There’s commentary and then there’s hateful insanity, and nobody is blurring the line between the two better than Rush Limbaugh. On his Tuesday radio program, the shock jock compared environmentalists to jihadists willing to dispatch child suicide bombers in support of their cause. Limbaugh then accused New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin of being an “environmentalist wacko” who believes that “humanity is destroying the climate [and will] cause the extinction of life on Earth.”

“Mr. Revkin,” Limbaugh asked, “why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?” Media Matters broke the story and produced the following video:


Here is the complete transcript of Limbaugh’s drivel:

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 9:00 p.m.: In a post on his Dot Earth blog reacting to Limbaugh’s remarks, Revkin wrote, “This might be funny, in a sad way, if it weren’t for the fact that my mailbox is already heaped with hate mail.”]

Apparently, what irked Limbaugh was a mid-September post on Revkin’s Dot Earth blog about the theory that one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions is to “provide access to birth control for tens of millions of women around the world who say they desire it.” The post followed from a study that was conducted by the London School of Economics and commissioned by the Optimum Population Trust, which found that “contraception is the ‘greenest’ technology.”

Understandably, the theory sounds nefarious to some, but it in no way represents an autocratic push for population control. Nor is this a new theory. Revkin “raised the question of whether this means we’ll soon see a market in baby-avoidance carbon credits similar to efforts to sell CO2 credits for avoiding deforestation,” clearly noting that it was “purely a thought experiment, not a proposal.”

The post did, in fact, get a lot of people thinking, not all of who agreed with Revkin. The National Catholic Register argued that some thoughts are “better left unexpressed … The idea of a master race, for example.” Now that’s valid criticism, whether or not you agree with it. Limbaugh was not so high-minded.

“This is what I get for exploring the dubious nature of carbon credits by floating the thought experiment that, if you took such markets seriously, families in the U.S. committing to having no more than one child would get many tons worth,” Revkin wrote in an e-mail responding to Limbaugh’s suggestion that he commit suicide. “One can only hope that he’s just floating a ‘thought experiment’ too…”

Maybe he is, but if so, here’s a better one: How much better off would this country be if blowhards like Limbaugh stuck to rational criticism instead of spouting utter nonsense?

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Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.