In Defense of Rush Limbaugh

On July 14, Josh Brahm wrote an article for the Live Action blog titled: Why Rush Limbaugh is Wrong about Abortion & the Casey Anthony Case. Among other things, the article criticized Limbaugh for making a false assumption about pro-abortion proponents, and for making an inappropriate defense of the pro-life position.

I respectfully disagree.

The article did provide an outstanding example of how a pro-life advocate could use the Casey Anthony case while talking about abortion. But the article assumed Limbaugh was talking to a pro-abortion proponent. He wasn’t. He was talking to his audience – which is predominantly pro-life. And the first rule of public speaking is to speak to your audience.

Radio Host Rush Limbaugh

But, more to the point, the tactic employed by Limbaugh is valuable in advancing the pro-life cause.

Think of it this way. We pro-life advocates have the facts on our side. And we also have the correct arguments on our side. But, it’s extremely important to remember that facts, and correct arguments, are rarely the deciding factors in the abortion debate.

Roe v. Wade provides the perfect example. In that case, a group of medical experts had filed a brief with the Supreme Court, showing conclusively that science (embryology, fetology, genetics, perinatology, all of biology) establishes that human life begins at conception. And not a single person or group refuted the brief. But the Supreme Court deliberately ignored the facts, and legalized abortion.

And of equal importance, when Roe v. Wade finally is overturned, it won’t be because the pro-life side has suddenly presented the correct arguments; it’ll be because five or more of the Supreme Court Justices finally hold the pro-life position. That’s reality.

Let’s examine this further. Consider the significant amount of pro-life legislation that’s passed in the first half of 2011 as compared to previous years. We pro-life advocates didn’t just start arguing the pro-life position correctly. We weren’t arguing incorrectly in 2010, and correctly now. The November 2010 midterm elections shifted the balance of power. Power matters.

And power is obtained in large part by stirring emotions, which is precisely what Limbaugh was doing on his show. Emotions provoke change.

The pro-abortion side knows this well. That’s why President Obama has repeatedly said both sides need to calm down the tone when publicly talking about abortion. He knows a calm tone won’t provoke change away from the abortion-on-demand status quo.

So, we can’t be one-dimensional in our approach. The pro-life side has many advocates who’ll continue to present the facts and make the correct arguments to the public. But along with facts and arguments, we also need advocates who’ll stir emotions.

In real life, there’s a time to reason and there’s a time to fight. And now’s the time to fight. Thankfully, Rush Limbaugh’s fighting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josh.brahm Josh Brahm

    Paul, thanks for a very reasonable piece. I think you make a great argument. I’m going to spend some time thinking about it and write a response later. 

    For quick clarification, if I hadn’t used Rush Limbaugh as an example at the beginning of the article, would you have agreed with everything else I wrote?

    Warmly,
    ~Josh Brahm

  • Jltuttle

    Well done.