RUSH: Hey, folks, here’s a shock. Stand by. Fox News has a new poll out which finds an increase in nuclear doubts and fears. (laughing) I got an e-mail last night. Snerdley, something about the shows, the programs this week is bringing more questions than I usually get, questions about me. I got a question last night in the e-mail, “Does nothing bother you? Do you care about anything? All you do is make fun of everything people are concerned about.” I think the question was legitimate.
By the way, welcome back, El Rushbo, 800-282-2882 if you want to be on the program.
I don’t make fun of everything. I love to illustrate absurdity. The question: “Does anything bother you?” The best way to answer this question, I am not worried that anything that happened in Japan is gonna happen in the United States because it happened in Japan. Now, I’m well aware nuclear power plants can have accidents. I’m well aware an earthquake can happen, the earth could split open. Heck, the EIB Network could be swallowed up tonight. But I don’t worry about it and I don’t make the correlation. If I ran Germany, I would never think I gotta shut down my nuclear industry because an earthquake happened in Japan, which, by the way, if you look at history, Japan has these kinda earthquakes, maybe not 9.0 earthquakes, but every century they have huge earthquakes, Tokyo, the whole nation. They’re not unfamiliar with them. I don’t know what the earthquake frequency is in Germany. But even that’s beside the point.
Folks, I am totally immune to anything in the media making me scared, from the stock market, to — you wouldn’t believe, I mean, you know me. I am constantly trying to inform myself. I’ve got people who are smart sending me e-mails, “Rush, cash is where you want to be.” I’ve had people for three years telling me the municipal bond market is done, it’s gonna crash, and if you don’t get out of it, you’re gonna be — and I read ’em and I say, “Yes, sir,” and I call the people who I have hired and I ask them now and then, I accept the answer and I move on. I am not oriented to panic. We’re all different. But what’s happening in Japan doesn’t scare me in the least. It just doesn’t. It doesn’t tell me, “Oh, my God, okay, oh, wow, what happens if a nuclear plant…” I am not oriented that way. To the extent that it sounds like I don’t care, what is caring? You know, this came up earlier this week in regard to these guys writing columns, “Don’t give money to the Japanese people, they got their own money, they can print it. Give money to the Third World. Don’t get sucked into this.” Now you’ve got even the president echoing that sentiment.
That led to a discussion here, what was the concept of caring and what does caring, by itself, accomplish? By itself, what does sitting around caring about something accomplish? Now, if it motivates you to do something that’s an entirely different thing. I find that most people, particularly people on the left, want plaudits, they want gold stars, they think of themselves as superior people just because they care. Well, why wear the ribbons? And if you don’t care, well, you’re heartless and you’re cold and you’re cruel. And the whole purpose of wearing ribbons, what does it do? It’s an upper for the person wearing the ribbon. That’s why on my television show, famous TV show, I once did the show with every ribbon known to exist on my suit coat the whole week. Whatever color there was, I explained it all, to show how much I care. Did it change any of the events I cared about? No. Am I cold-hearted and cruel? Not in the slightest.
Empathy raises our humanity. Who said that? Voltaire? Pascal? Henry VIII, in a midnight snack? Empathy is caring. Okay, you know how I use empathy? It very seldom happens, but wherever young, budding young broadcasters ask me what is the number one characteristic you can have for success, I say after you’ve learned the language, learn to speak it and to write it as best you can, ’cause I said if you do that, that will alone attest to your perceived intelligence. If you can master the English language, pronouncing it, speaking it, writing it, that alone will tell people you’re smart, whether you’re intelligent or not, whether you have knowledge or not, that is a good way to create the perception that you are. That’s a fundamental for you to be in broadcasting. The way I use empathy, I try to empathize with the audience. For example, right now I am engaging in empathy. And I’m asking myself, while talking about it, are they getting tired of hearing about this? Are their fingers near the button on the car radio to change channels? And if, as a successful radio host, you have enough empathy with the listener, if you can put yourself in the position of listener as you are hosting or speaking, then you will know when it’s time to switch, go to something else, change, whatever. Now, that’s how I use empathy professionally.
Empathy raises our humanity. Meaning what? Meaning if I sit here or if anybody sits here and watches television and sees what’s going on in Japan and we feel horrible and sad and that raises our humanity, as opposed to sitting here and looking at it and saying, “Well, it’s 5,000 miles away, what the heck? I can’t do anything about it. That’s their problem. I got my own. That could happen to me someday and I know nobody in Japan’s gonna be able to help me out. I gotta take care of myself.” Is that not empathy, and is that not — I’m not saying that’s what I do. I’m just saying the opposite here because if you sit here and empathize with the people in Japan, you’re obviously not doing anything for them, but your theory is that you are elevating your own humanity and becoming a more in touch, complete person, right? You’re a better human being. Well, then what’s the point? What is elevating your humanity if not making you a better human being? (interruption) What do you mean, callous to the suffering that’s going on in the world? You know what Shakespeare said during one of his lucid moments? I contend that half of what he wrote he had to be stoned, but nevertheless — and that’s empathy. He-he-he. Shakespeare said, “He who jests at scars never felt a wound.” Whoever laughs at scars has never felt a wound.
Well, I’m sorry. People perceive me as laughing at scars. I have felt many wounds. You know what I find fascinating? I really do. I’ve been on the radio 23 years. That can’t be an accident. There have to be, particularly among others in this business, there has to be an appreciation for how it happened. There has to be a little bit of an understanding for how it happened, yet none of that is present in any reporting on me. Last night I got a note, friend of mine was reading the ABCnews.com RSS feed, and there was a story about some UCLA student who had made fun of something to do with the Japanese earthquake who had been forced to apologize. I was in the headline. UCLA student, Rush Limbaugh, da-da-da-da-da, feeling whatever, da-da-da, I forget what the headline was, but I was not in the story. When you read the story that you got after clicking on the link I was not in it. So I said, “Well, how did I end up in the headline? My name is even in the link to the story but I’m not in the story.”
So I started thinking, well, I know what this has to be about. I haven’t made fun of anything about this. I have bucked the conventional wisdom. I haven’t made fun of one aspect of this. Not like Gilbert Gottfried. Joy Behar makes jokes about it and she doesn’t even know it. She was on The View yesterday. People were telling her this isn’t going to have any impact on food in the United States. She said, well, what happens if you go to a Japanese restaurant? Now, she was not cracking a joke but I mean that’s laughable. No, don’t go to Benihana, folks, it’s Japanese. You know, they have an earthquake over there, there’s radioactivity. Anyway, I know what that ABC story was about. I did make fun of Diane Sawyer, but not the Japanese people. And maybe somebody at ABC finally figured that out after they wrote the headline, “You know, we’re not gonna put this in because he’s not making fun of the Japanese people, not making fun of the earthquake. He’s making fun of our anchorette.” (imitating Sawyer) “Look, recycling.” Sorry. It was funny to me. And then we did have the guy call who said, “You know, the poor Japanese people, they’ve done everything in the world to make amends to the earth for all the destruction here and look what Gaia did, unleashes a tsunami on ’em.”
I don’t think that’s making fun of the Japanese people. I think that is cramming it down the throats of the liberals, which is what happens here on this program. Sometimes we do it with irreverent humor. By the way, I love Diane Sawyer. I have talked to her many times. Gosh, I have a couple secrets I could tell you about Diane Sawyer and me and ABC, but I’m not gonna go there. Many, many moons ago back in the nineties. She used to work for Nixon. She was a former Miss America, I think, or contestant or what have you. I can’t think I’m the only one who finds it funny that in the midst of nuclear rubble, “Wow, recycling.” It’s like spitting on the fire in the reactor. It’s kinda not relevant, but, again, that’s probably me and a lack of empathy and a lack of caring. “Nothing seems to worry you. Nothing seems to bother you.” I don’t worry about things that I have no control over. I used to, big time. I can’t tell you the shackles I had on myself worrying about all kinds of stuff. I was worrying about what might happen next year if I did this or did that. There was nothing more paralyzing in my life than to worry about stuff I had no control over. And in the process, I actually limited what I could control.
RUSH: It’s very simple, folks. What’s the difference in empathy and sympathy? Empathy is an understanding of things; sympathy is feelings. They’re two entirely different things. Empathy does not involve feelings at all. That’s what sympathy is. Sympathy’s fine and dandy for a while, but after a while, what does it get you? What is accomplished? Snerdley’s in there saying, “It elevates your humanity.”
Okay, I got that.
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