Law prof-blogger Ann Althouse perfectly analyzes Rush Limbaugh’s virtuoso attack on the U.S. Senate Democratic majority’s much-criticized curtailing of the filibuster this week, to pave the way for President Obama’s stalled judicial nominations. Feminists and other knee-jerk Rush-bashers are furious, and, of course, knowing exactly what to say and how to say it to annoy the hell out of them is part of his mission in life, and one which he does very, very well. If you missed it, here’s what Rush said in response to a caller (though if he hadn’t planned on this, I will be shocked, as well as very impressed)…
“…Now, folks, the simple fact is, when the majority, in any group of people, when the majority can change the rules at any time, then there aren’t any rules. This is a point that I’ve been making repeatedly all week long….Let’s forget the Senate for a minute. Let’s say there are 10 people in a room and they’re a group, and the room is made up of six men and four women. Okay? The group has a rule that the men cannot rape the women. The group also has a rule that says any rule that will be changed must require six votes of the 10 to change the rule. Every now and then some lunatic in the group proposes to change the rule to allow women to be raped. But they never were able to get six votes for it. There were always the four women voting against it, and they always found two guys. Well, the guy that kept proposing that women be raped finally got tired of it and he was in the majority, he was one of the men, said, “You know what, we’re gonna change the rule. Now all we need is five.” And the women said, “You can’t do that.” “Yes, we are,” [say the men]. We’re the majority, we’re changing the rule.” Then they vote. Can the women be raped? Well, all it would take then is half the room. You could change the rule to say three. You could change the rule say three people want it, it’s gonna happen. There’s no rule. When the majority can change the rules, there aren’t any.”
After quoting some of the angry responses, Althouse writes,
“Come on. It’s a trap. Don’t you know your most basic famous aphorisms about democracy? “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” Usually attributed, probably incorrectly, to Benjamin Franklin, it vividly drives home the problem with simple majority rule. I’m virtually 100% certain that on his Monday show, Rush Limbaugh will laugh at his critics for their ignorance of the famous aphorism. He can easily point out that he did not minimize the seriousness of rape. In the aphorism, the lamb is killed by the wolves. His analogy substitutes rape for killing, men for wolves, and women for the lamb. Really, it’s men who are getting the negative stereotype, so misogyny is exactly the wrong word. A lamb is the very symbol of innocence. And it is killed by those terrible, selfish wolves. Knowing Rush, I predict he’ll pivot to a discussion of abortion: Maybe women don’t realize that killing an innocent is terrible. Maybe that’s why they didn’t understand the workings of his analogy.”
Bingo. It is a trap, and the critics fell into it just as Rush intended, because they are blinded by cognitive dissonance, ideology and bias—as well as the peculiar fanaticisms of the Left, in which rape is deemed even worse than killing. It’s not a perfect analogy: as Althouse suggests later, it would only be accurate if the men knew that the majority could change later and then the women could vote to rape them….or eat them, if that makes you feel better. But it makes the proper point, and makes it in a way that lures the likes of Ana Marie Cox and the writers at Media Matters into exposing their foolishness, which is 1) brilliant, 2) Rush’s mission, and 3) what they richly deserve.
Oh, Rush isn’t completely right about the issue itself, not at all. He over-states the dire consequences, as usual; he falsely describes what the President’s nominations signify as an attempt to “pack” the D.C. Court of Appeals (the President is just filling three vacancies on the court—out of nine—which should be filled; it would be packing if Obama was seeking to expand the number of judges on the court to create a new liberal majority, which was what FDR tried to do with the Supreme Court). He’s also wrong about why this occurred, but his main point, that if a majority can change the rules of a body any time it chooses with out restraints of tradition, principle, fairness and long-term consequences, then no rule is safe, and in effect, the majority is only bound by the rules it wants to be bound by.
Graphic: Eternal vigilance