By now most people know that though it is perfectly fine to shout fire in a packed theater if there really is a fire, even constitutionally protected freedom of speech does not allow such behavior if there is no fire.
It is now clear that Rush Limbaugh is doing exactly the same as shouting fire when none is present during most of his radio rants. He feels no obligation whatsoever to have a factual basis for spewing forth the most inflammatory statements imaginable. Single-handedly, he is one of the most powerful forces destroying the American political system and, indeed, our democracy. It is nonsense to shrug him off as merely an entertainer.
During my daily car ride to run errands I listened to the Rush Limbaugh radio show the other day and was truly stunned by the declaration that right now there is a coup d’état by the Obama administration. Limbaugh is the master of public idiocy. But this assertion is beyond all previous nutty, totally wrong and intentionally provocative Limbaugh statements. Why make it? The only obvious answer is that he wants to infuriate his large audience of right-wing nuts, to feed their fear, paranoia and hatred.
By any definition of coup d’état on any dictionary website or Wikipedia, there is absolutely no objective, correct information that the Obama administration is right now pursuing a rebellion, revolution, uprising or overthrow of the legally and constitutionally defined structure of the US government. Nor, as is usually the interpretation, is there any sign whatsoever of violence being used to take over the US government. Does Limbaugh totally ignore the ongoing power of the Congress and Supreme Court and the entire federal judicial system? Or even the massive military establishment?
Is there any way to give credibility to the Limbaugh assertion that right now there is a coup d’état going on? I challenge others to come to the aid of Limbaugh.
Yes, there are a series of media hyped scandals going on. But not one of them rises to the level of a violent coup d’état by some small but powerful group of political insiders wrenching control of the entire federal government. If you think that Limbaugh is correct, then you are either insane or an idiot, or perhaps just one of the information-poor citizens that Limbaugh constantly talks about. If anything, Limbaugh has single-handedly helped create a mass of information-poor Americans.
As if this coup d’état nonsense was not enough, within minutes Limbaugh was also blithely asserting that the Obama presidential campaign could have used the many databases that are currently in the news because of activities of the National Security Agency. That’s right, Limbaugh publicly accuses the Obama campaign for data mining that made use of these highly debated secret databases with information on phone calls, Internet use and credit card use. Supposedly explaining why Obama won the presidency. What a wonderful idea to inject like a powerful narcotic directly into the dilapidated minds of the millions of Limbaugh fans.
Limbaugh does not just extrapolate from some facts to an extreme, far right fantasy. He uses the public airways to shout obscenities, sheer crazy assertions that are totally disconnected from reality. I would be so pleased to learn that Limbaugh has a major brain tumor. Preferably inoperable. Otherwise, the logical interpretation is that he is just evil.
Joel S. Hirschhorn can be contacted through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.