Democracy Lost: Unraveling Limbaugh from his Boycott
To be fair, Rush Limbaugh and his legion of “ditto heads” have a point. Whenever I think of him, my mind automatically adds the honorific “that asshole” to his name as in “that asshole Rush Limbaugh.” Back when I used to care what he said, I frequently called Limbaugh that asshole – pretty much every time I spoke his name.
So it is not about the words themselves. When I think of Limbaugh as that asshole, it is not because I believe he is the body part. He is that asshole simply because he is an enemy of public intelligence. Getting the point?
Limbaugh knew nothing about Sandra Fluke. He just picked the words he thought would most damage her. Then he delivered them with that hissing sneer familiar to the families of narcotic users. His crime wasn’t foul words; it was attempting to damage a person of differing views. So you might imagine that boycotting Limbaugh’s advertisers is the same kind of bad act.
But that’s where ditto logic goes off the rails. There is no moral equivalency. Picking one brand over another is not the same as slapping someone — rhetorically or not. Making buying choices based on conscience is a perfectly ordinary way to shop. How many flyers in your mailbox say “Christian owned?” How many times has that influenced you?
Voting with your wallet is even more important today, at a time when Democracy plays second fiddle to Capitalism. Formerly just an economic theory, Capitalism is now our organizing form of government. We are a Corporatocracy. Now your most influential vote is in your purse or back pocket.
From the 1920s to the 1940s Italy tried something similar called Fascism. Their leader Benito Mussolini famously said, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
Today, the Corporatocracy exerts a near universal veto power over the will of the people. An entire political party is devoted to promoting the idea that every decision should be made on the sole criteria of how it benefits business. And the other party is largely infected by it as well.
In this new environment, the only way you can reduce the influence of dirty oil companies, mountain-killing coal companies, anti-choice chicken sellers, or even asshole talk radio jocks is to boycott their products. The more loudly you can do it, the more people will join you and – as in the case of Limbaugh – the more dramatic the effect will be.Continued on the next page