March 4, 2009
Obama appoints Rush Limbaugh leader of the oppositionBy James Lewis
Rush Limbaugh ‘just an entertainer?" Well, Mark Twain was an entertainer. But he was also one of the finest satirical voices in our history, a searing mocker of our national conscience at the time of Reconstruction. He made people laugh until it hurt, but his aim was fundamentally moral.
For the Chairman of the Republican Party to call Limbaugh "just an entertainer" is both inaccurate and political suicide. Michael Steele saw that quickly, and apologized. ‘Nuff said.
Steele allowed himself to slip on CNN's carefully scripted banana peel, but he knew better. Most of our media Neanderthals don't. They really are ignorant, and the more cocksure they sound, the more you can be sure they don't get the Limbaugh phenomenon. After all, they aren't picked for their capacity for independent thought. Our media artistes begin as Party hacks, like Stephanopoulos, Matthews, Moyers and Russert. They're picked for their completely predictable mindset. Novel ideas are anathema. That's why they're finally going down in the marketplace, and good riddance to ‘em.
The Left may think Rush is just an entertaining loudmouth, like Bill Maher or Jeanine Garofolo, who don't come within a stone's throw of Rush's IQ. Not so. Rush is a political philosopher and a devastating wit in the Burkean political tradition. That's our conservative tradition, which places its trust in human intuition, the profound, tacit wisdom that most of us share. (Unless it's been beaten out of you by an Ivy League education).
Why is intuition so fundamental? Because all human beings are experts at life. And like all experts, most of their knowledge is intuitive, not something you can write down into a large tome like Das Kapital. Edmund Burke noticed with remarkable insight that French politics of the Revolution was run by intellectuals, who tried to reason out every step of the process. The result was an utter disaster.
After the Terror, with heads tumbling from the guillotine, Napoleon rose to power. He proclaimed himself Emperor -- are you listening, Obama? -- and led Europe into the most destructive continental war in two centuries. The Napoleonic wars were the first real wars. What Burke understood is that the intellectual arrogance of the French revolutionaries led straight to disaster. We have seen that pattern over and over and over again since that time. Hitler was an Austrian intellectual, who wrote his manifesto in jail. Lenin was a Russian intellectual. Marx was a German intellectual. Obama ... yes.
Burke's intuitionism is an extraordinary political philosophy. Historically it has been far more humane and successful than any airy intellectual confections whipped up by the French pastry chefs of revolutionary academe. Compare Winston Churchill to Jozef Stalin -- another intellectual who lectured the world on linguistics -- and you get the idea.
That is also why President Obama and David Axelrod are making a huge mistake by elevating Rush to be the spokesman for the opposition. Rush is devastatingly clever, funny, fast on his feet, and he's as strategic as Axelrod. He presents a clear, lawyerly case against the bizarro Left, over and over again. Rush brims with passion and confidence in himself and the American people. He reaches nearly 20 million listeners per week, and indirectly tens of millions more --- far more than any politician. Rush is the only Churchillian presence in the world today; by comparison, David Cameron, the slick Tory Leader in London, is just a featherweight. Cameron has no center of gravity. Rush is both centered and quick on his feet, floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. And now Obama has made him even bigger.
As Burke famously wrote:
Our media are the grasshoppers of the hour. They make the field ring with their importunate chink. But thousands of great cattle -- call them Texas Longhorns -- are keeping the economy alive beneath the shadow of the great American oak. The question of this hour is whether one particularly nasty set of termites will succeed in chewing through the great oak and finally bringing it down.
Edmund Burke was the anti-Marx before Marx was even born. For Karl Marx, all political wisdom and power belongs to the power class. But for Burke, real wisdom resides in the people and their lifelong intuitions. Marx had a sort of German Junker vision, like Otto von Bismarck's Second Reich. He was a control freak, at least in his fantasies; but like most of the Left, his personal life was a mess. Marx wanted to establish a new Reich with his own followers, all goose-stepping into that great Red Dawn. Which is why Karl Marx led straight to Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, and a 100 million dead people, with unimaginable suffering for millions more under seven decades of Communist rule. Look at North Korea today and you can see that vision of perfection.
Edmund Burke was an Irish Member of Parliament, steeped in the Anglo-Irish tradition of localism and self-governance. Britain is only losing that tradition today, after a century of socialist indoctrination. "Conservatism" is just our name for our distinctive political tradition. John Locke and John Stuart Mill used to call it "liberalism," after "liberty," before the Left stole that honorable word and changed its meaning forever.
Over more than two decades of daily broadcasting Rush Limbaugh has secured a solid place in the continuing saga of Western political wit and wisdom. Political satire with that kind of penetration and truthfulness goes back to the Greeks and the Romans. Our greatest political wits have been people like Winston Churchill, H.L. Mencken, George Bernard Shaw, Abraham Lincoln, Ben Franklin, Moliere, Voltaire, Swift, Montaigne, greek comedies, Julius Caesar, ...
(Notice how humorless Obama is? He really takes after his pompous mentors and buddies, and not Abe Lincoln, who was famed for his knee-slapping back-country jokes.).
Like Mark Twain, Rush Limbaugh rose to fame in a time of Political Correctness, when incorrect speech was Streng Verboten. Today, some of your co-workers have appointed themselves to be Speech Commissars. (You know who they are, right?) Twain rose as an acid critic of slavery when it wasn't popular to criticize the evil institution in the Border States. Rush's star exploded with laughter against equally entrenched taboos, coerced by the PC Boomers -- think Bill Ayers and his maniac ilk. One reason why the Left is so badly educated and narrow-minded is that it never bothers to listen to honest critics. The Left has become an ignorant cult; like the Brahmins of Boston they only talk to each other, and maybe, in a bad pinch, to God. (But then they don't listen.)
That's also why they must control the media. To hear dissenting voices hurts their fragile feelings; it enrages them like a slow-witted bull, because they can't understand how anybody could laugh at them. Most of them can't imagine how they could ever be honestly criticized -- aren't they the good people? That is why our celebrity airheads constantly mouth the slogans of the Left; it's safe, it's simple, and it gives them a club to beat people with. It's a simple script for insecure dunderheads.
Our Democrats -- unlike the Truman-Humphrey-Moynihan Democrats of yore -- have no idea how far they live outside the mainstream of America. The day-to-day Obama disaster movie we are watching right in front of our eyes today is a direct result of that massive ignorance. Obama is a very intelligent and profoundly ignorant man. It's obvious that he's never seriously listened to a dissenting opinion, having lived all his life with his head in a moon helmet. True Believers tend to slowly drift into a kind of paranoid cult; it happened with Jim Jones, and we see it every day with the American Left. The intellectual isolation of the Left is the biggest political pathology of our time, and it's also the most dangerous.
(Just a few weeks ago Vladimir Putin (!) warned Obama not to repeat the disastrous history of Russian Marxism ... I guess we should be listening to old Vlad the Poisoner. The mind boggles.)
Rush Limbaugh has gotten under liberal skins by exposing their moral nakedness. Like Mark Twain, he has done it with razor-sharp humor. It is an immense service to the American people, and to the survival of Lincoln's vision --- not Obama's.
Long may he keep us laughing.