Rush Limbaugh’s “Offended” Critics are Wrong

by | Oct 18, 2003

You probably have heard about Rush Limbaugh having to resign from ESPN for having made an allegedly racist remark on the air. Limbaugh’s remark was about black quarterback Donovan McNabb. Here is what is up on the CNN website: “Before McNabb led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 23-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, […]

You probably have heard about Rush Limbaugh having to resign from ESPN for having made an allegedly racist remark on the air.

Limbaugh’s remark was about black quarterback Donovan McNabb. Here is what is up on the CNN website:

“Before McNabb led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 23-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Limbaugh said on ESPN’s pregame show that he did not think McNabb was as good as perceived from the start.

“‘I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,’ Limbaugh said.

“‘There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team,’ he said.”

Where’s the racism in that? Limbaugh was precisely accusing the media of racism–of discriminating in favor of McNabb because of his race.

This is what comes of refusing to define terms, or working with anti-concepts. Racism is judging a person’s character or actions by his race instead of by his individual merits. That’s the sin Limbaugh was accusing the media of committing; he wasn’t doing it.

Limbaugh has both apologized to those whom it “offended” and defended the truth of his remarks. He could have taken the opportunity to make the point that racism is any kind of racial judgment, and accused not only the media but his “offended” critics of racism (since their implicit view is that racism is race-dependent: discrimination against blacks is racism, discrimination in favor of blacks is not).

In an age of “Affirmative Action,” that is a point an anti-liberal commentator of Limbaugh’s intelligence and eloquence should well understand.

In his defense, perhaps he calculated that fighting back would only make him a martyr, because he couldn’t get his view through the firestorm of leftist opposition. I think that’s mistaken: there is a growing awareness in the public that Affirmative Action (and even discrimination in favor of minorities) is morally wrong.

Dr. Binswanger, a longtime associate of Ayn Rand, is an professor of philosophy at the Objectivist Academic Center of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is the author of How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation and is the creator of The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z. Dr. Binswanger blogs at HBLetter.com (HBL)--an email list for Objectivists for discussing philosophic and cultural issues. A free trial is available at: HBLetter.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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