Regular readers of this column know that I'm no great fan of Rush Limbaugh. I was at one time: he was the guiding light in my journey from left-wing to right-wing socialist. The fact that I ultimately gave up right-wing socialism for the Zero Aggression Principle is due in part to him: had he not proved himself to be nothing more than an intellectual whore for the Republican Party, I might still be a conservative.
A week ago, Limbaugh was fired (sorry, "forced to resign") from his part-time job at ESPN. In my opinion, his statement was stupid: the media has many political biases, but in this case, the accusation was misplaced. The comment wasn't even remotely racist, but rather a criticism of the press.
Stupid as the comment may have been, everybody's entitled to hold a stupid opinion.
However, in the midst of this utterly pointless uproar, a story has surfaced that has the potential to completely destroy Limbaugh's credibility. It has been revealed that Florida police are investigating Limbaugh for illegally obtaining OxyContin, Hydrocodone and Lorcet: artificial Opiate painkillers only available with a doctor's prescription.
I'm intimately familiar with Hydrocodone. As a longtime sufferer of chronic Sinusitis, Hydrocodone-based painkillers and cough suppressants are the only thing that's ever brought me real relief from intense sinus pain. It does, however, have a documented side-effect of "a euphoric sense of well-being." I can personally attest to this side-effect, and there is no question that Hydrocodone is potentially addictive. I've never been prescribed the other drugs Limbaugh is accused of obtaining, but research tells me that they have similar effects.
At present, the truth of Limbaugh's alleged drug problem is far from clear. I suspect that it may, in fact, be true that he has one.
Firstly, Limbaugh has not denied anything. His Web site contains a transcript of an on-air statement, but it was clearly written by his attorney. His statement is simply a fancy way of saying, "No comment."
This is suspicious in and of itself. If Limbaugh had no drug problem, it would be a simple matter to say, "I have no idea what the legal case is about and I'll tell you all as soon as my lawyer says I can. But I can categorically state that I have no drug problem. Whatever else may be going on, you can be sure that I'm not addicted to Opiates."
Secondly -- and again, remembering that I'm no fan -- I can imagine that it would be easy for a person in Limbaugh's situation to become addicted to drugs that make you feel really good.
Consider: here is a man who is under constant, unceasing attack from literally EVERYONE. His colleagues in the media would love to see him utterly destroyed, the Democratic Party correctly blames him for every defeat they've suffered since 1994, and even utterly innocuous statements that are nothing more than personal opinion about football are enough to get him fired.
He gets thousands of hate-mails a week, tens of thousands of nasty e-mails, and no doubt even threats against himself and his family. Like many public figures, he is a prisoner of his celebrity, unable to travel or have the freedom of movement the rest of us enjoy without first ascertaining with his security firm that it will be safe.
Then there's increasing criticism from Limbaugh's fan base, who are beginning to realize that he is, in fact, just a Republican whore with no true commitment to limiting government. Add to this unpleasantness the legitimate criticism from individuals like myself, who point out that he's just another right-wing socialist.
Certainly Limbaugh became fantastically wealthy as a result of his success. Perhaps he believes, in the immortal words of "Weird Al" Yankovic: "If money can't buy happiness, I guess I'll have to rent it." To be honest, you couldn't pay me enough to live Limbaugh's life. It must be a truly miserable existence. Were I forced to endure his pressures and misery, I might turn to Opiates for relief.
The only thing that makes me wonder if the drug abuse story might be false is that it would be uncharacteristically stupid of Limbaugh. He may be a Republican whore, but he's an extremely intelligent one.
The drugs in question are immorally and Unconstitutionally controlled by the Federal Government. However, they're available simply by obtaining a prescription from a doctor. A man with Limbaugh's connections and wealth should have absolutely no difficulty obtaining such prescriptions, in any strength and quantity that he might like. Elvis, after all, was addicted to prescription drugs that were legally obtained -- no doubt his doctors knew that he had a problem, but everyone has a price.
For Limbaugh to resort to the black market rather than just finding his doctor's price smacks of utterly monumental stupidity.
Limbaugh's status as a whore aside, a true freedom-lover wouldn't find his case particularly troubling.
If one strips away the immoral, Unconstitutional laws that prevent narcotics from being sold over-the-counter (as they were less than a century ago), one discovers something very interesting:
If Limbaugh is in fact addicted to painkillers, the only individual harmed by this condition is Limbaugh himself. Consider the Zero Aggression Principle:
"No human being has the right -- under ANY circumstances -- to initiate force against another human being, nor to threaten or delegate its initiation."
Being addicted to any drug -- including artificial Opiates -- harms no one but the addict. Hydrocodone in particular is (as mood-altering substances go) fairly harmless. It does not particularly impair one's ability to function, it does not cause erratic behavior, and it makes you feel good -- very, VERY good. If you take them for too long, your body acclimates and you need more of them to get the same effect. Causing one's own body to become addicted to narcotics does not initiate force against anyone else.
Furthermore, purchasing potentially addictive narcotics is no more harmful than purchasing a box of tenpenny nails. In this case, as Limbaugh's drugs are lawfully manufactured by reputable companies all over the world, the Statists can't even claim that trafficking in them is harmful.
Finally, in Limbaugh's particular case, one can't even suggest that he'll go out of control and eventually have to mug people for his drug money. No doubt purchasing them on the government-manufactured black market is far more expensive than a drug store, but Limbaugh is fantastically wealthy. He could spend whole fortunes on his drug habit, neatly short-circuiting the Statist argument that drug addicts will ultimately resort to theft and violent crime to support their addiction.
Clearly, Limbaugh is harming no one but himself.
Like it or not, if Limbaugh isn't initiating force against anyone else, no one has the right to lift a finger to make him stop. To do so would be an initiation of force in and of itself. His family, friends, and fans may suggest that he stop, point out why it's in his interest to do so, threaten to stop listening to his daily radio program if he won't, and take other peaceful actions to induce him to stop. To force him to stop an activity that harms no one but himself is simply immoral.
What will destroy Limbaugh isn't his drug habit nor the legal consequences of government's immoral, Unconstitutional interdiction of drugs. What will end his career is the monumental hypocrisy he has exhibited.
If Limbaugh is a drug addict, it provides utterly incontrovertible proof of his lack of real convictions. As he's proved time and again, he's nothing more than a whore for the Republicans. He is a man who, on a daily basis, will proudly proclaim that he's in favor of immoral, Unconstitutional efforts by the Federal, State, and local governments to interdict drugs. Yet in his own personal life, he has nothing against violating the laws he claims to support. Like all Statists, he believes that the laws he wishes to enact should apply to everyone but himself.
Again, I'm no fan of Limbaugh's. He's a whore for the Republicans, plain and simple. He claims to be in favor of limited government, yet cheers on every Unconstitutional expansion of government power -- as long as it's the Republicans who expand it.
In a free society, in which individuals self-govern guided by the Zero Aggression Principle, Limbaugh's self-destructive habits will be tragic, but not scandalous. It's only when you factor in Limbaugh's beloved Unconstitutional FDA, DEA, and other alphabet-soup agencies that his behavior become criminal.
There's a popular Biblical quotation: "He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." Limbaugh has lived by the sword of big-government, tax-and-spend Republican socialism. That socialism includes the very laws that have made his drug habit an illegal scandal rather than a private illness.
The whore will have only himself to blame if his backing of socialist policies eventually destroys him.
Freedom, Immortality, and the Stars!
William Stone, III is a South Dakota-based computer nerd (RHCE, CCNP), security consultant (CISSP), and Executive Director of the Zero Aggression Institute (http://www.0ap.org). He seeks the Libertarian Party's nomination in 2004 for United States Senate.