Thursday, October 02, 2003

A Moment of Compassion

I'm not obligated to feel or express any compassion for Rush Limbaugh. There are 6 billion other people on this planet, almost all of whom are more worthy than Rush of any emotional energy I wish to expend. My attitude - and approach to this blog - is that it's fair to treat people with about the same degree of fairness and venom that they treat others. And, by that criteria, Rush is truly in a class of his own.

Having said that, drug addiction is (contrary to Rush's assertions below) a serious disease. While I'm all for mocking Rush's (alleged) problems with as much bile as he throws at anyone who is down on their luck, I do want to make it clear that I'm not mocking drug addiction or drug addicts generally.

When this story unfolds, my guess is that (if the basic facts that we know are true) it will be spun that poor Rush suffered from chronic pain for awhile, and in the process he got hooked. That may even be true. But, much like Andy Sullivan claiming (perhaps truthfully) that he got HIV from unprotected oral sex, and it was therefore due to an "accident," and not due to "reckless behavior," this is just a way absolving himself of any responsibility, a particularly bad strategy for someone trying to kick a drug habit. As those 12 steppers say, "if you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you got."

If Rush were ever willing to cut anyone else that kind of slack, I might even buy it. I don't blame Sullivan for getting HIV and I won't blame Rush for becoming an addict. However, they do blame others for similar misfortunes. We make choices, and sometimes we get lucky and sometimes we don't. We should have a bit of empathy for the people who don't.

A final transcript (For now):

Everyone knows the Clintons have a cat. Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is a White House dog?

...Arthur Silber has some more comments.