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"You Can't Wake Someone Up Who's Just Pretending to Be Asleep"


RUSH:  Wilmette, Illinois.  Elliott, you're next.  I'm glad you waited.  Great to have you on the program, sir.

CALLER:  Rush, it's a thrill and a delight to speak with you, one you will never know.  I was told to stick to the point from Mr. Snerdley.  My point was about what you've been arguing about or discussing with people and trying to get down to political points. People I discuss things with, if I present it carefully enough, I can get them to agree with me, and then they'll wonder why they were disagreeing with me.  But you've been talking about people who are resistant to that and will never admit that they do understand the point that you're making.  The point I wanted to make corresponds to the old rule or whatever that you can't wake someone who's pretending to be asleep.  I thought that might give you some insight onto that side of it, 'cause if they do understand but they're not gonna admit to it, then it adds another whole layer to things.

RUSH:  Well, what's the context here?  What are you talking about?

CALLER:  The context is if you're talking politics.

RUSH:  Are you saying don't worry about people who are effectively asleep 'cause you're never gonna change their minds?

CALLER:  No, not at all.  But simply if you're talking to someone who will not admit that you're making the point and you sense that they understand it, but they're not willing to go along with it. That's the notion of them being asleep, and you can't wake them up when they're not willing to be woken up.

RUSH:  You just wanted to call and use that phrase.

CALLER:  (laughing)

RUSH:  That's what this is. You just wanted to call and say, "People who are pretending to be asleep, you can't wake up."  You just wanted to use the phrase.

CALLER:  Well, okay. That was the main point I wanted to make.

RUSH:  That's right.

CALLER:  But it does make a distinction between people who --

RUSH: But yet we've gotta get to them, so how did you wake 'em up?  You just said you can't.

CALLER:  Well, if you tell 'em that you can't wake up someone who's pretending to be asleep, then you --

RUSH:  You get a verbal version of a Taser?

CALLER:  Yes. You could then accuse them of that, and then they... I don't know how they'd counter it.

RUSH:  Well, my contention on all this is, most people are too proud. They're never gonna admit that you changed their mind.  They're never gonna let you know you did that.  That's why you have to keep trying.


RUSH:  I just did a quick search of RushLimbaugh.com.  The first time I used the phrase "you can't wake up somebody pretending to be asleep" was November 3rd of 2011.  And I searched the phrase, that's the first time that the website shows it as being used.  I used it many times since then, that you cannot awaken somebody only pretending to be asleep, 'cause they're already awake.  Pretending to be asleep means they're awake.  They're just faking it.  They're already awake so you cannot wake them up. 

The point is you can't persuade people by talking to them.  But what we discussed in that instance back in November of 2011, the art of persuasion is really an art.  And the least effective way to persuade people is to get in their face and wag your finger at 'em.  That's automatic resistance. 

You also can't persuade people if you come across like parent.  You know so much more and you dumb idiot, I'm trying to help you, you're nothing more than a child, and I'm trying to show you the way.  That doesn't work.  I mean, sometimes it does. All these things work in certain ways, but they're not the most effective art of persuasion.  The art of persuasion is not bludgeoning.  You can use consistent repetition, but in that case the person has to be open to it and willing, and that's where the whole phrase "you can't wake 'em up if they're pretending to be asleep," they're already awake.  So the real effective persuasion is that which makes the persuadee think that they are coming to the conclusion you want on their own. 

Everybody wants to think that they're smart, everybody wants to think that they are perceptive, and nobody likes being told that they aren't.  That's humiliation.  Nobody likes being told that they're not sly.  Nobody likes being told that they missed the obvious.  They're gonna build up a resistance, and they're gonna be hell-bent on resisting you.  Just for the sake of it.  They will not want you to have the enjoyment or the pleasure of realizing that you changed their mind.  So the most effective way of doing it -- or one of the most, it's hard to say the most, the most effective way of doing it is, in conversation with people, set up a series of circumstances to which the conclusion is obvious, that you don't have to make it.  You do this with a series of questions, most of the time, to which the conclusion is obvious, and they think they arrived at it on their own. 

If that happens, then there might honestly be a conversion.  If you just have to drill something into people over and over again, time and time again, the odds are it won't stick.  It won't take.  Now, to people who realize that there are people smarter than they are, that's not enough.  You have to be respected at the same time, not resented.  And there's a lot of people who realize that people are smarter than them resent the people who are smarter and automatically resist or oppose.  So it really is, I think, a delicate thing on a individual basis to set out to persuade people. 


Well, at the secret confab they were already converted.  But let me give you an example. I was not gonna talk about this for obvious reasons, but maybe it'll help me make my point.  There was, over the weekend, in the Los Angeles Times a column by a woman who told the story of how her father just loved and adored me, and she hated me.  And she writes the most amazing things. I don't remember her name.  Doesn't matter.  She writes that her father is a military guy, devoted fan, and she's telling him, "No, he hates women," meaning me, "Limbaugh hates women. He's a racist. He's an extremist."  And when I was reading this, the take I got, "Look at what this woman thinks of her father." 

This woman was dead set.  Her father could not change her mind about me.  I was racist, I hated women, but he, her father, loved me.  Well, now, what must she think of her father?  Now think about that father trying to persuade his daughter. She's got these obviously erroneous, totally wrong emotional attitudes about me.  Her dad's a big fan.  The way this thing ends, she has to put him into assisted living, if I remember this right.  I may get some details wrong.  She has to put him in an assisted living center, and there are some things -- like Rush caps.  I mean, she writes that he donated to all of the Rush charities, which would be leukemia, Marine Corps-Law Enforcement.  That made no impression on her at all.  None.  I still hated women. I was an extremist. 

Her dad donated to all my charities.  He had Rush paraphernalia from the EIB Store. I think he had a bunch of Rush caps.  And she writes that near the end of his life, he said to her, "You know, you, as my daughter, are more important to me than Rush Limbaugh is, so I'll throw this Limbaugh stuff away," moving into the assisted living center.  And then she goes on to conclude, "Why is it this way?  Why can't we all put aside our partisanship and get along," kind of thing.  But as I'm reading this, her father, by her own description, was an accomplished -- he was 87 or 85 when he died, but I think he was a military guy.  He wasn't a kook is my point, even in her eyes, but I am.  And when you talk about the art of persuasion, here's a woman, a daughter, who has these horrible, totally inaccurate, wrong attitudes about me, her father, who listens every day, loves me, she can't believe, I guess, how he's been fooled or whatever.  But while she thinks of me in these horrible ways, what must have she thought of her father?  That's what I wondered.  She didn't write about that. 

From the article:  "On the day we were packing, with both of us understandably on edge, I came across a stash of Rush Limbaugh caps, maybe half a dozen of them, each with a different year printed on the front. I couldn't let it pass.  'Can't we get rid of these?' I asked. 'Rush Limbaugh is nasty and mean-spirited. He doesn't like women and, if he knew me, he would hate me and everything I stand for. Can't you at least stop wearing these caps?'" 

She's saying that to her dad who is a huge, devoted, daily fan.  What must she then think of her father?  Anyway, "On the day of the hat dispute, I went back into his bedroom after I had collected myself," after that diatribe. "'Sweetheart, I want to tell you something,' he said.  'It's OK, Dad,' I replied. 'I know that we disagree on many things, so let's just not talk about politics.'  But he persisted. 'I've been thinking,' he said.

"'And I've come to the conclusion that although I really like Rush Limbaugh, I love you more. So I'm going to give up the caps.'  My father died this month. He was 87 years old and went peacefully. I loved him, and I miss him greatly. But his death has also gotten me thinking," and then she goes on and on about, why can't we come together, this kind of thing.  "Rush Limbaugh's nasty..." You people listen to this program every day, and you know that all that is just a pile. 

(summarized) "He's nasty, mean-spirited, doesn't like women.  If he knew me, would hate me." I don't hate anybody, and you all know this, and her dad knew that.  I think the problem is with her. The intolerance is with her.  Her father was totally tolerant.  Her father was totally willing to have her and me in his life, but she? No way.  And it ended up, her dad had to choose. (chuckling) Obviously he chose his daughter, which cool, which is fine. 

But you look at something like that, folks, in talking about trying to persuade somebody, and what do you do?  You're certainly not gonna succeed with words, no matter what.  Now, that woman might be an illustration of, "You can't wake up somebody who is pretending to be asleep."  Her name is not important.  If you want to look it up, you can, but it's not important.  I don't want to mention her name.  It's not the point.  But here's her description of her dad: "He was highly educated -- a psychiatrist with multiple advanced degrees in science and medicine.

"He was Jewish and deeply religious, donating regularly to charities helping those who struggled with life's challenges," including Limbaugh's.  The guy sounds like a pretty smart guy to me, and he was a regular listener here, and it just... I'm sure a lot of you have relationships with your parents like this, with this program in the middle of it.  Not a lot, but some of you do.  Again, I don't want overdo this, but when I read this, I wondered: If she thinks all these things of me, what must she think of her father who listens regularly, and who apparently doesn't object to any of it? 

That's what I don't know. 

That's where the disconnect is for me. 


RUSH:  Now, listen this woman's description of her father, again: "He was highly educated -- a psychiatrist with multiple advanced degrees in science and medicine. He was Jewish and deeply religious, donating regularly to charities helping those who struggled with life's challenges." That's not quite what the Drive-Bys would consider to be a regular listener here, right? 

He's a very accomplished man and she mentions earlier in the piece that he donated to "the Rush charities," I think she called them.  But let me ask you a question: Who was the intolerant person in that relationship, and who was willing to compromise?  Who was it?  She's putting her dad in an assisted-living center and says, "Dad, can we get rid of the Rush Limbaugh hats?" It's his stuff, and she's going to assisted living. "Dad, can we get rid of the Rush Limbaugh stuff?"

He said, "Okay, if it means that much to you." 

There's a word for that.  So the father -- a big fan this program, loved this program -- gave up his partisanship.  She was unable to do that for him in his dying days. She was unable to compromise, by her own admission, and then ends up asking, "Why can't we all get along?" Well, look at what had to happen for her to end up getting along with her dad.  Her dad had to give up some things that apparently meant a lot to him, and she proudly writes about this. 

I mean, sometimes these people... (chuckles) They think we're extremist and intolerant? 


RUSH: If you read this daughter's column about her father who loved this show, you might think that she learned something from her own intolerance.  It's up to individual interpretation.  Anyway, the whole thing started with talking about the art of persuasion, and it's just that.  It is an art.



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