The Radical Right Wing Is Becoming An Unlikely Advocate For Solar Power

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Originally published on ClimateProgress
by Ryan Koronowski

CREDIT: ANDY KROPA/INVISION/AP, FILEReaders of Glenn Beck’s email list received a sponsored message from a source that might surprise some: a solar generator vendor. Solutions From Science sells heirloom seeds, emergency food, and solar products designed to “make people more self-reliant,” according to the Clinton Herald.

Bill Heid, the company’s president, wrote in the email that solar generators are great in emergencies, “run quietly, emit no dangerous fumes, and produce free electricity from the sun.” The email throws in a special deal for Beck’s readers after it makes the case for preparing to live off the grid:

And whether it’s hurricanes, ice storms, brownouts, or blackouts… with a Solar Generator, you won’t have to worry about painful power outages ever again. As I’m writing this, there are power outages in the news from wild fires, wind, flooding, heavy snow, copper thieves, cars hitting power poles and even an explosion on one college campus. Many experts are even saying the whole grid is going down.

A solar-powered generator that allows consumers to get clean power during emergencies like wildfires, high winds, flooding, brownouts, and blackouts (among the other more apocalyptic scenarios), being sold under Glenn Beck’s name.

The name of the company and the products it advertises could lead people to believe it was just in the business of taking what top climate scientists say, going back to nature, getting off the grid, becoming energy-independent, and freeing its customers from reliance on carbon-based fuels and large agricultural corporations.

Until you get to the About Us page:

Over the last century, America has consciously turned away from its Christian heritage, and the effects have been devastating. The problems our nation currently faces are serious, not just for us, but for our children and grandchildren. Our liberties and freedoms are being threatened (and even slowly taken away) and there is a nation-felt concern for the direction our country is headed.

The road ahead is long and hard, but not impossible. We believe that the only way back for America is a return to the Biblical principles that brought us true freedom in the first place — freedoms that our Founding Fathers understood were ones given by a Creator, not a king or state. As we seek to restore America, we must remember that ‘unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.’ (Psalm 127).

Now the Beck endorsement makes a bit more sense.

Back when Glenn Beck was on Fox News, he said “there aren’t enough knives” for climate scientists to kill themselves with in response to the 2007 IPCC report. He brought a member of the Exxon-funded evangelical “Cornwall Alliance” onto his show to talk about how climate change is a “false religion.”

In 2009, he talked (video) on his show about “that green stuff” and how “I haven’t bought it for a long time.” He then breathed a dramatic sigh of relief over the failure of a ballot measure in Los Angeles that would have brought 400 megawatts to the city.

And yet earlier this year, Beck tweeted out a photo of his ranch being “almost 100% powered by ‘green energy.’”

Dig at Al Gore aside, he decided to invest his money in renewable energy. This isn’t to say he held back from mocking it, saying that when he and his family went to his ranch to be “off the grid” during the summer of 2012, his solar powerit left his ice cream soggy, causing him to run generators.

But right-wing embrace of solar energy — however awkward — is taking place all over the country, with the Atlanta Tea Party pushing their utility to allow them access to solar energy and Barry Goldwater Jr. advocating for solar in Arizona. What remains unclear is how a sincere embrace of renewable energy could affect the partisan and ideological schism regarding beliefs about climate change.

More of the Beck email below:


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16 thoughts on “The Radical Right Wing Is Becoming An Unlikely Advocate For Solar Power

  • Who cares if they’re doing it because they believe in climate change or they’re preparing to run to the hills or the Flying Spaghetti Monster told them to do it. All that really matters is that folk are embracing low impact, decentralised power generation.

  • The next big thing that they are going to advocate while solar is in the upswing would be cheaper energy storage system for a 24×7 solar power. Batteries would be excellent, price has to come down some more…

  • Sssh! Don’t tell them by using solar power they might help prevent the apocalypse they so clearly desire.

  • As soon as solar gets to a certain popularity point they’ll claim it was all their idea. Standard politics.

    • How true, I bet this will come during the next presidential cycle, especially if they get a GOP candidate in.

  • Just because someone thinks climate change is a big hoax doesn’t mean they are not environmentalist. I am one who thinks climate change is mostly hype, and blown out of proportion for political gain. And those resources could be used for something like stopping MTR, or more importantly cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear disaster before it kills all life on this planet! Again today another 7.5 earthquake and a small Tsunami, and any strain on these reactor buildings will cause a massive leak that would contaminate the entire northern hemisphere! Why isn’t the US media reporting any of this? So why aren’t anybody else concerned with these very real threats?

    • To think climate change is a hoax one has to ignore the data. You’re engaging in hyperbole over Fukushima. There’s zero chance of it killing off all life on the planet even if all attempts to contain radioactive contamination from the site were abandoned.

  • It will be difficult for the Romney Limbaugh types to abandon the ‘hard power” rhetoric they love so much. Coal gas nukes are so much more manly. Wind solar geothermal tides are “soft” and effeminate!
    The truth is even the Kool aid drinking drill baby drill morons will be convinced by the steady plunge in pricing for solar happening now and the future plunge in storage .

    • Politically yes, but as cost come down for soft power. And more people see/understand even the short term externalized cost of “hard power” then the change happens fast. If you live in Auz no matter your belief system you can look at you electric bill and go WTF I need to install panels.

  • Interesting, a crazy doing something sane, as I live and breath, didn’t expect this, but you have to admit, it is a clear indication the worm is turning for solar and other renewable energy sources, and I like it, I like it a lot. Oh thats right, it cheap enough now. Can’t wait to hear him rant about climate change. That is a song he’ll sing pretty soon I bet.

  • I’m a conservative, Catholic solar power advocate, and I think some things are worth conserving. I’m not so sure about the radio spectrum bandwidth wasted on Glenn Beck, though.

  • I can’t comment on Glenn Beck, but I’m a bit surprised you think the “radical right wing” is an “unlikely advocate” for solar power. It’s completely logical and predictable. The Right has always wanted less centralized control and decision-making, which is precisely what distributed energy represents. Me? I’m not radical about anything – I just love rationality, so I do love solar.

    • The right has championed nuclear power. Centralized power built only with significant taxpayer subsidies. And which brings more danger to the nation.

      And the right has opposed electric powered vehicles, preferring oil which increases our dependency on other nations, increases our need to be involved in the affairs of other countries and increasing our spending on military and health.

      While the right says they want less centralized control they have not been consistent in their actions. We manufacture wind turbines, solar panels, EVs/PHEVs and traction batteries in the US. We can mine the materials we need here in the US. They should have been involved in pushing renewable energy from the start.

      Furthermore, there was a time during which the right was “conservative” in the true meaning of the term. What is more conservative than using energy sources which do the least to damage our country?

      • Bob – I think you’re confusing “the right” with Republicans. IMHO the Republicans represent big oil and gas interests and a lot of other incumbents in the energy sector; thus, due to financial reasons, they are against recognizing climate change and any renewable energy if it effects these incumbents. Pretty elementary, Watson.
        The right, a very different group along with the Tea Partiers, is intellectually in favor of distributed energy. This is a matter of principal with them.
        As you said, the Republican Party does not represent real conservatism anymore – like the Democrat Party, it’s controlled by large private interests that have little to do with conservatism or liberalism. Some of these large private interests actually contribute to both parties. Voila!!!

        • “the right”, Republicans and the Tea Party are one side of the political divide.

          “the left” and Democrats are on the other. There is no Tea Party equivalent on the left, no organized group that exerts significant impact on the political process.

          Corporations have far too much influence on both ends of the spectrum due to our failure to fix campaign funding. Up until now more support has gone to the Republican party but that may be shifting as business continues to sour on the Tea Party (which big business created).

          The right still holds the conservative attitude of making changes slowly. This has mostly to do with white males attempting to hang on to their privileged positions as long as possible, not on the more traditional cautiousness of not rushing quickly into change.

          I simply do not buy your proposition that the right is “intellectually in favor of distributed energy”. The right has fought solar and wind generation. Much of the right continues to oppose renewable energy. Only recently are we seeing a movement on the right to support them. The right is very late to the party.

          We saw the first signs when Republican governors began campaigning for continued wind farm supports and some conservative state legislatures defeated anti-renewable legislation purposed by the fossil fuel industry. They saw, after many farms were built, that those wind farms were creating jobs and tax revenues which were saving some of their small dying towns and increasing tax incomes.

          We’ve now see one example of a Tea Party group backing solar power in Georgia. And we’re starting to see some right-leaning individuals recognizing that solar works for them and their businesses. (Look at the very conservative Walmart.)

          This is pretty weak tea compared to the years of effort that the left has put into moving us away from fossil fuels. Especially when one considers the remaining very strong denial of climate change coming from the right.

          If the right is coming around, great! Let’s welcome them. We all need to be working on the global warming problem because, left unsolved, it will screw us all.

  • A perusal of purchaser reviews of the Solutions From Science

    PowerSource 1800 Solar Generator at Amazon and elsewhere indicates a high degree of dissatisfaction, with many purchasers noting that comparable equipment of better quality can be purchased for hundreds of dollars less at Home Depot.

    Perhaps that’s why the company feels the need to use Glenn Beck’s so-called “right wing” pseudo-ideology to market its products.

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