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Posts Tagged ‘liberty’

Rush Limbaugh preached his views to the CPAC choir yesterday, and the choir responded as expected.  It could hardly be called an intellectual speech.  Instead it was sort of like his radio show, full of exhortations to the faithful and lots of appeals to patriotism.  However, it is with his appeal to patriotism that one can see his sly manipulation of opinions begin to take place.  A minor, seemingly innocent substitution of words, that once swallowed by the eager, unquestioning listeners leads inevitably to the errant philosophy that is similar to that which caused the current crash of the U.S. and the world economy.  It all starts with a lovely little word: liberty.

Liberty – who can say they are against it?  Jefferson declared that liberty  is one of our inalienable rights, and Rush was right there yesterday, saying the same thing, and in fact even improving on Jefferson’s words, because Rush said, “we are all endowed with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, freedom – and the pursuit of happiness”. Whoa, hold on there Rush. Just wait a pea pickin’ minute.  Freedom? I don’t recall Jefferson saying anything about freedom.  What version of the Declaration of Independence were you reading? Or was it that you were just trying to help the poor, uneducated people in your audience who perhaps didn’t understand the word “liberty”. Were you just trying to explain to these poor people that freedom is a synonym for liberty?  Well, that’s where I have a problem with you, Rush. That’s because freedom and liberty are not synonymous. Liberty is freedom under the law. Freedom is just doing whatever you want to do – no rules.

And that is where Rush Limbaugh, and the Republican Party with him, have gone adrift and over the waterfall. And they took us with them.  It seems like such a small thing doesn’t it? Why quibble over semantics?  Freedom – liberty – aren’t they really just the same thing and don’t all Americans love them equally? No. They are not the same and we don’t love them equally.  Here’s an example of freedom:

Imagine a wild black horse running as fast as it can over the green hills of the West. The wind is blowing its mane straight back as it comes over the hilltop towards a glorious sunrise.  Suddenly a torrent of shots ring out. The horse falls dead on the ground and a lone hunter, devoid of any license, lays his AK-47 beside the horse and promptly proceeds to butcher it.  A week later the ground horsemeat is sold as prime beefburgers in three states and the hunter heads off to enjoy his profits from killing the horse and selling the wild horsemeat as beef.  That’s freedom. There are no rules.  You can do whatever you want, whatever you can get away with. That is not what Jefferson was talking about.  But that sort of no rules freedom is exactly what our Republican government gave to the financial industry. It is that sort of “no-regulation” that Rush preaches and the the choir laps up.  It’s not American.  It’s not patriotic. It benefits no one except the selfish people who get the drop on unsuspecting citizens and then take the money and run.

America, the land of liberty, is committed to just exactly that: LIBERTY. Freedom under the law. We are a land of law, a land of rules, a land of regulations.  That is because the founders of our country were intelligent men.  They knew that lawlessness always ends in disaster.  Men cannot have freedom; they can only have liberty.  Limbaugh’s conflating the words is a great deception, a deception of people who feel patriotic, who are easily duped and not sophisticated enough to see through Limbaugh’s sophistry.

I could go on and on about Rush’s speech, but I won’t.  There is just one more thing though that I think is worth noting about his sophistry.  A while ago, Limbaugh famously stated that he hopes President Obama fails.  Think about that carefully.  President Obama is the leader of the United States of America and Limbaugh wants him to fail. Imagine if Rush had said that he wanted the captain of the Titanic to fail.  Imagine if he had said he had wanted Captain Sullenberger, the commander of the US Airways plane that landed in the Hudson, to fail.  What does it mean when you wish that the leader in whom people have placed their trust and welfare to fail? It means that you wish them to fail too, for whatever doom happens to our leader will surely befall us too.  Limbaugh is essentially saying he wants America to fail, for that would be the only indication that President Obama had failed. Isn’t that right?  Is it possible for our leader and his policies to fail and America not to fail? Of course not.

So, I must ask. Where is Rush Limbaugh’s patriotism? Is he really pro-American? What do his sly words really mean?  I think I know exactly what he means.  His vision is not of a society with liberty and justice for all; it is a free for all, chaotic, grab it while you can and defend it with your guns land of outlaws (or no laws to be more precise).  This isn’t Jefferson’s vision. It’s not the vision of Washington or Adams either.  These are the cunning words of a great deceiver of the American people, and I hope he fails.

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