Rush Limbaugh’s passing this week triggered sadness on the Right and glee on the Left. The Left’s grave dancers exulted in his death, believing that they had just rid themselves of one of America’s greatest and most persuasive opponents of their twisted views favoring an Orwellian future for our nation.
With Rush no longer available to counsel and guide us, conservatives should take the opportunity afforded by his passing to reflect on one of the most basic questions of all — what is it to be a conservative? What differentiates us from the Left?
Conservatism is founded on two core concepts: (1) personal responsibility and (2) the critical importance of liberty in our lives. In an important way, these two concepts are opposite sides of the same coin. We should have the liberty to govern our own lives but in having that right must be prepared to take personal responsibility for outcomes resulting from the exercise of those liberty rights.
The Left, on the other hand, despises both of these concepts. This hatred is not merely peripheral to the Left’s worldview but rather is at the very core of it. The Left has created a cult of victimhood. To prosper under the Left, you have to prove yourself a victim. (But, as we shall see in a moment, you have to be the right kind of victim). If you are a “person of color,” all of your woes have nothing to do with the choices you have voluntarily made in your life but instead are the result of a racist society. There is a racist under every rock and behind every bush. How America could be a racist society when 350,000 white Union soldiers gave their lives in a great civil war to free black Americans is never explained by the Left and is studiously ignored.
The term “person of color” was carefully chosen by the Left to enlarge its potential base from blacks to Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians. The only group clearly excluded from the party is whites. In the Left’s racist worldview (and here really is something that is truly racist), whites are responsible for all woes of “people of color.” And thus we see the proliferation of the racist terms “white privilege,” “white fragility,” etc. We see the Left’s preoccupation with “reparations,” where people who never owned slaves will have their taxes raised to make payments of free money to people who never were slaves (but happen to be of the right skin color).
Now, it’s true that some people truly are victims: a policeman who is shot in the spine by a criminal and spends the rest of his life in a wheelchair; an American soldier who fought in Vietnam, was exposed to Agent Orange and prematurely contracts a fatal form of cancer; a young boy or girl whose parents are both killed in an automobile accident after being hit by a drunk driver. But these are hardly the kind of victims whose cause is ever championed by the Left. For the most part, these individuals and their fates are largely ignored because they do not advance the Left’s identity politics. White high school seniors who are discriminated against by Harvard University when they apply for admission are also “victims” (victims of truly racist admission policies), but they are not victims either as the Left sees it. Why? Because although they are members of a group, they are not members of a group the Left favors, they are members of a group the Left despises.
What is written above undoubtedly would be termed “hate speech” by many on the Left, and this brings us to the second point: the critical importance of liberty in our lives. As a core value, it is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
By and large, today’s Left despises liberty. For the Left, the only kind of speech that is protected by the First Amendment is speech the Left agrees with. Anything the Left disagrees with is “hate speech” and must be suppressed. The Left’s organs in the Tech World – Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Twitter, are only too happy to comply. Hence the savage attack on Parler, an alternative to Twitter that declined to censor conservative postings and therefore had to be crushed. Hence the Left’s efforts to get advertisers to boycott the Tucker Carlson show on Fox News and to get him kicked off the air. The world has changed dramatically from the days when the American Civil Liberties Union battled in favor of the right of Nazis to march in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in the suburbs of Chicago.
Obviously, the Left would also like to see the Second Amendment go and the ownership of firearms be prohibited. The latest schemes are focused on the imposition of draconian taxes and registration requirements. “Liberty be damned! We’re the Left and we know what’s good for you! Shut up and obey!”
In summary, the Right can best honor the memory of the great Rush Limbaugh by continuing to campaign as vigorously as it can for the core values of personal responsibility and liberty that Rush devoted his life to.