Glenn Beck's Kinder, Gentler Exploitation of the Border Crisis
Glenn Beck’s “charity” charade is neither conservative nor, in my opinion, Christian. This nation’s charitable impulses have already been exploited beyond belief through decades’ worth of lax immigration enforcement. The most likely outcome of Beck’s “charity” act is that it will diminish the rule of law and undermine conservative goals.
With his flippant gift-giving, Beck (and his colleagues like Dana Loesch) will make it harder for America to reduce illegal immigration, maintain our sovereignty, and restrain the welfare state. How could teddy bears and soccer balls have such an impact? The short answer is that giving door prizes to illegal aliens will have the unintended consequence of encouraging further illegal entry.
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men.”
Beck is sounding his trumpet in the most obnoxious and self-serving manner imaginable. Proof positive: in speaking of The Blaze’s coverage of the Glenn Beck's charity charade, Beck actually said, “That should be the number-one retweeted story.” Beck has forfeited his claim to charity; he is engaged in ostensibly altruistic self-promotion.
Also, giving rewards to people who have broken the law is not necessarily consistent with a biblical mandate. This is a multifaceted theological and ethical issue, but Beck at the very least should have had the humility to understand that fellow Christians could reasonably come to opposite conclusions on the question of giving (unnecessary) material goods to people who have broken the law. Instead of advancing a humble act of charity, he has tastelessly politicized his decision, blown his trumpet, and lost any standing to claim scriptural high ground.
In addition to lacking a scriptural basis for his charity charade, Beck’s actions are diametrically opposed to conservative principles, while undermining conservative goals. Beck seems to have forgotten that the federal government is not the only source of harmful, ill-conceived policy. Most conservatives would agree that we should be conscious of unintended consequences and mindful of the incentives created by policies and other decisions. Beck’s stunt utterly fails to do either.
The unintended consequences are actually predictable: Beck’s “charity” directly undermines the rule of law by giving prizes to people who have broken the law, or who are here illegally. More people will willingly suffer by attempting to travel and enter illegally when they see that America lacks the resolve to take firm steps to stop illegal entry. Thus, Beck will increase the misery he claims to wish to alleviate. When Fox News’s Megyn Kelly presented Beck with that possibility, he responded by saying, “That may be, but that's not my intent.” Beck thus echoed the exact same argument for nearly every rotten welfare policy ever conceived of.
Beck’s action also creates a perverse incentive. We do not understand the consequences of an action unless we look at the incentives created by the action. With that in mind, think about the message Beck is sending to Central Americans. When you were in Central America, Glenn Beck did not send you a teddy bear or soccer ball. Now that you have illegally crossed the border into America, Glenn Beck will give you a teddy bear or soccer ball. How could anyone who claims to care about the consequences of his actions miss the perverse incentive created by such an act?
Beck will send the message that unlawful entry literally results in a reward. Our border is a carnival, and our country is too frivolous to turn people away. The human smugglers and illegal immigrants will sneer at our country because of what Beck and others, including Senator Ted Cruz, are doing.
Additionally, Hispanic immigration is integrating into the secular trend in America. As a new Pew Research poll shows, nearly 1 in 5 Hispanics now claim no religious affiliation, which is more than the roughly 1 in 6 who identify as Republican. We already know that “diversity” has been used for decades as a wedge to dismantle a shared national cultural and chip away at common values, particularly the foundation of Judeo-Christian norms. Therefore, it is sensible to ask whether higher levels of immigration lead inexorably to secularization. This is another very serious consequence of any act that would encourage further illegal immigration.
If Beck had taken a conservative approach, he would have recognized that the charity charade undermines conservative goals such as reducing illegal immigration, and reducing the suffering of people who undergo the trek and eventual illegal crossing. Worst of all, giving prizes for illegal conduct, even if indirectly, does undermine the rule of law.
Beck is usually conservative. Now, however, he forms a pandering caravan of hapless bleeding hearts, blindly traveling on a road paved with good intentions. Any effort by our government to discourage illegal entry may be neutralized by Beck’s privatized liberalism. In fact, Beck’s so-called “compassion” will probably be taken for further proof that America lacks the resolve to maintain our own sovereignty. The ultimate effect of his actions will be to encourage the growth of a multicultural secular welfare state. The effect of this “charity” will be to harm the interests of Christians and conservatives.
John Bennett (MA, University of Chicago, Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences '07) is a writer whose work has appeared in The Daily Caller, Townhall.com, World Net Daily, Human Events, Liberty Unyielding, Accuracy in Media, and FrontPage Magazine, among others. He has appeared as a featured guest on the Laura Ingraham, Jerry Doyle, and Lars Larson programs. Follow @Jthomasbennett.