About 14 or 15 years ago, an email was sent to Rush Limbaugh pointing out the inconsistencies with being both a principled conservative and an advocate for the U.S. government’s War on Drugs.
The popular conservative talk show host had just given a monologue expounding on the benefits of continuing the drug war–a “war” only exceeded in length, cost, futility and lives ruined by the “War on Poverty”.
This listener found it hard to equate the conservative principles of smaller government, less taxes and less government intrusion with the leviathan the federal Drug War was turning into.
Apparently, more nerves were touched than mine. The next day, Rush appealed to listeners to “stop the emails!” He said that his mailbox was flooded with emails– from the sounds of it–much like my own.
But he stated that his views on the matter remained ‘unchanged’.
About 10 years later, of course, Limbaugh’s own struggles with chemical preferences were revealed, much to this listener’s dismay. Since our listening habits have changed, our chances to catch the EIB broadcasts over the last five years have been of the ‘hit-or-miss’ variety.
We’re not sure what Limbaugh’s position on this matter is today, but probably he remains unconvinced–if only because he wouldn’t want to be seen as having his principles affected by personal, inconvenient experiences.
This brings us to an item in Rush’s local paper, yesterday’s Palm Beach Post. Entitled “Limbaugh’s Liberal Drug Recovery: Liquor’s okay”, it’s nanny-ism at its best.
It starts out by acting concerned, then brings in the usual ‘experts’ on why Limbaugh is playing with fire by engaging in adult behavior.
By all accounts, including his own, star conservative radio-talker and recovering prescription-drug abuser Rush Limbaugh isn’t letting his addiction stand in the way of a good time.
Limbaugh was absolutely truthful when, a few months into his probation for a doctor-shopping charge, he started reporting to his state handler that he drank casually.
Now, probation completed, the Palm Beach gazillionaire is routinely spotted at Trevini on Worth Avenue, spending early bird time sipping on cocktails with sweetheart Kathryn Rogers.
And when Page 2.1 traded media-war stories with El Rushbo in Miami recently, the talk was fueled by just the right amount of libation.
“I never had a problem with it (liquor) before I went to rehab (in 2003, to treat an addiction to OxyContin), so it’s not going to become a problem now,” Limbaugh said. “Besides, I challenge anyone to say I was ever carried out of a party because of drinking.”
The article continues by stating that Limbaugh was “as coherent at the midnight hour as he had been in the early evening.”
Now come the “experts”.
But, drug addiction specialists say, Limbaugh should know better.
“This is called cross-dependency,” says Juan Harris, clinical director at West Palm Beach’s Hanley Center. Although Limbaugh went to Arizona for his problem, celebs and professional athletes are at times spotted at Hanley. “Once a person has become addicted to a mood-altering substance, their brain chemistry has changed. They can easily become addicted to another substance, like alcohol.
“But alcohol is likely to lead a recovering addict back to his drug of choice.”
And if booze creeps into the life of a recovering drug addict, Harris added, the question isn’t if the person eventually becomes hooked again — it’s when.
“Ninety-five percent of those who drink after treatment eventually come back to us,” Harris says.
Perhaps this says more about the “effectiveness” of the whole “treatment” than about people’s private habits.
It ends with a comparison of European and American ‘methods’ of ‘treatment’.
“In Europe,” says Harris, “they teach harm reduction. Eight drinks today is better than 10 yesterday. But in this country, it’s about abstinence.
“He shouldn’t drink even one cocktail.”
Tiresome to read, tiresome to even think about: that some specialist, who’s not even seen Limbaugh, would offer such faux advice in print.
We could get into the amazing coincidence of the proliferation of ‘drug treatment’ centers and the availability of government funding for such. But, that’s another post.
We could examine the effectiveness of such ‘treatment centers’. Again, that’s for another day.
We could take a look at the history of government’s attempts to control what people choose to put into their bodies, everything from chocolate to today’s substances, and the results of such efforts–on another day.
Today, we’re just looking at a gossipy item in a local paper about a national media personality.
So, there’s no moral here, other than the one about what happens when the federal government gets involved in anything outside of national security.
Conservatives, better than anyone, should know what happens whenever the federal government gets involved in any enterprise: it doesn’t do it very well and the law of unintended consequences is given more credence.
Many of the the same objections to nationalized health care could be transferred to the nationalized War on Drugs.
Conservatives rightly saw the ‘War on Poverty’ as the Liberal’s failed war. The ‘War on Drugs’ is the conservative version.
It’s a War a liberal could love.
A vast, unresponsive bureaucracy chasing after its citizens and jailing them for their chemical preferences, gobbling tax dollars, ever-expanding and achieving–after decades of chaos and billions of dollars–nothing.
Sounds like a good topic for a Rush Limbaugh monologue.