Egregious Rush Limbaugh, who ranks number three on my list of the people who, in the course of my lifetime, have done the most damage to the United States of America (Dick Cheney and Antonin Scalia are one and two and Dick Nixon only slithers in at number 6) speaks a language that is extraordinarily difficult to parse. His sentences are shapeless, wayward, and undiagrammable, equally indifferent to the conventions of language and the rules of logic. When you're fact-free there's no compelling reason not to be grammar-free as well.
Now there's a new and appalling example of Limbaugh's resistance to reality. NASA recently announced that the planet Mars must once have had flowing water and might still have underground water. Limbaugh, if I read his tangled language aright, not only rejects the discovery but claims that water on Mars is evidence a "left-wing agenda" at work. Wow, we are tempted to exclaim. Double wow. Paranoia run amok.
How can Limbaugh present such a counter-factual notion with a straight face? In order to coherently present his "thoughts" on this subject, I will now extract and re-assemble some of his phrases from the linguistic rats' nest in which they are embedded. Here's his chain of "thought" reduced to its essence. First of all, global warming is a myth. Secondly, NASA has been "corrupted by the current regime" and has falsified climate data. Inasmuch as NASA is a mendacious organization, its discoveries about flowing water must therefore also be false. And because NASA is subject to a leftist regime, its claims must be not only false but "a technique to advance the leftist agenda." A watery Mars is therefore a "leftist' Mars. And so the circle is almost complete. Limbaugh knows he's right but hasn't quite figured out how it all works: "I don't know what it is, I would assume it would be something to do with global warming." So round and round we go.
While Limbaugh's logic is roundabout, his perspective cramped and his evidence, how shall I say, perhaps a bit on the skimpy side -- all assertion and no fact -- I feel that I must agree with his conclusion. Yes indeed, the discovery of ancient flowing water on Mars is definitely "leftist"-- and is leftist in at least two different ways.
Let us try to connect the subterranean dots inside the Limbaughian skull. What is it that is so paranoia-inducing and threatening about Martian water? Well, water on Mars might indicate life on Mars. If there is life on Mars, then there might be life elsewhere in the universe. If life elsewhere in the universe, then the creation story in Genesis is certainly incomplete and probably false. No creation myth, no biblical absolutism. Moreover, if there is life elsewhere, there are probably intelligent beings who are highly likely not to worship our earthly gods and are probably not -- horror of horrors--be fundamentalist Baptists. Water on Mars therefore challenges his local and provincial Truth -- which, of course is exactly correct. Limbaugh is therefore correct to see Martian water as 'leftist" in its implications.
Watery Mars is yet another blow to conservative "thought." It's just like evolution or the big bang -- in actuality like any truth that comes to be discovered either by hard science or social science or by the unbiased study of history. Truth and fact are anathema to radical conservative Limbaughians. Of course they are repelled and confused by scientific discoveries. Water on Mars is still another another manifestation of the continual drip drip drip of facts that challenge their provincial world view and animate their paranoia.