Insidious & Scary: Frances Fox Piven Answers Glenn Beck

The Blaze

Editor’s note:  You might want to watch this to the end…it gets a little odd around the 4:08 mark.

Professors Althouse and Reynolds offer their opinions:

“History tells us” something that history doesn’t tell us, say sociologists to protect Frances Fox Piven

Here’s the expression of “outrage” by the officers of the American Sociological Association:

Scholars of her caliber, intellectuals of her stature, and especially those who tackle social conflicts and contradictions, mass movements and political action, should stimulate equal levels of serious challenge and creative dialogue. Being called by Glenn Beck one of the “nine most dangerous people in the world,” and an “enemy of the Constitution” is not a credible challenge; it is plain demagoguery.

So vigorous debate about Piven’s ideas is really important, but it better be the right kind of debate by the right kind of people and most certainly not that terrible, terrible man Glenn Beck. She’s very lofty and serious, so, while she should be challenged, she must be challenged only by lofty and serious individuals, and of course, Glenn Beck is not one…

…When did Glenn Beck call for violence?  Back to the sociologists’ letter of outrage:

Serious and honest, undistorted disagreement and public debate on unemployment, economic crisis, the rights and tactics of welfare recipients, government intervention and the erosion of the American way of life should be supported.

Undistorted? Okay, let’s see you do it first. The “American way of life”? By that term, do you mean — in an undistorted sort of way — like Greece?

We in no way advocate restricting the freedom of speech of political commentators…. Where we all should draw the line is at name-calling and invective rising to the level of inciting others to violence.

So Piven should not have called for “something like” Greek-style riots, and it was good of Glenn Beck to point out that Piven crossed the line, right? I mean, we’re dedicating ourselves to serious, undistorted analysis here. That’s what you said you wanted, didn’t you?

Read the complete post at Althouse‘s blog.

Later this morning, Althouse quotes Instapundit:

“Sociology does not enjoy an especially elevated reputation in the academy, and the American Sociological Association provides an object lesson in why that is.”

Says Instapundit, linking to my fisking of the sociologists’ expression of outrage. He emphasizes the violence inherent in the Greek riots Francis Fox Piven rhapsodized about, quoting this Wall Street Journal article:

[T]ens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.

Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.

Related: Olbermann replacement ‘Young Turk’ Cenk Uygur compares Beck to a Nazi, says his plan is to go after Fox News. Video at the link.

Update: At Instapundit, STANLEY KURTZ: Tucson, Piven and the Left’s Strategic Blunder.

“The hope of silencing Beck in the wake of Tucson has lured the left into a strategic blunder. They’ve decided to turn Piven into a martyr. Yet in doing so the left has tied itself to Piven’s wild writings and over-the-top radicalism. Dreier acts as though Piven’s scholarly work is somehow different from the calls for rioting, crisis, and polarization in her two notorious Nation articles. Actually, Piven’s scholarly writings are worse. . . . A quarter century later the Nation has embraced Piven’s call for Euro-style rioting in America, allowing her to speak with the magazine’s editorial voice. It’s not Beck who’s tarring the left with the brush of Piven’s radicalism. They’re doing it to themselves.”

Related, from Ann Althouse:

Do academics mean to have influence or not? Are we supposed to think of them as oversmart flakes who are tucked away in institutions where they won’t screw up real life for the rest of us? Because that’s the only way in which it makes sense to portray Glenn Beck as the villain. He took an academic seriously, as if she meant what she said and expected real people to hear and act.

Indeed. And one of Althouse’s comments suggests that the logic of blaming Beck is this: “Because if Americans learn the truth of what the Left really is, they’ll want to shoot them.” Thus, accurate quotes are an incitement to violence!

And the excellent Robert Stacy McCain has linked to everything worth reading at The Other McCain: Glenn Beck Wants You to Threaten Violence Against Harmless Academics.

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