Somewhere in heaven today?
Somewhere in heaven today? Sean Kirby, Zoo

In 2006, the director Robinson Devor and I were in Joe Shapiro's editing suite assembling the pieces of what would become the award-winning documentary Zoo. (It went to Cannes, even.) We had a great research team that trolled the internet for anything to do with the horse fucking episode in the small, sleepy, horse-loving town of Enumclaw.

One day, one of these researchers dragged up from the depths of cyberspace a recording of Rush Limbaugh processing, while live on air, what the Seattle Times called the "infamous Enumclaw horse sex case." To our surprise, Limbaugh sided with the horse fuckers (or the men fucked by the very big dicks of horses).

Limbaugh attacked a locally famous Republican, Pam Roach, for sponsoring a law against bestiality on the grounds that animals, such as horses, cannot consent in such matters. Limbaugh expressed the extraordinary opinion that animals do have the power of consent. If they didn't, he reasoned, then how could a horse, for example, fuck a human? How could a horse get its big dick hard? The animal wants to do it, has the mind to do it, and will do it if it feels like doing it. No coercion is needed. Because Limbaugh himself generously gave Devor and I the permission to use his musings in our film, you can hear them not long after 9:15 mark in this clip.


I have long wondered how Limbaugh's broad-minded opinion about horse fucking related to his conservatism. There had to be a link, right? In his head somewhere, the closed world of right-wing values communicated with the border-less world of bestiality. And his position was not that he condoned the practice but that he saw a horse like Big Dick, the one that fucked the Boeing employee to death, as having a mind of its own.

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It's at this point that I think Limbaugh came very close to the most famous philosopher of ancient Greece, Plato. Near the end of the Republic, Plato describes the impact that democracy, as a political system, has not only on humans but also on domestic animals.

This is the passage I have in mind:

...I must add that no one who does not know would believe, how much greater is the liberty which the animals who are under the dominion of man have in a democracy than in any other State: for truly, the she-dogs, as the proverb says, are as good as their she-mistresses, and the horses and asses have a way of marching along with all the rights and dignities of freemen; and they will run at any body who comes in their way if he does not leave the road clear for them: and all things are just ready to burst with liberty.

Plato, as the proto-neoliberal philosopher of science Karl Popper stressed in his popular book The Open Society and Its Enemies, was not a fan of democracy. For Plato, democracy corrupted not only the sacred and time-tested bonds between humans but also between humans and domesticated animals. Limbaugh, on the other hand, was more in line with Popper, a proponent of what I call contentless liberalism (or formal democracy). The horse "marching along with all the rights and dignities of freemen" in Athens was, from the perspective of Limbaugh's radical libertarianism, the same as an Enumclaw horse seeing a ready man in a barn, mounting that man, and fucking that man to oblivion as the snow-capped volcano, Mount Rainier, glistened within walking (or riding) distance. May Limbaugh meet Big Dick, who died not long after the Zoo was completed, on that cloud in the sky.