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Limbaugh’s Apology


He has apologized to the young woman for the nasty personal insults. It was the right thing to do. Unlike some of the commenters at the website I am linking to, I will not question his motives for doing so — not because I am a great admirer of Limbaugh’s, and seeking to defend him, but for exactly the opposite reason. At some point, you have to break the vicious cycle.

Part of what’s so poisonous about our culture is that we reward people more, the more vicious and cruel and thuggish they get (then, of course, we turn around and complain about the coarseness and ugliness of our politics and media). I disapprove vehemently of Limbaugh’s personal slurs against that young woman, because I thought they were nasty and misogynistic. What he said was wrong. What he said in his apology — “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices” — was right.

So in this case, I want to reward him for doing what’s right. After condemning what he said that was wrong, and endorsing what he said that he was right, I think we should — to coin a phrase — “move on.” To continue the controversy at this point would be merely to pursue the vendetta against Limbaugh in exactly the way that has landed us in the mess our culture’s in. In short: If people don’t let this go at this point, they shouldn’t complain the next time somebody engages in insults, refuses to apologize, and makes our culture even coarser. If you reward something, you tend to get more of it. Let’s try rewarding decency for a change, and see what happens.


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