Beck then allowed me to use another of his blackboards: I drew, explained, and praised the system of checks and balances that the Founders set up because they were wary about man's ability to rule himself. They created a mix of limited monarchy (the president), aristocracy (the Senate), and democracy (the House of Representatives), with further checks from the Supreme Court, state legislatures, and—as a journalist I like this last line of defense—a free press. They weren't populists.
We went to audience questions. Petrina, very serious, asked for help in dealing with her "sense of powerlessness and sadness." I said people propose various schemes, but "Nothing works apart from Jesus Christ." Beck said, "That's not the way I would have answered it," then added a diplomatic, "but it's a good answer." He offered his prescription for a disordered society: "We just have to put it all in order. We have to enlighten ourselves, educate ourselves, empower ourselves, and then be creators. That is the solution."
Clear enough. Two different views: One with God at the center, one with man at the center. Beck emphasized his position: "Jefferson said fix reason firmly in her seat, and question the very existence of God. I have applied that to not just God but everything. . . . Empower yourself."
Oh, and one little thing: It seems that the show we taped was a little longer than the 41 minutes typical for Beck shows archived at his website. I went to the website a few days later to see how it all looked, and—surprise—my comment that "Nothing works apart from Jesus Christ," and Beck's initially curt response, were not there. I guess something had to be cut.