Glenn Beck Prepares to Colonize New ‘Libertarian’ Commune

January 14th, 2013

Over the past few years, Glenn Beck has been experiencing a slow-motion transition to libertarianism. When the Tea Party first emerged, Beck jumped on board, adopting a few libertarian positions on economics. Over time, he began to lean further in this ideological direction, picking up some pro-liberty positions on social issues and foreign policy, though probably not enough of them to qualify as a libertarian to the typical hard-liner.

Recently, Glenn Beck seems to have accelerated this transition, as he is now committing enormous amounts of his wealth to pro-liberty projects. First, he announced plans to retool The Blaze as a global libertarian news conglomerate. Then, he made another announcement, detailing his most unusual project: a multi-billion dollar libertarian commune in Texas, complete with its own theme park. Considering the fact that Glenn Beck has yet to fully complete his transition to libertarianism, will this future colony, dubbed Independence, USA, actually be libertarian?

Baby Steps to Liberty

Most libertarians become that way very rapidly after experiencing an awakening. This has not been Glenn Beck’s experience. He began as a fairly typical conservative talk radio host, but started to shift his views after world events proved many of his libertarian guests right. To be fair, he’s had lots of public conversations with people like Ron Paul and Penn Jillette over the years, and he disagrees with them less and less each time they come on his program.

However, Glenn Beck does hold many views on social issues and foreign policy that offend a lot of libertarians. He does not represent a “gold standard” by which libertarianism can be defined. He is exemplary, though, of a certain type of convert to the ideology. Many conservatives who follow his program and participate in his 912 groups are slowly accepting new positions, often after Beck covers them on his show. For example, failed conservative Senate candidate and Beck acolyte Christine O’Donnell officially took the position that the War on Drugs was not constitutionally authorized at the federal level.

Will Glenn Beck’s Commune Actually Be Libertarian?

Glenn Beck seems to be trying to create a Texas-based alternative to the Free State Project. The initial plans seem ambitious, as the facility will be the size of a city. He intends to launch new forms of energy, a theme park, residential properties, and an educational system. However, in order for it to be a libertarian city, it will have to contain libertarians. Many do not consider Glenn Beck to be a representative of the movement. Will he be able to attract freedom activists?

To be fair, Glenn Beck has become more and more libertarian over the years. However, he has probably not come far enough yet in his views to satisfy the majority of people who self-categorize by this label. Will he continue in this transition, or will he use his wealth to hijack the term and re-brand it to fit his will? Will his news network provide coverage from the perspective of someone who thinks like Judge Andrew Napolitano? Will Independence, USA actually be a predominately libertarian city?

What are your thoughts? Will this be a new pro-liberty utopia, or is this just an effort to take over the movement from the inside? Sound off on Glenn Beck’s new initiatives in the comments below.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.