Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson
Both far rightwing commentators Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson have been in the news this weekend. Limbaugh, of course, is going into rehab to try to kick his addiction to prescription painkillers. Robertson agreed with the sentiment that the US State Department should be “nuked.”
I think Limbaugh’s addiction problems are symptomatic of the far Right. It depends on feeling and spreading hatred, especially for those who are not sufficiently “self”, and are too much involved in or like the “Other.” Limbaugh’s racist comments about an African-American quarterback being “given a pass,” his jibes against “femi-Nazis,” and other male chauvinist sentiments, and his xenophobia or hatred of foreigners, all characterize him as an American Nationalist if we understand that latently such American Nationalism is coded as “white” and “male.” Hating the “Other” is always a sign of an inferiority complex. It is often forgotten that Adler’s concept of an inferiority complex did not concern wimpy nerds; it was an explanation for bullying behavior. Limbaugh’s inferiority complex drives his addictive personality at the same time it impels him to feel insecure about others who differ from him, racially, gender-wise, or ideologically. Only by gaining a secure and healthy sense of his own self, only by coming to see that he does not need to depend on numbing his insecurities with drugs, could he hope to attain the interior peace and self-confidence that would allow him to embrace and love the French, African-Americans, and lesbians.
Likewise, Robertson’s hatred of the State Department derives from his perception that it is dedicated to making compromises with the Other. His deep internal insecurity makes him see such compromises as threatening to the integrity of his own fragile Self. His desire to see a mushroom cloud blossom over Foggy Bottom, a desire which joins him ideologically to al-Qaeda, is a way for him to forestall any temptations he has to compromise with others, since he fears compromise will humiliate him and cause his ego to collapse. Again, the only real cure to this neurosis, which is apparently taking on apocalyptic proportions, would be for him to feel good about himself. This may require that he abandon Calvinist theology, which typically glories in self-denigration, and adopt a more positive, humanist outlook. It is also possible that studying with a well-grounded and mature personality like the Dalai Lama would allow him to forsake his explosive fury toward the pin-striped, which is rooted in self-hatred.