This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," April 10, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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NARRATOR: The tremendous crowds which you see gathered outside the stock exchange are due to the greatest crash in the history of the New York Stock Exchange in market prices.
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GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): We all know the world is on fire. And plenty of firemen are showing up to try to save the day. Most experts say Ben Bernanke is the best person to solve this economic crisis, because he studied the Great Depression.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Millions of unemployed besieged the government for relief. The United States faced one of the blackest periods in its history.
BECK: People who have not only studied the Depression but fascism. But the firefighters with a plan. Is this where we're headed? Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We have chosen hope over fear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then on March 4th, 1933, Herbert Hoover was succeed as chief executive by Franklin Roosevelt. Under Roosevelt's leadership, the American people proved again that they could meet any challenge, that they could continue the march of progress inaugurated by their founding fathers.
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BECK: There couldn't be anything more untrue than that. The founding fathers had very little to do with it. We're back with Robert Gellately, Jonah Goldberg, R.J. Pestritto, and Amity Shlaes.
We invite you to stay with us for the remaining hour, because this show, taken out of context - oh, which it will be - is going to be able to turn upside-down on its head.
So we're talking about fascism. For people who think that fascism couldn't happen here in America, give me five minutes and we'll explain.
But first I want to lay the groundwork here on the actual word that I think — I say "fascism," because people understand that. Socialism, people understand that.
They don't understand, truly understand, what Hillary Clinton had - I don't have the number here, the Hillary Clinton - it is thought number one. Could you play that? When she said this, I went, "Oh, my gosh." Watch this.
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HILLARY CLINTON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I prefer the word "progressive," which has a real American meaning, going back to the progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century. I consider myself a modern progressive, someone who believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms, who believes that we are better as a society when we're working together.
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BECK: That is the key, "We're better as a society when we're working together." America, do your homework on early 20th century American progressivism. It is Roosevelt and Wilson — are the iconic faces of this. R.J., they took us off of the track of the founding of America where we didn't even look at our Constitution anymore. What happened?
R.J. PESTRITTO, AUTHOR, "WOODROW WILSON": Yes, that's really the question, Glenn. You asked, how did we get here? How did we get in a situation where the Constitution seems to be, at best, an afterthought in all these debates we're having?
And I went on that quest myself. I was originally a scholar who did my original work on the founding and figured out something went badly off the rails somewhere. And that's what really led me to investigate American history more deeply.
BECK: This is where it went, America progressivism.
PESTRITTO: Oh, yes. Yes, absolutely.
JONAH GOLDBERG, AUTHOR, "LIBERAL FASCISM": Woodrow Wilson is the first president to openly disparage the U.S. Constitution what no longer relevant, and then we've been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) aside.
BECK: But he did that before he was elected president. He said, "Disregard the Declaration of Independence. It's not valid anymore - the Constitution," because this is really tied in to evolution.
I mean, I think I understand why progressives fight for evolution so much now, and that's because if evolution isn't happening, well, wait a minute, progressivism kind of falls apart. Because what their claim was, and it is so discredited through the 20th century now, that the founders understood government as oppressive, but that will never happen because man and governments have evolved into a higher state. True or false?
PESTRITTO: No, that's true. And Glenn, what a lot of people don't realize is that Woodrow Wilson was a prolific academic and writer for decades before he entered the public life. And as a writer and an academic, he was very active in the progressive movement, which really went after directly the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence. And really, the progressives were the first big government liberals in America.
BECK: Right. I mean, this is why - you see it today. This is why it is so important. When she says that, you have to understand what an early 20th century progressive meant.
They gave us income tax. They gave us the prohibition movement. When you see Barack Obama try to take money from charities and say no more income tax breaks for charities or religion or whatever - they're taking that down — that's because they're trying to get their fingers into that piece of the pie and bring everybody and point them to government, true or false?
GOLDBERG: I think that's a big part of it. On a more basic level, there is something just very frustrating about this. Conservatives asked to own their intellectual history and that's fine, right? You know, conservatives were largely on the wrong side of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and we should fess up to that. That's fine.
But the progressives did absolutely horrific things in this country.
They were soaked-to-the-bone racists, eugenicists, imperialists. And yet, Hillary Clinton can say, "I'm a progressive." And, "Oh that sounds wonderful because progressive just means good."
"Oh, it is a progressive coffee shop. It must have good coffee."
Imagine if Mike Huckabee had said in a debate, "Well, I'm not a conservative anymore. I'm moderate confederate."
GOLDBERG: People will say, "Oh, my god. Doesn't he understand the connotation of that word?" But we have such amnesia about the actual —
BECK: Let's do this. First, you say that fascism couldn't happen here.
Understand it is American progressivism that we're talking about. Couldn't happen here.
R.J., in Indiana, what do the progressives do with the inmates? Do you remember? I read it from your book, the inmates in Indiana?
PESTRITTO: No, no. I think you probably read that from Jonah's book.
BECK: No, I think it was in your book. The progressives put in a law in Indiana where they sterilized the inmates, especially those who were, you know, nuts. No, it was in your book. I swear it was.
GOLDBERG: The first eugenic sterilization laws in the United States —
BECK: Did you read your book. Go ahead.
GOLDBERG: The first eugenic sterilization laws were in the United States.
GOLDBERG: The eugenics movement flowers in the United States under the progressives. And when Hitler picks up the ball in 1932, one famous American eugenicist said, "These guys are beating us at our own game."
BECK: OK. Now, real quick because I'm up against a break. The other thing that I want to talk to you about - again, it couldn't happen here. Tell me how many people Woodrow Wilson had in for speaking out against his movement, before anything else.
GOLDBERG: Well, Woodrow Wilson had thousands of political prisoners. He had basically a fascisti, an army of goons who carried badges and beat people up in public, conducted mass arrests, 250,000 members of the American Protective League. He had propaganda agents who spread throughout the country.
People were arrested for disparaging the president in their own homes.
One man who made a documentary about the American Revolution that cast the British in a bad light was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Hundreds of newspapers were closed down.
When Amity says — I understand what she says for stateism — I actually prefer stateism, too, in this respect. But by any sort, "it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, talks like a duck" test of what looks like real fascism, what happened under Woodrow Wilson during World War I meets that by a country mile.
BECK: America, please — you will understand history. You will understand where we're head. You will understand why you don't feel like there is a choice between the Republicans and the Democrats especially last time with John McCain and Barack Obama. You're like, "What is the difference between the two of them?"
Progressive — what happened in America with the progressive movement as Hillary Clinton said at the beginning of the 20th century explains it all. More with the panel next.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): With Mussolini enduring a tyrant group whose end was to be one of ignominious doom. In the Nazi downfall, Mussolini has been executed by patriots of his own country, and Hitler has come to an end appropriate to a war maker, the atrocities of whose Nazi regime have shocked the world.
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BECK: OK. God forbid we ever go down that road again, and I'm not predicting that we go down that road. But what I'm talking tonight about is destined to repeat fascism. Whatever you want to call it — state control, where your liberties are limited, whether it's the temperature in your house, because it's not good for the planet, all the way to, "Well, I'm sorry, you've got to go to a camp."
There are many stages of it, but all of them don't lead to freedom and liberty. We're back with Robert Gellately, Jonah Goldberg, R.J. Pestritto and Amity Shlaes.
Amity, let me start you with, because I want to go to the Depression.
I want to talk a little bit about that. But really, what I want to do - because we're running up against the clock now - is spend a little time on who is the person we should look to that stood up against this? Who are the people that were successful?
I know Henry Ford was one of them and FDR. And stood up and said this is wrong. Who else?
AMITY SHLAES, AUTHOR, "THE FORGOTTEN MAN": Well, there were progressives themselves — lawmakers, Democrats, too, who said, "Maybe Roosevelt is going a little bit too far with this core packing in 1937." Burton Wheeler of Montana was one. Another was Wendell Willkie who ran for president in 1940. He was a Democrat, but he said, "I don't really like this. This is too much."
The government thinks they could do utility when actually the private sector should. And he was a man who talked back.
BECK: You know, R.J. let me go to you, because when I read the book "American Progressivism" that you edited, I look at that, and that the best example — everybody can take this show out of context and do whatever they want. But let me tell you, Roosevelt said, "Bully, and we're going to go and we're going to expand and we're going to have state control here. And the president is supreme."
And Roosevelt said, "Bully, we're going to have control through the League of Nations and the president is going to be..." it was the same thing but it was bipartisan. It was Republican and Democrat, and it continued in Wilson's cabinet with Roosevelt, right? This is all of them.
PESTRITTO: Yes, and this has been a long time in the making, Glenn. That seems to me the story about what is going on today. This did not just...
PESTRITTO: As you have been showing, this did not just drop on us out of the sky. Politicians of both parties have spent the better part of the 20th century disregarding the Constitution, shoving the Constitution aside in debates about —
BECK: Discrediting it.
BECK: And that was intentional in the early 20th century. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, what is it — the new historians starting out in Columbia University, the historians that got together and said, "Well, how do we look at history?" And they intentionally went after and said, "You know what? You have to disregard what the founding fathers said, because they were white old rich men." And that's where it started.
PESTRITTO: That's partly where the term "progressive" comes from. It is an understanding of history. It was an intellectual movement that was brought over from Germany where a lot of progressives were educated. It was the idea that government evolves.
And this is, by the way, where we get the idea of the living Constitution.
PESTRITTO: That's a term with a concept that comes out of the progressive era.
BECK: Guys, I could spend a day with you. I appreciate all of your time. I want to thank everybody on the panel. I've got some final thoughts here in a second. But first of all, please read "Lenin, Stalin, Hitler," it's by Robert Gellately. Read Jonah Goldberg — get this in your library, please. Jonah Goldberg — his book, "Liberal Fascism." Amity Shlaes is author of "The Forgotten Man." I read this I think two-and-a-half years ago and I went, "Holy cow, look at the parallels!" And R.J. Pestritto, author of "Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism."
Now, what would Thomas Paine say about all this stuff going on the world today? Oh, he's here. Next.
BECK: You know, we were just talking in the break with the guests as they were getting to leave. And the book "American Progressivism" by R.J. Pestritto will just open your eyes and you will see how our founders were just betrayed and buried in the dust.
And I can't help but think what my great, great grandfather used to say — I haven't told you this before but my great, great grandfather is Thomas Paine. And we were like this. I mean, he really was. And he was a gateman and, of course, we were so close.
I remember when he used to take me fishing but that's a different story. If I could channel my great, great, great grandfather right now, gee, what would he say to America today?
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BOB BASSO, "THOMAS PAINE": The time for talk is over. Enough is enough. Your democracy has deteriorated to government of the government, by the government, and for the government. On April 15th, that despicable arrogance will be soundly challenged for the whole world to see.
Our friends will applaud it. Our enemies will fear it, an unprecedented moment of citizen response not seen in recent history since December 7th, 1941. Millions of your fellow Americans, neighbors, friends, relatives will bring their anger and their determination into the streets, from Bakersfield to Bangor, Maine, from Indianapolis to Dallas, in national tea parties protesting much more than taxation without representation.
They're rising above their differences. They're marching not as Republicans or Democrats, black or white, left wing or right wing. They're marching as Americans, finally united to hear the new shout heard around the world.
The silent majority is silent no more. We're mad as hell and we're taking back our country, demanding our non-representing representatives in Congress restore common sense to the national debate and sending a message to our children and grandchildren that being an American is not an entitlement.
You never end it. You never desert it. It was handed to you on a silver platter by men and women much better than you and I. Your cell phones, iPods and big-screen TVs, even your right to declare you are a victim and blame everyone and everything for what's happening to you except the face staring back in you in the mirror was bought by the blood and lives of 21 generations of our war dead.
Well, now, you have the opportunity to earn the right to be an American, because you're losing your country, and you can do something about it. Do not allow your reluctance to participate to reduce you to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.
Stop allowing yourselves to be neutered by a system that thrives on your unwillingness to demand your voice be heard. You're coronating corruption and decline by doing nothing at a time you have a power to bring back America to common sense and restore our values, traditions and pride in saying, "I am an American."
Join the April 15th tea parties and the 9/12 Project elevating us above petty policies and uniting us with a national discussion of values and principles as our founding fathers originally envisioned.
Your complacency will only aid and abet to our national suicide. Remember, they wouldn't dare bomb Pearl Harbor, but they did. They wouldn't dare drive two planes into the World Trade Center, but they did. They wouldn't dare pilot a plane through the most sophisticated air defenses in the world and crash into the Pentagon, but they did. They wouldn't dare pass the largest spending bill in history and open defiance of the will of the people, but they did.
If you can't be at a tea party, you can show your support in a very effective way, at 12 noon on April 15th. Whether you are driving your trucks and automobiles on the freeway or in your driveway, honk your horn three times in solidarity with we, the people.
The power to change the course of history comes to very few people in a lifetime. On April 15th, you can take the first step. The second step is a one million we, the people march on Washington.
This is one of the first flags that America fall under. It doesn't say, "Congress knows better than I. I will do nothing." Its words revitalized the spirit and passion of an oppressed people and defined their national character. It said, "Don't tread on me!" It's time to hoist this battle flag once again.
Now is the right time to be a patriot. My name is Thomas Paine. I'm ready to take back America. Are you?
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BECK: We will see you at the Alamo next Wednesday. Final thoughts, next.
BECK: So what is it that we actually learned today? Are we destined to repeat? Somebody very wise once said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." That was Benjamin Franklin. We should learn that lesson. The founders like Franklin taught us over and over again to not be so worried about Depression that we trade absolutely everything to avoid it.
See, the troubling historic parallels between what is happening today in America and what fundamentally changed other countries in the blink of an eye. Wake up from the daydream, because it can happen here.
It has been going on since Teddy Roosevelt and the start of the progressive movement. Left and right, Republicans and Democrats. If we can wake up, then we're not destined to repeat.
For more on this and the history of early 20th century progressivism, sign up for my commentary and newsletter of the day. It is free every day in your e-mail box at "GlennBeck.com." It's free. Sign up for it right now.
And don't miss next week's special tax day tea party. It is live next Wednesday from the Alamo, 9/12ers stand up, be heard, be seen, and remember the Alamo.
Don't forget to set your TiVos and DVRs to watch the show all week. From New York, good night, America.
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