Rush (Limbaugh) To Judgment (Is He Back on Oxycontin Edition?)

|

Here's the king of the dittoheads yapping about the real agenda behind embryonic stem-cell research:

Stem-cell research is not about stem-cell research, it's about making sure that abortion keeps happening. Because if you can get people to go along with destroying perfectly fine embryos, the only way you can do that is to abort a fetus….

The left knows it's losing when it comes to the moral and ethical questions involving abortion. They're losing ground, they're losing public support on this…

Longer bit, which aired on August 1, courtesy of Wash Times, here.

This, from the guy who used to perform "caller abortions" way back when (late '80s/very early '90s).

Here's the deal: Stem-cell research is about stem-cell research, which is about extending and enhancing human life. May we direct Rush to Ronald Bailey's Liberation Biology, a book that not only produces a moral argument for embryonic stem-cell research but also engages arguments against it that emanate from the left as well as the right? He might also be interested in Ron's recent column that challenges any easy equation between embryos and personhood and celebrates promising ways to harvest embryonic stem cells "in ways that would skirt right-to-life moral objections."

I wonder: Is Rush as exercised against in vitro fertilization, a process that annually produces thousands of wasted embryos?

NEXT: Dove Beauty Products? I thought they were selling the Dove Ice Cream Bar!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I wonder: Is Rush as exercised against in vitro fertilization, a process that annually produces thousands of wasted embryos?

    zing!

  2. he probably wants to get wasted with embryos, cause they’re like, small, man.

  3. I am glad that Mr. Bailey is responsive to concerns like the ones Rush is airing so inarticulately.*

    Of course, disposing of Rush himself is like shooting a fat bald man wedged into in a barrel. Isn’t there some more credible and serious characters speaking from Rush’s perspective on this stuf? I don’t know, just askin’.

    FOOTNOTE

    * or perhaps articulately depending upon whom Rush sees as his target audience.

  4. Perhaps Rush is right: I mean, stem-cell research does in fact deprive otherwise healthy embryos from a life in some dumpster somewhere.

  5. Dave W.

    Michael Fumento just wrote a piece on ESC vs ASC.

    http://www.fumento.com/biotech/frist.html

  6. Nova of PBS fame should consider doing a program: “Fred the sperm; my so-called life.”
    That would squelch a lot of this silliness.

  7. How is it that this guy is not homeless? I used to listen to Rush back in the 90?s. While he could say stupid stuff, I didn?t disagree with everything he said. Back then I chalked up his arrogance and extremism to showmanship. I made allowances for the ?Ditto Heads? too. Of course they were devoted to Rush, who else could they turn to in the wasteland of liberal media? But now there are multitudes of right-wing spokesmen, and Rush has gone off the deep end (perhaps because of the competition?). Why are so many willing to follow the guy off the cliff?

    I feel the same way about GW Bush. Back in 2000, while it was clear he wasn?t the hottest coal in the grill, he seemed much more grounded in reality than ?I invented the internet? Al. But after 9/11 he completely abandoned everything he had campaigned on. Furthermore he has been monstrously wrong about everything. So why do all his supporters go on supporting him?

  8. Rush has always had these moralizing periods, when I presume audience falls off until he regains his sense of humor. The attraction when he’s working right is that he works by self-deprecation, via a larger-than-life persona. This is just one of his off-periods. They usually go on for about three weeks.

  9. I think a lot of people actually do think they get the stem cells from abortions somehow, which is why they think they’re supposed to be against it. (They use the word “embryonic” after all). I don’t know if Rush thinks that too or if he’s encouraging a politically helpful misunderstanding.

  10. Hey, Rush is at least listenable. He’s no Michael Savage, or even Medved.

  11. PS: Maybe it needs some marketing. Call them something else. Instead of embryonic stem cell, call them, I dunno, freedom stem cells or something.

    Like my suggestion that they rename nuclear power freedom power.

  12. Well, Fumento makes an end run around the moral issues that Rush soils and H’n”R trivializes by citing Rush.

    Still, an H’n’R entry about Fumento’s article would be much preferable to playing Franken on this.

  13. If abortioin has nothing to do with embryonic stem cell research, perhaps NARAL is to blame for people thinking they are related. After all, NARAL exists primarily to keep abortion legal and available, so when they come out with guns blazing in favor of embryonic stem cell research, it’s easy to get confused.

  14. RE: Adult vs. Embryonic Stem Cells.

    Ron Bailey has addressed this issue over the years. A quick gloss of his thought on the matter (circa 2003):

    Various lines of research should be pursued simultaneously in order to have the best chance of discovering effective future treatments. It may well turn out that adult stem cells are good treatments for certain diseases, and embryonic stem cells are better at curing other maladies. Contrary to the claims of bioconservatives, it has never been either adult stem cells or embryonic ones; for the sake of millions of suffering patients, it’s both.

    More here.

  15. To anybody who has ever trusted Rush, Bush, Kerry or for that matter Franken (include for reference if you trust any politician or talking head):

    Please contact me immediately, I have some bridges available for sale, come quick they are moving like hotcakes.

    I can also put you in touch with a Nigerian who promises big bucks.

  16. jf,

    I don’t want to comment on NARAL strategies, but maybe you aren’t aware of this, but most entities that oppose abortion also have a tendency to believe that “life” begins at conception. Hence they (as Bush seems to believe, stress on “seems”) believe that embryonic cells are equivalent to full human forms. (at least that is the pov of the Lutheran church I grew up in was, and to the best of my knowledge what the Catholics believe). Some, like the Catholics and the “guy whose name means the frothy mess after anal sex” believe even preventing conception is a crime.

    Reference: “Every Sperm is Sacred” Monty Pythons “Meaning of Life”

  17. The misinformation abounds on the issue of stem-cell research. People are told that Bush “made stem cell research illegal” way back when, when all he did was cut off federal funding for the production of the 13 out of (then) 44 lines of stem cells that come from embryos. He didn’t even get them to throw them away. But the stories in the press were “Bush stops stem cell research”. I mean come on, can we try and inject a little necessary detail into the debate? Please?

  18. “So why do all his supporters go on supporting him?”

    Because they eagerly embrace the same Republican media spin machine that led you to conclude that Al Gore said he invented the internet.

  19. Definitely joe, I was amused when he repeated that too…

    Did you hear the one about how Laura Bush killed her teenage boyfriend?

  20. But the stories in the press were “Bush stops stem cell research”.

    Funny how that story got reported in a way that makes Bush look as bad as possible, idnit?

    Because they eagerly embrace the same Republican media spin machine that led you to conclude that Al Gore said he invented the internet.

    Everybody knows John Kerry invented the Internet. Geez. How gullible can you get?

  21. Because they eagerly embrace the same Republican media spin machine that led you to conclude that Al Gore said he invented the internet.

    Yeah nice try there joe, but the fact is that Al “Earth in the ballance” Gore pegged the loony meter on many occations. “I invented the internet” and “I discovered love cannnal” are simply shorthand. All the ‘Vast right-wing… Oh sorry, I mean ‘Republican media spin’ doesn’t change the fact that what he actualy did say was still divorced from reality.

  22. No no, John Kerry invented the Purple Heart.

    Al Gove invented the locking box.

  23. Warren,

    Al Gore sponsored the legislation that directed teh Pentagon to turn its newfangled distributed communications network into a public resource. Hence, “I took the initiative on creating the internet.” Yes, he did, in the same way Frankling Roosevelt took the initiative in inventing Social Security.

    But wow, man, you’re telling me a politician made his contributions sound more significant than they were. Geez, next thing you’ll tell me that a sailor might have exaggerated his war stories.

  24. Rush knows where his bread is buttered. He’s just playing it up for the home team.

    I wouldn’t personally whore myself like that, but I guess he has no shame. I have my doubts he really believes the stuff he spouts.

  25. “Here’s the deal: Stem-cell research is about stem-cell research, which is about extending and enhancing human life.”

    At the expense of other human life. I truly tried hard to understand the pro-stem cell reseach part of the argument. But so far that argument rallies around the potential of embryonic stem cells, the limitations of adult stem cells, and how those embryos would be discarded anyway.

    But it ignores the mother of the “pro-life” arguments – those embryos are human persons. (And no, that argument is not so easy as to categorize embryos as “lump of cells” or the like).

  26. joe,

    And we will reserve the right to mock both the politician and the sailor (once he runs for office, anyway). You’ve said stuff like this before, usually about Kerry, and it puzzles me. Just because Gore saying, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet” when he did no such thing is a typical blowhard senatorial thing to say, doesn’t mean he’s not a jackass for saying it. Sure, all politicians do it. So we’ll mock all politicians.

    Was it a good reason not to vote for Gore? Not in itself. But it fit his personality so perfectly — just like Kerry endlessly repeating his Vietnam stories fits his self-aggrandizing personality — that it became a shorthand for just the kind of jackass he was.

    But I guess it’s hard for someone to see that when they’re committed to one side or the other in American politics. There are plenty of similar cliches about Dubya that play on his reputation as a lazy party animal (it’s part of his character, even though he probably works very hard now and doesn’t party at all).

  27. at the expense of other human life

    The truly exciting thing about this is that the arguments over stem cell research may all become moot over time.

    TWC’s take on it here, which is based on the Wired Magazine piece called How to Farm Stem Cells Without Losing Your Soul.

  28. I always assumed that Rush Limbaugh was meant to be a parody of the Angry White Conservative Male, never to be taken seriously.

    And ever since he backhandedly bashed my favorite quarterback… well, fuck him and those who admire him. I laughed my centrist ass off when I read he got caught doing OxyContin. Why the headline “Welcome To The OC, Bitch” was never used for that story is beyond me.

  29. Stem cell research may well be about research. Support of stem cell research, however seems to be about more than finding good treatments. Separate the scientist from the person who funds the lab and you might get closer to understanding Limbaugh’s view. Or look above at all the posts refering to abortions, and try to convince yourself that the research aspect is not intertwined with the fetus aspect.

    Rajan: I think there’s a legal distinction between a human being and a human person. The embryos are human, but they’re not people. We’re trying to put binary terms on a continuous probability.

  30. I support stem cell research, but only if you get to crack the spine of an aborted fetus and suck out the marrow like Chrisopher Reeves on South Park.

  31. Brian,

    I think a lot of people actually do think they get the stem cells from abortions somehow, which is why they think they’re supposed to be against it.

    I’ve run across a number of people that think that embryonic stem cells come from aborted fetuses.

  32. “Stem-cell research is about stem-cell research, which is about extending and enhancing human life.”

    The best way to use an embryo to enhance human life is to give birth to it. Only because we cannot bring all embryos to life, we should use excess embryos for research, with permission, only after bringing one to life. We should want more life before more research, or “make life first”.

    Calling an embryo a fetus to equate it with abortion is reasonable and different from calling it a person to equate it with murder.

  33. Rajan, by what rubric are embryos that aren’t implanted, never have been implanted, and which (Snowflake Project notwithstanding) never will be implanted, human beings?

  34. ‘Just because Gore saying, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet” when he did no such thing…’

    He did do such a thing, Steve. He found out about the DARPA-net, was informed of its potential, had the legislation written up, and shepherded it through Congress. No legislation, no internet.

    “Was it a good reason not to vote for Gore? Not in itself. But it fit his personality so perfectly — just like Kerry endlessly repeating his Vietnam stories fits his self-aggrandizing personality — that it became a shorthand for just the kind of jackass he was.” You still don’t get it, do you? Hyping his achievements as a legislator wasn’t part of personality disorder – that’s what you do when you run for office. As is calling attention to your war record. It was a materful example of political spin that people became convinced that these common, pedestrian campaign practices, ones which every politician running for office engages is, were demonstrative of some personality issue unique to the candidates.

    And you bought it, hook line and sinker.

  35. No legislation, no internet

    That’s like saying there would be no airplane without Orville Wright.

    I acknowledge your point about the deserved recognition for Gore being the Wilbur Wright of the internet.

  36. It pains me to see idiots like Shem mess up their talking points. The talking point, Shem, isn’t that these embryonic human beings aren’t human beings, but that the fact that they are human beings is irrelevant because they aren’t “persons”.

    Whether those droolers who can’t be bothered or are otherwise incapable of learning to repeat their rote arguments are “persons” is another question. At this point, I’m inclined to believe that they are not, and that we’d all be much better of experimenting on those idiots than continuing this debate. After all, what can you do when “libertarians” (so-called) are in favor of big-government spending programs that offend the conscience of so many of their fellow citizens? It’s too late for sensible argument. Get on with the experimentation, but let me get a piece as well.

  37. When did I say I thought these personality defects were unique to Gore and Kerry?

    Anyway, Kerry went way beyond any candidate I can remember in not shutting up about his military record. I don’t remember George H.W. Bush accepting the nomination with a salute and a “reporting for duty.” It’s not surprising that people got a little sick of Kerry.

    And yes, of course, we should cast our votes based on a careful weighing of the issues, etc., etc., etc. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Besides, the personailities are what make politics mildly interesting to lots of people.

  38. No legislation, no internet

    In a March 1999 interview with Wolf Blitzer, Gore said, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

    Notice how legislating some funding for the people who do the real work becomes “creating” the internet.

    Its a perfect example of the statist mindset, and that’s probably why people seized on it. After all, as Snopes notes in its remarkably kind article on this subject, most of the raw material for the internet had already been created before Interweb Al even got to the Senate.

    But to the statist, nothing is as real as state action, so the fact that Interweb Al never wrote a line of code should never obscure the fact that he had some conversations about the internet, and directed his flunkies to draft some language.

  39. Notice how legislating some funding for the people who do the real work becomes “creating” the internet.

    Getting secret designers to give up the secrecy of their secret designs is a formidable task. You underestimate how difficult this must have been. Certainly harder than T. Benner’s Lee’s et al.’s more technical contributions. No Gore fan me, but . . . Seriously.

  40. Shem: Many in the pro-life camp, if not all, believe that human embryos are already human persons – starting from conception on. http://www.l4l.org/library/mythfact.html

    That “rubric” is that embryos are a distinct person. Not just a mere cluster of cells that somehow, magically, can turn into babies.

  41. Dynamist: “Rajan: I think there’s a legal distinction between a human being and a human person. The embryos are human, but they’re not people. We’re trying to put binary terms on a continuous probability.”

    That legal distinction is one based on law and not necessarily reality. It’s like in the 19th century arguing for slavery, “Negros are human, but they’re not people”. You don’t develop absolute facts based on law – a libertarian should know better. Law should conform towards facts, not the other way around.

    The fact that the law recognizes embryos not as persons but as you said, “continuous probability”, does not erase the ethical issues surrounding embryotic stem cell research. If the law states that babies under the age of 1 are not persons but potential humans, does it make it completely ethical to slice and dice them with federal funding for some lofty scientific goal?

    Those advocating this kind of research ought to be focusing on whether or not embryos are equal with babies or any other life-stage of a person, or not. Not by focusing on secondary issues – like what this spectrum of research promises. If slicing and dicing for research newborns promises cures to various life-threatening diseases, does it still make it okay?

    No? The pro-life camp says the same thing for the prenatal.

  42. Well Thomas, I don’t know what anyone else’s talking point is, but I personally say that these embryos are neither persons nor human beings, given that A) without a freezer they will die as quickly as the blood cells that are shed when I get a paper cut and B) The odds that this will ever change, that they will find someone willing to implant someone else’s embryos in themselves and then take care of the result, is more or less nil. But, since you love semantics so much, I’ll correct myself. By what rubric is an embryo that will never move past the stage of development at which it is presently a person? As soon as you’ve run of hairs to split and ad hominem attacks to make, I’ll happily await whatever answer you care to provide. Unfortunately, since I’m pretty sure that you only know how to project your own arguments onto others in an attempt to assuage your own insecurities, I doubt it’ll be worth waiting for.

  43. Rajan, how are they a person? Do they breathe? Can they speak? Can they even survive outside of a freezer? Doesn’t the fact that they require a freezer raise important questions? You can’t just say “they’re a person because they possess the potential to grow into something that would resemble a conventional human adult,” as, given enough time and technology, any cell in the body could become a “person.” The idea that a bunch of cells existing in a freezer possess all the same rights as living, breathing human beings is as ludicrous as saying that we don’t have any right to transplant organs because given time they could be used to bring the deceased back to life.

  44. El Rushbo has been slipping, ratings-wise. He’s slipped before, but not like this; friends in the radio biz tell me he’s in free-fall in some markets (and not just the Blue States either).

    Make of that what you will…

  45. Shem: “Do they breathe?”

    So if an adult person have trouble breathing, he or she is no longer a person?

    “Can they speak?”

    Babies can’t speak. They’re not people? People as they mature into adulthod begin to have a greater capability for communication.

    And what about the mute? The disabled that can’t communicate in other ways? Not people too?

    “Can they even survive outside of a freezer?”

    I’m uncomfortable – opposed even, to the fact they are freezed or fertilized in excess in the first place – the survival rate for thawing is rather low. But for newborn babies – it can’t survive without some adult care – does it mean it isn’t a person too?

    “You can’t just say “they’re a person because they possess the potential to grow into something that would resemble a conventional human adult,” as, given enough time and technology, any cell in the body could become a “person.””

    Quite on the opposite. What you are suggesting is that prior to adulthood, humans aren’t person? After all, isn’t a teenager just a potential human growing into adulthood that might not make it? Or a todlers – potential human too?

    “The idea that a bunch of cells existing in a freezer possess all the same rights as living, breathing human beings is as ludicrous as saying that we don’t have any right to transplant organs because given time they could be used to bring the deceased back to life.”

    So at what point do this “bunch of cells” become “living, breathing human beings”? Birth? That’s ludicrous – a foetus just before birth is anatomically the same as a neonatal baby. But in America, you can crush the skull of the foetus and suck out the brain just before birth and it is within your right to privacy, but as soon as the foetus comes out of the mother’s body, doing the same would be murder.

    Funny, isn’t it? I know, I’m disgressing.

    Why personhood should be recognized at conception? Simply because that’s how a person develops as an autonomous person – even though it may depend soon after for the mother for nourishment, its development is dictated by itself, not by the mother. Every subsequent life-stage leading to adulthood has more human capabilities than the prior. If you use the argument that embryos lack what later life stages have developed, then shouldn’t every life-stage until the end of puberty be fair-game?

    As for what embryotic stem cell research may bring, as I said, it is irrelevant in the ethics debate – if research that can only be done on new born babies, where it would die in the course of the reseach, promises to cure every known ailment that plague humankind – it still doesn’t make it right. The end never justifies the means.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.