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Bryan Fischer Award Nominee: Rush Limbaugh

The Bryan Fischer award is given to those who show a staggering lack of self-awareness, accusing their opponents of their own worst sins. Rush Limbaugh, believe it or not, actually got it right on Todd Akin, slamming him for his idiotic statements. But listen to his explanation for it:

So they sit around amongst themselves — I’m not being critical of ‘em; don’t misunderstand my choice of words or tone, and they try to think of ways to persuade other people who agree with them. So Akin goes on TV with Charles Jaco, which is mistake number one, but he goes on with Charles Jaco on local St. Louis TV. And this whole business of a woman’s body shuts down in rape, there’s no evidence for that. But this is the kind of thing that people who do nothing but talk amongst themselves will conjure up, a belief system like that, and they’ll grab on to anything they can to support what their empirical belief is because their ultimate aim is to save life.

Their ultimate aim is to protect the baby no matter what circumstance the conception occurs in. And I think that’s just who the guy is, but he doesn’t know how to explain it. He has no clue how to make his case for it. And so he hangs around people who are like-minded and they’ve devised this belief. He’s not the first guy to say this. I’ve had people tell me that a woman’s body shuts down in rape. There’s no evidence for this. I mean it’s absolutely absurd. This leads to the second problem. This is absurd. That belief that a woman’s body shuts down and the whole notion of “legitimate” “illegitimate” rape, that’s the thing that bothers me about it. That’s just absurd. It’s not intelligent.

For crying out loud, Rush, you practically created that echo chamber where blatantly false and ridiculous statements get passed around as though they were true.

Comments

  1. D. C. Sessions says

    What totally boggled me is that this is a totally rational analysis with a solid grounding in reality.

    From Limbaugh.

    Pardon me, I think I need to go lie down.

  2. Freeman says

    Take heart, DC. It wasn’t THAT “totally rational”:

    and they try to think of ways to persuade other people who agree with them.

  3. D. C. Sessions says

    No, that may not be rational behavior but it’s a totally accurate description.

    Of course, that has nothing to do with Ed’s point: that the description applies to Limbaugh at least (pardon the understatement) as much as to the people he’s talking about.

    Other than the fact that Ed’s a better writer, the whole thing could have been his.

  4. dmcclean says

    “they’ll grab on to anything they can to support what their empirical belief is”

    Empirical belief!!!?! This belief could not be further from empiricism if it tried.

  5. ArtK says

    Like the mad scientist in a classic Sci-Fi movie, Rush and organizations like the FRC are shocked when their creations get away and turn on them.

    So they sit around amongst themselves — I’m not being critical of ‘em; don’t misunderstand my choice of words or tone, and they try to think of ways to persuade other people who agree with them.

    That sure sounds like criticism to me. This is like starting out with “I don’t mean to be rude…” It’s inevitably followed by rudeness. Or worse, the telemarketing calls that begin “This is not a sales call…” Even in a moment of honesty, Rush can’t keep from lying.

  6. Michael Heath says

    Rush Limbaugh:

    “they’ll grab on to anything they can to support what their empirical belief is”

    dmmclean:

    Empirical belief!!!?! This belief could not be further from empiricism if it tried.

    While you’re pedantically correct, and I can’t believe I’m about to write this, I think we should cut Mr. Limbaugh some slack on this. Within context it appears to be a mere gaffe which doesn’t reveal that Limbaugh doesn’t know what empirical means:

    But this is the kind of thing that people who do nothing but talk amongst themselves will conjure up, a belief system like that, and they’ll grab on to anything they can to support what their empirical belief is because their ultimate aim is to save life.
    [emphasis mine - MH]

    So from my perspective Limbaugh’s got it right, that these people are looking for claims they assert as if they were true empirical claims, e.g., the assertions coming from general practioner and anti-abortion rights leader John Willke whose falsely leveraged his doctor title to make claims as if they were empirical when they were not.

    I’m not responding to dmmclean as if I think this is a failure in character on his part, I’m sure I’ve made a similar criticism he does here. But I do think there’s one good reason why it’s worth pointing out this criticism of Limbaugh shouldn’t resonate with us. I’ll use an example to illustrate: Richard Dawkins does an excellent job making a case for certain issues in terms coming at it as an effective teacher and communicator. However he can also infrequently present a sloppy delivery, where those gaffes are then exploited by creationists who inappropriately malign Dr. Dawkins and/or convey something different than what Dawkins was communicating. I’d hate to think freethinkers are eagerly willing to do the same to others, we have far better arguments at our disposal.

  7. abb3w says

    Now, if we only could get him to realize how much of his own reasoning seems to fall in the same category.

  8. Michael Heath says

    abb3w writes:

    Now, if we only could get him to realize how much of his own reasoning seems to fall in the same category.

    I get email alerts from the Wall Street Journal, where the comment posts seems to be predominately published by ditto-heads. In that venue it’s well established that liberals are the ones who can’t face reality, suffer from a lack of critical thinking skills, avoid what experts understand, and promote an agenda based on a reality they wish were true rather than the cold hard reality of our present circumstances.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    I refuse to subject my poor ears to Limbaugh’s voice, but could he possibly have said,

    …they try to think of ways to persuade other people TO agree with them.

    ?

  10. buffybot says

    Hmmmm … i was reading one of the loonier right-wing forums where they constructed a narrative to explain Akin’s comment, and convinced themselves that he was obviously a mole planted by the democrats to undermine the GOP from within. They all dance to Limbaugh’s tune, so i’m Going to wait a couple of days and see how they work this into the conspiracy theory.

  11. Pieter B, FCD says

    This is like starting out with “I don’t mean to be rude…” It’s inevitably followed by rudeness. Or worse, the telemarketing calls that begin “This is not a sales call…”

    Or “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”

  12. baal says

    Rush is on board with the party talking points and was doing his job as a tool. The (R) leadership clearly decided after 1-2 days of Akin stories (poling windows anyone??) that Akin’s formulations were toxic. They they sent out directions to distance Akin as much as possible. Limbaugh is central to getting out official party line and that’s what he did.

    Note that this didn’t really change anything on the policy side. The (R) are still against, rape, incest and life of the mother exceptions (unless it’s their wife in which case there is a special dispensation).

  13. kermit. says

    Pierce R. Butler: I refuse to subject my poor ears to Limbaugh’s voice, but could he possibly have said,

    …they try to think of ways to persuade other people TO agree with them.

    I suspect that Rush did say “who”, and meant something like “other people who agree with them on moral and cultural values” to “Support their empirical claims”.

    I’m OK with that, even if it is a little careless. Close enough for water cooler conversation, although a professional should be more precise.

    The problem is as Ed states – Rush has made major contributions to a disconnect from reality.

    Michael Heath – you’re quite correct, they do say and think this. The difference, of course, is that they use phrases like “empirical data” and “rational thought” as rhetorical devices, not as referents to anything real. We have science (even if we don’t always use it); they have rallies where they pray for rain.

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