Limbaugh was never anything more than a used car salesman with a big mouth. I’ve seen a lot of libertarian-leaning people paying tribute to the guy by pointing out his supposed libertarian inclinations or his platforming of libertarian writers and scholars. That calls for clarification.
Rush Limbaugh was a very well-paid propagandist for the right-wing of the ruling class, the military-industrial complex, the corporate state, and the police state. Anything “libertarian” about him was simply a matter of taking libertarian scholars or ideas and twisting them toward some other ends. His “libertarianism” was about as serious or legitimate as the Third Reich’s “Positive Christianity.”
The corporate class’ house propagandists will take bits and pieces of libertarianism that they can use as a rhetorical weapon against the Left, while submerging their faux libertarianism in a wider ideological superstructure/propaganda apparatus that is about as “libertarian” as the Roman or Spanish Empires.
It’s not true that Rush’s fans were all trailer park and monster truck types. A lot of his audience was more upper strata working class, upwardly mobile lower middle class, middle class, petite bourgeois, small property owners, and right-wing professional class people, the kinds of folks who see taxes and business regulation as a threat to their own economic interests. He knew how to play to that audience very well. Also, the kind of Horatio Algier mythology he promoted is deeply rooted in American cultural traditions, like American exceptionalism, the American civil religion, and low-church Protestantism, all of which he exploited as well.
Like most right-wing propagandists, he would portray himself as a champion of “traditional values” and salt of the earth hard-working common people. That was bullshit as well. The real Limbaugh was drug addict and probable pedo. Why was he carrying unprescribed Viagra on a vacation to the Dominican Republic, known to be a haven for child prostitution?
I always saw him as the Republican Party’s Joseph Goebbels. Never could stand the guy. A friend of mine sums up pretty well what he was really about:
I had his show on in the car a few weeks ago after the Capitol incident. It was sickening listening to him distance himself from the people who stormed the Capitol… like bro, this is literally what you’ve claimed to support for decades. Now here we are and you’re worried about your precious advertisers pulling funding and losing your show even as you know you’re approaching death with nothing to lose. At least stand up for your shitty beliefs. Then he read a My Pillow advert.
Categories: Culture Wars/Current Controversies