In a chapter in his new book in which Beck attempts to explain to “idiots” what “our Founding Fathers really intended,” Glenn Beck appears to praise an obsolete provision of the U.S. Constitution which prohibited Congress from outlawing the slave trade before 1808 and capped taxes on the slave trade at $10 per slave. In his explanation of the provision, Beck does not mention slavery, saying instead that the provision means that the Founders apparently “felt like there was a value to being able to live here” and lamenting: “Not anymore. These days we can’t ask anything of immigrants — including that they abide by our laws.” The curious thing here is that while the section does talk about migration, it is very clear that Section 9 is referencing the slave trade. In fact, the addition of the word “migration” was to soften the repugnancy of the importation of human beings as salves into the newly created Republic. A Republic based on the inalienable truth “that all men are created equal”.
In the introduction to a chapter titled, “The U.S. Constitution: Lost in Translation,” Beck mocks “idiots” who don’t share his interpretation of the Constitution:
“How many times have you argued with your idiot friends about what’s constitutional and what isn’t? You may even show them the Constitution, but the disagreement continues. That made me think that maybe the problem is that the entire Constitution is written in English — a language that is very difficult for the average idiot to comprehend. In addition, there are several words in the document longer than three letters, making it a tougher read than the “Dick and Jane” books they normally struggle through.”
So, according to the enlightened perspective of Glenn Beck, if you disagree with his ideas, then you’re an idiot? And what if he’s wrong in his perspective? The problem with Beck is that he some how really believes that he is an equal to men the likes of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Beck, for all of his desires to be on equal footing with these men, has exactly three things in common with the Founding Fathers, he’s white; he’s a man; and he’s wealthy. That’s it.
In his book, Beck reprints and then praises Article I, Section 9, Clause 1 of the Constitution. Beck specifically highlights in yellow the phrase “ten dollars for each person”:
Section 9. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
“That’s right,” Beck claims, “the Founders actually put a price tag on coming to this country: $10 per person. Apparently they felt like there was a value to being able to live here. Not anymore. These days we can’t ask anything of immigrants — including that they abide by our laws.” [Arguing with Idiots, Page 278]
Glenn, the founders weren’t imposing an immigration fee on people immigrating to America, they were attempting to collect an import tax on slaves. This is not rocket science. In fact Glenn, according to the “father of the Constitution”, James Madison, in his notes from the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman — who supported the 1808 clause and other efforts by the South to protect slavery in the Constitution — recognized that the $10 tax limit that Beck highlighted prevented Congress from taxing the slave trade out of existence. According to Madison, Sherman “observed that the smallness of the duty shewed revenue to be the object, not the discouragement of the importation.”
Does Glenn Beck support the slave trade? Probably not. Is he just an idiot? Well, when you start quoting sections of the Constitution that were used to protect the importation of slavery, in an attempt to attack immigrants to our country, then yes, you’re an idiot.