The Null Device

Does your utopia have a secret police?

Right-wing radio commentator Rush Limbaugh denounces anti-war demonstrators as "Communists" and "anti-American"; radical leftists call for a boycott of his advertisers, demonstrating their commitment to pluralism and diversity of opinion. These are probably the same people who tout Cuba as a model democracy. (via FmH)

There are 13 comments on "Does your utopia have a secret police?":

Posted by: Mike Tue Jan 28 08:49:33 2003

Sorry, but no one really has the right to paid for speech in the US. The media supposedly serves its customers and often refuses political ads that may upset its numbers. If Rush marginalizes himself to the point where even middle America is afraid to advertise with him then that is of his own doing. He can always find a soapbox to stand on in the park.

Posted by: Ben Tue Jan 28 11:58:46 2003

It would have to be a pretty sturdy soapbox.

Posted by: Graham Tue Jan 28 12:26:44 2003

Of course, he could also start a weblog like everyone else of Bush's useful idiots.

Posted by: acb Tue Jan 28 12:47:11 2003

It is true that there is no inalienable right to be paid for speech; I was pointing out that the very approach of attempting to silence a view one disagrees with (which did not amount to "shouting fire in a crowded theatre", except to those already sold on hard-line ideology) is a very illiberal and totalitarian approach, and does nothing to disprove Limbaugh's accusation of totalitarian beliefs.

It's as if you accused someone of being a violent thug and they said "you're lying and if you don't shut up I'll kill you"; same effect.

Posted by: kstop Tue Jan 28 14:58:42 2003

Advertising pays for the radio show. Products pay for the advertising. Consumers pay for products. Therefore consumers pay for the radio show. They can't affect the advertising (directly) so if they don't want to pay for the radio show, their only choice is not to pay for the products. Not supporting someone is not the same thing as censoring them.

Posted by: bryan http:// Tue Jan 28 17:02:08 2003

a propos 'Advertising pays for the radio show...' agreed, I agreed with the same viewpoint when it was touted by various conservative idealoques when the Moral Majority wanted to boycott advertisers and everybody started yelling about censorship. I believe in fact that if one did a fine enough search one could turn up Rush voicing similar opinions as to the right to Boycott.

Posted by: Fake Ben Tue Jan 28 22:22:14 2003

Or you could look at this as the emergence of that old dev.null fave - the reputation economy. Under this scenario: Rush's reputation is his livelihood, his reputation is getting worse, therefore his livelihood is suffering.

Posted by: gjw Tue Jan 28 22:47:51 2003

kstop: Yeah, all that market economy stuff works in theory, but I doubt any such diffuse boycott acting so far from the target would have any discernable impact.

I get confuse; which one was the arch-conservative commentator who _opposed_ the war recently?

Posted by: Claire Wed Jan 29 06:08:39 2003

It's not like you can actually have an intelligent discussion with someone like Rush Limbaugh -- a lot of these people (on both sides, but especially on the right) seem to be from another planet. Talking with them is impossible -- they don't understand your earth logic, and you don't stand a chance of understanding theirs.

Posted by: acb Wed Jan 29 06:37:52 2003

I'm not opposed to boycotting companies who do evil things (such as Nestle, for example). It's the classification of supporting a view as an evil deed worthy of a boycott that ires me.

Any ideology which depends on silencing views it opposes is a bit too totalitarian for my liking.

Posted by: Tron http:// Wed Jan 29 21:20:42 2003

"Radical leftists"? I'm sure the rhetorical symmetry was appealing to you, but your demagoguery seems of a piece with Limbaugh's.

Posted by: Graham Thu Jan 30 00:53:13 2003

What, because like everyone else, he's cognisant of the fact that Spartacists are morons?

Posted by: acb Thu Jan 30 04:29:47 2003

Any group which sees silencing opposing voices as a legitimate tactic is a "radical" or "extremist" group. Such behaviour is not part of moderate political discourse.

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