Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Rush Limbaugh and Clarence Thomas at the Hillsdale College Churchill Dinner

Despite a cold, Rush was his typically charming self. The core of his remarks were Platonic: He defined Reaganism, against its critics, as the belief that Americans can be the best. This means Americans should be free--and not a libertarian freedom but one that has excellence as its goal.

Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn introduced Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to a large Washington, DC crowd at the Mayflower Hotel. Justice Thomas, who was last year’s speaker, gave the toast to Sir Winston. Dr. Arnn aptly described Justice Thomas as "the greatest living American."

Americans’ duty, as self-governing democrats, is to recognize greatness and choose it for themselves and their nation. The liberal education that an institution such as Hillsdale provides is an essential part of that moral and political goal.

Discussions - 23 Comments

It feels odd having to ask, but I've seen enough situations here now where one could rightly assume a blogger was serious only to be later told they were kidding, and vice versa, that I feel I need to ask:

Were you serious in describing Limbaugh as "typically charming"?

Ditto, Craig. This platitude-riddled entry is something else. If it is serious, tell me what a freedom that "has excellence as its goal" actually means? Do I need to achieve some subjective form of "excellence" like preventing gay marriage from happening to be "free"? Is Ken (and Rush, I suppose) saying that libertarians lack some moral compass that people like pill popping Limbaugh actually have? Rubbish!!!

If he isn't serious, it's a terrible joke.

Thomas and Limbaugh belong on the same stage together. They have exactly the same views, the same intellect, the same respect.

I have heard Limbaugh speak before (not on the radio) and he can be very charming indeed.

Lay off Rush for his smack habit. It takes a lot out of a man being the moral compass of middle america. He was probably doint the Oxy (herion in pill form) so as to make sure the pills did not hit the streets. Poppy products was Americas first great cash crop anyhow. Family's like the Cheney's earned their money by pushing Opium in China. So rush's habbit is both and ode to history and morally justifiable. As for liberty with a goal towards excellence i think i can define it: The government took my guns, I'm jobless, owe more to banks than my house is worth, get spied on without cause, but Gosh Dangit my country is number one. We can drop carpet bombs on anyone and kill them terrorist deader than a doornail. When i see that flag my mind fills up with an empty, primitive, warmth worth ten wins over the football rival.

The core of my remarks are, of course, Stoic. This is the great divide in modern conservatism: the Platonism of Limbaugh versus the Stoicism of Coulter.

I did not realize talking heads were so deep. Could you expand on this Ms. Coulter?

Well, I'm guessing ol' Rush is as effective as ever. Folks sure do hate him, which means that he's getting the job done (as opposed to people like McCain who are/were too busy sucking up to the MSM to be effective leaders).

Indeed, the more I think about it, the happier I am that McCain lost. I'm not sure I could have stomached another 4 to 8 years of liberal-light being termed "conservative" by our would-be social engineers.

Ah, Hillsdale College, that bastion of liberal education and sex with suicidal daughters-in-law. Perhaps liberal education is important, but man, I don't think I'd want to be getting it at ol' Hillsdale.


Free persons cannot be slaves to their passions, their impulses, their base inclinations, etc. That's why every Founder agreed that our republic demanded a moral and, yes, even a religious people. Anything less would make self-governing impossible. This means that marriage has a proper definition, drug use is illegal, etc.

But this leads me to disagree with Mr. Ken Thomas. You wrote, "Americans’ duty, as self-governing democrats, is to recognize greatness and choose it for themselves and their nation." Replace "democrats" with "republicans" and I would find nothing wrong with your statement. But there is a reason the federalists--and anti-federalists--chose republicanism and not democracy. They knew what it was, studied it closely, and came to disagree with it practically and abstractly. We may have become democrats, but we certainly should hold that as our standard. We should strive to create republican citizens, the only type of citizen fit for self-rule in the best regime by nature.

Jeff, fine: we're democratic republicans. In one sense the only governing political party we've had since 1800 is Thomas Jefferson's Democratic Republican Party, which underwent a few splits since then. Your point about republican citizens is supported admirably in Federalist 14, a most underread and underappreciated paper.

"Well, I'm guessing ol' Rush is as effective as ever. Folks sure do hate him, which means that he's getting the job done"

Redwald, your criterion for evaluating effectiveness is certainly interesting. Is the purpose or "job" of conservatism simply to elicit hatred from "folks"? Wow, pretty deep, principled stuff!

President Bush is hated by a sizeable percentage of Americans, too - does that make him an effective conservative?

Oh, come on, Kate. "At least Bush kept us safe"???? You can't be serious.

Come on, many people do you know that combine a strong agenda with unwaivering popularity? The fact is, if you take a stand of virtually anything (other than perhaps puppies and rainbows) you begin to accumulate enemies. As for Rush, sure...I've caught him in overstatements and occasion errors, but he's no different in this than any other commentator (some on the Left are simply liars, and they KNOW it). So, if you are making a principled stand and are hated for it, that's often a sign of effectiveness. Of course, for lefties like you, there is no truth but YOUR truth, and so the dislike of people like Rush apparently equates to being evil (or, minimally, benighted) in your mind. Folks like you will be running the government soon, and we'll see just how well you do. Carter redux, I'm thinking.

At least he kept us safe... from ourselves!! PATRIOT ACT BABY!!!

Rush has lied. In the late 1980's or sometime like that he denied that the Council on Foriegn Relations existed. Then in a book, said he knew that it did. I used to love his show though and im not going to lie about it. I think the stacking of papers about is hypnotic. He has a mega deal and all the obligations that come with it. Limbaugh is an employee of the establishment.

As for keeping us safe, lets just say that it was really guys in caves who did this. Now, nothing new has happended. How can you prove this had anything to do with Bush, the partriot act or the iraq war. I could say wearing my lucky socks on fridays has kept us safe. Anyone in Ohio want to buy some hurricane insurance?

According to Ken Thomas, the duty of all Americans is to choose greatness for themselves.

According to Rush, Reaganism is the belief that Americans can be the best.

According to Arnn, Clarence Thomas is the greatest living American.

The message that I'm getting here, is that, if Reagan had had his way, we would all be Clarence Thomas.

Or, perhaps to choose NOT to be Clarence Thomas is equivalent to a lack of patriotism, or at least deficient Americanism.

Lots to think about: Rush Limbaugh is typically charming, and Clarence Thomas is the greatest living American.

I love this blog!

Fung! Good to see you back! You ought to take in the edifying ruminations here more often!

Hi Craig!

Good to see that you are still charging windmills, too!

It is exam time, and I am much too busy to be writing, much less reading. Then, too, our historic victory on 11/4 has taken some of the urgency away from this process. Finally, I have recently had back surgery, and all these events have conspired to keep my NLT time at a minimum. But, I'll be back. Thanks for your diligence!

I presume that Colin Powell was not in attendance at this dinner full of charming Dittoheads???

Honestly, the more the GOP ignores Powell's advice, the better, at this point. And I will count on NLT to lead the charge in the opposite direction to which Powell suggests...

For Democracy, Only when we die ,we give up the urge to fight for what is right.

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