What’s Wrong with Rush Limbaugh’s Ideology?: The Global Corporate Leviathan and the Balance of Global Power

I like libertarianism, and wish the world could function under its principles. I believe in individual liberty, and think it needs to be given Lockean-like pride of place among human institutions. I would no more want a Hobbesian State than I would want a Hobbesian conglomeration of global corporate interests running the world.

I want Leviathans balancing each other—and not to pretend that they don’t exist.

But what Limbaugh admiring conservatives don’t acknowledge is this: very large corporate entities and institutions need a mixed economy with a strong democratic government to regulate them, otherwise, large corporate entities would (literally) run rampant, both environmentally and with regard to theft and exploitation. We’ve seen these things under the previous administration (in the banks etc.). Large corporations will not regulate or check themselves as well as we need, and that means you have to have some sort of democratic institution STRONG ENOUGH to check them at crucial points. This isn’t socialism, it’s realism. It’s not anti-capitalism, it’s creating a structure for capitalism to flourish in. We live in a complex world with large complex institutions that need to be BALANCED against one another.

Limbaugh’s ideal for America, with government kept strictly to its marshal function of supporting a large military and leaving virtually everything else to the unregulated market, is akin to largely obliterating the checks and balances within the federal government (getting rid of, say, the Supreme Court and Congress and leaving just the Administrative Branch to do as it pleases). It would lead to a form of corporate fascism, in which the strong dictate all terms to the weak, with no democratic institutions strong enough to check them. I don’t know what you call this, if not a form of fascism.

Imagine, for example, what it would be like to live in California without building code restrictions, and the bureaucracy that checks that houses meet fire and earthquake standards. The next earthquake would see tens of thousands dead instead of 50-200 people dead.

Limbaugh is stylistically authoritarian, and in his wish to obliterate one of the checks and balances in the modern world (government) he would create a GLOBAL CORPORATE LEVIATHAN unanswerable to democratic restraint. It would be a step backward from the 18th century democratic revolutions (both American and French)—and a turning back of the democratic clock.

Limbaugh’s capitalist-global-corporate Leviathan is the mirror of Communism’s State Leviathan. It’s why liberals need to figure out a way to chart a middle course, maintain the balance of power between democratic institutions and capitalist institutions, and not be tempted by Ron Paul libertarianism or Rush Limbaugh anti-government rhetoric. It’s a seductive rhetoric because it seems to stem from Jeffersonian ideals (which I fully support), but it dismantles one of the things that maintains and stabilizes power in the world (that is, democratically elected federal and state governments with the ability to regulate trade and the environment).

In short, Rush Limbaughism, by not acknowledging the size and complexity of global institutions and the need for balances of power between them in a mixed economy, if it ever succeeded, would undermine the ability of governments to protect what Jeffersonian democratic gains human beings have made over the past two centuries (the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness).

The leftist temptation is to make the government too strong; the rightist temptation is to make it too weak. Liberals need to avoid succumbing to either temptation.

Here is the kind of world I hope we are all striving for, and for such a world to exist you need balances of power both within and between large global institutions (governmental and capitalist):

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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6 Responses to What’s Wrong with Rush Limbaugh’s Ideology?: The Global Corporate Leviathan and the Balance of Global Power

  1. tom says:

    This is the biggest bone-headed article i have ever read. Rush’s idealogoly falls i nline with the FOUNDING FATHERS of the greatest country in the world you idiot. You are a pussy bleeding heart liberal who loves Obama and his radical terrorists who want to rob this country of their freedom

    • Luther says:

      Tom…..Well put! You have no rational argument against what the author wrote so you resort to name calling…. very clever! If we left the decisions up to people like you we’d all be living in caves like they do in Afghanistan. Or, let me put it into words your pea sized, narrow minded brain can understand……F#@K YOU! If you’d bother to educate yourself just a little, you might find life a little less frightening. Maybe you could start by catching up on your science, sociology and economics reading, and leaving the KKK and white militia pamphlets in the magazine rack for a while. Good luck with that hate mongering in the meantime. God save us all from your breed!

    • andrewclunn says:

      Tom,

      The founding father disagreed on quite a bit. You’ll find quite a variety of opinions between the likes of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison (To name a few.) While I agree that Rushes views are arguably in line with some of those expressed by certain national founders, that’s clearly not the case for all. Could you be more specific?

  2. santitafarella says:

    Tom:

    It must be nice to have such a clarifying and simple ideology to live by. I bet you’re a very happy person.

    —Santi

  3. Tigre Mainecoon says:

    Tom’s response is so typically ‘Ditto Headed’. The problem is, if you open the eyes of a ‘ditto head’ they cry all they way back to Limbaugh to find out what to think next about the data you presented them. They usually respond by name calling because that is all the evidence they have to support their position… By trying to enlighten them we just drive them back deeper into Limbaugh’s clutches. They have to see through the ditto head blinders themselves with personal thinking, which most are unable and unwilling to do. They can’t stand the light of day that shines in when you crack their egg shell. Limbaugh has just created too much fear, anger and loneliness in their minds. The light just hurts too much when it first hits all the darkness that has been created in their minds. There really is a reason that Limbaugh gets paid so much… He’s very good at corralling and misleading the sheep. You can lead them to the truth but you can’t make them drink, especially when the truth is so lost to them after being confirmed a ditto head…

  4. A. Lance Kleier says:

    Limbaugh never suggested doing away with the Supreme Court and Congress. And your example about California not having building codes is a poor one. If that were the case the Big corporations wouldn’t be big for long.

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