I logged on this morning to find a huge spike in my readers. Hundreds of readers had beaten a path to my door to read a 2008 post on a Rudyard Kipling poem.
Why? Because, as I soon discovered, Glenn Beck mentions the poem—or at least plagiarises it—in the trailer for his new book, The Overton Window…
Love him or hate him—and there are sound reasons for both--such is the power of Glenn Beck.
But that’s only a trivial example of his reach. Here’s something even more powerful.
On Tuesday night in the States, Beck ran a special on F.A. Hayek’s classic 1944 warning to the world about incipient totalitarianism, The Road to Serfdom, the book that woke up a whole generation, including Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Within minutes, the server for the Mises Institute website was starting to smell the way servers do when they’re being asked to do too much by too many —they called it The Beck Bomb— and Hayek’s Wikipedia entry had crashed; the GOOGLE search phrase “The Road to Serfdom” was #1 on Google Trends; the audio version of The Road to Serfdom was #2 on iTunes; and within hoursAmazon were reporting that the book was now their number one best-seller.
From zero to number one in just a few short hours. Not bad going for a book few had read in years.
That’s the power of Glenn Beck.
I look forward to his show next week on Atlas Shrugged. :-)
In the meantime, here’s the whole ‘Road to Serfdom’ show in four parts. Here’s a link to download a cartoon version of the book (which has the virtue of brushing past Hayek’s [let’s be kind here] limp defence of laissez-faire capitalism and the free market), here’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version of Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom”and here’s the Google Books online version.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab Beck’s guest Tom Woods’s great books either while you’re in a book-buying mood. He’s one of the good guys: