Friday, February 13, 2009

A Locke on Limbaugh

The very idea of “The United States of America” was based on the radical ideas of the Enlightenment and the philosophy of liberal Philosophers like John Locke. Locke believed that all people are “reasonable” and “moral” and born with fundamental rights that transcended government; these rights were as basic as breathing and eating. Locke’s theories were based on the idea of natural law, natural law being the observation of nature’s cycles such as the seasons and life cycle of people, wild creatures and plants. Locke believed people have a right to life, liberty and property and these rights were part of the natural law to which all people are entitled.
Opposing Locke’s ideas were the Conservatives of the time who were concerned about maintaining the status quo. For Kings, Queens and Emperors to embrace Locke would be to give up some control over the masses, however, worse than that, was the idea that the people were entitled to certain rights over which there would be no discussion. Locke further believed that Government was based on a contract with the people and that the contract was necessary to establish order. The contract between the People and the Government that was drawn up in the United States of America is our Constitution and it is the blueprint that defines our basic governmental structure while safeguarding our rights, the rights to which we are entitled by virtue of our humanity not by virtue of citizenship. Locke believed that if people employed reason, they would arrive at a comparative and workable form of government. Locke further believed that people have the right to break their contract if the government fails to uphold their natural rights. The Framers of our Constitution liked this idea and built in a system to elect a new government from time to time in order to keep those in power aware that the people can and will vote them out if their government fails to uphold their natural rights.
The great good fortune for the American people is that we have had Reasonable people in the past (Jefferson) reading the great Liberal philosophers, like Locke, and putting their ideas into the creation of one of the world’s greatest social experiments, The United States of America. Liberalism was established in America. Individual freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and religious freedom were written into the Bill of Rights. These rights were disturbing to the European monarchs because they were seen as destabilizing and in any event, the monarchies did not want to give up their total power and control over the people.
More than ever we need voices of reason to speak for conservatives and liberals alike, especially today, when so much is at risk. What we do not need are voices that speak, masquerading as informed opinion, leading well intentioned listeners to vote against their own self interests. Reflecting on what Liberalism has contributed to the formation of the United States, and how it has kept us from embracing the ideas of installing a monarchy or a dictator at different times in our history we are currently faced with the following blather in juxtaposition to John Locke:

Steve Benen, Washington Monthly writes:
“Rush Limbaugh told his listeners that he was asked by "a major American print publication" to offer a 400-word statement explaining his "hope for the Obama presidency." He responded: "So I'm thinking of replying to the guy, 'Okay, I'll send you a response, but I don't need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.'
(interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here's the point. Everybody thinks it's outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, 'Oh, you can't do that.' Why not? Why is it any different, what's new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don't care what the Drive-By story is. I Hope Obama Fails.' Somebody's gotta say it."
Limbaugh uses Liberalism three times in three sentences and we still don’t know what he is talking about. There are some who accept Limbaugh’s own private definition of “liberalism” (whatever it is) with all of his political and social biases versus a more studied historical perspective. Don’t let the uninformed grab the microphone and build a following based on misunderstanding, fear, and a distortion of history without ever having to publicly explain or defend their positions in a moderated debate of ideas on a person to person basis; Limbaugh should be called-out and made to explain his definition of liberalism and how he arrived at it.

Steve Benen closed his piece by saying: “No, I don't think Americans have to root against the country. If Obama fails, we fail. If his presidency falls short, there are negative consequences for all of us. This is the opposite of patriotism.”
Limbaugh is the opposite of Locke; Locke is relevant


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