Thursday, June 07, 2007

When Rush is right he's right

I flipped to Rush Limbaugh this afternoon and heard him saying that "left liberals" direct anger, hate, and lies at Limbaugh because they are unable to compete with him intellectually. That they are upset that they no longer have a monopoly on the marketplace of ideas and are frustrated because they are unable to respond to Limbaugh's intellectual arguments.

He's got a point ... take global warming for example. I've previously linked the position paper of the Center for Inquiry on global warming, NewScientist's global warming faq, The Discovery of Global Warming website, Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth site, and I keep the group climate scientist blog RealClimate in my Links, but how can any of that stuff possibly withstand the following devastating cold hard logical and factual argument from Rush

Another story. This is so dear to my heart. This was in the Atlanta Urinal Constipation on the 26th of February, so two or three days ago. The headline: “Cars Improved the Air.” This is something that I don't mention enough. I've talked about this over the course of the many stellar years of this program's eminence. However, it doesn't come up enough. This is by Dwight R. Lee: “The motto of all environmentalists should be ‘Thank goodness for the internal combustion engine.’” But it's not, is it? The internal combustion engine is enemy #1, is it not? The internal combustion engine is the target. Fossil fuels are burned by the internal combustion engine! For those of you in Rio Linda,'ve got three or four of them stacked up on concrete blocks in front of your house.

“The abuse heaped on the internal combustion engine by environmentalists was never justified. But a recent story on cow flatulence in the British newspaper, The Independent, makes the environmental benefits from gasoline-powered engines even more obvious. Based on a recent study by the Food and Agricultural Organization, The Independent reports that "livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.” Remember we discussed yesterday with Roy Spencer that the greenhouse effect is a natural thing. Many of you believe that the greenhouse effect is something that never existed on the planet until Americans invented the automobile and started driving around and building smokestacks and polluting. That's not true.

The point is that “livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together,” and that is true. “Long before global warming became an environmental concern, however, the move from the power provided by animals to that provided by gasoline had greatly improved the environment. The emissions that came out of the tailpipes of horses were much more lethal pollutants that those now coming out of the tailpipes of cars. Horse emissions did more than make our town and cities stink; they spread fly-borne diseases and polluted water supplies that killed people at a far greater rate than the pollution from cars and trucks ever have.” That is Oh-so-true.

Our favorite thing, conventional wisdom, says that automobiles, the internal combustion engine had been an environmental disaster. This guy has the gonads to ask, “Compared to what?” You watch Westerns, and those things are sanitized. You don't understand that back in the old days when the horse and buggy or the horse was the primary mode of transportation, the ox or what have you, manure was everywhere. It was in the streets. You had flies. You had insects flying around. It stunk. Why do you think the buggy whip was eventually gotten rid of? Human beings are always trying to improve their standards of living. Human beings have always, since the beginning of time, tried to improve their lifestyles. They have tried -- and they have sought and they've succeeded -- in finding a more advanced way of living. It is those advances which are now coming under attack by global warming hysterics, hoaxers and plain, out-and-out liars.

It's based on the notion that everything in the past was pristine and beautiful. "It was like the Garden of Eden before we came to this continent. Before we polluted it with syphilis and horses and all that, why, it was pristine, and even after that it was all nature. Anything animals do, that's fine. That's nature. What man does..." See, we are exempt from nature because we are evil, particularly American men and women. You ought to research this if you don't believe me, because it is just logical -- it stands to reason, and it is irrefutable -- that back in the days when horses were the primary mode of transportation... Have you ever been to a horse farm? Have you ever been to a barn? Have you ever walked into a barn? Imagine living in a town that smelled like one and looked like one, no matter where you went! In front of the saloon; in front of the blacksmith's place; in front of the bordello; in front of your house, that's what it was. The internal combustion engine cleaned things up, made life easier, and it's now under attack by a bunch of people that, frankly, folks, should not be given anywhere near the time of day. They still don't get it, and they don't want to get it.
See? As Rush says, "irrefutable."

But seriously, though. What's disturbing is that Limbaugh has something like 8 million listeners that listen to this kind of bullshit and still think Limbaugh is a reliable source of information and opinion. The longer these people listen to Rush, the more disconnected from reality they become. I recall Al Franken citing a study in Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot finding that people who got their news from Limbaugh polled higher than people who got their news from other sources on having confidence that they were well-informed about current/political events, yet those same people actually tested lower for knowledge of current/political events than those who got their news from other sources. In other words, the more that someone listens to Rush, the dumber that person gets while at the same time becoming more confident that his/her stupidity is knowledge. Call it the Rush effect ... it' like some kind of strange reverse Flowers for Algernon phenomena ... except the process isn't temporary, it lasts as long as the person is a "dittohead."

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