Rush Limbaugh this week took to his radio show to decry that the Left is pushing to normalize pedophilia in, he says, the same way it normalized gay marriage.
Here are five of the dumbest, most profoundly scaremongering quotes from Limbaugh’s January 7 show as taken from the transcript on his website, but please note that choosing just five required immense restraint:
There is a movement on to normalize pedophilia, and I guarantee you your reaction to that is probably much the same as your reaction when you first heard about gay marriage. What has happened to gay marriage? It’s become normal — and in fact, with certain people in certain demographics it’s the most important issue in terms of who they vote for. So don’t pooh-pooh. There’s a movement to normalize pedophilia. Don’t pooh-pooh it. The people behind it are serious, and you know the left as well as I do. They glom onto something and they don’t let go.
But what has got dear Rush so flushed? He tells us:
It’s right there. It’s in the UK Guardian. “Pedophilia: Bringing Dark Desires to Light — The Jimmy Savile scandal…” He’s a presenter on the BBC. “The Jimmy Savile scandal,” it says here, “caused public revulsion, but experts disagree about what causes pedophilia — and even how much harm it causes.” So “experts disagree about what causes pedophilia,” and then they do interviews to make the case for pedophilia.
First of all, unless Jimmy Savile has returned from the Beyond, he is no more a presenter on the BBC than I am since he’s been dead for over a year.
The Savile scandal, for those not in the know, refers to the late BBC presenter (see the modifier) and how, following his death, people up and down the country began to share stories that they had been abused by Saville when in their teens. These allegations have prompted a criminal investigation and, indeed, public outrage. They have also raised a wider discussion about the nature of child abuse.
The Guardian article to which Rush so frothingly refers was published on January 3 and dares to contextualize how attitudes toward pedophilia have changed and what little we actually understand about it today. The article makes three legitimate points: defining exactly what it means to be a pedophile and how not all pedophiles are necessarily child molesters is an important exercise, that there is no consensus as to exactly how the desire arises, and that an academic consensus has yet to be reached as to whether such a relationship between a child and an adult is in fact always harmful (a separate question from whether it is desirable).
The Guardian piece, fascinating in its exploration of both the potential biological predictors for a likelihood toward pedophilia and the environmental components which might underpin the behavior, goes on to suggest the very real need for further research to understand pedophilia. The piece also explores ways beyond criminal prosecution — which as a barrier clearly is not totally effective — in which those with the proclivity might be helped to not pursue their sexual attraction and therein be prevented from harming children, such as accountability support groups like those tried to some success in Canada which have seen a 70 percent success rate at preventing reoffenses.
None of this appears in Rush’s blowhard commentary however. Instead, he settles for the following:
If it’s supervised, and if it’s engaged in by loving people, then what’s wrong with it? This is in the article. I just want to remind you, now, when you first heard about gay marriage — and I don’t mean to pick on gays. It’s not what I’m saying. It’s just something that was such a tremendous departure from accepted norms of the day. When you first heard about gay marriage, you pooh-poohed it.
Can you imagine if Jerry Sandusky had had this information at his trial? What do you think the reaction would be to Jerry Sandusky’s defense saying, “Hey, look, it’s normal. The kids love it, he loved it, nobody was hurt. And in fact, it’s just a different sexual orientation”? Now, what do you think’s behind this? What kind of people do you think are behind this, this effort to normalize pedophilia? Which is what? The abuse of kids, is it not? Who’s behind that?
You might organize in California, a proposition, you put it on the ballot to oppose it and you win, and a federal judge will overturn it. Yeah, pedophilia, it’s already against the law. What do you do to stop it? Who’s gonna stop it? Do you think today’s Democrat Party’s gonna speak out against it? No. You won’t have ‘em advocating it, not yet, but that day’s coming, if it follows the same progression as some of these other things you thought would never, ever happen and they are happening now in a mainstream way.
Limbaugh goes on to take a call from a listener though, in typical fashion, one could hardly tell because Rush does most of the talking.
At the very least this excuse for a rant is offensive on two fronts, but one hardly bothers to return a charge on the political mud-slinging Rush tries to lob at the Left while he grunts from the swill on the Right.
First, and despite Limbaugh’s limp protestation, he here panders to a very particular sect among religious conservatives who still think it a viable proposition to equate homosexuality with pedophilia even though no scientific consensus or independent, consensus-backed research has ever shown a link between the two phenomena. That Limbaugh pretends he is not really comparing being gay with pedophilia by hedging that he’s talking simply in sociological terms about the phenomena of gay marriage fools no one.
Furthermore, Limbaugh has the audacity to decide that even a discussion about the nature and treatment of pedophilia and those with the proclivity, distinct from the act, is to be condemned with unremitting scorn, as though the mere idea of exploring a different approach to just simple criminalization, the sheer thought of it, is beyond the pale of human decency when what is really deserving of opprobrium is the fact Limbaugh appears to want to throw out all even, rational thought about the topic.
Lastly, Limbaugh says he “didn’t mean to pick on gays, that’s not what I’m saying.” Well, Rush, it’s precisely what you have said that shows your contempt for gay people and, even more so perhaps, for any kind of intellectual discourse on this a very sensitive but urgent topic.
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