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Reblogged:Rush Limbaugh, RIP

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Rush Limbaugh died of lung cancer last week, leaving behind a mixed legacy. Towards the end of putting the passing of this media giant into perspective, I found commentary by John Tamny of RealClear Markets and Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute particularly helpful.

To get the bad part of the mixed legacy out of the way, I'll turn to Tamny's piece, which is worth a full read and is even-handed:

RHLimbaugh.jpg
Image by Greg Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons, license.
Some will say he changed in later years, that with the rise of Donald Trump, Rush was no longer Rush. There's perhaps truth to this. He embraced protectionism that he'd formerly found abhorrent, plus became in the words of James Glassman (someone who'd been on Rush's show more than once, and who once guest-hosted for him) an "anti-immigrant obsessive" in ways that perhaps belied his essential statement about why the U.S. was -- and is -- "the greatest country ever."
Despite the fact that I rarely listen to talk radio any more, I had heard about this change from Limbaugh himself and others, in other media. And it is clear from Yaron Brook's recent podcast on the matter that this resulted in part from the weakness of his conservative ideology and in part from pressure from his audience: Limbaugh, who started out as an optimistic Reaganite -- or arguably more of a small-L libertarian -- eventually became an angry Trumpist.

At the same time, as both sources make clear, we have to consider the fact that this was a man who single-handedly created an industry and has changed political commentary. Limbaugh produced for hours a day, daily, for decades in a very difficult job, and often, especially in the mid nineties -- which is when I listened to him the most -- made it look easy.

Moreover, these latter accomplishments would have been enormous even if Limbaugh had not been swimming against the leftist tide that had already drowned and polluted so many of our cultural institutions. But he was, and the fact that he did so well anyway was inspiring.

I thank Limbaugh for these positive accomplishments and for providing generations of pro-freedom dissidents an example of fighting back.

But I also mourn the fact that his flawed convictions would undermine him, especially in his later years. Granted, Limbaugh was never going to be able to effect the kind of fundamental change America will need to reverse her cultural and political course. Indeed, many conservatives I admire, such as the late Walter Williams, have or had this limitation. But pandering to xenophobes and protectionists bespeaks a lack of conviction or integrity that disturbed me and made me hesitant to mark his death here.

-- CAV

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The dolphins and tuna approaches were entertaining as well.

Interlocutor, as I reach for a can of tuna . . . "That's not dolphin-safe."

Reply: "That's ok, I'm not taking it home for my dolphin to play with."

The other one he used was the complaint that the dolphin-free tuna tasted funny.

Mind you, these are paraphrased. The man was a consummate entertainer, even though I stopped listening to the show decades ago.

"Talent on loan from God" is another one-liner he liked to rattle off. I'd like to think the peace he portrayed having with himself toward the end was not so much  a peace that passeth understanding, as per Philippians 4:7, rather it came across a peace that comes from understanding, accepting the fact in the gracious manner he accepted most callers on his show, with an air of tact and diplomacy.

 

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