superiority of the gold standard; the alleged myth of the separation of church and state; and, in the words of the paper, “‘faith’s role in the Revolutionary War,’ ‘avoiding the enslavement of debt’ and how charity should not be forced through the government or ‘enable dependency.’” But that’s not where Beck’s propaganda schools stop.

Lisa Abler, who fashioned the curriculum for the first Vacation Liberty School in Georgetown, Ky., in 2010 (there are some 40 of them today nation-wide), told the Courier Dispatch that she based it on the 1981 book The 5,000 Year Leap. The Courier Dispatch elaborates, noting that the book was written “by the late anti-communist author W. Cleon Skousen, who advocated private property, minimal government regulation and the belief that that the U.S. Constitution is rooted in the Bible. Copies of the book sat on a table at the Danville camp.”

“Skousen’s work,” the article continues, “has been criticized by scholars and groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has called it a “recipe for turning the United States into 50 little theocracies.”

Skousen, who also wrote the bestselling The Naked Communist, rose to national prominence in the late 1950s as an anti-Communist lecturer and writer. An internal FBI memorandum of the period described Skousen, who himself once worked for the FBI, as “well known to the Bureau. … [H]e has been aligned closely with the extreme right-wing such as the [rabidly anti-communist] John Birch Society and has been characterized as an ‘unprincipled racketeer in anticommunism’ who is ‘money mad’ and who is doing everything and anything to exploit the subject of anticommunism.” Skousen enjoyed a close relationship with Ezra Taft Benson, whose politics, though he served as Eisenhower’s Agriculture Secretary and was the president of the Church of the Latter Day Saints from 1985-1994, were every bit as extreme as Skousen’s. The pair formed the core of what came to be known as the “church-Birch connection.”

In 1970’s The Naked Capitalist, Skousen revived the idea that the Bolshevik revolution had been financed by the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds and that the Council on Foreign Relations was a Communist front.  He also introduced the far right to the scholarship of Carroll Quigley, a Georgetown University professor who wrote a number of academic studies of the influential Anglo-American clique known as “the secret society of Cecil Rhodes,” “Milner’s Kindergarten,” “The Round Table Group,” “the Chatham House crowd,” the “All Souls group” and the “Cliveden Set.” In Skousen’s telling, this “relatively small but powerful group … has succeeded in acquiring a choke-hold on the affairs of practically the entire human race.”

Appalled by Skousen’s misappropriations of his scholarship, Quigley accused him of “inventing fantastic ideas and making inferences that go far beyond the bounds of honest commentary” and of espousing a politics that “seems to me perilously close to the ‘exclusive uniformity’ which I see in Nazism and in the Radical Right in this country.” Undeterred, the John Birch Society’s Gary Allen also made generous use of Quigley’s work when he wrote his bestselling None Dare Call it Conspiracy (1971)a book that is constantly cited in far right wing conspiracist circles to this day.

Skousen’s name appeared briefly in national headlines in 1987 when the California Bicentennial Commission endorsed—and then abruptly un-endorsed—his textbook The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution (1985). The textbook quoted a 1934 essay on slavery by Fred Albert Shannon that referred to black children as “pickaninnies” and contained the eyebrow-raising observation that the “slave owners were the worst victims of the system,” burdened as they were with the care and feeding of their shiftless chattel.

To Lisa Abler, none of this suggests a political program or propaganda. “People say it’s politically driven—it’s not,” she told the Courier-Dispatch. “I look at it as revealing the truth.”

Maybe so — the truth about what Glenn Beck really believes, anyway.

  • Scott

    Reverend Dan,

    Absolutely correct! I am amazed that any Jew could be a supporter of rightward causes. Also, like the old Jewish joke, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

  • Reverend Dan F.

    Glenn Beck and the rest of the far right only support Israel because their bizarre interpretation of the allegorical “Book of Revelation” requires it’s utter destruction along with anyone who doesn’t accept and embrace their brand of “Christianity” in an Armageddon that they are perfectly willing to foment. This of course would include every Jew in Israel.
    Make no mistake. Glenn Beck and the religious right are NO friends of Israel.

  • Linda E. w2alsh

    Hopefully we will never wind up on consent to a theocracy! The combining of church and state is a horrible idea.and has almost always led to bloodshed , persecution, and brazen scams played upon a public terrified by threats of doomsday and hell by the so called emissaries of God! Hey, and Sousken, isn’t he a big capitalist himself ? Putting his brand of religion first could be considered treason and lunacy!

  • Kate De Braose

    The responses from the opposition here are self-justifying, even though they are currently not supportive of anything the historic church has done, but take all the credit for the good works of established churches.

    Yes, this trend in warlike America does strongly resemble the way Nazi Germany treated all Christian churches and also German Jews. Destroying confidence in anything except great wealth and propaganda inside of Christian churches is definitely a repeat of the phenomenal rise to power of Nazism.

  • Tom

    Glenn Beck supports Israel strongly! Why must you guys turn on him? :)

  • Jessie


    I looked around on google for base model and I could not find anything on it, if you could provide some more information on it I would be thankful because I would like to know more about it. The reason it is interesting to me is because from what I know from my own psyche classes is that the brain is very mailable, and this idea of base model seems to go against that malleability. Also, one wonders how it could be true when their many kids who go on to promote or believe in values as adult that are the exact opposite, or generally opposed to the ones that they were raised with as children. I am not saying your wrong it just seem like a very strange concept to me.

  • Sam Molloy

    Marta Kaye, Most of the Tea Party, like the Germans, think it’s only natural that we use a quarter of the world’s resources and cheat people to get them. There are so many similarities. Loud lies, scapegoats, flag waving idiots. These so-called-Christian fanatics are the biggest danger this country has ever faced.

  • WMDKitty

    Shorter Glenn Blecch — “My indoctrination camps are okay. Yours — which aren’t even about indoctrination — are not.”

  • Todd

    Sooooooo, any ideas taught in school other than your own are indoctorination.

    I remember from psyche 201 the idea of the “base model.”

    Whichever concept is introduced to the young person first becomes the base model. Everything thereafter is compared to it.

    So yes, it’s a race to be the first to indoctorinate the children, regardless of your beliefs. Ready, set go!

  • skinnyminny

    Marta Kaye,
    the teas can only complete it, if the people let them.

    Interesting that people like to always bring up their European roots, but stand by and let stuff like this happen. The Europeans I know will and would not let people like this step all over their rights.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Mental note: Never visit Wyoming.

  • Snorlax

    Beck knows that if he gets to your kids while they’re still young enough to fall for it, he’s got them for life.

  • Roger MacEvoy

    The sad thing is that if you speak negatively of Glen Beck here in Wyoming people look at you like you’re the lunatic.

  • marta kaye

    Since 2001 our country has slowly became Germany of 1933. The Tea Party will complete it in 2012.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    FInally, there’s a way to make children dumber without the use of inhalants.

  • skinnyminny

    Is this why the tea party groups want to strip away union rights for teachers? Is this why tea party groups are targeting the public sector teachers, school programs like arts (music, drama…), so that all children can be angry like them?

    Oh, and Beck should be ashamed of himself. Just last month he was in Israel begging for forgiveness. When an Israeli journalist asked him about being a polarizing figure in America, he told the journalist that he now understand Israel, he likes Israel, he was sorry…then he does this! At the time I thought he was in Israel because he was going to run for POTUS or VPOTUS. I guess this is true, you can’t trust him or people like him.

  • Sam Molloy

    Georgetown is pretty inclusive, helped by Toyota’s strong position on Diversity. There is a conservative college there that could have had a hand in starting these camps, though.

  • Reynardine

    Most interesting: his propaganda schools are camps; the other guy’s camps are propaganda schools, whose pupils deserve to be massacred.

  • Ramses

    It’s absolute lunacy considering that some of the far right accuse liberals of attempting to “indoctrinate” children through early childhood education (Rick Santorum said this last month, as reported by Think Progress) and that public education is “indoctrinating” kids with homosexuality (as Tony Perkins has claimed). I don’t know if they are blind to what the Vacation Liberty School is doing or if they are willfully projecting their faults onto other parties.

    The curriculum that the “school” has pieced together just seems too dangerous for the public good. I’m going out on an ideological or philosophical limb here, but I think the curriculum underestimates the capacity for men to do harm to those with less power than themselves.

    If anything ever appeared like this, albeit with a liberal bent, the cacophony that would be raised by the likes of Beck would leave my ears ringing if I read it off a webpage or a printed page.

  • IludiumPhosdex

    Methinks Baldur von Schirach, who led the Hitler Youth movement in Nazi Germany, would lovingly approve from his grave.

    So would Dr. N.J. van der Merwe, who founded the Afrikaner youth organisation Die Voortrekkers down South Africa way.