If a thing is wrong, but profitable and legal, someone will do it. Rush Limbaugh has gotten very rich by exploiting his listeners’ ignorance and fear, leaving them knowing less and hating more every day. And he’s doing it even now, no matter the cost to the democracy whose freedoms make it possible — as you can see in this excerpt from his Inauguration Day show, via Media Matters for America.
But what must it be like for him? Imagine being condemned to spend every moment of your life with someone who would do what he does for money. In other words, for him to be trapped with himself. And when he looks around, to see only the kind of people who want to be with someone like him.
No wonder he seems to have such a low opinion of humanity.
Lately I’ve been thinking about Dante, whose 14th century vision of hell predicted ours so well. In the “Inferno,” he describes the punishments as contrapassos, which means sinners get what they deserve, but in a form based on what they have desired most.
In the fourth circle of hell are the greedy, who are doomed to fight each other forever, the hoarders against the wasters. The combat is endless, and endlessly worthless:
For all the gold that is beneath the moon
Or ever has been, of these weary souls
Could never make a single one repose.
Excerpt from the Jan. 20, 2021 Rush Limbaugh Show:
RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): And this inauguration looks like what you would expect from a one-party state. This inauguration looks like the Chinese Olympics, with hundreds and hundreds of flags, to replace people who were not allowed to show up.
Now, why do you think people were not allowed to show up? “Well, people aren’t allowed to show up because of COVID. People aren’t allowed to show up because of the threats to — the National Guard might open fire on everybody.” That’s not why. The reason they put up all these replacements for people is that I don’t think they were confident a bunch of people would show up for this.
Because I think they know — I think they know that they are not — you’ve got to be very careful here in the words I choose — I think they know that this is something that’s been arranged, rather than legitimately sought and won. And you can see this in their attitudes, in their smiles, you can see it, hear it in the words that they are uttering…
They’ve been sweating bullets for four years. And they are now convinced that they have re-secured their complete and total hold on power in Washington. But I think they know that it’s fleeting. They’re going to do everything they can to make sure it’s not fleeting. They’re going to do everything possible to make sure that they never lose it again. Don’t misunderstand. But I think all of these people have souls. And they all have deep, dark crevices where they engage in deep thoughts about themselves.
And I think when they go there, I think that they — a number of them actually have to admit that they’ve dodged a bunch of bullets here. And I think they know — and this is the big one — I think they know what 74 million — maybe 80 million people — who did not know for Joe Biden — there is no way they can honestly say to themselves that they represent the power base of the country. They’re going to have to take it, they’re going to have to hold on to it, and never let go of it. They have not legitimately won it.
Now, I’m on thin ice saying this. I’m making myself a target, saying this. But I’ve been doing this for 30 years. And it’s really no different today, than 30 years ago, no different than last week, in terms of the way I approach this. And I just — it’s almost a question of legitimacy. I’m almost of the mind that they know that there’s not a full-fledged legitimacy to this. But it doesn’t matter, because they’re able to lie to themselves, they’re able to tell themselves stories.