Friday, July 7, 2017

The Overton Window, by Glenn Beck

What if elements within the government--or above the government--were plotting to create a catastrophic event in order to expand their own power?  In Glenn Beck's novel The Overton Window, he weaves together fact and fiction to present a plausible scenario in which a secretive, powerful coalition of government and non-government individuals attempt to force the nation into a more authoritarian, centralized structure.

Beck has been called a conspiracy theorist.  One national paper called The Overton Window a "paranoid thriller."  Correct on the thriller part.  Noah Gardner, whose father is a PR executive and one of the key conspirators, gets caught up with a right-wing organizer and finds himself torn between the world he knows working at his father's PR firm and the world of his new right-wing friends.  He's chased and kidnapped, shady characters operate above the law, and terrorists and secret agents wage clandestine battles.  It has all the elements of a political thriller.

But is Beck paranoid?  Beck writes that the scenarios he presents in The Overton Window are extreme, for dramatic purposes.  However, the bits and pieces of the story come from real life.  His afterword includes 25 pages of corroboration of the seemingly extreme scenarios he describes and statements the characters make in the book, complete with sources.  The sum total may seem paranoid.  But the individual pieces are there, to a greater extent than the average citizen knows--or wants to know.

The Overton Window is a quick, exciting read.  The story itself would fit right in on a TV drama, and the characters are stock.  Dismiss it as low-brow fiction if you wish, but don't dismiss the message.  Pay attention to the dialogue and speeches the characters make, note the source material and principles they convey, and evaluate current events in light of the book's perspective.  At the very least, you will begin to ask questions that dig beneath the surface.

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