The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

In New Novel, Glenn Beck Warns of Squirrel-Worshipping Socialists

By Leah Nelson on November 27, 2012 - 8:10 am, Posted in Conspiracies

America’s favorite far-right entertainer, Glenn Beck, has always got the scoop on the coming End of the World and how to protect yourself from it. When he’s not urging fans to buy guns and gold, he’s telling them to build bunkers and stock up on food.

Now, just in time for the holidays, the fear-mongering eschatologist is shilling for a new prophecy of doom – one that comes wrapped in a neat dust jacket, ready to stuff in your loved one’s stocking.

Released on Nov. 20, Beck’s latest contribution to the American literary scene is Agenda 21, a dystopian novel set in a not-too-distant future in which America has been taken over by radical socialist environmentalist atheistic technocrats who steal babies and control all citizens with an iron fist, watching and reporting on everything they do.

Weirdly enough, Agenda 21 brings to mind no book so much as Margaret Atwood’s feminist masterpiece The Handmaid’s Tale, also set in a not-too-distant-future America. Atwood’s dystopian future is overseen by Christian televangelists who run a patriarchal dictatorship centered on reproduction in which women are completely subjugated to men, and reproduction is subjugated to everything.

Agenda 21 is a near-perfect political inverse with a very similar plotline. Its protagonist is Emmeline, a teenaged girl who lives in a Republic ruled by supreme leader “Fabian” (doubtless a reference to the Fabian Society, a U.K.-based socialist group that formed around the turn of the 20th Century which favored a gradualist approach to implementing socialism and some of whose early members embraced eugenics) and countless minions who monitor every aspect of citizens’ lives.

Unlike the religious fanatics of The Handmaid’s Tale, the authorities who control Emmeline’s universe are ardent atheists who have destroyed all the churches and forbidden citizens to utter the word “God.” In this world, human life has no value: squirrels run free and are feted with the ever-diminished crop yields, while humans are interned in highly regulated compounds (FEMA camps, anyone?) and must work endless hours, sustaining themselves only on tasteless “nourishment cubes.” All children are raised in collectivist villages, and deformed babies, people who can no longer produce and dissidents are “recycled” in a plant that employs teenagers to its ugly work.

Though it’s a work of fantasy, Agenda 21 is named after a United Nations sustainability plan that Beck and other conspiracy theorists have described as a vast and vicious plot to take complete control of all the world’s resources, implementing a communist dictatorship that will deprive Americans of their constitutional rights. In reality, Agenda 21 is a voluntary, non-binding, and not terribly successful U.N. agenda for sustainability that was signed in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush and 177 other world leaders, who have since proceeded to do practically nothing to implement even its most basic provisions.

Though it’s not an excruciatingly bad read, Agenda 21 is replete with tired similes and grating staccato sentences that beat a repetitious rhythm as unimaginative and predictable as its plot.

At the novel’s beginning, Emmeline lives with her parents in a tiny space just big enough for sleeping mats and the treadmill-like “energy boards” on which she and her mother must walk interminable hours to feed energy into the Republic’s insatiable power grid.

There are no books, prayer is forbidden, hard currency has been eliminated, and only government agents are allowed to carry firearms. Citizens subsist on their nourishment cubes, while squirrels, wolves and birds are worshipped and fed until they proliferate and fill the wild lands between compounds. At night, humans must attend Social Update meetings, where they pledge allegiance to the earth and mindlessly praise the Republic.

Under the tutelage of her mother, a former high school history and Sunday School teacher who revered the Founding Fathers, Emmeline learns a bit about the “before-times,” when she and her parents lived on a big farm in Kansas.

But everything changes when it is discovered that Emmeline is of reproductive age. Whisked to a medical clinic for invasive testing which confirms her fertility, she is issued a headscarf – which like all women of childbearing age she must wear whenever she is outside of her living space – and quickly “paired” with a total stranger with whom she must reproduce. Like all children, the little girl she bears is to be raised in a sterile “children’s village,” to be reared by the state according to scientific standards. Emmeline herself is one of the last “homeschooled” children with actual parents – a fact that makes her the subject of much smirking by younger people raised by the government, but which ultimately gives her the strength and knowledge to escape. Which, of course, she eventually does, bringing Beck’s tale, mercifully, to its utterly predictable conclusion.

Actually, as it turns out, Beck is not even the true author of this plodding opus. According to a Nov. 19 article published in Salon, that honor belongs to woman named Harriet Parke, who agreed to be advertised as its ghost-writer but in fact wholly conceived of and wrote the story, agreeing later to cede ownership of the idea to Beck, presumably in exchange for the better visibility and money his name would bring her.

His name isn’t the only thing Beck added to Parke’s work. Never subtle, the former Fox News star appended an Afterword guaranteed to send shivers down the spine of any far-right, New World Order-fearing paranoiac.

“Before all of the accusations begin about me promoting some kind of conspiracy theory, let me be clear: this novel plays out the ideas and concepts contained in the real Agenda 21 to their extreme ends,” he writes. “I do not really believe, for example, that people will be reciting pledges in honor of squirrels any time soon – but when animals and nature are valued more highly than human life, all kinds of absurd things begin to enter the realm of possibility.”

“Like most plans with evil, world-changing intentions, Agenda 21 doesn’t exactly advertise itself that way,” he continues. “Those who are behind it know that they would never get the support they need if they simply stated their true objectives.”

For instance, “Words like ‘equitably’ should always ring alarm bells.” Why? Because “‘[e]quitable’ means something very different to developing countries than it does to Americans. Whereas we might believe that increasing our gas mileage, using dimmer switches on our lights, or programming our thermostats is doing our fair share, the rest of the world strongly disagrees. They don’t want our conservation, they want our money. Our technology. Our land and natural resources.”

“At its core, “ Beck writes, “Agenda 21 is all about control.” And if concerned citizens don’t put a stop to it, he warns, Agenda 21 could be a tool to make it illegal to build a fence; chop down a tree; have more than one child; or even (horrors!) to dump a cup of coffee in the ocean.

Beck is hardly the first far-right figures to embrace the idea that sustainable development is a socialist conspiracy. In 2002, libertarian commentator and former Ron Paul aide Lew Rockwell – who has also been known to issue his own doomsday warnings about an impending U.S. civil war – ran on his website an article claiming that environmentalism is a crypto-communist plot whose ideological leaders include Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the USSR, and Muammar Qaddafi, the eccentric Libyan dictator who was deposed in 2011 and was later killed.

WorldNetDaily, a far-right online clearinghouse for all manner of conspiracist nonsense, is also on board with the environmentalism-as-communism meme. In 2012, for instance, WND columnist Brian Sussman revealed to readers that environmentalists belong to a religion called “biocentrism” whose earth-worshipping adherents celebrate rites such as buying hybrid vehicles, becoming vegans, “[a]nd for the exceptionally devout,” having abortions “to fight global warming.”

Charles Krauthammer, an influential neoconservative pundit, has also jumped on the bandwagon. In a 2009 column for the Washington Post, he warned that socialists in the thrall of the “newest religion: environmentalism,” are intent on “shaking down the industrial democracies in the name of the environment.” “[E]nvironmentalism is becoming the new socialism, i.e., the totemic ideal in the name of which government seizes the commanding heights of the economy and society,” Krauthammer wrote.

Nor is Beck the first to seize on the idea that Agenda 21 is an evil menace that must be stopped. That dubious honor belongs to the American Policy Center, an antigovernment group whose leader, Tom DeWeese, has spent years telling anyone who will listen that the U.N.’s nonbinding sustainability initiative is really a plot by “international forces” intent on “turning [American] communities into little soviets.” Phyllis Schlafly’s ultraconservative Eagle Forum has taken up the anti-green flag, as has the resurgent John Birch Society, best known for claiming that President Eisenhower was a secret communist and that water fluoridation was a communist plot to poison America. In 2011, JBS launched a massive campaign to spread the word about of Agenda 21’s perfidy, warning that the ultimate goal of this 20-year-old plan is nothing less than a new world order in which rural regions will be depopulated and foreign bureaucrats will mandate family size here in the United States, imposing forced abortions as they do in communist China.

Alabama, Hatewatch’s home state, bought the propaganda, and in May became the first state to outlaw Agenda 21 altogether. Also spooked, the Republican National Committee in January passed a resolution opposing Agenda 21, decrying the nonbinding measure as “a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control.” Counties in various states have adopted similar resolutions, as has the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Ironically, Agenda 21’s agents are not nearly as certain of their power as Beck and his fellow fear-mongers are. According to a “review of the implementation of Agenda 21” issued by the United Nations’ division of sustainability development in January 2012, “[o]verall … progress on Agenda 21 has been limited,” with “no progress” or “regression” in the areas of promoting sustainable human settlement development and changing consumption patterns. (In other words, the ultra-spartan “living spaces” Beck’s book envisions are not exactly around the corner.) The bottom line is that, as has been amply demonstrated by decades of failed peacekeeping initiatives, humanitarian interventions, and other unsuccessful efforts, the U.N. is a cumbersome body with lots of high-minded ideals but little ability to implement them. As with fears that this international coalition will somehow manage to confiscate Americans’ guns and obliterate the Second Amendment, the idea that it will seize control of property and implement an enviro-communist technocratic dictatorship is not only paranoid, but patently absurd.

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  • Kiwiwriter

    CM:

    I was not aware that Nicole Richie got two novels and one to the Times’ top 40 best-seller list, based on her connection to Paris Hilton. I shudder to guess what they are about.

    The scary thing is realizing that Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton would get better seats in a restaurant than Charlotte Bronte, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Emmanuel Kant.

  • Erika

    i believe we can reasonably predict that regardless of what they produce it is likely to produce appropriate fodder if MST3K ever returns to the air.

    Although i have to say that when i actually tried watching the Glenn Beck Show expecting to see a train wreck based upon all of the crazy, i was dismayed to discover that not only was he crazy, he also managed to be boring. i really had no idea that total insanity could be transformed into such utter banality. Although, one somewhat funny thing is that it was one of those episodes with David Barton talking about “history” of the founding fathers something about the women of the revolution (i do not believe that Abigail Adams would approve of them) so it looked like they brought in every female intern at Fox News (or News Corp) to have a sufficient number of young women to be his audience (and come to think of it, they all even when asking the no doubt canned questions managed to seem totally bored and uninterested).

    So maybe i did observe a train wreck – just an extremely boring one. So i kind of have a feeling that the movies they produce will make “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” seem well thought out and interesting by comparison.

    And you have to marvel at the top one percent’s thinking – if an entire news network (admittedly about the most amateurish and inept news network imaginable) and billions of dollars worth of negative ads couldn’t lead them to victory, how will bad direct to video movies (does that Right Network that Kelsey Grammar was trying to set up still exist?) which i fully expect to rival Mike Huckabee’s painfully bad (in every possible way) American “history” propaganda cartoons for children for ineptness.

  • aadila

    Nope, confirmed by this point. I thought it was just trade talk but no, it is indeed true. Glenn Beck is planning to produce schlock.

    I don’t understand exactly why Vince Vaughn is involved (for those who don’t follow the many incomprehensible doings of hollywoodland, Vaughn now runs Wild West Productions), except that he’s involved in production now, and I also don’t quite get how Billingsly (of Christmas Story fame) is involved.

    Apparently they plan to do something in a reality show or documentary format but you never know how these things are going to pan out.

  • Reynardine

    Aadila, did you just say that, or is my flu proceeding to the delirium stage? (Please, please, let it be delirium. There’s a three foot tall frozen black cat in my fridge. He’s eating the Keebler fig penguins).

  • aadila

    By the way, rumour has it that Glenn Beck is starting a production company for low-budget, straight to video conservative schlock in partnership with Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsly.

    Only in America could the shrinking elite go to such elaborate means to protect the plutocracy as to fund and fluff an enterprise such as this.

  • Reynardine

    True, but at my current stage and age (LXIX, you know), “magic” would be sheetless sleep on a hot summer night without mosquitos landing on Mount Buttmore. When I was after magic, I wore either white lace bikinis or nothing at all (at least a decade and a half back, admittedly)

  • Erika

    rey, most women seeking “magic pajamas” have a much different goal than the Mormons

  • Reynardine

    I suspect that “properly worn” means you keep it on outside the bathroom, but given that the original model was split-crotched, I don’t think it would have done much for you then, either. The current ladies’ models would make good shorty pajamas, though.

  • Gregory

    Erika,
    The phrase that amuses me the most in that Wiki citation is “Second, the garment “when properly worn…”. When properly worn? That is the sort of caveat that a con man like Joseph Smith would use when selling snake oil to the rubes.

  • Erika

    Gregory, it sounds like from the stated goals what the LDS really want are chasity belts.

    Given the history of the LDS cult as being an excuse for temple leaders (i prefer the term “icky pervs” but what is known in the rest of the world as “dirty old men”) to have sex with as many teenaged girls (“wives”) as possible it is pretty clear who would have control over the key.

  • CM

    Gregory,

    The whole Mormon underwear thing was news to me, so I also checked out the Wikipedia entry. You might have mentioned that Wikipedia provides photos of said underwear, which looks more or less like a 1950s gym suit or possibly a 1904 Olympic track suit and presumably is sold by Queen Victoria’s Secret.

    I had a little trouble with this line: “Wearing the garment is also ‘an outward expression of an inward commitment’ to follow Jesus Christ.” Undergarments aren’t usually “an outward expression” of anything, unless you’re Madonna.

    Zoroastrians wear a red cord around their waists for somewhat similar purposes of reminding them of their religious commitments. Zoroastrian priests were the original “magoi” and likely the three “wise men” who came from the East to witness the birth of Christ; in other words, magicians. So a lot depends on how one defines “magic.”

    Kiwiwriter,

    I’m not convinced that “Vanna Speaks” is the ultimate celebrity book. Paris Hilton’s little friend Nicole Ritchie got two novels published simply because she was Paris Hilton’s little friend. One of them made it into the top 40 on the NYT bestseller list.

  • Kiwiwriter

    As a guy with an MFA in Creative Writing, I’m kind of astonished that this book got sold. The only reason that happened was because Glenn Beck put his name on it, and he and the real author see dollar signs and publicity for their political causes. Had Glenn Beck not been on it, this book would have had to be self-published.

    Well, I’m not surprised…Snooki’s autobiography will fetch her $2 million. She can tell us about the bars she has been kicked out of. Britney Spears earned a like sum for not one but two semi-autobiographical novels about a young singer who gains fame under the leadership of her mother. And Debbie Gibson “penned” a memoir at age 19, giving tips to young women on how to be a famous singer.

    And the ultimate celebrity book: “Vanna Speaks” by Vanna White. It has such vital information as telling us how to knit an afghan, that she eats a light lunch before a heavy dinner, and that her faith in Jesus enabled her to cope with success.

    I’ve seen “Vanna Speak” on sale on the $1 tray…right next to books about how to survive the “coming” Y2K disaster. They were pretty popular in 1999,too.

  • Gregory

    “According to the LDS Church, the temple garments serve a number of purposes. First, the garment provides the member “a constant reminder” of the covenants they made in the temple. Second, the garment “when properly worn…provides protection against temptation and evil”. Wearing the garment is also “an outward expression of an inward commitment” to follow Jesus Christ.[8] General authority Carlos E. Asay adds that the garment “strengthens the wearer to resist temptation, fend off evil influences, and stand firmly for the right.”[9]”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_garment

    Right, Gina. Symbolic.

  • Erika

    aadila, sometimes a peach bikini is just a peach bikini :)

  • aadila

    Symbolic underwear. Is that what we’re calling the stuff with a thread count of one these days?

  • aadila

    Erika thanks for the correction. Looking at the list of death penalty leaders, we’re in the company of pretty much every country we say stands against what we believe in as Americans.

    As to Mel Brooks, I wasn’t even aware he was sick but am glad to learn he is once again in fine fettle.

    So my updated A-team for the film project includes: Will Ferrel as male lead, Mel Brooks directing and Roger Corman as producer (i.e. of “Sharktopus” fame, a film I am sure everybody got a chance to see and enjoyed for the high quality work it is).

    As for me having bought the one mysterious Arizona powerball ticket, I plan to go into hiding and become a Republican. With or without peach velour.

  • Erika

    Gina, the only legitimate symbolic underwear is the peach underwear worn by members.of the movement to bring radiant joy unto the world

    Regardless of what you call it Mormon underwear is just another money making scam by a money making cult that views women as being second class members.

  • Gina

    Worshipping a squirrel cannot be any crazier than wearing magic underwear. Just saying

    Symbolic underwear would be a more accurate term. And less of a straw man representation of the practice.

  • Gregory

    Worshipping a squirrel cannot be any crazier than wearing magic underwear. Just saying…

  • Reynardine

    Of course, Erika. The Great Squirrel, Before Whom There Can Be No Other, considers himself too exalted for such offerings. He wants prime papershell pecans and ice-cream grade walnuts. Of course, the nuts he gets are already cracked.

  • Erika

    This concern about squirrels may well explain why Glenn Beck was so concerned about ACORN

  • Reynardine

    Leah, I am glad he isn’t “late”. Then he needs to get back to work- on this thing. Only he can do it justice.

  • Leah Nelson

    @Reynardine

    The “late” Mel Brooks? That had me in a panic for a moment. Happily, it appears he’s alive and well and still making live appearances on Conan (and elsewhere).

    The original version of this blog did include a reference to Ed Wood, who sadly, is “late”.

  • Reynardine

    The first commandment of Glen Beck: Thou shalt have no other squirrels before me…

  • Reynardine

    Aadila, I also write screen scripts. If we could only muster the hardihood to read this thing…

  • Erika

    aadila, a minor correction – while most conservatives (including some conservative Democrats such as those in the Obama Administration) would like for the U.S. to be the execution capital of the world, China is killing way more people than we are (even adjusted per capita).

    What is interesting though in that in many eastern cultures, it is considered much worse to keep a man (or a woman) in prison than to kill them – it is only the U.S. which has the odd notion that its less severe to keep a person in a cage where they have no rights and are subject to horrific abuse by the guards and other inmates for life is not as bad as being killed.

    That is when you think about it an odd notion especially when most of the people who tend to spout it are also the ones who most loudly proclaim this to be a “Christian nation.” However, if you are really a Christian and really have faith, you should not fear death. You should also not kill another person – Jersus’s teachings are quite clear about that (naturally, promoters of that theory will point to the bloodbaths documented in the Old Testament never mind that they claim to be followers of Jesus). It also seems odd because a Christian should believe that even the worst sinner can be redeemed and turn their life around.

    The only conclusion i can draw from the Christian support for execution is that the people who want to proclaim their Christianity the loudest lack faith in God. They simply do not believe the teachings of Jesus and simply do not believe in the religion they so loudly proclaim.

    It is also notable that many of these same people also seek to regulate everyone else’s sexual morality – they are the ones who seek to ban homosexuality and claim it is a choice. They also seek to regulate what people can do in the bedrooms and really seem to want to ban all sex outside of a forcible arranged marriage.

    They also are the ones who most loudly beat the war drums and want to show their manhood through killing defenseless animals. They parade around with guns – again claiming their faith is in Jesus and trying to enforce Christianity at gun point (apparently they missed the part where Jesus was referred to as the Prince of Peace and they obliviously have never heard the Beauitudes).

    All of these things are likely connected since they all of their roots in inseucurity – since the people claiming this are primarily male one can discern what the source of their insecurity ultimately is (which is why while they oppose distribution of birth control even for medical purposes by private insurance companies they are totally in favor of Viagra and Cialis being distributed).

    That is the ultimate root of the support of the death penalty and many other things – insecurity primarily by men (and women married to nsecurie men). The loudness of the proclaimations of Christianity (as well as the desire to force their particular brand of Christianity on everyone else) is no difference from them wanting to have a fully automatic AK-47 for “personal protection” or to have total male domination of society where women have no rights and are essentially property of men. Rush Limbaugh even advocated forcing women to get married yesterday. Talk about the poster child for male insecurity.

    It all is part and parcel of the same thing.

    On another note, i’m fully in supportive of the peach velour becoming the official uniform especially if during the hot months women are allowed to choose to wear peach bikinis instead of a jump suit and for equality sense, if men like Sam choose to they can substitute a peach Speedo. That might also help the cause of reproduction ;)

  • Erika

    And Sam, it speaks volumes that you are completely ingoring the practice of prostitution which has frequently been tolerated and even encouraged in totalitarian and authoritarian countries. In the most extreme example, both Nazi Germany (see “Joy Division”) and Imperial Japan (see “Comfort Women”) used forced prostitution of women to provide a diversion to their troops.

    Legalized and forced prostitution has been frequently used as a means of social control (especially of women) by totalitarian countries throughout history. In fact, if you look as a historic matter, it is really only once you get to the Protestant Reformation and especially the Puritans where you really see heavy religious objections to prostitution (in Biblical times as documented by the Bible itself, prostitution of women generally from other cultures other than Hebrew was common – much of that prostitution appears to be forced prostitution).

    That you ignore that says to me that you simply do not care about the treatment of women and in many cases children because if you did, you’d know that totalitarian regiemes do not tend to be highly moral in their views and enforcement – quite simply loosened morality (such as by tolerating or encouraging prostitution) can also be a strong means of social control (again, especially of women).

    In any case, even in totalitarian regiemes as history (and the present) shows morality has always been only for little people. The wealthy elites have always been able to do whatever they want to.

  • Reynardine

    Aadila, peach velour soils and wears out too easily for work use. Night attire, on the other hand…

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “It’s fascinating to read all the hate spewed at right wing thinkers and people like Glenn Beck on a website called Hatewatch!!”

    Beck is a thinker? It seems to me he’s a con man.

  • aadila

    Sam, given the U.S. has a prison population rate that exceeds that of the worst moments of the U.S.S.R., I don’t see why you equate totalitarianism with anything other than the status quo in America. i.e. free market slavery called wage labor.

    We are also the execution capital of the world, rank low or last on various issues of rights (such as support for mothers of newborns in the workplace), and have been harvesting ill will around the world as a genuine menace since Hiroshima.

    Now if it is the merely color of the uniforms that bothers you, and not the color of tyranical empire, I see no reason why a socialist dystopia could not have a bit more fashion sense and make peach velour jumpsuits the standard garment of the people.

  • Gregory

    @ Adam, hate is not being directed at Beck, ridicule is being directed toward his latest literary offering. It is a subtle difference, I understand.

    I see that Sam has returned, offering his 2 Kenyan Farthings with this observation: “Brave New World is interesting but of course it is fiction.” In my six decades on this planet I have never seen it placed anywhere but the fiction section of the bookstores, but in the Bizzaro libertarian world it might be advertised otherwise.

  • SamDamnit

    I read the first book in the Left Behind Series. That was excruciating. This sounds worse. I appreciate the summary.

  • Erika

    Rey, if only Bialystock and Bloom were real to produce it :)

    aadila, while Will Ferrell seems perfect to play Glenn Beck if i am remembering correctly that hel played the crazy Nazi guy who wrote Springtime for Hilter in the remake of The Producers, because he was very good in that role, he is likely much too high budget for this production.

  • Erika

    Sam, sweetie, so is this book, but the “bread and circuses [and brothels]” of the Roman Empire were very much real.

    Sparta also was real if you want another example of a totalitarian regieme that was very supportive of homosexuality.

  • aadila

    On the bright side, Erika, we still have Will Ferrell to play Glenn Beck.

  • Reynardine

    Listen, Aadila, the only person who could have diected *this* movie was the late Mel Brooks.

  • http://Google Jane Hessin

    How can anyone be ‘pulled in ‘ to believe anything that Glenn Beck says, writes, thinks [?]—-only people who are ‘unsettled within themselves ‘ are open to ‘anything that comes ‘down the pike’ —and find the ‘ones’ who are peddling these wares —miracously almost seem to even look like them —-’forboding and beady-eyed’ —-watch out , stay away from this ‘pike’ ——–the flamingo from silver lake ohio

  • Sam Molloy

    Brave New World is interesting but of course it is fiction. According to the supposedly factual movie “Before Night Falls” the new Revolutionary Government of Cuba started out being very tolerant of Gay people, but turned moralistic and persecuted them within a relatively short time. As I understand it, Gay people have it rough in the New Improved Russia as well. On the bright side, maybe I will be able to find work sewing gray uniforms for squirrels.

  • Erika

    aadila, in a perfect world Ed Wood would still be alive to direct it :)