I was a bit surprised to hear former Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge echo President Obama’s criticism of Rush Limbaugh by calling him “shrill” and “divisive” recently. Then Senator John Cronyn joined in the Rush-bashing over Limbaugh’s use of the word “racist” for self-described “wise Latina woman” judge Sonia Sotomayor. I do not recall ever being enlightened or inspired by these politicians.
On the other hand, as I’ve driven to teach afternoon classes I’ve enjoyed the insights and wit from Limbaugh. I am always impressed by his ability to apply historical figures, ideas, events, and Constitutional principles.
This is what I miss about my profession as a college instructor. Rarely am I able to discuss ideas with my colleagues; indeed, I dare not speak my opinion nor say anything positive about any figures on the Left’s “hit list.”
One of those figures is Alexis de Tocqueville, the French aristocrat who toured the United States in the 1830s and provided an invaluable analysis of the American character and government in his multivolume work, Democracy in America. But to mention his name without the preface of “fascist” or “elitist” is to invite suspicions of one’s academic credentials--and employability.
But to my joy, I’ve heard talk show host Mark Levin cite Tocqueville’s warning about our slide to a “soft tyranny,” an idea he carries through in his current number one bestselling book, “Tyranny and Liberty,” along with references to the Federalist Papers and an obscure essay by C.S. Lewis.
I’ve listened to other colleagues on WGKA, like classics professor Victor Davis Hanson interviewed by host and law professor Hugh Hewitt, and host and professor of Russian and Jewish history, Dennis Prager. On radio host Glenn Beck’s Fox television program, I learned about Florida State University history professor Robert Gellately’s currently apropos and lively study, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler. Rush Limbaugh provided historical explanation for the public’s adoration of Obama: the same kind of emotional investment that caused gulag prisoners to cry at Stalin’s death. This comes from reading Solzhenitsyn.
Except for the occasional meeting of a couple scholarly organizations, I rarely have the opportunity for intellectual exchange—something I had hoped to do as I studied for my Ph.D.