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Are You Ready For Some Hypocrisy?

On Rush Limbaugh, Race, and Drugs.

by James Leroy Wilson
October 9, 2003

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Are You Ready For Some Hypocrisy?_James Leroy Wilson-On Rush Limbaugh, Race, and Drugs Moving ever-rightward as I grew up, Rush Limbaugh was a breath of fresh air when I was in college. I’d listen to him when I could - especially the summers of 1992 and ‘93. I had read Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose. I witnessed on television the Berlin Wall falling down. It appeared to me that Ronald Reagan was right on most things.

It was also apparent that President George Bush I was not like Reagan, but was better than the obvious con artist Bill Clinton or the hysterical Ross Perot. I did not agree with Limbaugh on everything, but his estimations of the three candidates at the time were like mine, and his parodies, “updates” of Politically Correct movements, and overall humor made his show entertaining.

That said, Rush Limbaugh never changed my mind about anything, and never provided an insight worth repeating. Maybe a quip or two.

Though I think he did have an influence - in hindsight, a negative one. You could call it a defeatist mentality of voting for the Republican because you hate the Democrat more. I swallowed my conscience and voted for Bob Dole in 1996, even though I agreed with the Libertarian Harry Browne more.

By the year 2000, I wasn’t willing to make the same mistake. And by that time, I had stopped listening to Rush on a regular basis. And George W. Bush was, to me, a non-option as a Presidential candidate for he never advocated cutting a single federal government program, while expressing a desire to expand some of them. Me and Rush were definitely parting ways by that time. He became a an embarrassing figurehead for the Republican Party establishment; I’m becoming an anarcho-capitalist radical who now questions the Constitution itself.

Although I’d tune in from time to time since then - especially when I thought he would eloquently attack campaign finance “reform” or tariffs, it became clear that Rush Limbaugh never had a particularly inspiring message or vision for America. His supposed support for small government is hypocritical, as it is for most conservatives. And this is now coming back to haunt him.

Also, his attacks on the “Politically Correct” Left, while sometimes dead on and hilarious, were often simplistic as well. This has come back to haunt him as well, although to a less serious degree.

Let’s deal with the latter first, if only because it’s less serious. I’ve heard Democratic politicians, particularly black clergy like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, described as “poverty pimps” and “race merchants.” That is, they advance their own careers as demagogues by telling the ignorant poor and downtrodden not the truth, but what they want to hear.

They do this by finding a case where an African-American gets in trouble, or is denied a position, privilege, or benefit, and criticizing the powers-that-be of racism. The conservative, knee-jerk response is always, “this isn’t about race!”

Limbaugh is the voice and face of today’s conservatism. And what did he do? He made race an issue precisely in the place where it was no longer an issue. He said that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donavan McNabb was over-rated by the media and the NFL because of a “social interest” that a black quarterback do well.

Except that plenty of black quarterbacks have done well, and when Michael Vick returns from injury, there will be nine starting quarterbacks in the NFL, more than twice what you’d expect if the position was to racially be representative of the nation.

Let’s accept for the sake of argument that McNabb is overrated. Could that perhaps be because he started for four years at Syracuse, the only New York university with a prominent football team, and that he now plays for the Eagles, in the same division as the New York Giants, Washington (D.C) Redskins, and “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys? Can you say “imbalanced media coverage,” boys and girls?

Where are the Campells Soup commercials for Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans, who’s had a longer and more successful career than McNabb’s, yet who played college football at Alcorn State and now toils in a division with the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars? These are all small market, new, and/or vagabond franchises (the Titans used to be the Houston Oilers). Yet McNair may well be the best quarterback in the NFL right now. At least (white) ex-quarterback and ESPN analyst Sean Salisbury says so, and he’s the one who I’ve heard express the most anger at Limbaugh’s comments on its merits alone.

Mike Golic, also of ESPN, played with one of the black quarterback “pioneers,” Warren Moon, and said it never meant anything to him. The urgency to win trumped race.

Black quarterbacking is as much an issue as, say, a black head coach in the National Basketball Association. It doesn’t matter. You get the best guy available, which is supposed to be the “color-blind” conservative ideal. But Limbaugh saw race exactly where not only race, ideally, shouldn’t matter, but also where it, in fact, does not matter.

There’s one message here. Conservatives, particularly white conservatives and despite their denials, make race an issue. Race matters to them. They still see “black quarterback” when everyone else sees “quarterback.”

Not that we can pretend to not see a football player’s skin color, but it is obvious to all except Limbaugh and his defenders that the quarterback position, the toughest position mentally and physically in sports, is attained by merit. Limbaugh was just as guilty, if not more so, than any leftist demagogue who always bring up race.

But that’s not even close to his main problem. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial on the Limbaugh pill-popping investigation suggests that “character” is revealed not in being perfect and virtuous all the time, but in how one accepts responsibility when personal demons get the best of him.

But that misses the point. Do I judge Limbaugh for having an addiction to pain-killers? No. Do I judge him for buying “illegal” drugs? No. I mean, why should I? Who is he hurting other than himself?

But this question is exactly why, if allegations of Limbaugh’s illegal drug-purchasing and using are true, he must be exposed for this hypocrisy. And it is far worse than any hypocrisy you could find among the Democrats.

Rich Democrats, it is said, send their children to private school yet would force the less well-to-do to send their kids to the ineffective public schools. Hypocrisy? You bet.

But how about rich Republicans getting addicted to drugs - illegal when not prescribed by a licensed MD - yet advocating throwing illegal drug peddlers and users to prison sentences of ten years at the minimum?

At least there’s a chance of learning something in the public schools. What does a non-violent felon get out of prison?

Of course, Rush Limbaugh has never held elective office, and it is to those politicians, who used illegal drugs yet now prosecute the War on Drugs, that the harshest judgments of men and of God should be reserved. But Limbaugh helped it along, encouraged it. Not that drugs were ever a central issue of his radio show, but when he spoke about it, he abandoned his free-market principles and advocated the fascist side of the debate.

That is hard to defend or excuse on any level. It is amazing that so-called liberals have an “anything goes” view of sex, as if it had no social consequences. As if the transmission of bodily fluids from one person to another to another, or an animal to a person to a person, had no public health consequences. Yet at the same time, the very personal problem of drug use/abuse (as if we know where to even draw the line), is of central concern for the State for both liberals and conservatives. This is an inherently fascist perspective and there’s no use denying it. I have an obligation to be healthy, clear-minded, and productive, not because it benefits me, or you, or anyone in particular, but because it makes me a productive machine for the State. My humanity is defined by how I serve the State. Human beings are means to the State’s ends. I exist for the “social good” as defined by other people, and resistance will get me ten years minimum and possible execution.

This is the position of both the Democrat and Republican Parties.

And just about every well-known Christian leader, let alone leaders of every mainstream religion, try to manipulate us into following one of these parties or the other, denying the obvious truths that both parties are at war against all of the moral teachings of all religions except those that would make Gods out of Democracy and of Nations.

Joel Miller of worldnetdaily.com put it well:

“It cannot be said enough that Scripture condemns dope -- to the extent that it harms the user or inhibits his sobriety. But to say that it also provides justification for legal sanctions against popping pills and shooting smack is a stretch. With all the many warnings about drunkenness scattered throughout the Word, two things are obvious: 1) that God is concerned with it, and 2) that Israel and the Church have a real problem with it. But does God ever command civil punishment for insobriety -- caused by either alcohol or dope? No.
God treats some sins differently from others, and for Christians to support a measure that even God does not comes close to saying we are wiser and even more moral than God.
Given the monumental failure of the drug war, its ever-increasing violations of individual liberty, egregious injustices, and the fact that there is no biblical mandate to back it up, Christians should seriously -- and scripturally -- reconsider their support of it.”

Rush Limbaugh has proven himself a hypocrite on race. And considering he’s already proven himself to be inconsistent about personal freedom when it comes to drugs, to then be guilty of that which he condemns is downright inexcusable. If he popped pills and supported drug legalization, which even his intellectual father William F. Buckley has done, than his drug addiction could be viewed with compassion. But he instead pandered to his audience and encouraged them to vote for fascist advocates of the prison-industrial complex that incarcerated blacks and Hispanics more than whites, even though on average whites were at least as guilty of using and dealing drugs.

Rush gets his rush, but nobody else is allowed. If these allegations are true, then Rush Limbaugh is on a moral credibility level lower than any and all of the liberal demagogues he has attacked over his national radio career.

Perhaps, then, a truly consistent advocate of freedom can take his place.

Comments (4)

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Dear Jon from Chicago writes:
October 9, 2003
I wish that all the other pundits, pollsters and politicians who have spoken up about Rush's problems had done so with the same clarity and insight as James Leroy Wilson. He nailed Rush at the source.

Rushfan from The Right-Wing Conspiracy writes:
October 9, 2003
This controversy over Rush's race-related comments on ESPN has perplexed me from the moment I heard of it. He was criticizing the sports media for not being color-blind, and for this he been called hateful, ignorant, and now, hypocritical.

Wilson writes, “But Limbaugh saw race exactly where not only race, ideally, shouldn’t matter, but also where it, in fact, does not matter.” Limbaugh was saying, in essence, “THE SPORTS MEDIA saw race exactly where not only race, ideally, shouldn’t matter, but also where it, in fact, does not matter.” I fail to see the hypocrisy.

One of the hypocrisies of the left that gets my goat is their celebration of free speech and tolerance, but when it comes to conservative thinking, those things do not apply. Such liberals do not tolerate opposing views, and in their view, Rush should not be allowed to say certain things.

I haven’t followed McNabb’s career, but there are other sports commentators out there who agree with Rush’s comments. See Slate.com and boston.com for examples. Disagree with Rush on this, if you like, but he should not be criticized for merely voicing this opinion.

It seems that many of those who have attacked Rush over this flap have a bone to pick with Limbaugh (and arch-conservatives) in the first place, and this is clearly true of Mr. Wilson. Regarding the drug allegations, Limbaugh may well be a hypocrite on that issue, but then, we haven’t heard his side of the story, and he hasn’t been charged yet. As with the Kobe Bryant case, judgment should be reserved until we’ve heard all that both sides have to say.

I would like to thank Mr. Wilson for presenting his libertarian viewpoints through his column when such ideas are seldom heard in the mainstream media, but on this matter, I believe he has rushed to judgment, to coin a phrase.

James Leroy Wilson writes:
October 9, 2003
I'd like to thank Dear Jon for his kind words. And also Rushfan for caring enough to take the time to write. Unfortunately, however, my original article took pains to address the very issues Rushfan now wants to address. There's nothing in his objections I can reply to that wouldn't be just a repeat of what I already said. Except maybe one thing: There is not one iota of evidence over the past ten years, regarding the NFL quarterback position,that the Sports Media has been anything other than colorblind. The evidence is *against* Rush. Even his defenders are aware of this, and now resort to I don't agree with him, but... Let's face facts, the facts I asserted in my article. Rush saw racial preference where race is no longer an issue. And thereby discredited colorblind conservatism.

As far as the drug allegations, I am content that I used the if, then approach fairly. If he is guilty of these things, then he lacks all credibility.

If he is not guilty, then he is still terribly inconsistent, as he was had this investigation not happened.

S.E. Shepherd from Chicago, IL writes:
October 15, 2003
Your part of the libertarian media conspiracy we've heard so much about, aren't you!

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