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“Truth is sacred; and if you tell the truth too often nobody will believe it.”-Chesterton
15 May 2017

Conservative Talk Radio:Cheap, Childish, Familiar

Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “This is the principle reason why I had to make a turn, and I urged all of you to make a turn.  Don’t play their game.  It’s easy to call names.  It’s easy to hurl a label at someone.  Heck, it even happens inside Christian circles.  You have Christians calling each other names.  You have Christians who think they’re holier than another.”  Check out today’s transcript for the rest….

Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

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. . . are there some downsides to conservative talk radio? Taking the conservative project as a whole—limited government, fiscal prudence, equality under the law, personal liberty, patriotism, realism abroad—has talk radio helped or hurt? All those good things are plainly off the table for the next four years at least, a prospect that conservatives can only view with anguish. Did the Limbaughs, Hannitys, Savages, and Ingrahams lead us to this sorry state of affairs?

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Mike:  This is John Derbyshire writing this back in 2009.  I was conversing with Derb at that time.  He did not include me in the number.  I don’t know if that’s because I remain an insignificant nothing, nobody, or maybe he didn’t throw me in the number.  Here’s his answer:

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They surely did. At the very least, by yoking themselves to the clueless George W. Bush and his free-spending administration, they helped create the great debt bubble that has now burst so spectacularly. The big names, too, were all uncritical of the decade-long (at least) efforts to “build democracy” in no-account nations with politically primitive populations. Sean Hannity called the Iraq War a “massive success,” and in January 2008 deemed the U.S. economy “phenomenal.”

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But for all the bullying bluster of conservative talk-show hosts, their essential attitude is one of apology and submission—the dreary old conservative cringe. Their underlying metaphysic is the same as the liberals’: infinite human potential—Yes, we can!—if only we get society right. To the Left, getting society right involves shoveling us around like truckloads of concrete; to the Right, it means banging on about responsibility, God, and tax cuts while deficits balloon, Congress extrudes yet another social-engineering fiasco, and our armies guard the Fulda Gap. That human beings have limitations and that wise social policy ought to accept the fact—some problems insoluble, some Children Left Behind—is as unsayable on “Hannity” as it is on “All Things Considered.”

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I enjoy these radio bloviators (and their TV equivalents) and hope they can survive the coming assault from Left triumphalists. If conservatism is to have a future, though, it will need to listen to more than the looped tape of lowbrow talk radio. We could even tackle the matter of tone, bringing a sportsman’s respect for his opponents to the debate.

I repeat: There is nothing wrong with lowbrow conservatism. Ideas must be marketed, and right-wing talk radio captures a big and useful market segment. However, if there is no thoughtful, rigorous presentation of conservative ideas, then conservatism by default becomes the raucous parochialism of Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity, and company. That loses us a market segment at least as useful, if perhaps not as big.

Conservatives have never had, and never should have, a problem with elitism. Why have we allowed carny barkers to run away with the Right?

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End Mike Church Show Transcript

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