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The Politically Correct Rush to Judgment
October 7, 2003
by Todd Andrew Barnett

Worshippers of political correctness have quite an agenda all right: an agenda to impose a unifying, collective ideology into the minds and hearts of every man, woman, and child in our society. Advocates of the collective state -- meaning those who worship, protect, and defend it at all costs -- mandate that only a selected group of unpopular ideas, values, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs are not only to be discouraged coercively, but they ought to be outlawed while the popular ones ought to be codified into law. One must -- and should -- understand that this coercive ideology is not just a systematic set of beliefs induced upon society; it is a coadunation of biases and prejudices foisted upon many sectors of our culture. It is an attitudinal mindset compelled upon individuals, invoking racial, gender, and cultural acrimony and animosity across the board. The recent public repudiation of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh by the politically correct left is both a reflection and an epitome of the repugnancy, the moral bankruptcy, the hypocrisy, and the perversion of that mentality.

The ruckus became the widespread darling of the news media when Limbaugh, who was hired by ESPN earlier this year to jolt the sports network's sagging ratings, uttered a few cracks about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is widely known and considered to be a second-rate black football player on the team. In a risky yet grand display of courage before sports news cameras, Limbaugh said on Sunday, September 28, "I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there's a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn't deserve. The defense carried this team." That is, of course, a fair statement to be made by a sports commentator -- that is, unless you are a conservative sports commentator.

So, what is the problem? In the eyes of the politically correct leftists, Limbaugh committed the cardinal sin of racism. What is the verdict in the eyes of his PC opponents? Guilty as sin. What is the judgment of the politically correct court of public opinion? He is to be fired from the network and must issue a public apology to McNabb and other black players like him. However, before that action was to be carried out, Limbaugh decided to step down from his post, the fact that he was buckling under a great deal of public and political pressure notwithstanding.

In a statement issued directly to the public late night on Thursday, October 1, Limbaugh declared his decision to resign from his post: "I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused discomfort to the crew, which I regret. I love 'NFL Sunday Countdown' and do not want to be a distraction to the great work done by all who work on it.

"Therefore, I have decided to resign. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the show and wish all the best to those who make it happen."

Hours after he submitted his letter of resignation, ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer issued a public statement, saying that he welcomed it. "We regret the circumstances surrounding this," he wrote. "We believe that he took the appropriate action to resolve this matter expeditiously."

Interestingly enough the network, hours prior to Limbaugh's voluntary departure, released a statement, in which it stated in part: "Although Mr. Limbaugh today stated that his comments had 'no racist intent whatsoever,' we have communicated to Mr. Limbaugh that his comments were insensitive and inappropriate. Throughout his career, he has been consistent in his criticism of the media's coverage of a myriad of issues."

Perhaps it might behoove Limbaugh's critics to know that 2004 presidential candidates Rev. Al Sharpton, Howard Dean, and retired General Wesley Clark berated the former commentator for his remarks. Clark didn't waste any time taking potshots at Limbaugh's observations. "There can be no excuse for such statements," he said. "Mr. Limbaugh has the right to say whatever he wants, but ABC and ESPN have no obligation to sponsor such hateful and ignorant speech. Mr. Limbaugh should be fired immediately."

Dean, responding to the hoopla, concurred. "To imply that the success of an African-American is an undeserved gift from a biased media is absurd and offensive," he remarked. Then after learning about Limbaugh's self-dismissal, the Democratic challenger remarked in a statement, saying, "There is no legitimate place in sports broadcasting for voices that seek to discredit the achievement of athletes on the basis of race."

Democratic presidential hopeful Sharpton addressed Rush's comments with a clamor for a national boycott of ESPN this weekend if the conservative commentator's employment were not terminated. "I'm going to call for ESPN to terminate Rush Limbaugh as we've seen other networks terminate people for racist remarks in the past," he said with a spiteful tone. "I'm shocked that we're at Wednesday and we have not seen an apology from Mr. Limbaugh. We cannot sit back in silence. That would be consent and we would have lost self-respect."

Even NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, prior to Limbaugh's resignation, weighed in on the uproar, branding the statements "bigoted and ignorant," and calling for the network to give the rightist the axe or at least furnishing a counter point of view. "It is appalling that ESPN has to go to this extent to try to increase viewership," said Mfume.

And let's not forget McNabb himself who decided to take a stab at the flap. "My worries were not about what was said, but what about the people who were watching," he said. "What about the ... the people in the African American home, you know, the kids, the parents, when they hear something like that. It's on national TV. On ESPN. What do they think?" He even told the Philadelphia Daily News, "It's sad that you've got to go to skin color. I thought we were through with that whole deal." I've got news for McNabb here: we're not even close to being "through with that whole deal" -- thanks to racial quotas like affirmative action and political correctness, which are still dominating our culture today.

The biggest problem with the culture of political correctness is that it coerces individuals into accepting certain levels of prejudices, values, judgments, and beliefs -- all of which are embraced by our society, just for the sake of denying said individuals the right to express their views and freedom of association. At the same time, it also establishes a state-mandated paradigm of contempt, hostility, and hatred for any set of unpopular ideas, beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and values to which the politically correct left neither ascribe nor respect. It is a destructive machination, which compels individuals to deny themselves the right to express their values, beliefs, and views often subject to intense public condemnation, repudiation, and, more often than not, even retaliation.

The problem also fuels great distrust, despair, and hatred -- not to mention intolerance -- between racial, gender, and cultural groups. Very often rightists express their anger and frustrations with the paradigm, which is understandable. After all, this is a problem that was engineered by the government in the first place -- a problem that filtered into our society within decades after the inception of the welfare-warfare state.

Social engineering, no matter how diabolical it is, is a cleverly-devised instrument to be used upon every society. It seeps into every nook and cranny of our homes, our businesses, and our schools. Thanks to state-mandated discrimination in all of its forms and every collective vehicle in usage, society continues to suffer even when certain groups -- particularly blacks and women (they're not minorities but rather "majorities" by the way) -- benefit at their expense.

In the case of the Limbaugh affair, political correctness is reigning like wildfire. Now don't misunderstand me: I don't concur with his political ideology, nor do I personally believe his politics belongs on the sports air. While he is a collectivist (and I repudiate the ill-chosen wording of his statements), I do object to any politically correct leftist's contention that his comments are simply racist. The problem I do have with Rush -- and other collectivists like him -- is that they simply think that they have the monopoly on speaking out against political correctness. With that in mind, they have advanced the misguided notion that only racists (even peaceful ones) can speak out against political correctness in all of its forms.

Both sides, of course, are missing the point: individuals have a right to individual liberty, and that right also entails the oral and written expression of popular -- and unpopular -- speech. That even includes bigoted speech -- no matter how abominable it may be. On top of that, the right to free speech also entails the right to associate freely as well as the right not to associate freely. Oh, and knowing that this will send the PC leftists' pants in a political twist, those rights also entail the right to complete economic and personal liberty as well. It's unfortunate that the rightists have also forgotten that point as well.

Regardless of how individuals see this case and other cases afterwards, the sense regarding the politically correct rush to judgment on Rush Limbaugh is alive and well. Thanks to the perverse actions of the politically correct left and the ever-growing politically correct right, the paradigm of this ideology has become stronger than ever.

© 2003 by Todd Andrew Barnett. All Rights Reserved. Permission to reprint any portion of or the entire article is hereby granted, provided that the author's name and credentials are included.

Todd Andrew Barnett is a contributing editor and columnist for Liberty For All Online Magazine. He is also a staunch Libertarian Party activist and is the co-founder of the pro-peace libertarian organization Libertarians for Peace. A practicing Aridian Wiccan, he resides in New Baltimore, Michigan.

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