Rush is off base with his ugly suggestion to Revkin

Rush Limbaugh stepped over a line of bad taste today during his radio broadcast.



While I don’t often agree with  Andy Revkin, I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of an ugly suggestion like what Rush uttered today, transcript below:

I think these militant environmentalists, these wackos, have so much in common with the jihad guys. Let me explain this. What do the jihad guys do? The jihad guys go to families under their control and they convince these families to strap explosives on who? Not them. On their kids. Grab your 3-year-old, grab your 4-year-old, grab your 6-year-old, and we’re gonna strap explosives on there, and then we’re going to send you on a bus, or we’re going to send you to a shopping center, and we’re gonna tell you when to pull the trigger, and you’re gonna blow up, and you’re gonna blow up everybody around you, and you’re gonna head up to wherever you’re going, 73 virgins are gonna be there. The little 3- or 4-year-old doesn’t have the presence of mind, so what about you? If it’s so great up there, why don’t you go? Why don’t you strap explosives on you — and their parents don’t have the guts to tell the jihad guys, “You do it! Why do you want my kid to go blow himself up?” The jihad guys will just shoot ’em, ’cause the jihad guys have to maintain control.

The environmentalist wackos are the same way. This guy from The New York Times, if he really thinks that humanity is destroying the planet, humanity is destroying the climate, that human beings in their natural existence are going to cause the extinction of life on Earth — Andrew Revkin. Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?

UPDATE: You can read it in entirety here:

At least Revkin takes it in stride in his column:

I’d like to think that Rush Limbaugh was floating a thought experiment, and not seriously proposing something, when he told millions of listeners the following: “Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself, and help the planet by dying.”

Rush should apologize, IMHO. We don’t need this sort of thing in any discussion. Disagree, argue, cite studies, yell if need be, but do not say this sort of ugly thing.


UPDATE: I posted this in comments, and I’m moving it here so that people can read it before jumping top the comment form.

With 188 over 270 comments, I think most everybody has had their say. Some say I was wrong to criticize, others supportive. It is about what I expected.

Having been on the receiving end of “why don’t you just kill yourself” suggestions myself, I don’t like to see it repeated by anyone, no matter the stature or situation. I was once told by a local eco-person that I should “study CO2 by locking myself in my garage with my SUV with the motor running”. While she couldn’t even get the chemical compound right, it was then that I chose not to reply in kind by wishing death on my opponents.

I simply think Rush could have chosen better words to voice the outrage, such as “if you really think this way, then you first, Mr. Revkin.” which would be humorous satire.

In Rush’s defense, doing live radio (or television) is tough when you ad lib everything. Eventually everyone who broadcasts this way will let loose a zinger for which they’ll take flak.

The only thing I can do is to stick to my principles. I try to keep the discourse civil here on WUWT. My dislike of the Limbaugh comment is a reflection of that. While I strongly disagree with Mr. Revkin on many, many, climate related issues, he has always been civil and respectful to me, and Rush probably does not have the first hand experience with him that I do in that regard.

Make of it what you will, but taking the high road in keeping discussions civil has been my choice and one that I do not regret.

Hopefully some good will come of the discussion. Let’s move on. There are more important issues. -Anthony


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Tom B.

Agreed… an apology is in order.

Bad taste? Maybe. But so is the idea of some environmentalists that there are too many people on the planet. So who do we go after first? Name the group(s).

Rush’s bad taste was to actually name some one and suggest that he be the first to follow his own advice (too many people? well you know what to do).

jack mosevich

I agree. We could use more professionalism today. Nothing positive is gained by such rhetoric and it can put all skeptics in a bad light. Revkin means well, I am sure, and seems always to be polite. He does not deserve this lambasting.

Kum Dollison

No, let’s leave the “yelling” out, also.

Evan Jones

Rush lives near the line. This time he stepped over it. He should apologize. If he does, the apology should be accepted.


Maybe Rush should apologize after the complicit CO2-alarmist media apologizes for endlessly promoting a onesided, baseless agenda that has wasted astronomical amounts of time, effort and money.


A little post hiccup… here it is again just in case:
He got it wrong on the jihad and he got it wrong by telling Andy Revkin to kill himself. But again, in this bizzaro world, does 2 wrongs make it right?

Roger H

Well, Rush was a little crude and sank to the same level as a lot of the AGW’ers do, as reported here, but at the core of this diatribe is the basic question: If a person really believes over-population to be so critical what is that person doing about the problem? Helping solve it by getting themselves sterilized or following Al Gore’s example on C02 – producing way more than his share?
Rush should apologize – not to Revkin- but to Rush’s followers for lowering his standards of response and reaction. He needs to remember the old saying, and I paraphrase, “In order to argue with fools you have to lower yourself to their level and they are a lot more experienced down there”

I am a conservative, I do not listen to Rush, he talks at least 50% of the time about himself. Yes, he gets carried away at other times also.

Eric Anderson

Well, Rush can be a bit out in left field sometimes (pun intended).
I don’t know if Revkin ever said there are too many people, but if so, then I’m not sure an apology is necessary. Anyone who publicly takes a position that there are too many people certainly should not be surprised or offended if someone suggests they help solve the problem by being the first volunteer.

Gary Boyd

I’ve listened to Rush since before the 1988 presidential election. The statement about Revkin is not over the line. When taken to the end game of Mr. Revkin’s absurdity Rush’s comment was a logical and pointed. The way to illustrate absurdity is often to posit an absurdity.
No apology is necessary or required.


This would not fly in Australia. He’d be off the air. But, no doubt, the right to freedom of speech in the US lends him a lot more tether. A shock jock in Australia has recently talked himself off the air with comments that were tasteless, but not as personally directed as Rush. Maybe Kyle Sandilands can get a job side-kicking for Rush?

Tom O.

M. Simon (16:19:42) :
Bad taste? Maybe. But so is the idea of some environmentalists that there are too many people on the planet. So who do we go after first? Name the group(s).
I’m pretty sure the first group they have gone after were Unborn babies. Planned parenthood’s founder Margret Sanger’s primary motivation was population control

Agreed. Very bad taste, ignorant and stupid. Turns the whole discussion in to a one dimensional slanging match.
I happen to be a centre leaning, liberal atheistic skeptic. This is pretty reasonable in Australia. Not so much in the USA I gather, where the centre is the left, a liberal is a communist; and an atheist, well I can’t even begin to imagine what Rush and the rest might want to do or say about that.
I am skeptical of emotional arguments. It is one of the reasons for my skepticism about global warming.

David OHara

The pertinent word here is “if”. “If” Revkin believes humanity is going to cause extinction, THEN logically,he should kill himself. Where does this necessitate an apology?

Rush should drop the personal attacks and stick to the facts. Comments like his today hurt our cause by creating more rancor and bickering, which obscures the facts.
There’s a good and relevant article in the New York Times Freakonomics blog today:
A few excerpts:
“One of the saddest things for me about climate science is how political it has become. Science works by having an open dialog that ultimately converges on the truth, for the common benefit of everyone. Most scientific fields enjoy this free flow of ideas.”
“Political movements always have extremists — bitterly partisan true believers who attack anybody they feel threatens their movement. I’m sure you know the type, because his main talent is making himself heard. He doesn’t bother with making thoughtful arguments; instead, his technique is about shrill attacks in all directions, throwing a lot of issues up and hoping that one will stick or that the audience becomes confused by the chaos.”
“That seems to be the case with Joe Romm, a blogger with strong views about global warming and what he calls “climate progress.” In a recent series of blog posts, Romm levels one baseless, bald charge after another.”
“Romm’s method of attack is pretty simple. He takes as many statements as he can, interprets them — or misinterprets them in the worst possible way — and then subjects them to ridicule.”


And how do you characterize trillions in taxes to support a outright hoax?
Revkin was saying to basically kill people for a hoax. All Rush said was to lead by example.
I say let’s kill the hoax and then employ some common sense to save people and raise their standards of living. Like in Africa, spray DDT and build coal fired power plants to supply electricity, the very essence of modern life.
Since DDT was banned for a hoax, 40 million black children in Africa have died of Malaria. How is that the slightest bit humane when we know how to prevent it.


Well whats that saying again, what goes around comes around. Sorry but with all the vile crap that’s been slung our way I think its almost far play.
Am I sick of Guys like Revkin? Ya sick of the whole green movement.
Its like a bowel movement no matter which end you pick it up from your going to get your hands dirty. They are the sick ones and to hell with trying to appease them.

Frank Mosher

No apology necessary. The analogy seems appropriate. Environmentalists want others to be forced to comply with their vision of utopia. The average Joe is bombarded with a constant barrage of ” do this to save the planet”. Meanwhile the Cassandras in government and their cohorts in the MSM live the high life. At the bottom of it is an attempt at behavior modification, either by hook or by crook. Bravo Rush! Call it like it is. My view anyway. fm


Remember that most “believers” honestly, sincerely and passionately believe that they are in the right. This is not a debate between the good guys vs. the bad guys. Rather, as I see it, it is a debate between those who want to believe in AGW because it fits in with their belief systems of community and conservation and those (myself included) who pride themselves most on logic, rational thought and consequently view emotion-driven causes with some skepticism.
OK – Just a wordy way of agreeing that Limbaugh is a jerk.


That’s right. Revkin is suggesting the denial of life to millions, if not billions of people, but he doesn’t cross any lines because he doesn’t name any of them. Not sure Rush needs to apologize on this one. Revkin is giving the advice, he declines to take it himself, and he implicitly acknowledges this by removing all context from the quote and then suggesting it might be a threat.


Bad taste? When people carelessly speak of getting the world’s population down to 10 million?
The bad taste is those who can bomb from 30,000 feet and feel innocent.
Let everyone who advocates the death of others to “solve” a problem picture himself in the coffin and think a little harder.
The problem is government backed banking cartels which leads to economic insanity. The earth might one day be overpopulated but it is not now. Let’s get a sane, free economic system and soon we won’t be planet bound anyway.

Gary Hladik

(1) Rush stepped over the line. He should apologize.
(2) The way I put it: I won’t even begin to believe we’re headed for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) until Al Gore lowers his “carbon footprint” to my level (merely affluent)–without those phony carbon “offsets”.

Tom in Florida

I have said the same thing on this very blog although it was not directed at any one individual and was more on the line “why don’t you lead the way”.

Jack Green

I don’t think Rush Limbaugh stepped over any line that you have drawn. These people truly believe that there are too many people in the world and that we need to reduce the population to save the planet. They are that bold and wacko in their beliefs. It justifies abortion, planned parenthood, and all the crazy AGW stuff. Read some of the quotes from Revkin and think about it.


I enjoy the site (and have for more than a year now) and this is my first (maybe last) comment. I don’t have the technical expertise in science to comment much. But I like having a contrasting view of the climate science. Perhaps Rush’s remarks were in poor taste, but but no worse taste than his opponents frequently exhibit. The most strident of the enviro/animal rights/vegan groups are so extreme that the options they propose are literally between misery and death. They are often posed in such a fashion that the only solution to the problem which they claim exists, is mass suicide of humans. The most extreme of them wish to create a world with a non-industrial “sustainable population” Such a sustainable population would require the death of billions. If you cap and trade industry out of existence, eliminate fossil fuels, refuse nukes, dump plastic, eat only grains, “free” all farm animals and pets (one of Obama’s czars allegedly believes animals have a right to human lawyers), stop logging, fishing ( “I don’t eat anything with eyeballs and an a@@@@@e” one of them said to me) and mining (labor issues and use of unapproved techniques to obtain disapproved minerals). Not to mention the thousand and one petty tyrannies. Will it soon be illegal to use a plastic bag of any kind, buy a six-pack with a plastic holder or eat non- “organic” produce? What is the predictable result? Well, the deaths of billions and the miserable lives of millions who know that a better, more comfortable life once existed. People who will be denied the attainment of that lifestyle because, by definition, a “sustainable population” has a drastically limited capacity to grow, less need to educate and actually, very little to do. All Rush really did was to put a name and a face on the issue. He should apologize only to the man named. If you are hypocritical enough to believe that your lifestyle (which violates most of these edicts) will survive intact during the upheaval, you are really outside the border of the discussion anyway. Thanks for letting me rant.
REPLY: Welcome Jim. My position is simple, Revkin’s ideas (and many others that share similar ideas) are wrong. But it is also wrong to fall to the level of debate where we wish death on the other person publicly. No good can come from that, and it poisons any possibility of rational debate. I’ve always tried to take the high road, even when angered by such senseless and angry rhetoric we often see from our opponents. I encourage others to take the high road also.
Thanks for your comments. – Anthony


Fancy comparing environmentalists to terrorists, I’m shocked, surely no one could think they are trying to achieve their political goals by threatening the lives of children.


Rush is a national treasure. His humor is the gift that keeps on giving.

Douglas DC

Rush went over but I agree with tarpon (16:45:34) 40 mil is genocide-clean the environment by development, reduce the population by education….
Norman Borlaug’s example comes to mind…

jack mosevich

Its true that many warmers hurl terrible invectives ( Hansen and the death trains, jail power co CEO,s; RFK Jr saying horrible things about skeptics, and RC idiots insulting anyone here or at CA) and that is precisely why skeptics should rise above these jerks and be more sane and actually be polite. The warmers are already alienating normal people with their rediculous claims-blaming everything on global warming. We should attack the science, with facts, and not attack people directly. Personal attacks are a sign of incompetence.

D. King

Every time I see this, I lose my tolerance for civil discourse.
These people do kill others and have no empathy.
You are an honorable man Anthony. Something for
the rest of us to aspire to.


You left out this part:
“Why do you want every one of us except you and your buddies on the left? See, liberals always come up with these laws, these plans, these solutions, and they’re always for everybody else. You go and limit the number of kids you have. You go drive a Yugo. You go get rid of your big house. You go turn your thermostat up or down, you go do this, you go do that. But I, Barack Obama, I’m going to throw big parties every night in the White House, I’m going to bring in Earth, Wind and Fire, I’m going to bring in Charlie Pride. This is happening. They’re having gigs at the White House. Drudge has a story, Earth, Wind and Fire, a bunch of people coming in they’re having big parties, Obama’s playing basketball. I saw a picture today Obama’s basketballs are logoed with his logo on them. I kid you not. Yes, they are. Yes, they are. I got a picture of that circle with the three red lines, the rip-off of the Pepsi logo, his basketballs are logoed.”


Rush has nothing to apologize for – not until Keith Olbermann does. Or Al Gore. Or James “Death Trains” Hansen. Or any of the other econuts calling for Nuremberg trials for climate heretics.
The difference between Hansen, Pachauri, Schmidt, Romm, et al. and el-Rushbo is that Rush is not an analyst. He is not a scientist. He doesn’t pretend to be one (he certainly doesn’t pretend to be a climatologist instead of, oh, for example, a railway engineer).
Rush is a polemicist. This is his profession. He makes no bones about it. People do not listen to him for informed, considered, reasoned scientific discourse on the science (or lack thereof) behind the AGW thesis; that’s why they come to WUWT. People listen to Rush for entertainment.
As for him being “way off base”, his suggestion is not at all outre. At a time when the extreme envirofringe consists of folks voluntarily sterilizing themselves to avoid producing any more dastardly carbon-emitters, all Rush is suggesting is that the true believers practice what they preach. If you truly think, despite all empirical evidence to the contrary, that human-produced carbon dioxide is killing the planet, then that’s your privilege. Logically, therefore, step #1 in solving the problem is to stop exhaling forthwith. Shortly thereafter, your personal contribution to the Gaia-slaughtering carbo-burden generated by we filthy, filthy primates will cease. Everybody wins.
Well, except you, of course. And the plants. But why bring facts into a religious debate?
Rush is simply pointing out the fundamental hypocrisy of the ecochondriacs: low-carbon lifestyles for everybody else, but not for them.
When Algore converts his multi-million-dollar mansion to run on solar panels and unicorn flatulence, then he can have my light bulbs. Not before. In the meantime, I’ll visit WUWT for science, and I’ll listen to Rush for fun.
And every now and then I’ll nod along with him, and mutter “Damn straight!” under my breath.

J H Folsom

Eh, perhaps we should just keep politics off the blog. The timing of this, I mean did you post this to “balance” the monckton post that riled up a few here for being extreme right wing rhetoric.
That said, the comparison was not extreme, or even over the line. This is an excercise in using absurdity to force the recognition of really screwed up logic. It’s hard to make people pay attention to a logical process by illustrating it with a good intention. (( this principle is used in politics , maybe is even the heart of politics, to distract people from the logic of a concept with good intentions ))
And that is what is done here, there is no logical difference between asking people to die for the planet, and asking people to die for a religion, if you are not willing to do so yourself. Indeed AGW is often compared here to religion here. I hope this is the last overtly politicaly focused article on the blog, i quite enjoy the other stuff. This just seems like a save face to the other political post this week.


You greatly misunderstand Rush in this reaction to him.
He quite often states that he tries to illustrate absurdity by being absurd. This is so very clearly an instance of that.
It is not hard understand his statement this way, even if you don’t prefer it as a method.

Joel Shore

M. Simon says:

Bad taste? Maybe. But so is the idea of some environmentalists that there are too many people on the planet. So who do we go after first? Name the group(s).

Well, how about doing what Revkin was actually talking about and sponsor “programs offering family planning information and services to women seeking smaller families”?
tarpon says:

Since DDT was banned for a hoax, 40 million black children in Africa have died of Malaria. How is that the slightest bit humane when we know how to prevent it.

DDT was never banned worldwide and the deaths due to malaria have much more to do with mosquitoes developing resistance to DDT and other pesticides due to their overuse in agriculture (which was something that Rachel Carson warned about) along with various other issues than they do to some non-existent ban (or even supposed pressure on some nations not to use DDT…which may have occurred in some cases). In fact, in India, deaths due to malaria skyrocketed in the 1970s even as DDT use there continued to increase (with the majority of it being used in agriculture). See and
And, by the way, even the Malaria Foundation International, which worked successfully to prevent any “ban” (actually any phase-out with a definite date) of the use of DDT to fight against malaria in the Treaty on Persistent Organic Pollutants, talks about the problem of resistance and notes that having a chemical like DDT banned for all but disease control is probably a good thing: “The outcome of the treaty is arguably better than the status quo going into the negotiations over two years ago. For the first time, there is now an insecticide which is restricted to vector control only, meaning that the selection of resistant mosquitoes will be slower than before.” ( )
That organization, unlike you, also does not say that the concerns about DDT are a hoax. In fact, they say: “It cannot be seriously disputed that DDT has devastated some wildlife populations, such as birds of prey.” ( ) Nor do they claim that there are no health risks associated with DDT: “There is no doubt that there are health risks associated with DDT use. ” Rather, they argue that the benefits outweigh the risks when DDT is used as part of an indoor spraying program in places where it is needed and still effective for malarial control.


Rush did go a little too far there (not that I haven’t thought the same thing, just didn’t say it), but I have to applaud him for standing up to the Enviro-[snip]. More high-profile people need to stand up to them. Unfortunately, there are people, both in power and not, who really would like to see many of us die off to “save the planet.” If Rush has to apologize, so do they.


It would have been classier if he had quoted Dickens from A Christmas Carol, when the ghost of Christmas Present upbraids Scrooge for wanting to decrease the surplus population. The gist of it was in the eyes of God, the world could use less of you.
I agree it doesn’t help to inflame things, but on the flipside maybe the press when they report Rush’s latest outrageous statement will let it slip to the general public that the environmentalist do want less of them.


Two key things: the transcript of Rush is not necessarily what he said, or how he said it. The transcripts are provided by two guys named Zachary, for a George-Soros-funded web site, trying to catch Rush. They *have* distorted what he has said in the past – one distortion of Mark Steyn as a guest post led to a front page New York Times story that the NYT then had to retract because they believed the transcript instead of listening to the show/recording.
But let’s assume that the transcript is correct. I think it is entirely logical that, if someone says that people are the problem, that we ask them to demonstrate the solution on themselves. This is the quickest (and most humorous) way to expose them as the anti-human elitists they are.
By all means, Rush should discredit anyone who acts hypocritically. Is it any different from pointing out Al Gore’s (ot Tom Friedman’s) carbon footprint?
No apology necessary for exposing climate hypocrisy.


Are you trying to suck up to the Obama administration with this blog entry? Whats the matter, are you affraid of being labled by the administration? Are you getting the message that dissent is harmfull to your livelyhood? You know its only a matter of time before the truth tellers are silenced, so you should get in line now and get it over with. No need to suck up now, Obama’s minions have already got your blog in their sights.
REPLY: In response to what I do, I was once told by a local eco-person that I should “study CO2 by locking myself in my garage with my SUV with the motor running”. While she couldn’t even get the chemical compound right, it was then that I chose not to reply in kind by wishing death on my opponent. – Anthony


This is Rush being Rush. But, yeah, the militant environmentalists should set the example, lead the way.

I’m really trying to care, but it’s hard.
Why are we talking about Rush anyway?

Ryan O

Just because Olbermann et al. are complete idiots doesn’t mean Rush gets to do the same thing. While he often does lots of things for effect, this definitely crossed the line. And just because others have crossed it in the past doesn’t mean Rush should be let off the hook.
I might feel just a tad differently if Rush said it about Olbermann . . . but he didn’t. Revkin’s never done anything to deserve that type of comment.

I think Revkin should apologize to Rush for taking his quote — of a sentence fragment, not even a complete sentence! — out of context, feeding it as raw meat to his liberal readers, and studiously failing to address the serious argument underlying Rush’s point.
What Rush was doing is called “reductio ad absurdum”. He is taking the argument, advanced by Revkin, that humanity overpopulates the planet, and pushing it to one possible logical conclusion — which is that we should all kill ourselves to save the planet.
Revkin refuses to engage the criticism. Instead he leaves out the crucial prefatory clause, “IF he really thinks that humanity is destroying the planet, humanity is destroying the climate, that human beings in their natural existence are going to cause the extinction of life on Earth” and just quotes the terminal rhetorical question, “why don’t you just go kill yourself?” Oh, sure, in the last paragraph he makes amends and gives the entire sentence, AFTER he has tried to shore up the argument that he is the thoughtful, studious one and Rush is just a boor.
The point is that despite the breast-beating of the Left, no one is going to step up and be the first to voluntarily depopulate the planet by committing suicide, for the planet’s sake… with the possible exception of jihadists, of course, who are the demographic most closely associated with suicide (albeit only when they think they can take a few Jews with them). Instead of blushing at the suggestion of comparing Green Leftists with Green Jihadists, I suggest you take a step backward and see what Rush has accomplished by this very deliberate juxtaposition. It’s actually very clever, and achieves its goal of diminishing the halo surrounding the humanity-hating faction of the environmental movement by strapping them to our ideological enemies, the Islamic suicide bombers.

Skeptic Tank

Now, that’s hate speech.


“You First.” What’s the harm in that?

Jeff Kooistra

Sorry Mr. Watt, but this isn’t even a controversy. This is a simple technique of “if (you really think) then (you go first, or you do it, or you lead the way).” To win this battle, and it is a battle, you cannot insist on tying the hands, or tongues in this case, of the popular rhetoricians on your side.
In the world in which Rush plies his trade, he is a master. His world is not science, but political commentary, and as many are happy to point out, “politics ain’t beanbag.” Revkin’s polite hypocrisy is still hypocrisy. It really is irrelevant if the policies he advocates are done in a soft, polite voice when those policies will result in disaster.


Like Rush says, Illustrating the absurd by being absurd. That’s my take.
Revkin and his ilk are always suggesting way out loony ideas. The problem is, they are serious, it always involves forcing taxpayers to foot the bill, and they are getting more shrill by the day.
“And I have even proposed recently, I can’t remember if it’s in the blog, but just think about this: Should–probably the single-most concrete and substantive thing an American, young American, could do to lower our carbon footprint is not turning off the lights or driving a Prius, it’s having fewer kids, having fewer children,” said Revkin.
Go Mao!

paul revere

This is another great example of the left wing loons taking someone out of context. To understand the story please do the research, learn what he is talking about and what Revkin said. The denial of life to millions for carbon credits is nuts. I would think that this common sense blog would know better than this. Let’s see here, AGW is wrong because the facts state that it is a natural event and not man made but we should not have children for carbon credits. Hmmm.. I think there is a disconnect here.