Noetic Justice

When Dante Alighieri arrived in the  21st century, he found in Washington one institution, and one fortuitous circumstance, that gladdened his exile’s heart. The institution was the Supreme Court; the circumstance was named Rush Limbaugh.

Dante had become, as ages had passed, saddened by something he had in fact helped popularize: the practice of consigning to Hell persons who were still nominally alive. He also noted that 700 more years had not improved the fruits by which the self-professed pious could be known.

But Dante did not wish to cease passing judgment on the living: He had simply learned a modicum of compassion, and needed a mechanism to temper his judgments. That mechanism was Rush Limbaugh.

Our poet had observed the contemporary practice of tagging everything from transportation to software with the word “express”. Just what he needed, for a world with always-on computers and an always-on news cycle. Thus Rush Limbo was added to the 2009 edition of the Divina Commedia, revised.

What could a master of moral epic do, for example, when conservatives both nerdy (Newt Gingrich) and not (Limbaugh) branded a Supreme Court nominee a “racist”? Or when a journalist (whose writings had dignified a U. S. President ‘s speeches) accused a sitting Supreme Court Justice of  “simplistic pro-choice rant”? And that the objects of both of these slanders were women? Even Dante had to blush.

Dante put Socrates here; the neighborhood has since deteriorated

Dante put Socrates here; the neighborhood has since deteriorated

It is said that God needs merely to think something, for that thought to become reality. Authors claim the more modest capacity to turn their thoughts into books. As much as some citizens could wish to whisk Limbaugh, Michael Gerson, or most of the Republican Senate leadership off to an insane asylum, this is not feasible. (Indeed, liberals had closed many of those institutions in the name of compassion. The ranks of the homeless then swelled with an influx of former psychiatric inmates.)

But neither venomous pundits nor legislators risk homelessness, nor lack of medical care or other material comforts. With poetic justice, however, Dante Alighieri now hustles these malefactors onto the Limbo Express, which takes them almost instantly to the land of the undead, the Rush Limbo, where they can do no further harm.