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Glenn Beck: Slavery was a liberal cause

Beck I've tried to stay away from all Glenn Beck-associated commentary in recent days -- he's such an easy target and I hate being part of a media herd.  But his latest rant is just too funny. The Huffington Post has a video of Beck that's really worth viewing. In it he pontificates that progressives used to be called "tyrants," or "slave-owners -- people who encouraged you to become dependent on them."

..."Encouraged you to become dependent on them."


That is just priceless. And pretty neat. Now that I'm done laughing about encouraged slaves were (but hey,  at least he didn't say "enticed")  I have to admit that although he's completely insane and thoroughly inaccurate, Beck also makes a rather elegant toss of the race dice.

Conservatives, of course, were slave-owners and liberals were not. Conservatives in the 19th century believed in the tyranny of state government and liberals did not.  Everyone with a shred of understanding about American history knows that. We had a whole war over it.

But since Beck is probably not genuinely stupid, I'm going to say he's tapping into a sentiment that is very much alive in Confederate USA. Many southern conservatives (AKA the Republican base) still argue that the federal government had no right to restrict the tyranny of slave-owners. For it to do so was, well, tyrannical. As were later federal restrictions on state restrictions regarding segregation in schools, housing, public education, etc... Tyranny, tyranny, tyranny, tyranny!

And hey, Obama's half black and half white, so it's sort of neat. Kind of a two-fer. Either way he's to blame. (For being unduly encouraging or overly encouraged or promoting encouragement or something like that).

Seriously, you have to respect this. Saying so much with so few words is really a craft.

-Lisa Richardson

Photo: Glenn Beck addresses fans at Safeco Field in Seattle on Sept. 26. Credit: Alan Berner / AP.


Comments () | Archives (137)

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As much as I detest Glenn Beck, I think it best to just allow this fool to spin himself out like any third-rate celebrity. The public will soon grow weary of him as he tries to keep outdoing himself in outrageousness. The sooner he is ignored, the better off we will all be.


Amazing. Now I know that both Glenn Beck AND Lisa Richardson
are laughable.

A Black Man

"Conservatives, of course, were slave-owners and liberals were not. Conservatives in the 19th century believed in the tyranny of state government and liberals did not. Everyone with a shred of understanding about American history knows that. We had a whole war over it."

-- Probably the most mis-informed comment I've ever seen about the slavery and the civil war. Everyone knows the Democratic party supported slavery, both during and after the war. The Republican party was formed (with the help of Californian John Fremont) as an ANTI-slavery party. After slavery, the Democratic party organized posses of 'night riders' that terrorized Black voters and suppressed the Black vote. Those posses soon became the KKK. Republicans founded the NAACP. The Democratic party's so-called love for Black Americans is a sham. LBJ even said, regarding Black Americans, "give them enough to make them happy, but not enough to make a difference."

Megan B

"Conservatives, of course, were slave-owners and liberals were not."

I don't understand this article. Is the author unaware that the Southern Democrats were the ones backing slavery and "tyranny of state government," and the North was very much dominated by Republicans? I'm a very proud liberal, and I think Glenn Beck is insane, but let's get our facts straight. Slavery wasn't a highlight of the Democratic party, but we've moved on.

"Glenn Beck: Slavery was a liberal cause." This could have been the first accurate thing to come out of Beck's mouth in months, and ironically it's the one the LAtimes chose to fight?


So, what party was Lincoln from again?


Party platforms have most certainly shifted over the course of the last 150 years, so the free associate the concepts of liberalism and conservatism with the Democratic and Republican parties from 1860 to the present is a gross oversimplification.


The the shrill Republican repliers so taken aback, kindly try to note that Ms Richardson (& Mr Beck) compared liberals and conservatives, NOT Republicans and Democrats.

As you're surely aware - back in the dark times of slavery, the Grande Olde Party was the upstart voice of the 'dreaded' Liberalism. And to a degree remained so, till they discovered the effectiveness of the Communist boogie man hiding under every voter's bed.


There are so many video clips available for viewing now of Glenn Beck when he was on CNN saying exactly the opposite of everything he's saying now that he's on Faux News, that one can only conclude that Beck is a principle-less publicity hound who will say anything, anywhere, as long as it gets his face on TV and his name in the papers.

And once again, he's succeeded.

Dirk Quade

When is the FHA going to crack down on the unfair way the banks have been kicking black people out on the street as soon as they leagally can, but have been looking the other way when when the white people haven't been making their house payments for over 9-months. This is not right........

Paul Thornton

@Megan B and A Black Man: Your comment that Lisa was wrong to say that conservatives supported slavery in the 19th century because Southern Democrats defended the injustice is as revealing as it is wrong. Revealing because of the extent to which you identify conservatism and liberalism with specific parties (note that Lisa didn't say that either Republicans or Democrats defended slavery), and wrong because it's conservatives who tend to make the states' rights argument used by slavery's supporters. The Republican Party that nominated Abraham Lincoln in 1860 as its presidential candidate was a motley crew of ex-Whigs, Democrats and others united by their common belief that slavery must end or be prevented from expanding outside the South. What followed from this mission was a belief in a strong enough federal government to safeguard individual rights -- quite the opposite of the states' rights view often advocated by conservatives.

And is it just a coincidence that the GOP power is heavily concentrated in former slave states?


"A Black Man" ... nice post! The facts tend to really confuse people, especially when we have a strong bias.


I don't undertand why we give so much credence to what this man says. He's not crazy, he's crazy like a fox. He's managed to find a shtick that keeps his followers entertained. He is no different than any other comedian turned social commentator like Dennis Miller, and Bill Maher. However, I can at least say that the latter two do attempt to back their opinions up with more facts than shtick.


Why do I waste my time with a card carrying cradle to grave government (re: taxpayers $$) handout artist. They are all bigots, lazy and uneducated. The children of the "greatest generation" are the "worst generation." So Miss Lisa, get a life and get the hell out of my bank account, my doctors office, my car dealers showroom, my bank and my real estate agent. You people are bums.

Juan Quiles

I don't think the terms liberal and conservative can be applied retroactively as cleanly as you imply. Let us not forget that it was the Republican Party that emancipated the slaves under Lincoln although he was willing to keep slavery if it meant saving the Union. To say that the Civil War was over slavery is a bit simplistic.

Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, although she was an abolitionist, grew up in a slave-owning family.

Also, it was the Democratic Party that was in control in the South and wanted to continue with slavery. If a slave was classified, legally speaking, as property, to have the federal government want to limit it, does seem to be tyrannical.

Something people forget, MLK was a registered Republican.

And finally, haven't the Democrats been strongly supportive of all the actions of the federal government that have destroyed our civil liberties?


I agree with "Megan B" and poster "A Black Man". People forget that President Lincoln was a republican. Lisa Richardson is uneducated in the matter and the LA times is not creditable. They are the ones who accused P-Diddy of conspiring against 2pac and latter apologized to him....what a joke.

Doesn't anyone read anymore?

Hopefully most have figured this out but Lisa said.."Conservatives, of course, were slave-owners and liberals were not."

She said nothing of Democratic or Republican roles. In other words the terms Conservative and Republican may be linked, however loosely now, but not always.

Republicans had liberal beginings but they have adopted the conservative and racist moniker the last 40 years to stay in power.


"Seriously, you have to respect this. Saying so much with so few words is really a craft. "

Well, yes, but not quite as Ms. Richardson meant. Perhaps we can take up a collection to get her a history book.


Lisa, you should have remembered Lincoln's adage " Better to remain silent and thought a fool that to speak out and remove all doubt." I suggest you freshen up on your history.

Wayne Corey

Fox on the Right has Beck and O'Reilly. MSNBC on the Left has Olbermann and Maddow. Nobody has to watch the network news or CNN, or listen to talk radio either.

All of the on-air people are presumably paid very well depending on their ratings or for what they do. But , so far, no one is forced to watch any of them.

No, it's not the news-as-entertainers who are nuts. It's everyone who gets excited or mad at them.

Finally, "opinion journalism" is or should be an oxymoron. I assume that this newspaper wouldn't regard Beck, O'Reilly, Olbermann or Maddow as "journalists." Would it?


Where did the author study history? The Huffington Post? I refer you to the previous comments for a brief history of political involvement. Where is the Times finding these reporters?


Lisa: A little history lessen here. Which party had as its political platform, endorsement of slavery, up until the Civil War? A: Democrats. Which political party was the author of Dred Scot, a member? A: Democrats. Which political party was part and parcel of the KKK after the civil war, to harass and kill blacks? A: Dems. Which political party authored the Jim Crow laws to keep blacks poor and dependent? A: Dems. Which party was the party of segregation until the US Supreme Ct. banned it? A: Dems. Which party had its President segregate the Fed Govt, and the military? A: Dems. Which party had as its Pres. the man who put people into internment camps based upon race? A: Dems. Which party did the governors belong to who stood in the school house doorway and prevented blacks for getting an education? A: Dems. Which party was the party of dogs and fire hoses to prevent black people from voting? A: Dems. What party is missing in this evil? A: Repubs.

Steve Anthony

19th Century Liberals are today's Conservatives. Conservatives' highest right is liberty. A Liberal's highest right is equality. To enforce equality Liberals set up fascistic states: slavery for all. Heil Obama!


What both the above posters seem not to understand is that in the nineteenth century the Democratic Party was the conservative one, and the very formation of the Republican Party was a progressive reaction to that. Yes, the position of the two parties has reversed within the past 100 years. People, if you don't know anything about history, read up on it before writing.


The comment posted regarding the origins of the Republican party is deeply misinformed.

The modern Republican party is the dwelling place of the former conservative southern Democrats, while most of the progressive idealists left the Republican party over the 1912 removal of Theodore Roosevelt from the nomination through backroom politics and later joined solidly with the Democratic party to support his cousin, FDR.

Today's Republicans often like to cite that theirs is the party that ended slavery, but it's just a matter of the name. Lincoln was the first of that breed of Republicans, and Roosevelt was the last.


Yeah, well, the election of Obama was supposed to make things OK. The races were supposed to be equal and racism was supposed to die with the election of the first black man.((he is half white, but let's not talk about minutia)
SO, why is all this past history still being dug up...it IS history but when do you supposed we will move on...Slavery is illegal today...I nor anyone I know owns or owned slaves.


Good heavens! Not only does this writer know nothing of history, she obviously can't be bothered with research.

I don't watch Glenn Beck, but I did grow up in the Jim Crow South. That was a creation of Democrats. They founded the KKK, fought on the side of slavery during the Civil War, and used the Wilmington Coup to frighten blacks into not voting for Republicans in the 1870's. In a couple of years they had foisted Jim Crow on blacks in the South.

The Republican Party was founded by the Whigs and Abolitionists, as I recall. The Abolitionists' entire party platform was founded on the abolition of slavery.

The Republican Party was the anti-slavery party; its first President was Abraham Lincoln.

As I said, I don't know much about Beck, but he was closer to correct than this writer. Does anyone writing for newspapers today have any education at all?


Hey kids, it's Time Machine time: let's go back in time to 10th grade American History class...

Some people have duly noted that Republicans were the party of Lincoln, which obviously sided against slavery. That's right. But let's look at the "liberal" and "conservative" titles being thrown around so sloppily: For most of the 1800s, the Republican party WAS the "liberal" party, in the modern sense of the word, and the Democrats were the "conservatives," especially in the South. Wrap your mind around that for a moment: In the 1800s, Republican=Liberal; Democrat=Conservative. It wasn't until the 20th century when the ideological roles more or less reversed.

So, to say that "liberals" sided with slave-holders is just plain ignorant. Consider the term "Yellow Dog Democrat" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_dog_Democrat) -- Southern voters so digusted with Lincoln and the Republican party that they'd "vote for a yellow dog before a Republican." Who in the 20th century was against civil rights, for the most part? Conservatives - who now identified as Republicans. Obviously not all Conservatives or Republicans took this stance, but to even suggest that "liberals" stood on the side of slavery -- or to equate 1860s Democrats with those of 2009 -- is to lie, plain and simple. It's a lie. Not an opinion. A bold-faced, shameless, self-serving lie, to whip up Beck's conservative Republican base. Consult a history book if you don't believe me.

South City EJ

I'm pretty sure Beck doesn't believe any of this stuff. He just says it to attract publicity and cash in. Stupid claim = ca-ching. To paraphrase a famous Liberace quote, he's laughing all the way to the bank. He's probably amazed that people still fall for what he says despite all the outrageous things he spouts. Lincoln was right many years ago when he said you can fool some of the people all the time, and Back's fans are living proof.

Jesse Barkin

Comment authors and readers,

My limited knowledge of U.S. History, I'm a product of LBUSD, tells me that the Democratic Party was not always liberal or considered liberal.

The Democratic Party of the 'old' South was conservative.

States rights were a large reason for the creation of the Democratic Party. Just like mankind, a political party evolves.

Lisa Richardson wrote, "Conservatives, of course, were slave-owners and liberals were not."

The Democratic Party was conservative and was in favor of Slavery.

Ms. Richardson followed up her statement about Conservatives with the following statement. "Everyone with a shred of understanding about American history knows that."

Now you have a small shred of understanding to operate with.

Good day all.

His Truth is Marching On

So when Republicans were fighting to end slavery, exactly who were they fighting against?

And when the Democrats instituted Jim Crow laws, over Republican opposition, was that somehow not an organized effort of the Democratic Party?

And when Democeratic President Woodrow Wilson premiered the insanely racist film "Birth of a Nation" at the White House as well as supplying two of the dialogue cards used in the movie, itself, that did not reflect negatively on the Democratic party?

Somehow, you have confused the legacy of the Democratic Party on support for slavery with the Republican Party's always stated Abolition Policy.


I think the LA Times opinion writer is as small minded and uneducated on this subject as it appears Mr. Beck might be.
I don't know the context of Mr. Beck's tirade, and will never bother checking it out, but the author of this article is as foolish as anyone who has ever gotten his silliness into print.

Nick Rosales

Glenn Beck speaking the Truth, with honesty,and intergrity,
an American Hero.



As other comments have noted, your paragraph on " Conservatives, of course, were slave owners...." is somewhat misleading. The terms "conservative" and "liberal" as we know they today do not indicate what those terms meant 140 years ago. As you know, the LAT is slashing personnel there and sloppy advocacy "reporting" (and yes, even opinions) are a sure way to the unemployment line. Maureen Dowd gets to spin stuff however way she wants because of tenure and her connections.

Paul Thornton: the GOP power base in the Southern states only came about beginning with Harry Truman's introduction of civil rights proposals (which begot the Dixiecrat Party) and concluding with LBJ's backing of various civil rights laws, which forced the southern Republicans into the other party--the Republican party.


Can't anyone read anymore?
Where did the author mention Democrats and Republicans?
Conservatives and Liberals were mentioned by the author.

Big Difference!
Jeesh, get a high school education before commenting on an article.


Ms. Richardson should read up on the early progressive movement of the 20th century. She may learn something.

Midwestern Guy

History is written by those who have access to the means and the means to get the information to the masses. That doesn't mean what's out there is right or wrong or good or bad. There's a lot of misinformation and a lot of highly accurate information. What gets seen the most is what sells the most. That has nothing to do with "TRUTH."

Beck is good at selling.


Lisa???!!!! What the hell is wrong with you??!! Lincoln was a republican. It was the North vs. the South...not Repub vs. Dem (although to an extent you can strongly argue that as well).

LA Times Editor - restrain this "reporter" before she hurts herself with all the "misinformation" (lies).

(I hate both parties by the way)

Hal Helmboldt

Glenn Beck is inflamatory. Entitled to be inflamatory. Yes. But then to be upset with others who "hit back"? He's a coward. Those who listen to him with any belief in what he says are "sheeple."

Adam B

Both Beck and Richardson employ anachronisms to drive home their pet ideologies. The labels "conservative" and "liberal" and the beliefs we associate with them today are not applicable to antebellum or Reconstruction America. In fact, the term “liberal” had a different meaning in the eighteenth and nineteenth century America. It referred to those who endorsed the political ideas of the Enlightenment, most particularly democracy (which at the time was restricted to white men) and republicanism (not the party of Lincoln, but the model of government based on the Republic). Many of the Founding Fathers were “liberals” of this sort. In this sense, there is some perverse truth to Beck’s claim, as liberals such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were in fact slave owners. The term “conservative” only came into usage after the French Revolution. Initially, it described those in Europe, including aristocrats, monarchists, and supporters of the Catholic Church, who opposed the excesses of the French Revolution.


I always wondered what had happened to Morton Downey. Now I see he went off and tutored his love child Glenn in the fine art of demogoguery.

By the way, Re: liberal vs conservative, Republican vs Democrat. Just take a look at what Lincoln, or even Teddy Roosevelt 50 years later, backed and compare to the modern day pols. Stronger central government, federal breakup of holding corporations, individual rights upheld against state power, limitation of states rights, etc. Which party would these men be in TODAY? Shows you how far the Dems and Reps have come in 150 years.

Paying attention

Zer0bama is NOT 1/2 black. He is about 10% black-African & about 40% Arab-African. It's hard to keep all the liberal subterfuge straight, isn't it? Like blaming slave-ownership or Jim Crowe laws on Conservatives (AKA the Republican base, as you put it). I have 2 words for you. See if you can spin your way out of these....George Wallace.

bob o

....who is glenn beck????....stupid is,stupid be!.......

tracy green

I am a progressive ..a liberal...and have no respect for Glenn Beck. But sadly..I have to politely ask you to review some history. Both conservatives and progressives owned slaves in those terrible dark years of our history. We need to acknowledge that fact as a nation. And sadly the Civil War was as simple as a "war over slavery". We all wish it had been that simple. I think liberals and conservatives have to claim the shame of slavery to heal, and we have to understand the full divisiveness that brought out war that to this day killed more Americans than any war in our history. It's easier to come down on a modern idiot like Glenn Beck when we understand our past.

andre nickatina

im pretty sure we never had a whole war over slavery in the united states.
"Everyone with a shred of understanding about American history knows that."


Richardson is to be pitied for her lack of understanding of U.S. history. The Times is simply up to its regular tricks.

Steve S

I think the persons criticizing the conservative/liberal comment are in part to fault for the blame they affix to the author. By equating the modern view of conservative = Repubican and liberal = Democrats, the author would appear to have her facts wrong. It is probably correct to say, however, that socially progressive individuals were against slavery and the socially conservative ones were likely in favor of it.

The conservative vs. liberal nature of both parties have facilated wildly over the 150 years since the Civil War. Let's just say that, since that time, both parties have had their less than memorable moments.


Lets also not forget that 160 years ago the Republican party nor the Democratic party were nothing like the parties they have become presently. If anything they have almost flip-flopped on ideologies.

Ben Johnson

Is this U.S. History according to the way that Lisa Richardson wished it was? Conservatives were slave owners? Seriously? Is it not clear to Ms. Richardson that it was Democrats who backed slavery? Is it not clear that it was Republicans who were against slavery? I guess if actual history doesn't fit the narrative, then just make it up. No wonder Beck has such an easy time making fools of your party--he states a common historical fact, and liberals run off like chickens with their heads cut off insisting the opposite of the statement no matter what history actually holds. And if you're now going to tell me that civil war Democrats are today's conservatives and civil war Republicans are todays liberals then I suggest you do a little more research--and also see my statement about changing inconvenient facts that don't fit the narrative. Sheesh.

Robert  Jasse

I believe both conservatives and liberals owned slaves, both were immoral in the bondage of men, women and children. If you were in New York or Chicago and bought a cotton shirt you were just as guilty. The southern states did secede constitutionally and were illegally invaded ,that is a fact. The north should have blockaded them in to submission. Why are not the black tribes in Africa,the Arabs and the Jews , Portuguese, who had traded in blood ever mentioned. It is sinful that we can not discuss truths anymore. I do believe that southerners fought not just for slavery but against the arrogant,racist industrialized east coast. The whole country liked the soft cotton but, few complained. We need to pray for Gods forgiveness for the crime of slavery and our continued treatment of the indians so we can begin real healing. I'm tired of the race pimps sharpton and jackson hustling down corporations and aligning themselves with liberal and progressives and creating a plantation of misery and dependency on black families. They need to be slapped right in the fucking mouth. They are a disgrace on their race, there jobs is to be black and keep their own people down. My heart gets heavy from the destruction of the black families in America from its own and ignorant government policies.


Another article by a super-lib who will write anything to get on Obama's good side. What a buch of lies and falsehoods this is. The only people who might believe this writers drivel are the drunks and stoners who chant praises to Obama, and maybe a few left-wing fanatics who don't care about the TRUTH. Mizz Richardson has shown us that anything she writes about is distorted from actual facts. Does the LA Times care about Journalism anymore? Apparently NOT! No wonder newspapers are losing circulation dollars every day. There's no longer any trust in newspapers, nor in the national tv news. It's all one big OPINION PAGE!

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