Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rush Limbaugh and Bricks on the Road to Hell

By now, I guess about 99.44% of the Dextrosphere has weighed in on the Obama Administration's attacks on Rush Limbaugh for the latter's statements that he wants the former to fail (to enact policies harmful to the nation). I figured I didn't have a lot to add to the discussion until just now. I can see this as just another example of an ongoing problem in arguing against leftists.

They always focus on intentions: The stated goal of one of their programs trumps any actual effect it may have. As a result, every debate is framed as virtuous crusaders for social justice against evil racist, sexist, homophobic despoilers of Gaia. How, for instance, could one vote against the "Employee Free Choice Act"? If you oppose it, you're against employee free choice! Well, we know the answer to that; the legislation isn't about free choice at all! It will deprive employees of the secret ballot in union organization elections.

When President Obama says we have to pass <Noble-sounding legislation title here> because it will create/save <Made-up number here> jobs, he is stating an intention, a hope, and/or a wish. Well, out here in Flyover Country, we have a saying about wishes: "You can wish in one hand, and s--t in the other; see which one fills up first."

His camp hopes that the voting public will give them credit for that good intention/hope/wish; that their noble end will serve as a blank check justifying whatever means the legislation actually employs. To a thoughtful student of history, the phrase "the end justifies the means" should trigger mental alarms. I suspect those alarms are what's stimulating the sector of the economy that manufactures ammunition.

Since the Left uses intentions, wishes, and hopes to sell their policies, they are particularly threatened when someone like Rush comes along and says "I hope he fails (to enact his damaging agenda)". The only response they are able to make focuses entirely on the hope, the wish, the intention, the end (ironically, not as Rush, uh, intended that wish, but their reframing of it); they can't talk about the means because if they do, they won't be able to push their legislation through.

I once had occasion to encounter this at the local level. I was managing a small retail business in a municipality considering an ordinance regulating signs. At a meeting with Planning Commission staff, I pointed out that the wording of the ordinance would require a permit for the sticker that says "PULL" on the front door of the business. The staff member answered by saying "that is not the intent of the proposed ordinance". I then asked "if that's the case, will you amend the wording to conform to the intent?". The response was one word: "No." At that point, it was crystal clear what the true intent of the ordinance was: to give the Planning Commision staff arbitrary power to cite any business as violating the ordinance, so that their subjective whims be supreme. That's not the "government of laws, not of men" that our Founding Fathers designed.

Time and time again, we see how the actual effect of an action is not included in the stated intentions of its advocates. I'm sure that the vast majority of people who support the President's plans do so because they honestly hold those intentions, and only a very few have ulterior motives. But it doesn't really matter what the intent is; the only standard by which a rational person can choose a course of action is to extrapolate the potential consequences of that action, evaluate them (intended or not) and decide if the costs are justfied by the benefits.

It is absolutely imperative that we break the political ascendancy of Good Intentions. We have to demonstrate how reality is impervious to our intentions, and responds only to our actions. My late father taught me that the road to Hell was paved with good intentions. We have to tear those bricks up. Rush has on his hard hat, and is in the driver's seat of Excellence in Bulldozing, doing just that.
[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]


  1. The problems that we (by which I refer to those among us who bother with pesky things like "details") are going to run into here are the woefully short attention span iron-clad commitment to denial of 52% of the voting public.

    They don't see the Left's shoddy foundational work and trembling supports sliding inexorably toward disaster on ground poorly-chosen to support even the most impermanent clap-board shack...

    They see only the facade of a beautiful, shiny tower (completely empty and held up only by words and "Hope", to be sure), ensconced in the halo of "Change" (don't the smoke & mirrors bend the light prettily?) -

    ...and mean old Rush and his fellow Conservatives, manning the demolition equipment.

    To see anything else would be to see more than they're willing to admit.

    - MuscleDaddy

  2. I see some parallels here with Bill's distinction between the Pink and Gray Tribes. The Pink Tribe values feelings, intentions, hopes, wishes, and other forms of magical thinking, while the Gray Tribe knows that Reality is a cold-blooded bitch that doesn't care about your precious self esteem, Sunshine. When we point that out, we're the mean, heartless bastards.

    That's one of the reasons why, when a friend first called me "Monster", I decided to wear it as a badge of honor. Call me insensitive, nasty, and mean; anything to avoid dealing with the truth.

  3. ~Paules says,

    I am well beyond the point of discussion. I had an epiphany the other day while explaining the meaning of money to my students. The explanation went something like this: "We trust paper currency because we all acknowledge that the value of a $20 bill is in fact twenty dollars." I didn't finish the explanation because my mind started to buck. When is $20 not worth twenty dollars? Er . . . when people stop believing that it is. I'm sure you see my point. We have nothing to fear because our currency is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Ahem.

    I am seriously weighing the practicality of doing the John Galt boogie. I would rather arrive at Svin's redoubt with a plan, some capital, and a few tangible assets than show up as a refugee in a moment of crisis. The rest of you should have contingency plans as well.

    ~Paules (out)

  4. I heard someone explaining 'theoretical money' on the radio the other day - it went something like this:

    Once, there were $20 gold pieces - they were worth the same as $20 in paper money, each had approximately an once of gold and with one, you could buy a good suit.

    Today, that same $20 gold piece still has approximately an once of gold, and its intrinsic worth will still buy you a good suit.

    That $20 in paper money, on the other hand...

    - MD

  5. Muscle Daddy has a great comment about those $20 gold pieces, which will buy an entire wardrobe at Men's Warehouse while the paper is paper---maybe a nice tip after a restaurant meal table for four.

    My economics teacher, a Jesuit priest, used to say that you could have potato chips in Fort Knox as long as people had faith and confidence. But "si se puede" ain't giving me hope or anything else so far....

    Soon we'll be lighting cigars with those Jacksons.

  6. Can someone please explain to me WHY the US got out of using gold to back our currency? What the hell were they thinking when they did that.

    Man, I wish we had a President who would come out and say to the world "You know what, this is going to suck but we need to spend the next few years cleaning up our backyard so if you were expecting us to give you cash for anything, tough shit - get a job."

  7. Edit to above post: Except for our REAL allies, those guys we should help out if they need it.

  8. Good article.
    Why go out and earn money when you can just print more of it? It should now be legal to print my own money in my basement. By the time I pay for the machines, ink, and paper - it will be worth more than a US buck anyway. AND, I could do my part to help fix the economy by spending it on stuff. Stuff like food and gas and a new car to drive me the hell outta here.

  9. the reason fdr stole all the gold coins was so he could print more paper money.this is no big deal it just means that a dollar ain't worth a continental.


We reserve the right to delete comments, but the failure to delete any particular comment should not be interpreted as an endorsement thereof.

In general, we expect comments to be relevant to the story, or to a prior comment that is relevant; and we expect some minimal level of civility. Defining that line is inherently subjective, so try to stay clear of insulting remarks. If you respond to a comment that is later deleted, we may take your response with it. Deleting your comment isn't a personal knock on you, so don't take it as such.

We allow a variety of ways for commenters to identify themselves; those who choose not to do so should take extra care. Absent any prior context in which they may be understood, ironic comments may be misinterpreted. Once you've earned a reputation for contributing to a conversation, we are likely to be more tolerant in those gray areas, as we'll understand where you're coming from.