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Liberalism is predicated on tolerance, even of ideas and methods and tones-of-voice of which we don't approve.

It is? Where the hell did you do to college?

Well said Tom.

Was it well-adjusted, fully employed people leading rich and fulfilling lives? Of course not. It was disaffected curmudgeons who wouldn't have any kids to yell at ("get the hell offa my lawn!") until the schools let out.

With the size of the audience that Rush enjoys, and unemployment as low as it is, just how do you come to this conclusion?

Rush and all the conservatives to follow carved out an audience by fulfilling a market need.

I have been employed full-time since 1986, and I am a regular listener to talk radio. I do so on my way to and from work, during lunch, and sometimes in my office when I'm not having people in for meetings. Now let's add in the millions of OTR drivers, local delivery drivers, salesmen on the road, and the millions of other people who spend regular amounts of time in their car during the day, and your theory about who is listening to these shows loses a lot of its steam.

I have likewise been employed full time since 1984 and I to am (and have been) a listener to talk radio to and from work, at lunch and sometimes in my office.

The sad thing is, I agree with Tom's opinion of the fairness doctrine, although I wonder why he felt it necessary to wrap that opinion in his increasingly shrill and polarizing attacks on Republicans.

Tom, you are becoming the very thing you complain about.

Rush Limbaugh -- whose career I admire, by the way -- got his start in the broadcasting outback of Sacramento, California. From the standapoint of station management, he was low cost programming -- one guy, one microphone. His initial listeners were the type of listeners AM radio was getting mid-day back then. Perhaps I was a bit colorful in my description, but I wasn't egregiously inaccurate. The 1970s advertising term for the daytime talk audience was "low-end undersirables." That's rude, perhaps, but that's what Rush's audience initially consisted of.

Rush, by his own creative force, took that wretched raw material and invented a whole new kind of radio. He did, as Frank said, fill a niche in the market; it's a niche that wasn't, then, terribly attractive to the broadcasting establishment.

Since Rush started out, the world has changed. Offices have changed their policies to allow people to listen to the radio at work; daytime ad rates have risen as the audience has grown. I haven't seen the breakdown on his audience lately, but low-end undesirables it is no longer.

That the audience changed doesn't invalidate what I said any more than the upscale nature of today's jazz audience negates the fact that urban jazz got its start among society's heroin-addicted dregs.

That said, even today the audience for Rush's program is not typical of broadcast audiences. No one knows the audience better than advertisers, and the advertisers on Rush's broadcast -- which is the cream of the angry conservative crop -- are as described: Likely buyers of patent medicines and get-rich quick schemes.

That may not be you, Steve, or you, Frank, but it's considerable evidence that Rush's audience is willing to believe that which is not realistic.

It's considerable evidence that Rush's audience is willing to believe that which is not realistic.

Though even they are not gullible enough to buy John Edwards' economic platform, speaking of "patent medicine and get rich quick schemes."

Tom, your assertions that mainstream news media outlets are bastions of "conservatism" is ridiculous. MSM news is to the right of ultraleftists like PETA, Earth First, and the Noam Chomsky, but not much else.

Unlike you, I have evidence to support my case: 88.2% of all contributions by members of the news media went to the Democrats and other left-wing groups (source: MSNBC).

However, I hold--and I'm sure you'd agree with me, Tom--that they have the right to contribute to whatever group(s) they want to. I also agree with your opposition to the meddling in broadcasting that is being proposed. But look at who wants to do it: Dennis Kucinich, a man who is only milimeters to the right of the radicals I mentioned above!

As for your assertion that liberalism is about "tolerance," you need to remember that as liberalism inevitably slides into leftism, leftism rears its absolutist head and demands that all toe its line. Since the reigning ideology holds that all cultures and points of view are equally valid and that "tolerance" is one of the ultimate goods, we must tolerate the intolerable, regardless of how incompatible with our society and values these Others may be.

Sadly, I must leave examples as an exercise to the reader--but I've ranted long enough, anyway.

Conrad, where have you been? Modern liberalism is predicated on suicidal levels of "tolerance."

Tolerance is a procedure. If one places tolerance above any substansive value, then what limits tolerance? If tolerance is the end-all be-all, then I have to tolerate the following:

rape--of myself, my wife, or anyone else;
child pornography, including that which uses my own children;

Clearly these are all intolerable. Yet if tolerance is the highest good, what tells us that these things are bad and are not to be tolerated?

Again, we see the conundrum liberalism forces upon its adherents: some liberal principles are bad once they "go too far." But what determines where "too far" is? Liberalism has no way of giving a principled definition--it's up to people to say "I know it when I see it." Yet liberals don't always agree on what "too far" is.

So we see one of the greatest inherent weaknesses of liberalism: it must rely on unprincipled exceptions to itself. The unprincipled exception is reliance on a non-liberal attitude without explicitly backing it up with a non-liberal principle.

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