Glenn Beck's Top 5 Conspiracy Theories

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

In his two and a half years on Fox News, Glenn Beck found time to dream up a seemingly endless number of incomprehensibly intricate, impossibly vague, and comically implausible conspiracy theories to explain what was happening in the world and how everything was connected and nothing happened by accident.

Media Matters offers a run down of the craziest, most convoluted conspiracies of Glenn Beck.

5. Land-Backed U.S. Currency. Beck doesn't like debt. He wrote an entire, crazy book about how debt will destroy the country. And in late 2009 he was very concerned that our debt would cause the U.S. dollar to collapse in the next few years, necessitating the formulation of a new currency. And if that weren't crazy enough, here's Beck's theory for how that new currency will come about: lacking a sufficient supply of gold to back the new currency, the government will instead base it on land, and will use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to forcibly seize land from U.S. citizens.

But wait! It gets better. In order to control the unruly Americans who would resist having their land taken away, the government would ask China to come in and keep order in exchange for "a piece of our oil, coal, mineral reserves, land."

Beck said the groundwork was already being laid for the Freddie Mac land grab currency flim-flam (it has something to do with climate change), and warned: "Look, America, I hoping that I'm wrong about this, but I can't figure out anything else."

4. The Progressive Time Bomb. At the end of 2009, Beck announced that he had created a "plan" to cure the nation's ills, which he claimed were the product of "a ticking time bomb that they designed about 100 years ago at the beginning of the Progressive movement." According to Beck, the progressive time-bombers of yesteryear had laid out a series of steps that "over time" would produce a "socialist utopia" in the United States.

Eventually, Beck IDed the bomb makers: Woodrow Wilson ("One evil S.O.B. bad dude," according to Beck) and Theodore Roosevelt. According to Beck, their secret plan to destroy all that is America eventually led to millions of deaths worldwide at the hands of communist dictators who, unbeknownst to everyone, were secretly following the Wilsonian playbook.

Beck's talk of time bombs and 100-year campaigns to destroy America were part of his broader assault on progressivism, which he famously described as "the cancer in America" that is "eating our Constitution." Not surprisingly, the historical evidence Beck cited to support his claims of perfidy against the Progressive movement often failed to pass muster.

3. Civilian National Security Force. During a 2008 campaign speech in Colorado, Barack Obama discussed the need to expand AmeriCorps and the Foreign Service, saying that we need "to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the military. Beck seized on this statement to proclaim that Obama wants to create his own "civilian army" that will be deployed to implement socialism or Marxism or anti-colonialism all across the country. Beck was never really clear on what the precise mission of the civilian army would be, but he knew it was bad: "This is what Hitler did with the SS. He had his own people. He had the brownshirts and then the SS."

What makes the "civilian national security force" really scary, though, is the way it keeps growing and absorbing the existing national security apparatus. For example, according to Beck, the flood of negative stories about the Transportation Safety Authority's new passenger screening procedures was designed to provoke TSA employees into unionizing, and once they unionize the TSA will become part of the "civilian national security force" because Obama and unions and Van Jones and socialism.

Even more hilarious, though, was Beck's dire warning that the Obama administration might arm the mailmen, who will then join the "civilian national security force" to be "200,000 sets of eyes" spying on Americans for reasons that aren't exactly clear.

And before you dismiss the "civilian national security force" as a wild, lunatic conspiracy that only a seriously troubled mind would entertain, consider this: Fox News chairman Roger Ailes also thinks it's true.

2. Crime, Inc. On April 26, 2010, Beck "broke" what he claimed was a huge story on cap-and-trade that the rest of the media wouldn't touch. It went like this:

In order to perpetuate the "redistribution of wealth" scam that is cap-and-trade, an environmental organization that used to have Barack Obama on its board steered grants to the Chicago Climate Exchange, whose investors include Al Gore, Fannie Mae, and Goldman Sachs. At the same time, the former CEO of Fannie Mae secured a patent for carbon trade swap and managed to steer money to a group called the Emerald Cities Collaborative, which was linked to a Wisconsin college professor (dubbed "the wizard" by Beck) who has influence over Obama, somehow.

No one really had any idea what he was talking about and this was frustrating to Beck, given that he'd done extensive research and carefully explained it using cupcakes and Michael Moore. But the point of it all, he explained, was that "formerly harmless progressive radicals now have a direct pipeline to the President of the United States, who has a direct pipeline to your wallet. And you're funding a new form of what will be organized crime." Beck christened the conspiracy "Crime, Inc," and called it the "biggest thing we've ever, ever done."

What little factual information Beck brought to bear in "reporting" on Crime, Inc. turned out to be wildly misleading or in no way interrelated. And despite claiming to have uncovered the criminal scandal of the century, Beck rarely revisited Crime, Inc. after first "breaking" the story.

1. The Caliphate. As revolution spread across Egypt and the rest of North Africa, Beck declared on January 31 that "this isn't about politics, this is about world domination." According to Beck, the revolt in Egypt was the first steptowards the emergence of "a Muslim caliphate" that would "control the Mideast and parts of Europe."

Scary stuff, but the most nefarious aspect of the coming "caliphate," however, was the role the Marxists and the communist were going to play:

BECK: When you take the Marxists and you combine them with the radical from Islam, when you combine those two forces, which is exactly -- we'll show you this week -- what is happening here, the whole world starts to implode. Does Russia push across this way? And what do we do?

This is not just happenstance. This is not just poor people mad at rich people. This is coordinated. Tunisia was the beginning.

I think there is a chance that Tunisia is our Archduke Ferdinand moment that I've been telling you about, warning that it would start in some place that wouldn't look like anything, and most of us wouldn't understand it.

After being condemned by conservatives, progressives, and pretty much everyone else, Beck set to work presenting evidence that his theory was true, including people "carrying red flags in Wisconsin," Arianna Huffington's "Shadow Party Conventions," and several random videos he found on the internet. Beck's caliphate theory eventually morphed and metastasized to include Barack Obama, George Soros, Google, and children named Mohammed.

At last check, Beck was claiming that his caliphate theory had been proven true, and congratulating his own bravery for thinking it up.

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