Rush To Judgment

Since Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut,” we have been inundated with flaming opinions of how bad he is. I frankly don’t blame those who are incensed. If Sandra were my daughter, I would probably offer to give Rush a short course in manners in a private setting.

He is right on the issue–there is no reason for government to fund birth control of any kind for any reason–but wrong on the response. There was no reason to attack Fluke as he did and nothing to be gained from doing so except gaudy publicity. His penchant for creating useless controversy has blessedly backfired as advertisers bail out and social media sites encourage a boycott. That’s the way we’re supposed to do things in a free country–you don’t like it, exercise your right not to support it economically. Limbaugh is getting the message that advertisers have choices, and they do not always include him. Good on them.

Rush Limbaugh may be the poster child for social conservatives gone ape—-, but liberals have also raced each other to bottom when it comes to misogyny. I don’t recall any boycotts–perhaps that idea slipped through the cracks–but if any of them take the time to read the link in this paragraph, perhaps they’ll reconsider.

Politics is a dirty business. Our era is no different from the distant past when Rachel Jackson was accused (technically, correctly) of bigamy and Andrew, her husband, killed a man in a duel for spreading the rumor. Old habits are not necessarily good habits, though, and I have to wonder what we really are as a people when this kind of hateful blather passes for political dialogue.

Why the filth? Because it works. It is much easier to cast aspersions about candidates and officeholders by spreading titillating rumors than it is to argue an issue intelligently on its merits. It is easier to call Sandra Fluke a slut and Sarah Palin a bimbo than it is to explain why government should stay out of health care altogether or analyze why Sarah may lack the substance to be President. Paint an ugly enough picture and throngs of the careless, hateful, and dense will come running to help show it around.

Slouching toward an election like this is pathetic. Though every Presidential election is important, this one is going to tip the balance between our having a limited government based on individual rights and having one that increasingly subsumes the individual. No matter which side you are on, wouldn’t it be better to have the issue decided in an atmosphere of gravity rather than with an air of tawdriness?

What if we were to stop listening to the bombasts and the idiots and get a cup of coffee together with someone from a different point of view? I have a feeling we might not agree in the end, but we could disagree civilly and neither of us throw down for a duel. I’d call that progress.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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2 Responses to Rush To Judgment

  1. Dick Richards says:

    Amen, brother. Bought your book (Empty Nest Egg), by the way. Haven’t read it yet, but will.


    • Terry Noel says:

      Thanks, Dick. Enjoy the book. Also thanks for the guest blog. I’d love for you to contribute whenever the urge overcomes you.

      Terry Noel Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods Illinois State University Author of Empty Nest Egg: Why You Must Start Your Own Business NOW Blog:


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