KEN: I was thinking about how Rush — and he used to talk about college all the time, and I liked the way he framed it.
I think it made people feel great because in this country, you can do anything you want. You don’t need college. He rejected the notion — Rush rejected it — that you are better than someone else because you have a degree, because obviously. Well, for proof of that, just look at Joe Biden’s cabinet and try to keep a straight face.
No, seriously. Seriously. Listen to Little Red Lying Hood. What’s her name? Psaki. Listen to her, the press secretary, for two minutes and then say, “Okay. I don’t need a college degree.” In fact, Rush always felt college was kind of a clique, and it can be very cliquey depending what school you go to. I love the way he used to talk about that, because that is one of the core principles of conservatism.
You should be judged on your merits, on your achievements, on your ability to get the job done, how you carry yourself (all those things that are not allowed to be taught in schools anymore), not a fancy reference with a fancy degree that isn’t applicable to real life. Here’s Rush explaining more in his own words.
RUSH: Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a law professor University of Tennessee, has a USA Today column today, and he’s a man after my own heart. He makes the point here that it might actually be necessary to save the country to elect a president who did not graduate from college. And he makes the assessment not because he’s anti-college. He’s a law professor at Tennessee.
His point is if you look at everybody in the D.C. elite, they’re all from the Ivy League: Harvard, Yale, Columbia. Maybe lesser colleges if there are such things in the Ivy League, but they’re all from that geographic part of the country and from that academic experience, and they’re all elites, and it’s really an exclusive club with these people.
If you’re not in that club you’re not getting in it and you’re not gonna be given respect. You’re not gonna be given any sort of half chance. He sent me a copy of the column, and I wrote him back, I said, “You know what, it’s just obvious, it’s apparent to me that there are a whole lot of people, particularly those who fashion themselves as our elites.
“Those who think they’re better than the rest of us. Those who look down their noses at us. Those people who strike me as they never got out of high school. The clique structure in high school stays with them to this day and is one of the animating aspects of their existence.”
The idea that you must be a member of a unique club, a relatively small membership and you only get in it by having done the same things these people did. If you’re not in the club, you’re not serious. If you’re not in the club there’s no way you can get in because you had to go to an Ivy League school and graduate.
And if you’re not in the club, no matter what you do, no matter how much you accomplish and no matter how much money you make, you’re still gonna be considered riffraff. And I think that’s pretty much on the money. And it’s not new. It’s been that way for quite a while. The stories are legion
of all the great Americans, successful, who have not graduated from college. And of course the two names that come to people’s mind right off the bat are me and Steve Jobs. And then some people throw Gates in there. So there are three people who have reached the pinnacle, who have not gone to college, and those two or three names get bandied about all the time in this discussion. But it doesn’t matter.
To the elites, that doesn’t matter, it doesn’t mean that they are qualified to be in the elite group. And the elite group in Washington is what we call the ruling class or the D.C. establishment, both parties, or what have you. And it’s especially bad in the Drive-By Media. That is one of the most exclusive and I should say exclusionary groups of people that you can imagine.
If you look at it as a club and look at the admittance requirements, it is one of the most exclusives things to get into. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, doesn’t matter how much money you make, whether you’re more successful than they are, whether you earn more than they do, whether you have a bigger audience than they, doesn’t matter, you are not getting in that club.
There are certain things that you have to do, but more importantly, you have to have a pedigree. And so, anyway, Glenn Harlan Reynolds’ point is, and it may be, he says, to save the country. And I don’t disagree with this, by the way. There are far many more people who do not graduate college than do, and college graduates today, it’s not the same as it was decades ago.
The learning is different. The amount of debt college graduates have when they get out of school these days is something that previous generations didn’t have to deal with. But it’s more a point of relatability, understanding. Ordinary people, the people that make the country work, it’s all about being able to relate to them.
And the inside-the-Beltway elites not only can’t relate, they don’t want to. I remember shortly after I moved to New York, which is 1988, I was at a party. I did these things early on, certain things you have to do when you’re starting out that you don’t have to do after you get there.
This was a party that people at National Review and New Republic sponsored, if you can call it a party. What it actually was, was an attempt by both publications, National Review conservative, the New Republic liberal, they wanted to combine sales efforts. They wanted to combine their sales staffs and go out and approach potential magazine advertisers as a combined unit and sell the genre rather than the specific content of each.
Now, I don’t know whatever became of it, but that was the reason for the party. There were a number of these elites that I’m talking about who were there, and I’ll never forget, I walked up and met one of them, a woman. You’d know her name. I’m not gonna mention a name because the point is not to embarrass anybody.
It’s just to illustrate the story. I’d been up and running about two years, and everybody knew it. It was the beginning days, the program was on a rocket ship escape, and it was just shooting straight up. Everybody knew about it and it was the talk of everything because there was not anything like it at the time.
Remember, there was no Fox. There was no other talk radio. The only other national news organization is CNN. And this woman, I walked up to introduce myself to her. I’d read her work. I admired her work. I walked up and I introduced myself to her. “Oh, yeah, you’re the guy that has all the farmers and truck drivers listening to him during the day.”
I thought, is she serious or is she using jocularity here to say hello? It turned out she was serious. It was an insult, with a beaming smile, by the way. And that, by the way, that attitude among certain of those people has not changed to this day.
KEN: What an amazing story and so true, what Rush said, now more than ever. And we got to see it unfold before our very eyes, although President Trump did go to a good school. He was an outsider. He was not in the clique. So we got to see firsthand.
How are the Republicans and the Democrats and Hollywood and academia and the unions gonna treat just some business guy? Now, grant you, he’s not just some business guy. But in the world of Washington, D.C., President Trump is an outsider because he speaks his mind, he does his best to follow the Constitution.
He doesn’t owe anybody anything because he can do what he wants with his own money. He doesn’t need donors to run. So right there, he’s out of the clique. But what that woman said to Rush with the truck drivers and the farmers, you know, you think about that level of ignorance. That is how people in the bubble look at us — or my parents, contractors, businesspeople (self-made, didn’t go to college or they left).
I think about some of the successful people in my family, and some of them dropped out, some of them went to college, but at the end of the day, it’s your choice, and you will make of it what you want to make of it. It’s that simple. But in places like New York and Washington, D.C., it’s gotten out of hand. And it’s hurt the country because now our government is a collection of cliques, putting themselves first, not America First.
KEN: In this next sound bite, Rush explains why he did not go to college, and he shares this hysterical story about being in speech class.
RUSH: Now, let me clear up this education business. ‘Cause I didn’t go to college. I was forced to go, never wanted to go. I couldn’t wait to get out of high school. I’m not telling this story in order to have it be inspirational. I’m not trying to convince people to do what I did. I’m just explaining to you why I have the attitudes and the views about it that I do.
It’s not for everybody. The problem is that college is something in our society that’s supposedly for everybody. If you don’t do it, then you automatically have a mark against you. If you saddle people with that, guilt trip ’em, and people are gonna go to college that have no business being there simply because they think if they don’t they don’t have a prayer.
Now, back in the days of the Great Depression, and the World War II, Korean War, we had a different economy. That probably is where this all gets rooted. And at one time it no doubt was true. But it isn’t the case today. But there’s nothing wrong with it. If you want to go to college, if your parents want you to go to college, fine and dandy.
I’m not doing this to talk anybody out of it. It’s just for me, I knew that I didn’t want it. I knew. I hated school from age eight or nine, and I know that I’m not common in this. So again, I’m not saying any of this for it to be instructive to others, but I do think it’s necessary for you to know. Now, many of you have been listening for a long time.
You think you know the story, but I’m gonna add something to this I’ve never admitted before, something I’ve never told anybody about why. You know, I knew what I wanted to do when I was eight or nine years old, and it was an obsession. It wasn’t, “Gee, I think I’d like to do that.” I knew what I wanted to do, and anything that was not related to helping me do that sooner rather than later, get better at it, I had no interest in.
And that was most of school. The things in school that I thought I was gonna need, I aced. And that’s the thing about college. I mean, I remember in high school, they said (muttering), “When you get to college you’re an adult. They don’t call the roll and it’s up to you to show up and it’s all up to you. If you don’t go, it’s up to you.
Your grade will reflect it, but nobody’s gonna babysit you.” And I get to college and it was worse than it was in high school. The things that we had to take? Ballroom dance taught by former drill sergeant in the WACs as a PE course? I just looked at it as a waste of time.
Folks, I’ve told you this before. I flunked speech. Speech 101. I flunked it. I went to every class and I gave every speech. The reason that I flunked… Well, actually I didn’t. I came close to flunking. I was given an opportunity to pass the course if I redid one of the four speeches or five speeches I had to do during the semester.
There was the interrogative, the declaratory, the informative, the entertaining, all these different kinds of speeches you gotta do. Well, by then I’d already developed a way that I felt comfortable doing public speaking, and it did not involve using notes. It certainly didn’t involving outlining. So I show up, I give every speech, and I get an F “pending” because I didn’t outline any of the speeches.
I didn’t turn in any outlines. I just got up and delivered the speeches. And it was that that I used as an example. “See, they shouldn’t have called this course Speech 101. They should have called it Outline 101.” And people said, “No, you’re missing the point. This is to teach you to follow directions, to accept the parameters of instructions and to execute them.
“Because this is what you’re gonna find in the world. You go to work for some company and they’re gonna tell you to do something. You had better do it with the ingredients they ask for or you’re gonna be in trouble.” I said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand that, but I don’t work for these people. I’m just trying to get outta here.”
I did four speeches. They were good speeches. The speeches on their own got good grades. So I got a redemption. I got a chance to redo the informative speech. I forget what my original informative speech was, but I went to a friend of mine who had taken the course three years before me, and he told me, “You know, I gave a speech on the funeral business.”
I said, “You gave a speech on the funeral business?”
“Yeah, I gave a speech on the funeral business and how it’s a rip-off here and a rip-off there.”
He said, “I got a B on it.” So he gave me the stuff. He had kept it. He gave me the stuff that he’d used to make the speech, and I gave that speech, and the instructor thought it was one of the greatest things he’d ever heard — same teacher who had heard the same speech three years earlier!
I later came to find out it’s a speech that anybody can find in CliffNotes about the funeral business and how it’s rip-off. I found out later the reason it was so appreciated was because it was simply an attack on what some people think is an unfair business that takes advantage of people’s sorrow and guilt.
It turns out that this professor happened to have a personal belief about that industry, and the speech, he didn’t care who he heard give it. As many times as he did, he was gonna grade it with at least a B or an A. And after that happened, I said, “What am I really learning here? I don’t want to learn that I’ve gotta copy somebody else.
“I don’t want to learn that I have to say what the professor wants to hear in order to get outta here.” That just went against the grain of everything that I wanted to do in my life. I’m not a conformist and I don’t want to do things others have done, and I don’t want to say things others have said, and I don’t want to say things in a way others have said it.
Now, this is just me. And for me, it was not a good place. That’s not to say that that’s the case for everybody else. I am not suggesting any of you hearing me today don’t go to school because of my experiences. I’m just giving you the reasons why I have the attitude about it that I do.
There are nine presidents, but they are from the early days of the country, who didn’t graduate — nine presidents who didn’t graduate to college — George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Harry Truman. (interruption) Yes, that’s true. Mr. Snerdley is making the point that some businesses, some vocations require a college degree, no question about that. I’m not disputing that.
My point is: Do what you want. Do what you need to do. I’m just telling you that for me it was not helpful. It got in my way. I was so obsessed. I mean, I was so desirous. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. When I think back on my life, and people ask me questions about it, things that are related to my success, I never, ever think of things that happened when I was in school that led me to where I am.
I don’t think of those.
Now, I do have favorite teachers. I have a couple things I’ve cited, great things that did happen in junior high and high school on the football team and that sort of thing. But the experiences that I cite that helped me get where I am all come from real life. And I didn’t consider school real life. I considered it prison.
It’s where I had to go because of my age. It’s what my parents and everybody else decided I had to do: Go there, be there at this particular time of day at this age, ’cause that’s what’s required. And for me, of course I did it ’cause I had no choice. But it was not fun. I mean, I literally felt like I was in prison.
If the classroom had windows it was torture. ‘Cause I’d look through the windows and I would see everybody driving around, walking; that to me was the essence of freedom, and I was in lockdown. So, anyway, it’s not for everybody.
KEN: Think about how liberating that segment must have been the first time Rush Limbaugh spoke about it on the EIB Network — liberating to people that may not have ever heard somebody as successful as Rush talk that candidly about the freedom of picking the course you want.
But more importantly, that you don’t need everything the news media or whoever tells you. So obviously you have to develop a skill somehow, somewhere, some way. But think about that. Here is someone who is heard by millions and millions and millions and millions of people, and he basically…
And this is why I think so many people in academia… Well, many lean left, but they have a problem with conservatism for that very reason. Because we don’t think we need all the things they tell us we need. Like, “Well, you have to a degree. You have to be… If the government isn’t bigger, how are you gonna…?” and on and on and on.
KEN: Leslie in Irvine, California. Leslie, you’re on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hello. Mega dittos to Kathryn and all of the Rush Limbaugh family and condolences. So I was calling because when you played the clips of Rush talking about college and not wanting to go to college it just made me think of all these high school students that think they need to go, and they’re suffering through high school with all the peer pressure and all the cancel culture and then they go off to college and it gets worse, and then all the politics involved. It just reminded me of just a perverted version of Mean Girls.
KEN: You know, and something else that’s heartbreaking now, Leslie, is the way that what I like to call the “scamdemic,” the overhyping of COVID when it wasn’t as bad as the media wanted us to believe.
KEN: It pretty much gutted education for a year. So you had all these children from age six up to young men and women in high school, like you say, and college. And they don’t have any socialization at all with — and I’m not talking about socialism. They’re running around en masse; they can’t see their friends. Imagine a 7- or 8-year-old being, in essence, isolated from humans.
KEN: What is that?
CALLER: It’s horrible. I’ve seen my grandson go through it.
KEN: Yeah, it’s heartbreaking. How old is your grandson?
KEN: Seven. Oh, my gosh. I mean, they’re hungry for that. The other thing that drives me crazy is these little kids, their faces are covered, and then the adult faces are covered. So we are taking such a valuable skill from these children: The ability to read a face to interpret good or negative. They can’t see people smile, they can’t get a laugh of approval — and in our state, you can’t hug people.
CALLER: Uh! It’s horrible. Really horrible. Finish your thought.
KEN: Well, thank you, Leslie. I appreciate it. I do want to thank you for calling.