15 November 2012

Rush is Wrong

After dropping my lovely and talented wife off at LAX this morning, I indulged in one of my guilty pleasures:  talk radio.  The wife hates talk radio because she is intelligent.  I can only tune in when I'm tooling around by myself.  I flip around -- KPCC, KPFK -- and then off to the dark recesses of the AM dial with KFI, KABC, and The Answer.  This morning, I landed on Rush Limbaugh, and boy howdy ...

Limbaugh played a couple of clips from Ron Paul's farewell address, and managed to completely miss the point in a fashion so spectacular, it was as if he were simultaneously channeling Ed Anger and Emily Litella.

Ron Paul clip #1:
I thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty as a solution have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits.  If liberty is what we claim it is, the principle that protects all personal, social, and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace, it should be an easy sell.  Yet history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely, if ever, fulfilled.
Rush's response:  "We are the party of liberty.  We are the essence of liberty and freedom.  That's what it's all about."  Then why did your party play dirty pool at the convention, Rush?  Why did you guys dick around the brightest burning torch for liberty the Republican Party has seen since Barry Goldwater? Why did the "party of liberty" show a complete lack of respect for the man and his delegates?  Hell, you prefaced your remarks on this clip with "I know a lot of you think we're listening to kookville here, but ..."

Rush went on to prove the Republican party's dedication to liberty by pointing out their stance on abortion and gay rights.  

Wha--huh?!?

"We are not looked at as people who believe in freedom.  They see us as thwarting their freedom," says Rush.  "Figure that."  Your party is against reproductive freedom and treating everyone equally.  Figure that?  Seriously?

Rush's rationale is that "along with freedom, there are natural limits to it that we call morality."  Fair enough. "[C]ulturally, freedom in pop culture means no obstacles on the road to what we call depravity and decadence.  They call it enlightenment, emancipation."  Understand what Rush is saying here:  Extending the same legal coverage to same-sex couples that heterosexual couples currently enjoy is depravity and decadence.  Unbelievable.

Ron Paul clip #2:
If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty.  There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.  During my time in Congress, the appetite for liberty has been quite weak, the understanding of it's significance negligible. 

And Rush goes on to talk about how leftists define freedom as life under authoritarianism.

Of course, Rush also believes in freedom as life under authoritarianism, so I don't see what his problem is.  Sure, he prefers his particular brand of moral authoritarianism over the Democrat brand, but Democrat, Republican -- it's all about more state.  The only question is, in which area do you want the state to interfere?

Ron Paul's point is ... well, let's let him speak for himself, in a clip Rush didn't play:

Everyone claims support for freedom.  But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others.  Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties. 
Some decide what and whose freedoms are to be limited.  These are the politicians whose goal in life is power. Their success depends on gaining support from special interests. 
The great news is the answer is not to be found in more “isms.” The answers are to be found in more liberty ..."
Rush tried to co-opt Ron Paul's Farewell Address today, and failed.  Sadly, Rush and his party continue to fail at grasping Ron Paul's message, which has been consistently and clearly enunciated for the past 30 some odd years.
A full transcript of Ron Paul's address may be found here.  Video of the speech may be watched here.