T Nation

Thoughts on Limbaughs addiction

Although I have a hard time feeling bad for someone who has spent most of his professional life telling half-truths and essentially being a GOP shill I think we could owe Rush some gratitude.

His ordeal now exposes the drug warriors in America for what they truly are - rank hypocrits!

Americas biggest drug warriors have refused to criticize Rush which exposes their shameless hypocracy.

Why are all the drug warriors so silent all of the sudden?

Politicians have written laws that have put over 400,000 people behind bars for the same crime commited by Limbaugh.

I haven’t heard W., Ashcroft, John Walters or Barry McCafferty lambasting Rush as a menace to society.

Have the DEA agents stormed Limbaugh’s $30 mil. mansion in a frantic search for crimminal evidence?

Have they siezed any of his belongings?

And where is the moralizing blabbermouth Bill Bennet? He should be on TV explaining how America would be better off if Rush were prosecuted, thrown in jail and forced to abandon his wife, his friends and career.

The sad fact is that the Drug Warrior crowd are disgusting hypocrites who believe in one standard of justice for ordinary American citizens and another for themselves and political allies.

Then again maybe deep down inside they don’t believe in the drug wars central premise - which is public safety depends on the drug users being imprisoned. That maybe medical treatment is the best option instead of jail time.

Maybe Limbaugh could talk to his buddy Ashcroft and convince him to decriminalize marijuana so that AIDS and cancer patients can help manage thier pain.

I don’t think Limbaugh should be thrown in jail. I just think that the politicians should let the other prisoners - who’ve committed the same offense as Limbauhg - out of jail.

Bump for an intelligent post instead of this rambling half-truth by an obviously liberal Democrat shill.

Let me begin by saying my personal beliefs regarding drugs are that marijuana at least, and probably cocaine and methamphetamines, should be legalized, and that heroin and drugs that cause flashbacks probably should not be. It’s my compromised libertarian position.

That said, the premise of your post is problematic, because it fails to distinguish between drugs that are generally illegal in and of themselves, save for research purposes on animals, and drugs that are legal to be taken under a doctor’s prescription. Irrespective of the chemical differences between the two, there is a moral difference: one type is legal for human use after passing a none-to-strict hurdle, while the other type is generally illegal for human use without passing very high hurdles.

The “drug warriors” generally inveigh against the “illegal” drugs, not against abuse of the “legal” drugs. This is a moral difference, irrespective of how you view the construction of the categories. You can argue against the categories all you like (and I find some of the distinctions rather interesting) – but that does not make it morally inconsistent to treat the use and/or abuse of each seperately. In other words, they aren’t hypocrites for treating, rhetorically and otherwise, the situation of a Rush Limbaugh or a Brett Favre differently than that of someone busted from smoking crack or injecting the smack.

Again, if you wish to make an argument against the categories of drugs, or the efficacy of the drug laws, fine. However, the legal/illegal distinction is valid under the current legal regime, and thus your conclusion of hypocricy is flawed.

BostonBarrister - before you begin addressing arguments, you need to re-think your definition of “moral”. I think you mean “legal” difference, or at least “artificially-moral” difference.

The differences between heroin (illegal) and oxy-cotin (legal) are almost nill - high doses of oxy-cotin are essentially a better, more effective and similar high as an injectable dose of heroin.

There is no “moral” difference between legal and illegal drugs, especially those that are mood-altering - unless your morality is defined by the legislation of politicans - if that is true, then, well, you’re not using your brain…

And yes, they are inconsistent, because:

  1. Shooting the smack and taking prescription pills cause similar effects, and have similar endangerements to those around you (impaired motor skills, etc.)

  2. People are shot and killed for heroin, the same as they are for oxy-cotin (the most-often drug targeted for theft in armed robberies of pharmecies)

  3. They are both illegal when bought on the black market.

The only “distinction” between the two is one of class - more wealthy whites use script drugs, lower class whites and minorities more often abuse “illegal” drugs.

Guess what class lawmakers and fatmouth pundits like Rush tend to be in??

Thank you Rumbach.

Accepting that there are laws against this kind of behavior, Rush is no different from any other illegal drug user, and under the law, should be prosecuted for it.

That aside…

I for one do not believe in drug prohibition. I do not take drugs nor to I recommend them, I’m simply looking at this from a common-sense perspective. Prohibition does nothing but provide incentive for criminals to import, push, and sell narcotics for an inflated price do to the perception of consequences relative to its illegality. Prohibition also incourages use. All you have to do is look at the prohibition of alcohol to see its effects. The War on Drugs has done absolutely nothing other than cost the taxpayers money, inflated drug prices so criminals get rich and powerful, and fill prisons with non-violent “criminals” which forces the early release of people who really belong there. It is time to wake up and realize that it doesn’t work.

The people on the right wing are trying to legislate perfect human beings because “God said so” while the left wing tries to legislate perfect human beings because “we are smarter than that”. I think its time to accept human nature and manage it providing laws that protect the common populace, provide help for the people who need it, and jail the people who deserve it.

Control drug abuse through common-sense, no-holds-barred education and treatment, not through absurdly harsh penalties.

Rush deserves treatment if he is really wanting to correct his problem, but until the current set of rules are changed, he needs to be treated like any other person caught with illegal substances.

Rumbach, your a missing a big point, and that being how Rush became addicted to these substances. It happened because of a legitimate health problem that was being treated by a Doctor. If he never has spinal surgery he never gets addicted, pretty simple. In my book thats alot different than someone who starts doing lines for a good time on a friday night and gets hooked.

Honestly, I don’t see much of a difference. He went as far as the black market and hiring some one else to buy his drugs. Addiction can be treated. Rush had the money to get treated. He was buying them for a good time.

And yes, he was originally prescribed drugs by a doctor. Many heroin addicts or coke addicts are introduced to them when they are very young, impressionable, and make bad decisions.

(Not that using drugs is that bad of a decision, in my book, society sure seems to have a problem with them though…)

I’m not saying Rush should go to jail - I’m just saying the fat rich white bastard should acknowledge drug abuse for WHAT IT IS -

A disease rather than a crime.


Before you throw stones, you should re-examine what I wrote.

Actually, you basically fell into the same logical trap as did zeppelin. You are shouting “hypocrite,” by which you are implying inconsistency in application of principle, when in fact what you are criticizing are the principles themselves – in this case, the categorization of the drugs into “legal” and “illegal”.

Simply, the “drug warriors” are being consistent according to their own categorization system – whether you agree with that categorization is irrelevant provided they are consistent – at least as it relates to the charge of “hyporcite.”

If you want to charge stupidity, or ineffectiveness, or irrelevance of criteria, you are making a different argument – one about the criteria, not about consistency in applying said criteria.

Take, for example, your examples of “inconsistency” – You wrote:

"And yes, they are inconsistent, because:

  1. Shooting the smack and taking prescription pills cause similar effects, and have similar endangerements to those around you (impaired motor skills, etc.)"

My response: This is obviously about the effectiveness of the criteria, not about the consistency of treating a “legal” drug differently than an “illegal” drug once those classifications have been made. You’re comparing the effects of the drugs, not the consistency of the “drug warriors” in applying their categories.

You wrote: “2. People are shot and killed for heroin, the same as they are for oxy-cotin (the most-often drug targeted for theft in armed robberies of pharmecies)”

My response: This is another argument based upon the effectiveness of the categories. You are arguing that because people do illegal things to obtain both, they should be treated the same. This has nothing to do with whether people were consistent in treating them according to how they are categorized.

You wrote: “3. They are both illegal when bought on the black market.”

My response: You are still arguing against the caterogies. This time, you are saying that there is no difference in the categorization, because the action to obtain them erases the distinction. However, irrespective of how they are obtained, they are classified differently under the law. We are classifying the substances, not the acts to obtain them. “Illegal drugs” as I set up my simple juxtaposition above, were drugs it is illegal to possess pretty much irrespective of how you came by them; “legal drugs” were drugs you could easily obtain with a doctor’s presciption.

Lastly, you summed up your post by arguing against the distinction, not the application of the distinction.

You wrote: "The only “distinction” between the two is one of class - more wealthy whites use script drugs, lower class whites and minorities more often abuse “illegal” drugs.

Guess what class lawmakers and fatmouth pundits like Rush tend to be in??"

My response: You pretty well said it yourself. You’re arguing against the distinction.

As I made clear in my original post, I am not arguing for or against the distinction. I am merely pointing out that the “drug warriors” are acting in a manner that is quite consistent with their classification system in treating those who obtain prescription drugs illegally and those in possession of illegal substances.

I actually agree with you in terms of heroin and oxy-contin – they are both opiates, chemically and effectively very similar substances. And both are much stronger drugs than marijuana, which is technically an illegal substance. But that’s not the point. It wasn’t the point of the original post, and it wasn’t the point of my response.

I agree with Rumbach on “disease rather than a crime.”

Numerous medical studies have shown how addiction alters the brain & ultimately induces the overpowering need for more dopamine.

It is science, not a matter of morality.

The brain does not react depending on if a drug was obtained to treat an injury or from the corner dealer - the chemical effect is the same.

Thus I believe Rush, and every other addict should have access to treatment, but thats not how it is.
If you have money then you have access, but if you don’t, well, your probably going to detox in prison.

I have a few questions. Could it be Rush is a hypocrite? Can a dittohead honestly look at this issue without extreme bias? Why do the Rush supporters make this a democrat/republican issue?

Boston, you are definitely putting words in his mouth man. I think that meth and mary j should be legalized simply because used properly, they can be beneficial. On occasion I have found my self doing 10mg methamphetamine to get through a long night of studying or what not. I don’t think there is such a thing as REAL addiction, only how much you do compared to how much others think you should do. tolerances develope blah blah blah, but even heroin “addicts” have gone cold turkey when they have had enough. Given, they puke for about 3 days and are in insufferable pain, but they don’t usually die. Mary J is less productive and is just a bordom drug that I would never even consider doing. “USE” don’t “ABUSE”

Anyone know how many people are addicted to painkillers? Tons. It’s really not that big of a deal. But, since it’s Rush, you’ve got to acknowledge that he’s a hypocrite–because that horese he’s been sitting on isn’t as high as he was, evidently.

Rightists love to blast blast blast away…but when one of their own fucks up, they twist it or just don’t cover it. Just watch that fucking FOX news–fair and balanced on my dick.

There is no objectivity in political coverage–either side, but I feel the right is far worse. The media has interests to protect–corporate and political.

Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot(–AF), and it has nothing to do with his taking drugs.

Dawg on the Porch: no such thing as real addiction? C’mon man! Food, alcohol, POT, heroin, porn, sex, cigarettes, the list goes on. Addiction is a very real thing.

There’d be people who would be insulted by the position you hold.

Dawg: How am I putting words in his mouth? I was quoting him…

Also, there are physically and psychologically addictive substances. I’m a bit skeptical of psychologically addictive “substances” – I think that’s more a function of the individual psyche. However, alcohol and opiates produce physical withdrawl symptoms when they are taken away from addicts – to the point that some hardcore addicts can even die from the withdrawl symptoms. While some may be able to overcome, they are definitely addictive.

Right Side: I think Rush was a bit of a hyporicrite – Rush occasionally made statements in the past (before his surgery if you look at the timeline) about how people abusing prescription drugs should be punished. I’m sure now he wishes he could retract those. I hope he does well with his addiction.

However, that wasn’t the point of the original post. The point of the original post was that “drug warriors” were being hypocrites.

BTW, I’m going to say something I thought was obvious: just because something is wrong in one manner does not mean it is wrong in another. If you’re going to derrogate someone or something, make sure you make the right charge. The “drug warriors” may be pushing a system that does more harm than good, and may be based on faulty separations in terms of chemistry and effects – but that does not make them hypocrites.

Throwing out your favorite charge against someone with whom you disagree doesn’t make them guilty of that charge, even if you are right in the substance of the disagreement. The proper word is important: it’s the difference between chicken salad and chicken shit.

Boston - you are completely right, but you also completely ignored my critique of you, which is the use of the word “moral.”

Also, you seem transfixed on making this a complex issue of semantics - which it is not. Did Rush break the law? Yes. Do his friends want to excuse him by using some bullshit “moral” disctinction between illegal drugs and illegal drugs obtained by Rush? Yes.


I was glossing over the “moral” issue because I didn’t want to get too estoterical. Morals are awfully hard to pin down in terms of absolute – they can really only be dissected in terms of internal consistency. In this case, I was using “moral” to describe the distinction that I believe the “drug warriors” were making in defining their moral systems: mainly, that “legal” drugs are less bad, and people using them less blameworthy, than are “illegal” drugs. As such, you can argue that their moral system is wrong, but not that they are hypocrites within such a value set up.

The point of the first post in this thread was that they were hypocrites. That’s why I responded as I did. If you want to criticize drug policy, I’m sure you’ll find us much more in agreement.

Zeppelin, get back to your bong!

Boston - I’m not trying to be a dick, I hope you realize - just sparring with words, which I hope you enjoy.

I understand your resoning on the internal consistency of conservative views on “legal” vs. “illegal” drugs - but I’m not sure if such internal structures existed PRIOR to Rush being caught - it seems to me that they have rushed to create such a structure in order to do exactly what you are saying - try and make him appear as “innocent” as possible by creating a self-rewarding litmus test for guilt in this case.

No worries Rummy (Just like Rumsfeld – sure you love that one…) – I’m a lawyer – of course I enjoy verbal sparring. =-)

Anyhoo, changing their morals around to fit the current situation would certainly be hypocritical, especially if the change was inconsistent to the previous system. However, I think that, looking at the history of the “drug warriors” (keeping with the definition from the original post by zeppelin), the focus has always been on illegal substances over illegally obtained substances. Sure it’s still illegal for one to obtain prescription drugs w/out a prescription, but by my recollection that’s never been the focus of the drug war. The drug war has been overwhelmingly focused on curbing use of illegal substances.

Even the steroid users in the crowd can attest that there isn’t a big focus on those, comparatively – and what effort is focused in that direction is aimed at distributors (or, rather, likely distributors, given the definition is based on the amount you have).

If you want to try a little experiment, just try a Google search on any famous people who have come out and said they had prescription drug problems, and see what the “drug warriors” had to say about it. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Brett Favre – and as I recall, thunderbolt of the mighty drug warriors was not leveled at him as it was against Nate Newton and his trunk full of marijuana, or Michael Irvin and his cocaine (Disclaimer: I don’t remember much about Irvin other than I heard he was somehow involved in something where he was caught with coke).

The focus of the media is something else entirely – of course, the major media outlets are so busy worrying about ephedra and steroids there’s not much room left over for them to try to make any distinctions about anything.