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The Smallest Minority On Earth

March 31st, 2009 by dismuke · 15 Comments · Culture

Rush Limbaugh had an outstanding monologue on his program today in which he praised and quoted Ayn Rand – including significant reference to one of my favorite Rand quotes about the smallest minority on Earth being the individual. Limbaugh praised self-interest, denounced sacrifice and said that he planned to spend more time on the issue in a future program. It is definitely worth taking a moment to read the monologue – if you are pressed for time, start reading at the third paragraph down.

Below is the conclusion of the monologue in which he describes Peter Keating type personalities as drags on society who are harming the country.  This (along with his wonderful sense of humor) is a great example of why, whatever philosophical disagreements I might occasionally have with him, Rush Limbaugh is by far my favorite conservative.

When any of you decide to do away with pursuing what you want in your best self-interest, you are sacrificing who you are.  You are giving up control of your essence, and you are saying, I would rather be a member of a group that is approved by people so that I don’t get criticized or so that I’m thought of as enlightened or so that I’m thought of as advanced.  In the process, you are helping to destroy the very foundational building blocks of the greatest country on earth, the country in which you happen to be born and the country in which you happen to live.  So giving up your individual identity, giving up who you are, sacrificing your passions and your desires and your own self-interests for the so-called common good, who gets to define the common good?  I would define the common good as everybody acting as an individual, born as he or she is, pursuing self-interest.  That’s the common good.  That built cities; that built a great country; that built railroads and engines.  It built airplanes.  It built everything.  People denying who they are did not.

When you deny your individuality, when you give it away for acceptance into a subgroup of people, you are harming the country; you are letting the country down; you are not pulling your weight.  You are seeking approval, self-love and acceptance from all of the wrong sources.  You’re giving up the greatest gift you ever had, and that’s who you are.  And we have an administration that wants you to willingly and excitedly, eagerly give up who you are for a common good they define, a common good that requires you to deny who you are, your individuality, what makes you different from everybody else, whether you’re not as good or whether you’re much better at certain things.  You will become a number.  You will become a robot who can be programmed and inspired and motivated to behave in approved ways, and you will be taught to think you are virtuous when doing so, when all you’ve done is sold yourself and your country out.  You give up your individuality, you sacrifice who you are, you allow that to be taken away for some mythical status as a member of a group, you are giving up your passion to become a moderate, or worse.  People without passion never built anything.  People without passion never got one thing done.  People without passion are drags on achievement and accomplishment.  That’s what this administration wants you to become.

15 Comments so far ↓

  • Mike N

    On the way home from lunch with a friend, I turned on the car radio at about 2:10 pm and heard a good part of his monologue. I was surprized at how into it he was. I’ve heard him mention self-interest before but never this in-depth or this accurate. Perhaps having read Atlas and others, having been exposed to Rand’s principles and her concretizations of them, Rush is coming around to to seeing the truth of her logic. That would be quite good.

  • Michael Labeit

    I must say I heard the monologue in its entirety as well. Limbaugh has his good days, even tough he briefly mentions a Creator as the source of rights.

  • Myrhaf

    That monologue is one of the best things from Limbaugh I have read. I don’t think he would have said it quite like that 10 years ago. Back then he mentioned how small the print in Atlas Shrugged is and that was about it. It seems he has read the novel since then.

    It’s great to have Rush advertise Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand to his huge audience.

    The election of the most ideologically committed collectivist-altruist-statist president in US history has, most unexpectedly, made Ayn Rand more prominent in our culture than any time since the early ’60s at least, and perhaps more than even then. It’s stunning, really. The worst political news has brought forth the best news. Such a paradox is like watching a Victor Hugo novel unfold before our eyes in reality.

  • EdMcGon

    Michael, one can agree with Ayn Rand’s objectivist principals AND believe in God. Even though Rand herself was atheist does NOT require objectivists to also be atheist.

    If an objectivist comes to believe in God through reason, even Rand would approve of it.

  • Michael Labeit

    ???

    I would propose that no process of reasoning could lead to the conclusion “God exists.”

    Rush would define “god” as a divine consciousness responsible for creating existence. On what information can one extrapolate the claim that existence must have been created? Virtually all the physical complexities of the universe that baffle theists and deists into forming the argument from teleology can be explained through secular cosmology, philosophy, and biology.

  • Burgess Laughlin

    > “If an objectivist [sic] comes to believe in God through reason, even Rand would approve of it.”

    What is the referent of “it”?

    If the referent is “reason,” then of course Ayn Rand approved of it. (For anyone new to Ayn Rand’s philosophy — Objectivism, not “objectivism” — see “Reason” in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.)

    If the referent of “it” is the fantasy notion of a god existing, then the burden of proof rests on the claimant to prove she would have approved of the notion.

  • dismuke

    “Michael, one can agree with Ayn Rand’s objectivist principals AND believe in God. Even though Rand herself was atheist does NOT require objectivists to also be atheist.”

    It is certainly correct that there are plenty of people who believe in god who enthusiastically agree with SOME of Ayn Rand’s principles and are big fans of her writing. But it would NOT be correct for such people to consider themselves to be Objectivists. To properly consider one’s self an Objectivist, one would need to be knowledgeable about and in agreement with Ayn Rand’s PHILOSOPHY, of which the lack of the supernatural is a very fundamental element. To label one’s self as an “Objectivist” in light of such a fundamental disagreement is actually a disservice not only to Ayn Rand but also a disservice to one’s disagreements with her.

    “If an objectivist comes to believe in God through reason, even Rand would approve of it.”

    This much is true: Ayn Rand would much rather have someone strongly disagree with her based on the best efforts of his own rational judgment rather than accepting something as true merely based on her say-so. In that sense, she would “approve of it.” But she would STILL say that such a person is WRONG and, in that sense, NOT approve of it. It is not enough to merely arrive at one’s conclusions through a rational methodology – one’s conclusions must also be TRUE, i.e, be consistent with reality.

    The step from being an enthusiastic Ayn Rand fan to considering one’s self to be an Objectivist is a big one and and should not be taken lightly. It is not uncommon for her fans to, as a result of their enthusiasm, jump the gun and consider themselves Objectivists before they fully understand the philosophy – and, as a result, buy into certain ideas before they fully understand them or have considered them critically. Again, to do so is a disservice both to Rand and, more importantly, to one’s self.

    As for religious people on the political Right, Harry Binswanger in his most recent HBL posting talked of a distinction between a religious conservative and a conservative who happens to be religious. I think it is an important distinction. Many people in that latter category are potentially open to a lot of what Rand had to say not just on politics but also, as Rush demonstrates, on ethics and individualism vs altruism as well. Most of these people will not likely become Objectivists. But some can potentially become effective and articulate fellow travelers in a number of very crucial battles that are going to have to be fought in the short run to preserve our freedom to speak and dissent and be prosperous enough to have the time to do so, all of which is under an unprecedented full frontal assault right now.

  • Jim May

    If an objectivist comes to believe in God through reason, even Rand would approve of it.

    Sure — if there were evidence of the existence and the nature of this “God” entity.

    No such evidence has ever been offered though, despite multi-thousands of years of opportunity…. and if such evidence did exist and were validated, that would not alter the fact of the immorality that faith serves to license.

    In other words, objective proof of the existence of a God would, in the long run, be much more traumatic to religions than it would be to Objectivists, I wager.

  • Harold

    It’s an encouraging piece. I kind of rolled my eyes when he got to the god part. My first reaction to comments like this:

    ” You have individual rights, as granted by God, who created you, and our founding documents enshrine them:”

    …is which ones? We’re offered different revelations, and due to the nature of faith we cannot distinguish what is claimed to exist from imagination.

    He then tried to clarify it by saying “higher power” or something like that. And that to me is the real issue here. When people talk about rights and the like coming from a higher power, it’s really an expressed desire to submit. It’s a desire to be led and told what to do and how to live. That’s a fundamental problem. And it’s probably the reason why someone like Limbaugh appears so conflicted. He’s trying to advocate two opposing positions at once.

  • Harold

    Oh, and Ann Rand? Seriously.

    lol

  • Jim May

    Limbaugh praised self-interest, denounced sacrifice

    I find that bit interesting, as I remember him speaking directly to Objectivists at one point a few years ago, saying “I know that you [Objectivists] don’t like sacrifice, but — get over it.”

    If this is a trend, with Limbaugh moving towards Objectivism, I have to wonder what will happen when he finally hits the irresolvable contradictions between Objectivism and conservatism.

    I’m more inclined to think that this is another symptom of the rapprochement that naturally happens between fundamentally disparate movements when their superficially common enemy is in power.

    I’ll take the publicity either way. 🙂

  • Jim May

    When people talk about rights and the like coming from a higher power, it’s really an expressed desire to submit.

    That depends on the context. I see that sort of thing invoked just as readily in an effort to place individual rights on a firmament that is beyond the ability of government or society to revoke. It’s still an error, and an example of how conservatism still entraps those who are seeking freedom, but this particular usage — most often seen in the context of the gun control debate — is not made from a desire to submit, but to fight.

  • Jim May

    addendum to the above: the way to tell the difference is to note where the emphasis is. Those seeking to submit, emphasize God:

    “our God-given rights”

    …while those seeking to stand up for freedom emphasize the rights:

    “our god-given Rights”.

    The former know and emphasize that what God giveth, he can taketh away; the latter don’t want to think about that right now.

  • Harold

    Thanks for pointing out that difference.

  • pbv

    Myrhaf:

    “…the most ideologically committed collectivist-altruist-statist president in US history…”

    I would first like to make clear that I do not like (that is an understatement) President Obama; however, don’t you think that FDR was worse than Obama (this is not an attempt by me to make Obama seem better, this is merely my attempt to get a better account of history)?