Recently we have expressed some problems with Rush Limbaugh and some of his views.

We regard him as irrationally wedded to the idea of the absolutely Free Market. I think most of us who blog here regard the Free Market as a good thing, so long as it is not absolutly free, that is, we see the need for some rational regulation. Similarly on the related ideas of free trade and Capitalism.

We regard him as over emphasizing "Rugged Individualism," taking insufficient note of the role of communities in the good life.

We regard him as too quick to see conspiracy at work among those he opposes.

I regard him as too cavelier regarding the environment.

Photognome and Martian Mariner also expressed problems with his ability to analyze a problem rationally and to present comment in rational form. I understand their complaint.

Having said all of this, I wish to speak a word in Rush's defense.

First, while I disagree with him on the items listed above, I think that for someone who makes a living talking live for 15 hours per week, he manages to get most things right. Sometimes he spots trends or issues before anyone else seems to notice.

Second, he understands that rationality is only a part of the human make-up. And, that many, many people are not dominated by their rational side. He makes great use of humor, and emotion, in his presentation.

Third, Rush is an ideologue. He has a philosophy, a variety of conservatism, and he views the world through this ideology. He knows what his beliefs are, can explain them coherently, and can persuade others of the truth of his world-view.

As a Christian, and a preacher, I understand what he does. I operate from an ideology also, try to persuade people to see things according to a Christian world-view, and use more than rationality in my rhetoric. I just wish Rush would take a sabbatical and immerse himself in The Institutes of the Christian Religion, or in Church Dogmatics. Since Rush is nominally Roman Catholic, I would settle gladly for Thomas Aquinas as Rush's bedtime reading.