14 August, 2009

All You Need To Know About Rush Limbaugh's Judgement

I know, I know: most of my cantina regulars don't need to be reminded that Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot. But some refreshers are too funny to pass up:
"But I would suggest that anybody who doubts [Sarah Palin's] intellectual heft or her ability to learn and study," said Limbaugh, "go to her Facebook page, look at the notes that she's taken -- it's right there -- the study that she has done and engaged in, in order to learn about Section 1233."
This is his evidence for her "intellectual heft:"

In a new Facebook post entitled "Concerning the 'Death Panels,'" Palin further explores her insistence that the health care bill's provisions for voluntary counseling on end-of-life decisions constitutes a government plan to get rid of undesirable patients.

"With all due respect, it's misleading for the President to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients," Palin says. "The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context."

She later adds: "Is it any wonder that senior citizens might view such consultations as attempts to convince them to help reduce health care costs by accepting minimal end-of-life care?"

Note, however, that many of Palin's footnotes are to other people's statements of opinion, which in turn don't create anything that approximated Palin's original statement: "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil." [emphasis added]

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have all the proof we need that Rush is even dumber than Palin.

1 comment:

Woozle said...

I'm not so sure that what we're dealing with here is actual stupidity.

Mind you: whether or not individual Republican loyalists are stupid, I completely agree that their actions clearly are. I'm not going to argue that they in some way actually have a point or case of some kind which we should acknowledge in the interest of broader understanding; they do not.

What I'm suggesting is more that they are victims of what is almost tantamount to a memetic mass hypnosis.

The way the meme seems to work is by coopting the victim's moral sensibilities toward its own defense, very much the way a biological virus does. The meme/virus substitutes itself as a stand-in for all the things which individuals normally might want to protect -- self, family, community, society, country, civilization -- and re-interprets "harm" solely in terms of itself.

In other words: If you (verbally) attack the meme, the individual reacts as if you had (physically) attacked or harmed one or more of these things -- remember how dissent against Bush was treason, how gay marriage is going to destroy civilization and/or our families and children, how liberals and Obama hate their country and "want the terrorists to win™"?.

The meme has evolved (irony, anyone?) over the past few decades to the point where it has learned to repel our standard attacks (reason and logic) and has made significant inroads towards infecting our larger national defense mechanisms (schools and mainstream media, for example).

The meme itself might be stated something like this:

Our beliefs and values are precious and sacred. We must therefore defend them against all outside influences. Since we know in advance that our beliefs are true and precious, anything which contradicts them is evil and false, and anyone who brings forth such evidence is either deluded or evil. We should not even trust our own senses and reason to guide us, since among our precious and true beliefs is the knowledge that humans are innately bad and untrustworthy -- so if we find our human reason leading us to thoughts which might contradict our precious true beliefs, then those thoughts are themselves deluded and evil and we must work diligently to cast them out lest the evil within us grow and consume us and those we care about."

I don't know for certain how to fight this bugger; viruses are notoriously difficult to kill. As with biological viruses, it may be that prior exposure to the lies used by the meme -- along with debunking of those lies (antibodies?) -- will help. This is the sort of approach used against specific meme-inspired causes, such as creationism and global warming denial, and while it clearly has not killed the virus, it has kept it contained.

I would suggest that we need a more organized effort to apply this methodology to meme-defensive ideas in whatever area of concern they may pop up.

Is anyone aware of a project that is already working along these lines, besides my own severely time-limited efforts (Issuepedia)?