Limbaugh over the line

In a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed – Rush Limbaugh: Liberals and the Violence Card – Rush Limbaugh was justifiably fierce in his response to the recent left-liberal anti-Tea Party offensive.  He was particularly scathing in regard to Bill Clinton, who in a recent speech and op-ed left the distinct impression, without ever quite saying so, that Tea Party sentiment equated with incitement to new Timothy McVeighs.  Limbaugh called Clinton’s past indictments of talk radio “slander,” and accused the left of advancing a transparent double standard – exhibiting no discomfort when leftists take to the streets in often violent protest against conservative governments and capitalism, but shrieking like frightened little children when someone from the right dares to speak up.

So far so good.

Yet here’s how Limbaugh closes his op-ed, when singing the praises of the “clear majority of the American people” who, according to him, oppose the “Obama way”:

They are motivated by love. Not hate, not sedition. They love their country and want to save it from those who do not.

How is Limbaugh doing anything categorically different from what he accuses Bill Clinton of doing?  It’s not as though this was an op-ed about foreign policy.  It was all about domestic politics.  So who is supposed to be endangering the country?  Who is it who doesn’t, according to Rush, love the country?

He is leaving the distinct impression, not just coming close to saying but pretty much saying, that the Obama Administration and its supporters do not love the United States of America, and are seeking to destroy it.  The clear implication is that the liberal left are engaging in treason.  They’re not fellow Americans any longer, but enemy invaders.

This isn’t some cherry-picked, decontextualized offhand remark from 15 hours/week of entertaining and engaging live radio.  It’s the conclusion of a written op-ed.  And in a few sentences it defeats Limbaugh’s entire purpose, of putting himself and people like him on a higher, more positive, more grown-up and also more truly American, dissent- and debate-friendly plane than those on the other side.


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69 comments on “Limbaugh over the line

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  1. You don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh on a regular basis, do you?

    If you did, you wouldn’t be so shocked by his statement regarding the Administration’s contempt for this country. The administration believes a culture of a free people minding and doing their own business is corrupt and that capitalism is unjust. Limbaugh says this at least once during his show, every day.

    And, he’s right.

  2. @ David:
    At times I’ve listened to Limbaugh on a regular basis.

    There’s a difference between having a different vision for this country and hating and seeking to destroy the country – which is also the difference between a political opponent in the American tradition, and an enemy that needs to be destroyed, that it would be dishonorable and a form of treason not to seek to destroy. The sense that Limbaugh is not always aware of the difference is part of the reason that I don’t listen to him more often.

  3. I think code words are the key to this dispute. IN MY OPINION,Obama was elected to push our Government CLOSER to the West European model of Social Democracy,but that cannot actually be expressed by a Liberal Politician in America for obvious reasons,so the mandate remains subliminal.
    The question that is interesting to me is that kind of pushing for Social Democracy: unconstitutional,illegal,treasonous???

    I am linking Jonah Goldberg’s piece from Commentary today. “What kind of a Socialist is Barack Obama?” Easy Answer,he’s similiar to the kind found in Western European Democracies. It seemed Goldberg was not as comfortable with this subject as he usually is with his Liberal Fascism umbrella.”But is it correct, as an objective matter, to call Obama’s agenda “socialist”? That depends on what one means by socialism.” Okay Jonah,
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/what-kind-of-socialist-is-barack-obama–15421

  4. I am hard at work when Rush’s show is on, but I do not miss the pompous self aggrandizing rubbish which often dilutes the power of his message. Luckily, Beck’s TV show comes on when I am free from the constraints of my work. Both can be a little clownish at times, but why object to two powerful (and of course flawed) personalities who are speaking truth to power and have people listening to them every day, day after day. I just hope they have good bodyguards.

    Jennifer Rubin points to a similar theme when she tackles the mild mannered and self described New York Times “centrist,” Zoltan’s favorite mushey mouth, David Brooks.

    Brooks fails to notice a telling quality of The Obami, which makes them far more dangerous than most European Social Democrats. Their animus shows and smells to high heaven like homeless underwear. They ooze a great deal of hatred and anger and it comes pouring out as they sprint to the nearest crapper too late. Mister Peanut’s arrogant State of The Union was full of such arrogance and anger. So is his constant call to his base to “get in their face.” You can see the same seething anger in his most trusted 0bami like the almost white Valerian Jarrett, and in the words of Van Jones, “Give them THE WEALTH,” and in Anita
    Dunn’s infamous and far too late to retract and far too telling words of praise for the pathological mass murderer, Mao Tse Tung.

    Do not forget too quickly the preacher, Jeremiah Wright, and the hatred and hostility he vomited out on a weekly basis to the assembled 0bama Family. And, Billy Ayers probably did ghost write Mr Peanut’s second best seller. A brief look at the rage he and his little wifey, Bernitdown Dhorn, spout in their writings display an unnatural level of hatred. They really do feel entitled to get what they want by any means necessary. I know this type all too well, my frems.

    It is there, like a boil leaking pus all over their faces. We ignore it at our own peril, my frems.

  5. It is there, like a boil leaking pus all over their faces. We ignore it at our own peril, my frems.

    What you saying is they hate what you love,and you hate what they love,and you all hate each other. Where’s this going in the “Real” world that we all live in?

  6. I am just calling it like I see it, Rex.

    Brooks wants to put lipstick on the pig, or he wants to pretend the pig is Nicole Kidman.

    I see the pig. I think voters need to understand that they did not vote for Nicole, they voted for Mister Oink, and I think both Rush and Glenn help to remind them of this so they do not made the same mistake twice.

  7. #5 wrote
    smells/homeless underwear.
    ooze/hatred
    pouring out/crapper
    arrogance and anger.
    seething anger
    hatred and hostility he vomited
    rage/level of hatred.
    boil leaking pus

    #7 wrote:pig/oink

    Is Obama a smelly,angry,vomiting,crappy,puss filled pig,or a nice 4h raised pig that goes to country fairs like Wilbur?

  8. The David Brooks of the world would like to project onto Mister Peanut what they think they would like a President to be.

    However, De Nile is the longest river in Africa, and you can be sure Barry ain’t who he said he was during the election and he isn’t who Natalie Rosenberg hoped he would be when she hosted a $10,000 a head party in his honor in Highland Park, il.

    He’s the guy who sat in that pew, soaking up all of that foul hatred week after week for 10 long years.

    Project and deny all you want, Rex.

  9. Gosh, these endless circular arguments can get tiresome. At least the last several days, I’ve heard Beck invoke Ghandi several times, and he even says he prays when he gets too mad about what’s going on.

    I will repeat until the cows come home that many of these entitled people would stop at nothing, even more would stop at very little to foist their utopia upon us. Isn’t that what Saul Alinsky taught them, that the ends justify the means? They have no compunction at calling people with African American grandchildren racists, stuffing ballot boxes and infiltrating trouble makers into tea party events. The dismissed Panther case, and several SEIU beatdowns are early indications of what many of them can will do as election season approaches.

    SS and LF are totally correct on this, my frems. Our vision is constantly clouded by our projections, and, ha ha to those of you who think our opponents are simply polite idealists who want Fourstring’s friends to get nicer government issued undies and free baths at the Holiday Inn every other day.

    I can not help it if Limbaugh and Beck are on to something some of you would rather deny.

  10. Zolt, you go on thinking that liberals or progressives or whatever are all lovers of thugs or opponents of republican government and keep thinking that the rest of the country lacks the capacity to distinguish between Rev Wright and a hole in the wall.
    You go right on thinking that your opponent are demonic hellspawn and not people whose politics differ from yours by degrees rather than universes.

    Any continue thinking that everyone else denies reality.

  11. @ fuster:Do you think Barry & Michelle had the capacity to distinguish between Wright and a hole in the wall? And for TEN frigging years?? Hello??

    Why did Barry suddenly become Barracks at Columbia? Was it to get some cred with all the wunnerful white pwogwessives?

    How about changing your name?

    Che Fuster?

  12. Twenty years, Zolt, but then again how often do you find a Quaddafi and Farrakhan phile as your preacher, who you trust to preside over your wedding, to have your kids follow his teachings, nothing could
    go wrong there

  13. Ya Know, Senior Narciso, I think they would like to go back to the me too, polite Republican politicians like the feckless McCain, Dole and Bush I, who were too polite to bother winning.

  14. “They are motivated by love. Not hate, not sedition. They love their country and want to save it from those who do not.”

    Is Limbaugh *that* far off with this assessment? I get the impression that Obama would be happier with citizenship to the Global Community Of Humans than to the United States. What politician actually *removes* his USA flag pin? I have no problem with anyone not wearing a USA pin. But to wear one, remove it, then wear it again after public pressure became too much? And you’re running for President? It’s almost an unthinkable act for a high profile politician. Why would he do such a thing? One has to wonder the motivation.

    I feel like Obama is far more sincere when he is apologizing for or denigrating America than he is when he’s praising it (praise being a political necessity). He has hired several people in his administration who share his same views. His wife wasn’t proud of her country until her husband was the Dem nominee for Prez.

    The Founders created this country to be distinctly different from the Europe from whence they came. To have a degree of liberty that no other country in the world had. But now Obama, despite allegedly being a constitutional scholar, is trying curtail that liberty by implementing a statist “utopia.” Just like they have in the same Europe that our Founders broke away from 200+ years ago. He’s backed by the likes of Pelosi and Reid and almost all of the heavy hitters in the D party.

    Does Obama and several of his cohorts who run the show love their country? I’m not so sure. I get the feeling that they are more embarrassed by it than they love it. They feel that America needs to decline and become less (benignly) hegemonic as some sort of “corrective” in my opinion.

    Note, Rush didn’t say that these people “hated” America. He said that they didn’t love it. To be honest, I’m having a hard time disagreeing with that statement. Is that too incendiary a statement that it harms the conservative movement more than it helps it? I’m not sure. However, with all the vile demagoguery from major figures of the left directed towards GWB, conservatives, Tea Parties, etc…, I for one am not going to fault Rush for this relatively mild statement. I’m a little tired of conservatives having to defend themselves from spurious accusations (racist! homophobic! anti-immigrant!) and wouldn’t mind putting liberals on the rhetorical defensive for once.

  15. Ritchie Emmons wrote:

    Is Limbaugh *that* far off with this assessment?

    Just far enough to have said something that, if there’s any doubt about it, it must be left unsaid for a civil, democratic conversation to proceed in good faith.

    It’s similar to the notion of presumption of innocence in criminal matters. Even people whom we believe to be guilty are entitled to the presumption – as much for our sake and for the sake of all the others, as for the sake of the defendant.

    I won’t speculate about Bill Clinton, but I suspect he’s right up to a point that an atmosphere of expressly anti-government ferment encourages the McVeighs of the world – which isn’t the same as saying talk radio or any particular set of talkers are implicated in the OKC bombing. Even if they were, I could accept it as a price worth paying for a free society, and trivial compared to the price of unfreedom.

    We cannot have a country worth living in, or at all, unless people who disagree resolve their differences peacefully. A rhetoric that implies otherwise is faulty rhetoric in a democratic society, whether from the right or the left, regardless of who’s guilty of more of it. Since most people are deaf to their own rhetoric and blind to their own ideology, we also have to begin with the presumption that, though we may hear in the exchange of insults between the two sides a ratio of 5 or 10 or 100 to 1 of their infractions compared to ours, they very likely hear the opposite ratio.

    It’s obvious, for instance, that the defenders of Rush and Beck hear “truth,” not insults. The defenders of Obama or others on the left hear a different truth – the “truth” that all of those crazy nutballs on the right want them dead, or gone, or destroyed.

    It’s all pretty darn sick, though not really very far out of the ordinary.

    (Welcome to ZC, btw, Ritchie. I’ve seen you contributing at JED’s blog, and of course remember you from Contentions. I’m glad you joined the rest of us…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qs8T4g6niQ

  16. Because that is what the professors, the journalists, the popular culture teaches them, despite the fact the fact most of these spokesman, are filthy stinkin’ rich, cognitive dissonance, it’s a reinforcement loop, that is very strong call it epistemological
    blindness, other terms are less kind.

  17. How can Obama’s actions, in regard to the economy, be anything other than intentional? He has to know the long term effect of his deficits. He has to know that they will lead to economic collapse.

    Anyone willing to essentially destroy the economy harbors malevolence towards its citizens. They may well rationalize it as necessary to build anew a more just world but under that cool rationality, beats an angry heart.

    Those who fail to distinguish between the left and liberals either unjustly paint liberals as leftists or absolve leftists as simply well-meaning liberals.

    The left has to reduce freedom because a free people will never agree to, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”. Anyone who fails to understand the core need of the left to control others, fails to understand the left.

    All ism’s of the left spring from an abandonment in the belief in a beneficent, providential creator.

    Philosophically, that abandonment leads to a consequent conclusion; this.is.all.there.is… and the corollary belief that the primary obstacle to a better world is the recalcitrance of those in power and the ignorance of those who vote against their own self-interest.

    The ‘left’ seeks power as they are one side of Jefferson’s, “Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes.” They perfectly exemplify Milton’s Lucifer in Paradise Lost, “Better to rule in hell, than serve in heaven”

    Liberals are Stalin’s ‘useful idiots’ suffering from arrested emotional development, motivated by the child’s eternal cry of protest, “But it’s not fair!”

    Each is philosophically opposed to the existential reality within which they exist and both believe that if they can only control people and circumstance enough, they can make life be fair and/or good enough.

  18. @ Geoffrey Britain:
    That’s some authentic gibberish, Geoffrey.

    Your reduction to all leftists are whining emotionally-retarded Commie control-freak useful idiots is more an insult to your own intelligence (and I know it’s not slight) than anything else.

  19. Geoffrey Britain wrote:

    How can Obama’s actions, in regard to the economy, be anything other than intentional? He has to know the long term effect of his deficits. He has to know that they will lead to economic collapse.

    But that’s not “known.” It’s an hypothesis, like any other. The likes of Krugman and Romer believe that deficits don’t matter much on their own – a respectable position among conservative economists as well, in fact a critical difference between the Reaganauts and the “tax collectors for the welfare state” – and that at the current economic conjuncture replacing the precipitous drop-off in aggregate demand following the credit collapse is more important than anything else. Failing to run a sizable deficit, from this neo-Keynesian perspective, is just reproducing the mistakes of the ’30s.

    The Obami took that position ahead of the stimulus. As a political matter, they larded it up with what they needed to hold their coalition together. Presumably, the economists judged the compromised product the best they could get, and crossed their fingers that it was close enough to the ideal. It’s all criticizeable. There might even have been people who embraced a worst case political calculation of the sort you describe.

    That’s an interesting discussion – also whether other aspects of our system make debt and deficits of this size sustainable economically and politically, and whether they damage the economy and our prospects unjustifiably – but it is not prima facie evidence of a secret plot to destroy the country or force a constitutional dam burst.

    The rest, I have to say, is ideological imposition, an insistence on seeing political adversaries as political objects rather than as thinking subjects – especially to the extent it follows from the economic conspiracy premise.

    If we can’t see the human beings on the other side, then we aren’t qualified to hold power over them, in a democratic society. Leftists are not devils or demons. Mostly.

  20. I agree with Geoffrey Britain! What a lovely name, I say! Please write to Her Majesty The Queen immediately, my dear man. Tell her she must visit Israel before she dies. Having visited some 60 odd other countries during Her reign and never Israel, this inadvertently sends a rather f@c&e% up message to Her subjects, shall we say?

    Seriously, it is very nice and fine for Colin to postulate that they are not devils or demons. Perhaps he never had experiences such as I had several years ago at a wake for a great chemist at the University of Chicago. I met one of his fellow great scientists at a table sipping free wine, and the man grinned at me and, out of a clear blue sky, let loose that of course Rumsfeld was a war criminal.

    Now, maybe Colin could have had a very civilized discussion with this very tenured professor about who might be and who might not be deemed a war criminal, but I, I took the road less traveled by. I left the frigging table, my frems.

    This little incident is meant to illustrate a little something to my fair minded friends who want Rush and Glenn to never raise their voices even if they see that the raging fire is closing in on us.

    Hello?

  21. “How can Obama’s actions, in regard to the economy, be anything other than intentional? He has to know the long term effect of his deficits. He has to know that they will lead to economic collapse.”

    If it is factually correct that this is intentional,then he needs to be tried/convicted of High Crimes/Treason,and removed from office. All you need is proof.

  22. @ Zoltan Newberry:
    I say this as your virtual friend: It is hypocritical – comically, self-disfiguringly, and counterproductively hypocritical – to complain about some doofus calling Rumsfeld a war criminal in the same breath that you are consigning said doofus and everyone who votes the same way he does to some species of devil or demon.

    Beck and Rush are polemicists who at times masquerade as objective analysts. It’s part of their shtick. There’s a place for polemics, but as a substitute for thinking it becomes dangerous for all concerned.

  23. CK wrote,”devil or demon”

    There is a context for this. Doestoyevsky wrote a novel about leftists in Russia,mistranslated,The Possessed,better translated,The Devils,best Translation DEMONS,then in honor of Doestovesky’s novel,von Doderer(Austrian) wrote his Epic,Demons about the rise of Facism. Broch later wrote The Spell,and Mann wrote Dr Faustus,all of which describe the RED and BLACK fascism that swamped Europe. What is happening here is a different process;this is about the collapse of Empires(First the USSR),and the chaos that results therof. WW1,WW2,Russian Revolution were all results of the collapse of the old order of empires in the 19th Century.

  24. The problem, CK is the esteemed professor didn’t know why he considers Dapper Don, a war criminal, it’s just de rigour, in his circle,
    they know all Gitmo detainees are innocent, even after one blows up
    the L train in Chicago, they know AGW is happening even though Phil Jones, admits it hasn’t happened for a decade

  25. Yes, and on the same Chicago campus, at The Court Theater several years ago, the Man of La Mancha Program notes drew parallels between the horrid jail conditions at Guantanimo and those portrayed in the play.

    Yes, there was this absolute certainty on campusess everywhere that the Bush team were all criminals.

    Ask them today why Iraq, Guantinimo, and Afghanistan are still open, and what you get is a look.. you know that look, my frems, the look that says you are sooooo like pathetic to ask these questions now that the Savior is in the White House.

    My point here, dear frems? If Rush and Beck cannot expose this culture of phony knowingness with all the zest they possess, who can?

  26. Like the “Comfy Barcalounger” I’m sure was also at that prison in Algiers were Cervantes served his time. Or to bring it up to date,
    the Cercle Sportif, the modern version of that same facility. Now Bagram probably has much more of a dungeony feel, but that’s the one most likely to stay open

  27. @ Rex Caruthers:
    THE POSSESSED/DEVILS is one of my favorites, but you get into a kind of paranoid anything-is-anything-ism when you implicitly compare the Obami to nihilists and revolutionaries bringing chaos to a Russian province.

  28. CK MacLeod wrote:
    @ Rex Caruthers:
    THE POSSESSED/DEVILS is one of my favorites, but you get into a kind of paranoid anything-is-anything-ism when you implicitly compare the Obami to nihilists and revolutionaries bringing chaos to a Russian province.

    That’s what is happening at ZC.

  29. @ Zoltan Newberry:
    If people didn’t constantly parrot the latest Beck- or Rushism as though it made sense, then it would be a lot easier to say, “they put on a good show, leave them be.” Jesters in the lead is not a good formation for battle, and it’s a horrible basis for policy.

    narciso wrote:

    The problem, CK is the esteemed professor didn’t know why he considers Dapper Don, a war criminal, it’s just de rigour, in his circle,
    they know all Gitmo detainees are innocent, even after one blows up
    the L train in Chicago, they know AGW is happening even though Phil Jones, admits it hasn’t happened for a decade

    Since you don’t know what the professor actually said or actually thought, you’re just making an assumption. My guess is that he has a very similar basis – perfectly reasonable, sensible, and realistic in his own mind – for declaring Rumsfeld a war criminal to the one that Zoltan has for declaring Obama a traitorous thug.

    I like the illustration: The man makes an accusation whose implications are repugnant, not least regarding the man’s own mindset. Zoltan feels his best recourse is to “leave the table.” Constantly putting ones opponents in a position where the only sensible or honorable choice is to “leave the table” is not a formula for democracy, my frems. And this would apply equally if Zoltan, having reached the punch bowl first, had started off the non-conversation with “of course the Obama crowd are a bunch of thugs and traitors who hate America.”

  30. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    That’s what is happening at ZC.

    What makes you say that? We’re conducting discussions in various threads about the use and abuse of political rhetoric. It’s an abstract job, but someone’s got to do it.

  31. I gather Lani Davis is a decent guy. Remember, during all the fuss about Bubba’s strange dealings with the Chinese, fund raisers, various bimbos, etc, Lani, the quintessential man from Dale University, would always holler Where’s the pwoof? on national TV?

    Now, we have our dear Tsar demanding we provide him with pwoof, and no matter how many people and situations we cite from Billy the bomber Ayers, to Bernitdown Dohrn, to Anita Dunn, the Mao Tse Tung loving now ex Czar of something or another (she didn’t just say, “Mao”, she reverently said Mao Tse Dung with great clarity and love (ask voice analysis metrics folks at NICE Corporation, to give them the wealth! Van Jones, to that humble paragon of interracial love and respect, The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, to the aget in their faces anger, to the nationally televised disrespect of seven Supreme Court Justices sitting mute in front of him, to the demonization of Chrysler bondholders as ‘fat cat speculators,’ to the comfortable campus wide hatred of the unwashed conservative majority, we can never bring enough examples of their fundamental hatred and arrogance, and the oozing disgust and intolerance they hold toward we who differ with their elite opinions… we shall remain unable to convince our dear Czar that these people are dangerous, and that, if they have their way, our country as we know and love it, could be forever lost, and that we could enter into a very long and dark age in which the human race suffers on a monumental scale.

    We must hold dear, my frems, those champions like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck who are more than willing and very able to do all they can to stop this pestilence with all the rhetoric and all the mocking and all the humor and all the ridicule and all the scorn they can muster.

  32. Zoltan Newberry wrote:

    Now, we have our dear Tsar demanding we provide him with pwoof

    No – I request that you attend to the argument I’m making, rather than the argument you prefer to attack.

  33. Ah yes, Rex, but the context of the era when the Narodnya Volya, people’s Will is critical, and why they as the Social Revolutionaries like the Weather Underground ultimately failed in their objective, yet Lenin
    succeeded because he saw how ‘direct action’ was a pointless act, Dostoyevski I have been given to understand was a good friend of Arch
    czarist Pobestndenev, in fact the latter might have taken the Grand
    Inquisitor as his role model.

  34. Lenin
    succeeded

    In setting up a house of cards that lasted all of 70 years. Our House of Cards was set up 39 years ago,we’re well ahead of schedule.

  35. @ Fourstring Casady:

    Clearly, you didn’t read carefully what I posited fourstring.

    You state, “Your reduction to all leftists are whining emotionally-retarded Commie control-freak useful idiots” and compellingly demonstrate my assertion, “Those who fail to distinguish between the left and liberals either unjustly paint liberals as leftists or absolve leftists as simply well-meaning liberals.”

    To restate my position; those on the far left are about power, “Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes.”

    Liberals are all about an emotional protest against life’s essential unfairness. That infantile inability to accept what is, prevents them from appreciating the absolute necessity for life’s inequality of outcomes. As just one example of many; without evolution’s ‘unfair’ beneficial individual mutations… life would be stuck in the stage of the amoeba.

    The left uses liberals to advance their aims, thus they are Stalin’s ‘useful idiots’ and taking that personally prevents you from dispassionately considering whatever value it may hold.

  36. @ CK MacLeod:

    Would that it were a hypothesis but we are well past the point where Obama can pee on our heads and tell us its raining. The ‘hypothesis’ is now the only theory that fits the facts and, your evident unwillingness to face the writing on the wall… changes that ‘future history’ rushing at us, not a whit.

    As a Senator, Obama railed against deficits and debt. He said America has a debt problem and that it was a failure of leadership not to address it. That establishes prior knowledge.

    Obama has presumably knowledgeable economic advisers and any adviser who suggests that through some Keynesian magic the US can sustain support of debt in 2020 that eats up 90% of US GDP (CBO) is smoking crack.

    It strains credulity far past the point of breaking to suggest that Obama doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing. You can’t spend your way out of debt and a nation can’t massively borrow its way to prosperity. “We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

    Please consider C.K. that by the time you have prima facie evidence of Obama’s mendacity it will be far too late to avoid that fate. Quite a gamble you’re taking there…

    What you define as “an insistence on seeing political adversaries as political objects rather than as thinking subjects” I would define as simply looking at their ‘fruits’ to determine their intentions and motivations. Could you be doing a bit of, “you’re unreasonably hardheaded, but my opinions are firmly grounded”?

    Over on the neo-neocon blog, this is defined as the ‘fool vs knave’ conundrum when trying to understand Obama behavior. I too wondered which it might be and for quite a long time came down on the side of Obama simply being an educated ‘fool’.

    I now maintain that to be an insupportable position given his behavior and, the virtually certain ‘fruits’ that shall obtain from that behavior. For confirmation of those consequential fruits, simply look to Europe, the economic canary in the coal mine.

  37. @ Zoltan Newberry:

    Zoltan,

    I’m a 100% born and raised American. I like the name too but it’s a partial nome de plume. Geoffrey is my actual first name and the entomology of my actual last name is ‘man from the land of Briton’.
    I also have British ancestry on one side, so it seemed appropriate.

    I suspect the Queen’s avoidance in visiting Israel may be intentional. Prince Charles had to have gotten his antipathy toward Israel from somewhere. That’s supposition of course but there’s frequently fire where there’s smoke.

  38. The ‘hypothesis’ is now the only theory that fits the facts and, your evident unwillingness to face the writing on the wall… changes that ‘future history’ rushing at us, not a whit.

    Until the economic apocalypse is upon us, then the idea that our current level of debt will cause such an apocalypse is an hypothesis. No one can say – though some think they can say – exactly how such dreadful events will unfold. They could be right. I myself am more in the soon-come camp than the don’t-worry-be-happy camp, but the notion remains a strongly held minority opinion among informed economic observers, not an already established and incontrovertible fact. It’s therefore cannot be a basis for the indictment as you stated it. In the meantime, we have a situation where the retrospective opponents of TARP accuse the doomsayers of ’08 of being chicken littles… and then immediately turn to crying that the sky is falling.

    The Debt-to-GDP ratio argument is based on an inference, not a demonstrated law of economics. Krugman was taken to task for pointing out that US Debt-to-GDP far exceeded 100% on the eve of our greatest period of economic advancement and military and political dominance – that is, at the end of WWII. It’s obvious that we aren’t in a remotely similar position, and that in many respects what we had going for us in 1945 we have against us now, yet in other respects we have more advantages now. The economists whom I most respect predict a difficult decade ahead, including likely stagnant growth in the US and Eurozone, a severe downward adjustment in expectations for India and China, and a worrisomely high chance of economic collapse and instability in the periphery.

    No one knows what the future holds – not you, not me, not the neo-neocons, no one. In the meantime, our political system allows us to make mistakes, and occasionally to learn from them. If things go south, it won’t be the first time, it’s unlikely to be the worst time, we’re very unlikely to get the worst of it compared to other countries, and the fall will be from a much higher level of consumption and power than in the past.

    And it doesn’t come close to justifying the criminalization, or worse, of political differences – which is what a lot of this rhetoric that I have been protesting implies, though for now the people spreading it remain afraid to accept or embrace the implications of their own words. If you’re not plotting or prepared to support revolution, then either you don’t really believe what you’re saying – or you need a different way of saying it.

  39. “Until the economic apocalypse is upon us, then the idea that our current level of debt will cause such an apocalypse is an hypothesis.”

    Technically, yes that’s true. Implicit within your statement however is the assertion that the only way we can know we’ll suffer economic collapse is after it happens. Hindsight is 20/20 but is a poor survival technique. We can (and are) morally ignore the repercussions for future generations and live off of their inheritance. At some point however, the piper must be paid and the longer the bill is delayed, the greater the final cost.

    The repercussions of the very high debt to GDP ratio of WWII was greatly ameliorated by the unique position the US enjoyed, ‘factory to a devastated world’. The Marshall plan also helped, providing an outlet for American industry.

    I’m no economist but am a great believer in the efficacy of principle. Economics are not that complicated until people start to ‘get clever’. When they do, all kinds of complicating factors get introduced, which muddy the waters of economic cause and effect.

    There are not one set of economic principles for individuals and companies and another set for nations. The ability of nations to put off the day of reckoning is facilitated by their ability to print money. But eventually that day cannot be delayed any longer. That just happened in Greece and economic collapse was only avoided by outside interference.

    Were it just one or two fiscally irresponsible nations they might continue the charade indefinitely but the fiscal irresponsibility now encompasses literally every western nation and the ‘lender’ nations face increasingly unsustainable budgets.

    The day of reckoning is coming and given the socio-economic factors in play, it’s virtually certain to end with collapse. Regrettably, the undeniable, prima facie evidence you seek C.K. will only be recognizable in hindsight.

  40. @ CK MacLeod:
    “And it doesn’t come close to justifying the criminalization, or worse, of political differences – which is what a lot of this rhetoric that I have been protesting implies, though for now the people spreading it remain afraid to accept or embrace the implications of their own words. If you’re not plotting or prepared to support revolution, then either you don’t really believe what you’re saying – or you need a different way of saying it.”

    The ‘criminalization’ of political differences to which you refer is based in the arguably correct perception that the ‘solutions’ favored by the left necessarily entail the reductions of fundamental freedoms and are being pursued in an essentially undemocratic and unconstitutional manner.

    Notice that in the main, those on the left do not accuse those on the right of pursuing extra-constitutional tactics but rather of being mean-spirited, greedy, racist and ignorantly self-obsessed. All personal accusations not substantive, issue oriented accusations.

    The overwhelming collaboration of the MSM in acting as the Democrats ‘propaganda ministry’ unconscionably ’tilts the playing field’ in favor of the left. They are and have been for decades lying to the American public, mostly through omission and distortion of the facts, to further their liberal agenda.

    When the left acts in a consistent pattern of dishonesty to further an agenda that the majority of the American people do not support, they eventually self-create the very demonization you abhor.

    The last thing any loyal American would wish to see is a civil war or revolution entailing violence. That naturally produces a strong reluctance to ‘cross the Rubicon’ before it becomes absolutely unavoidable. There is still time to reverse what the left is trying to do and many of us are hopeful that we can right the ship of state.

    Should that effort fail, I can assure you that psychologically, it is entirely predictable that the left will eventually force the issue, as it’s in their nature. That is because the left needs to control people and circumstance, for at their core they believe that if they can only control people and circumstance enough, they can make life be ‘just’ enough.

  41. @ Geoffrey Britain:
    There’s almost without a doubt some guy or gal somewhere, probably more than one, at this very moment, posting a nearly identical comment from the left, utterly convinced that the right has for decades been lying and scheming and cheating and killing, driving the country to destruction, betraying the most fundamental moral precepts of democracy, playing from a stacked deck, and so on.

    Contrary to your assertions, when the right was in power, the left expressly accused the the Bush-Cheney administration of betraying the Constitution, eroding constitutional freedoms and circumventing constitutional protections, using a compliant media to advance a fundamentally anti-American and immoral agenda. Today, many on the far left accuse the Obama Administration of being thoroughly corrupted by corporate America, pursuing an agenda that vastly enriches or bails out big business and Wall Street and the expense of the people, and on and on.

    Such accusations have always been made, from both sides. 50 years ago, the right was always ready to accuse the left of preparing to sell out to Communism. The left was always ready to demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt that the right was full of warmongers ready to destroy the nation and even the world. The right believes the left seeks a distorted and contradictory vision of freedom. The left believes the same about the right.

    We have a political system for reconciling such differences. In the meantime, the jumping-off point of this discussion wasn’t an economic prognosis, it was a post that asked what was categorically different about Limbaugh’s rhetoric and what Limbaugh was complaining about. The answer, nearly 50 comments later, remains “nothing.”

  42. They are still wrong, in substantial ways, CK, the problem is that 50 years ago, they didn’t have quite an echo chamber in the media, in the academy, in the corporate world

  43. @ David:
    The Clashin’ of Sieves

    Q. Don’t you think it was rather bad form for Dr. Limbaugh to attempt to corner the market on love of country?

    A. Anythin’ done in the path of Absolute Free Enterprise is well done! Anythin’ at all!! Whatever it takes!!!

  44. We cannot have a country worth living in, or at all, unless people who disagree resolve their differences peacefully.

    I disagree.

    I assume that we all here are non-pacifists, right? That means that while we generally prefer peace to war, we don’t accept that as an absolute. War was better than letting Hitler take over Great Britain, or, less obviously, than letting Hitler take over the USSR (if only for the geostrategic considerations).

    Similarly, the assumption of living in a civil society is that violence should be primarily left to the government. However, it is not entirely so: I know of no political subdivisions in the US that deny the right to self-defense, and frankly, any that did I would consider tyrannical. The Second Amendment was written with the intent of giving individuals the right to their own defense. In fact, many of the Founders appear to have actually considered a militia consisting of all able-bodied males to be preferable to a standing army! Furthermore, it’s pretty obvious, both from the mere fact of the American Revolution and from the writings of the Founders, that they did not consider violence against a tyrannical government beyond the pale.

  45. @ Ken:
    A tyrannical government is, for an American, a government that is functionally “not worth living in.” Of course, as in all things, there are degrees of tyranny, and you could, in theory view the federal government as tyrannical or verging on tyrannical and not feel obligated to strap on a bomb vest or form a revolutionary cell immediately. All the same, every interaction from everyday life to the great political struggles relies on a willingness to achieve a civil and less than completely one-sided resolution of most disagreements.

    In the meantime, the vast majority proceed with an intuitive, gut-level awareness that order is vastly preferable to civil war. The Founders made it clear that they considered revolution a decision to be taken with the utmost seriousness, after the exhaustion of alternatives, and with care to protect as much of what worked about their society, their heritage of democratic norms and assumptions, as possible.

  46. @ narciso:
    it is disturbing thinking about how wrong they are and how thoroughly they’re winning hearts and minds. one might, if one were a Geoffrey B, almost think that the majority of the country holds a criminal hatred for the majority of the country.

    Ibsen might have had some character cry “The majority is always wrong!”
    Britain might append hatred and criminality to the list.

  47. It is disturbing, it would suggest that their is an attempt to in Bertold
    Brecht’s (the fellow who went to East Germany, to find artistic freedom!) words, to ‘elect a new people’

  48. Geoffrey Brittain said
    “The ability of nations to put off the day of reckoning is facilitated by their ability to print money. But eventually that day cannot be delayed any longer.”

    You have been talking about Obama’s complicity,but you never mentioned the Federal Reserve?????

    How long in your opinion has this policy of printing money to handle short term debt problems been going on? Did it start in Jan 2009? Long term,of course,always has a day of reckoning,for everybody&everything,but short term tactics as a whole,add up to long term strategy.

  49. Geoffrey Brittain wrote”—unfairness. That infantile inability to accept what is, prevents them from appreciating the absolute necessity for life’s inequality of outcomes.”

    They(Leftists) accept the unfairness as absolute necessity. They merely want to switch the goodies(Endlessly)from those that have them to those that don’t. That switching does nothing to disturb life’s inequality of outcomes,it just becomes part of the process.

  50. CK, Thanks for the welcome, and I’m glad to be here. I always enjoyed reading your comments at Contentions and at JED’s blog and see no good reason why I shouldn’t continue on here at ZC.

    I’m not quite sure why you put that Youtube clip at the end of your welcoming comments to me, but I’m glad you did. Seeing Moshe Dayan and his signature patched eye reminded me of one of the finest war books I’ve read – Michael Oren’s “Six Days Of War.” The book really gives one valuable insight of how political interests and necessities play a role behind the scenes. I assume you’re read it, but if by chance you haven’t, I highly recommend it. And it has a (mostly) happy ending!

  51. I’ve long meant to read Oren’s book, thanks for reminding me about it.

    I put up the Youtube clip because our banishment from Contentions put me poignantly in mind of the Exodus, and also of the outsiders/criminals celebrated in the song. Then, when I went to see if the song was in Youtube, I ran across the video I ended up posting. And somehow it all resonates with Commentary/Contentions’ status as defender of Israel.

  52. @ narciso:
    If you meant that Bibi set the bar high for the amount of personal distaste engendered during his time here, you’ve got a point. I can’t, and hope not, to see Oren matching that.
    But IIRC, Netanyahu didn’t hold Oren’s position as ambassador to the US. Wasn’t Bibi UN sent to the UN?

  53. @ CK MacLeod:

    McVeigh quite succinctly noted what drove him to act – Waco and Ruby Ridge. Colin, you are drinking the koolaid here, and I don’t get to hear Rush that much, but did hear that comment. OSlash’s advocating that his “side” get in the face of their opponents, almost all the domestic terrorist activity in this country has been from the Left not the right. Rahm’s various comments about destroying his political opponents, the SEIU attacks on conservative protesters. Etc. Rush isn’t asking people to attack back, he is asking people to realize that these people advance a faction of political thought that is quite far to the left of normal political thought. This is the extreme anti-USA left in power. They do not see anything exceptional about the US and in fact think most of the world’s problems are the result of actions we have taken.

    I called before the election exactly what OSlash was and what he felt. I feel I hit it pretty close to center. He is a Chicago thug politican who hates everyone who has prospered over the years playing by the “rules”, whatever exactly they are. That is why he was in Wright’s church.

    The left expeccts you to act as you are – they are bringing a gun to knife fight – something else our esteemed president has said.

  54. @ JEM:
    In a debate among people arguing presumably in good faith, the first person to accuse the other of “drinking the Kool-Aid” discloses that he has been imbibing, and inevitably puts in question everything else he says.

  55. Now I understand CK. Thanks for taking the time to clarify.

    Speaking of defenders of Israel, I find rather puzzling that I, with not a drop of Jewish blood in me, seems more interested in the well being of that tiny state than much of the Jewish diaspora. That diaspora, while voting rather heavily for BHO here in the USA, might be souring on our President if Obama continues to treat Israel as badly as he has. I hope that’s the case anyway.

  56. Thanks CK. I discovered WRMead not too long ago and read that article last month. An excellent piece I thought. He shed a perspective on the subject that was enlightening I thought.

  57. I’ve been following him for 20 years, since I first read his “Mortal Splendor” which was a naive leftwing treatise on American decline,
    filled with the kind of conspiratorial thinking that now dominates
    the Sinosphere through his obsession with having the Russians
    sell us Siberia, which would have put an interesting spin on the last election, to his focus on Jacksonianism since 9/11. It’s been quite
    an evolution, toward the positive side of things

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