I have been a college professor of Communication Ethics.  I conducted for years a three hour public affairs talk call-in program.  It was cutting edge with interviewees such as Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame,  Fr. Philip Berrigan of the radical brother priests who challenged the U.S. draft during Vietnam and it’s nuclear policy after that, guests such a activist-comedian Dick Gregory.

I also represented to the media for at least one hundred peace, environmental, human rights, educational and health organizations as their media consultant for public outreach.  I learned the issues of our times in the course of representing them.

Rush Limbaugh emerged

Then Rush Limbaugh emerged suddenly on my local talk radio station in 1991.  In the first half hour of listening I realized this was a discordant errant messenger.   I recognized that he was misleading or lying nearly every time he spoke.  It was puzzling and confounding that he was getting an audience that either doesn’t realize this or doesn’t want to know it.

I began recording him to prove he actually said the things he said.  I looked up the facts on what he said. This was before google so I did it the old fashion way through books, newspaper reports, the original sources.  Actually, often it was common knowledge itself that he was countermanding with his diatribes.

 

The project developed

The project grew.  I divided it into subject areas developing into chapters on the issues he addresses ranging from the environment to foreign affairs.   I eventually realized that the problem is what he purports to represent–conservatism.    I had dealt with that ideology peripherally before but now studied it for it’s roots and what it’s about even on its own terms.

The book presents what the acknowledged founder of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke, stood for.  It deals with the characteristics of the mindset that calls itself conservative today.  I discovered that the Rush Limbaugh and his think a-likes ranging to the tea party mindset is a changed version.  There have been what are now sometimes called paleoconservatives who were supplanted in the ‘80s by the neo conservatives and now we have the Limbaugh and tea party versions.

What I learned

The most startling and revealing discovery is that in brain scans those calling themselves conservatives have a different brain structure than the rest of humanity.  Their amygdala, the part of the brain dealing with fear and emotion, is larger.   On the solution side the recent discoveries that the brain is plastic and changeable and how is explored.

Where it evolved

The last three chapters, VIII, IX, X, address what we can do about all this in the context of the human condition.  The most important mission of the book is related on the last page—the Ultimate Truth Detection Program.