I am guessing that you have read a book or two that has been authored by a person with whom you are “acquainted.” And by acquainted, I don’t mean that they are a personal friend, or that they are even someone you have actually met in person. Instead what I am talking about are people such as politicians, entertainers, celebrities, or pastors that you are familiar with and have heard speak. I find when I read such a book, I almost “hear” the author as I read. I “hear” his/her intonation, and their emotions rise and fall as the points are made in print. Such was the case with Glenn Beck’s Common Sense. Glenn Beck, is the talk radio and Fox News Channel host.
This “hearing” Beck as I read his book was something of a double edge sword for me. On the one hand, it made the reading come easier and faster, as if it was being read like an audio book. On the other hand, I felt as if I was not reading anything new. With virtually every word I read, my sense was, “I have ‘heard’ all of this before”, either on the radio, or on TV. And that is disappointing because, I am not what I would describe as a regular listener to Beck’s radio program, and only infrequently watch his hour on Fox News. If someone were to tell me after the fact that this book was nothing more than transcripts of his radio or television monologues, edited for a book, I would have to say, “I’m not surprised. That said, I don’t believe that to be the actual case.
Don’t misunderstand the comment above as me being unhappy with the book. I enjoyed reading it. And many of the points that Beck makes are right-on with respect to the myriad of problems we are facing in our country and the apparent inclination to solve them with more and more and still more and then even more government spending and interference. To his credit, Beck supports his arguments against the expansion to government influence and control, with statistics and historical examples of the failure of such a strategy.
Beck was inspired to write his book, by another book with the same title, written 230 some odd years ago, by Thomas Paine. In 1776, Paine wrote a pamphlet decrying the impact of the British Empire on our original 13 colonies and encouraging a revolution. The one that actually took place just a few months after the publication of his pamphlet. Paine’s Common Sense was apparently inspirational to the framing of our Declaration of Independence from England.
While I enjoyed the points that Beck makes in this book, perhaps even more enjoyable was the fact that Beck published Thomas Paine’s Common Sense as an appendix to his own. Not only was this a really interesting read, but it also stood as an important reminder of the almost indescribable wisdom of those men who were responsible for the forming and framing of our nation. And what a stark contrast they present to the current day nuckleheads that populate the halls of Congress and the West Wing of the White House, and their breathtaking lack of that same wisdom.
God help us!