I had a conversation yesterday with an angry, frustrated and depressed friend about politics and  technology.  He claims we all began with the Big Bang (no pun intended). He doesn’t believe in God.  I knew that right there we couldn’t go any further with our discussion as we were coming at it from totally different understandings of life. We left the conversation where it started.

Amazingly, within 24 hours, Rush Limbaugh was talking about that very thing.  Did my friend hear it?  I don’t know.  But I did, and it resonated with me.

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RUSH: I was asking myself the other night, — I’m serious about this — you can have a political figure or a celebrity involved in one of the most embarrassing, illegal or borderline legal things, take your pick, truly despicable things, and yet they become famous, they become the focus of even more attention, they become wealthy, with genuine reprobate behavior.  I was asking myself, “At what point in our culture did it change?”  It used to be that there was a stigma, an embarrassment to being a reprobate, or to have broken the law or to have just engaged in utter moral depravity.  When did it change that this became a resume enhancement?  I can’t put my finger on it.  All I know is that ever since I started this show in the late eighties, early nineties, I have watched this happen, and I have watched this deviancy in our culture get defined downward.  We’ve just given up. As Moynihan said, “We’ve defined deviancy down.”  We can’t fix that so it’s now normal.  Bad behavior, we can’t stop it so we’re just going to say it’s normal now.

I have been waiting for the day when society finally says, “Enough!  We’re going to stop rewarding this kind of behavior.”  There’s not only been no stop to it, it’s getting worse and worse and worse, and it’s epitomized by Mr. Hillyer’s summary here.  Half the people he writes about should be in jail, or impeached, or convicted of treason.  He’s also right when he says there’s a whole lot of people on our side of the aisle that are not revved up enough about it.  In fact, a little personal illustration of this.  When I moved to New York in 1988 to start this program, this program nationally started August 1st of 1988, you will remember, those of you in New York and some of you around the country, you will remember that there was a phenomenon on television at the time, the Morton Downey show.

Now, I replaced Morton Downey Jr. in Sacramento.  He got fired for telling a joke using the word “Chinaman” about a city councilman, he wouldn’t apologize, so they blew him out of there.  They brought me out, they said, “Look, we want controversy. We’ll back you up, but not if you make it up.  If you’re going to say things just to incite riots, just to make people mad, if you’re going to say things just to rile ’em up but you don’t really believe it, we’re not going to back you up.  But if you’re honest about it, and you stay sane, we’ll back you up,” and they were true, they were honest about that.

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RUSH: So I get to New York in 1988, and shortly after the summer ends, sometime in September, I’m invited to a cocktail party on the Upper East Side at the townhouse home of the noted Lou Lehrman, who was not there. He had just given the use of his home.  It was a bunch of the conservative print media that I was being introduced to, and I can remember a number of them came up when they were introduced to me and had it explained why I was in town and what I was there to do they said, “Oh! Are you going to be the Morton Downey Jr. of the radio?” and they seemed to be excited about that prospect.

Now, here these world class models of decorum in print getting all excited about in-your-face, insult broadcasting.  You know, putting cigarettes out on people’s hands and spitting in their face. I said, “No, no, no. I’m not going to do that. There’s no way I’ll succeed.  I want to be just as classy on my radio show as you are in print,” and I said, “That stuff is not going to have a lifespan, that stuff is not going to survive — and even if it does, I don’t want to be part of it.  I have no desire to be part of insult broadcasting or insult radio. I don’t want to be that far gone into showbiz,” and it was at that point I started thinking that the deviancy that was occurring in media would eventually bottom out and there would be a rebound — and it hasn’t bottomed out.

We’re still pluming the depths. We’re below the gutter.  Most media is in the sewer.  I don’t care what media you’re talking about, books, movies, television shows, newspapers.  There are examples, rare examples of the opposite.  There are exceptions and so forth, and I’ve always thought of myself as one.  But it’s not just in broadcasting. It’s just the overall cultural decline, the depravity — and with that decline and that depravity comes increased fame and notoriety. Not for anything but the erratic, depraved behavior become famous for — and that has given rise to what? My Face, My Butt, My Mouth, My Book, Facebook this, Facebook that. Nobody wants any mystery about themselves anymore.

In fact, there was a piece — I forget what paper it was; it might have been the New York Times — about the absence of mystery. Nobody wants any mystery about themselves.  I think this paper used the example that it’s not possible for there to be a Greta Garbo anywhere.  Greta Garbo was a recluse.  It was the biggest deal in the world to see Greta Garbo walking the dog or go to the grocery store. It hardly ever happened.  Now you couldn’t survive as an entertainer, an actor. You couldn’t survive living a normal life. You have to be on display and you have to be making a mess of your life in order for the paparazzi to be interested in you.  You have to be throwing up bird seed every night. You have to be going in for drug rehab overdoses in the hospitals.

I mean, I’m on the way to the hospital in Hawaii, and before I get there the media vans are waiting outside the hospital emergency room. Before we get there! (interruption) Well, obviously.  Reporters pay off EMT people.  It’s just the way it is.  How do you think they get these pictures of Michael Jackson on the gurney?  Somebody has to let ’em in there.  My point is that this is what Quin Hillyer’s writing about here today.  No matter where the depravity is — be it in our media culture, entertainment culture, now the political culture — there’s utter depravity, and it’s rewarded! It wins.  Lying, cheating, stealing, anti-Americanism wins — and face it, this is what’s got everybody so discombobulated, because none of it makes sense. None of the things that we were raised with, none of the manners we were told to exhibit and live by seem to be rewarded.  If you live the life that you were raised to live — Golden Rule, be polite — you are a boring.

The MTV Awards. If somebody doesn’t drop the F-bomb every ten minutes the critics say, “What a boring show.” You go back and look at some of the old Academy Awards presentations (you know, before Marlon Brando brought the Indian babe up to not accept the award and they went politically nuts.) The Cary Grant, Grace Kelly era was bigger than life, the epitome of class.  There’s no class anywhere anymore, and we certainly don’t have class at the highest levels of our politics.  All we have is a bunch of people seeking attention in a whole bunch of ways, but they all add up to one thing: “I can’t be who I am and get noticed.  I have to be outrageous here or do this. I can’t even be honest. I gotta come up with an opinion that nobody else has that could be totally wrong but I want to be perceived as the smartest guy in the room ’cause I want to get noticed because my middle name is ‘Notice Me! ‘Notice Me! ‘Notice Me!'”  It’s an affliction that everybody has, and I’ve kept waiting for this to bottom out, and it doesn’t.

We keep sinking lower.

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RUSH:  I think I do.  I think I do know why it’s happened.  I think I do know what caused it.  In fact, I have very little doubt about this.  In fact, I’ve even said it in so many words on this program when discussing abortion over the years.  But I really think the reason for this sinking, spiraling-down deviancy and depravity that gets rewarded — and people seeking fame on that basis rather than achievement.  Back in the old days there wouldn’t be a Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian.  I don’t have anything against them, fine and dandy. What have they done?  They haven’t done anything.  They’re circus acts, and life is filled with more and more circus acts.  But I think all of this can be traced back to God being shunned, to God being removed from people’s lives, to there being no God or false gods or what have you.

You’ve heard of Nietzsche. In 1882, “God is Dead,” he wrote the book.  The ruling class has been teaching this. TIME Magazine did a cover: “Is God Dead?” The book was called “The Gay Science,” and in it he postulated God was dead.  Once you take God out — once you take conscience out, once you get rid of morality, once you get rid of reasons larger than your own existence, once you get rid of judgmentalism — then there’s nothing left. There no guardrails. There’s nothing to keep you on the road.  Who cares?  Now, the “death” of God. These people had always promulgated it. The death of God is a way of saying that humans are no longer able to believe in any cosmic order. There’s no such thing as anything larger than ourselves. There’s no concept of intelligence design. No God.

“No, this is all an accident!”  I think you have to be brain-dead to believe this also an accident. You have to be brain-dead to believe this all a coincidence.  I don’t know how anybody, particularly educated people who study the human body, can think that this is an accident.  I don’t know intellectually how anybody can come to that conclusion, but millions of people have.  But if you succeed in convincing people there is no God or that God has died, that will lead not only to (this is what Nietzsche said) the rejection of a belief of cosmic or physical order, but also to a rejection of absolute values themselves because where do they come from?

Where do absolute values come from?  Where is the notion of absolute right and wrong? Where does it originate?  You go to any religion in the world you want. There aren’t too many areas of gray.  For example they are not the Ten “Suggestions,” and a lot of people we know do not want to live under any kind of judgmentalism at all from other human beings, certainly not from a force that they can’t understand.  The whole concept of a universal morality, that’s scary. That’s scary.  That means there’s a price to pay, and we don’t want to pay the price.  We don’t want to have to pay the price for being who we are, and this is what’s happened.

Ever since the whole notion that there is no God has taken hold or that God is dead or that God’s just a creation of a bunch of freak wackos that the true intelligent people know that there’s no such thing as intelligent design.  Allan Bloom. You remember him? I’ll never forget this guy. Allan Bloom wrote a book called “The Closing of the American Mind” on campus at the university, and he traced it back to this. I remember watching him on Firing Line. The thing I remember is Alan Bloom was a chain smoker on Firing Line, and nobody made him put the cigarette out.  A chain smoker! University of Chicago I think he came from.

If it’s not that, if it’s not the absence of God that explains the triumph of depravity then it has to be that liberalism breeds insanity. It’s one of the two.  I happen to think it’s the absence of God, because when you boil it all down, if you don’t stand for something, you will believe anything — and doesn’t that describe the buffaloed, fooled idiots on the left?  They will believe anything! They will believe the most unrealistic, wild things like a Chevrolet Suburban can destroy the climate.  They will believe it and they will live their lives that way. They’ll become zealot evangelists about it because nothing else has meaning to them.  They stand for nothing so they fall for anything.  You know, people have asked me, “How are you so sure that global warming is all made up?”

I say, “Because I believe in God.”  I’ve been through this riff with you thousands of times. It’s ’cause I believe in God.  I do not believe I have more power than God.  I don’t believe God even notices me, much less creates all of this that insignificant microbes like us can destroy. I just can’t get my arms around that intellectually.  Yet people who stand for nothing who want significance and want to matter and want to think they’re all important will buy into the notion. The most insignificant people in the world, the most inconsequential people in the world… I’m talking about the average, run-of-the-mill American liberal. The most inconsequential people in the world, look what they believe!

They are so hungry for relevance that they actually believe that they and us are destroying a planet! It’s insane to believe this, and they are so caught up in it that they demand that everybody live an equally inconsequential, irrelevant life like they do — and their anger and their rage at all of us is really nothing more than fear.  Because people like you and me show them daily that they’re irrelevant and inconsequential and wrong.  We’re happy. We’re pursuing happiness. We try to live by a standard.  It’s all a big threat.  So the objective is to get rid of anything that equals black or white.  Get rid of any truth, because truth is giant, giant threat.  Can’t live with threats.  Threats make us nervous.

Moral values?  “Ah, that could be explained away.  Yeah, you can explain moral values. That’s just the opiate of the masses. That’s just a bunch of irrelevant people trying to tell themselves they’re good people. Morality?  Morality, that’s for the great unwashed.  We intellectuals, we members of the ruling class, we understand (haughty laughing) what a joke morality is,” and yet the people that are heralded as the Wizards of Smart — the unifiers, the people who are gonna save the country and save us — are in the process of destroying it.  Some people do think that it’s being done purposefully, and it’s a hard thing to tell ’em it’s not ’cause the evidence is incontrovertible.  The worst thing that you can be in society today is judgmental.  That’s why people like us are so hated, folks.  The worst thing you can be is judgmental and right.  That’s why TIME Magazine writes “the obnoxious Rush Limbaugh” was right about the Gulf oil spill.

Obnoxious?  Why obnoxious?

Why not be heralded?

No, can’t do that. That doesn’t fit the template.