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    Tucker Carlson, Fox News host, capitalist traitor 
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    Tucker Carlson has sparked the most interesting debate in conservative politics

    Last Wednesday, the conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson started a fire on the right after airing a prolonged monologue on his show that was, in essence, an indictment of American capitalism.

    America?s ?ruling class,? Carlson says, are the ?mercenaries? behind the failures of the middle class ? including sinking marriage rates ? and ?the ugliest parts of our financial system.? He went on: ?Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.?

    He concluded with a demand for ?a fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don?t accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement.?

    The monologue was stunning in itself, an incredible moment in which a Fox News host stated that for generations, ?Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars.? More broadly, though, Carlson?s position and the ensuing controversy reveals an ongoing and nearly unsolvable tension in conservative politics about the meaning of populism, a political ideology that Trump campaigned on but Carlson argues he may not truly understand.

    Moreover, in Carlson?s words: ?At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be gone too. The country will remain. What kind of country will be it be then??

    The monologue and its sweeping anti-elitism drove a wedge between conservative writers. The American Conservative?s Rod Dreher wrote of Carlson?s monologue, ?A man or woman who can talk like that with conviction could become president. Voting for a conservative candidate like that would be the first affirmative vote I?ve ever cast for president.? Other conservative commentators scoffed. Ben Shapiro wrote in National Review that Carlson?s monologue sounded far more like Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren than, say, Ronald Reagan.

    I spoke with Carlson by phone this week to discuss his monologue and its economic ? and cultural ? meaning. He agreed that his monologue was reminiscent of Warren, referencing her 2003 book The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Growing Broke. ?There were parts of the book that I disagree with, of course,? he told me. ?But there are parts of it that are really important and true. And nobody wanted to have that conversation.?

    Carlson wanted to be clear: He?s just asking questions. ?I?m not an economic adviser or a politician. I?m not a think tank fellow. I?m just a talk show host,? he said, telling me that all he wants is to ask ?the basic questions you would ask about any policy.? But he wants to ask those questions about what he calls the ?religious faith? of market capitalism, one he believes elites ? ?mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule? ? have put ahead of ?normal people.?

    But whether or not he likes it, Carlson is an important voice in conservative politics. His show is among the most-watched television programs in America. And his raising questions about market capitalism and the free market matters.

    ?What does [free market capitalism] get us?? he said in our call. ?What kind of country do you want to live in? If you put these policies into effect, what will you have in 10 years??

    ...
    article continues on with Fox News talking head Tucker Carlson pointing out what everyone with any sense already knows, that capitalism is a broken and unsustainable system and the economic inequality that it creates and requires is a disaster for everyone

    ...

    But Carlson’s brand of populism, and the populist sentiments sweeping the American right, aren’t just focused on the current state of income inequality in America. Carlson tackled a bigger idea: that market capitalism and the “elites” whom he argues are its major drivers aren’t working. The free market isn’t working for families, or individuals, or kids. In his monologue, Carlson railed against libertarian economics and even payday loans, saying, “If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it’s happening in the inner city or on Wall Street” — sounding very much like Sanders or Warren on the left.

    ...
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    I liked the insinuation in that monologue that somehow "the elites" are behind the cannabis legalization movement in the USA. In reality the American people dragged the Establishment kicking & screaming into the future on this particular issue & Vermont is the only state (AFAIK) where politicians legalized it.

    It seemed like just another vague, populist indictment of elites not caring about the common folk. That's what sells these days I guess. The indictment of market economics from the right has always been around, just read Pat Buchanon's old shit, it's just gotten more popular in the Trump era
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    when the right talk about "the elites", its usually nothing but a dog whistle for "the jews" (same with "globalist"). even though the ideal situation among his brand of right wingers is a strong economy, better wealth equality, and strong social safety nets, they only want it for cis-het WASPs while everyone else is, at best, ignored and continued to be systemically oppressed, or at worst executed

    i'd like this discussion to take things at face value though - even right wing conservatives are beginning to openly acknowledge that capitalism, and especially neoliberalism, don't work
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    Isn't this just Tucker Carlson trying to find a new identity? One that will retain some of its relevance after Trumps reign is over.
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    Know I would love to see him in a bow tie eating popcorn.

    like

    every

    Day
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    Capitalism has obvious negative social effects, but unfortunately any discussion about the social pathologies of capitalism tends to be dominated by impossibilists. It reeks of the early 20th-century so much I always feel tempted to riposte: and how!

    But tathra isn't the only one summoning demons from the early 20th century, Carlson is in on the game too:

    During the Great Depression, Mussolini promoted active state intervention in the economy. He denounced the contemporary "supercapitalism" that he claimed began in 1914 as a failure because of its alleged decadence, its support for unlimited consumerism and its intention to create the "standardization of humankind".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascis...o_World_War_II

    However, effectively managing the capitalist social pathologies without losing the benefits of capitalism has been done and continues to be done, particularly in the Nordic countries and in East Asia, including in China. Most of these countries take a "middle path" between the "political religion" of the fascists and the "cultural revolution" of the communists. Anglospherizens tend to be aware of this only via Japanophilia and the occasional person who digs deep enough into Nordic society to see something the economic theories from ORDO.

    There is a sort of cultural choreography which encourages people to swarm like fish, avoiding the predatory entities that thrive under capitalism. National holidays and limits on weekend services prevent overwork and ensure poor families can spend time together. Regulations on content in public broadcasts (billboards, TV, radio, etc) may reduce undue stress inflicted on people receiving them, which could encourages engagement with the public sphere and improve sleep quality. Aesthetic niceties make life feel less accidental and subordinate -- a school uniform is less oppressive to wear if it looks nicer. Unions create more than bargaining power: they provide a sense of connection to something meaningful. There are many more examples, all of them things that should make any American feel ill.

    There are downsides to all of this of course. They primarily consist in real pride and false (forced) pride, and I'm not sure which one is worse. When regulations on broadcast content become restrictions on all content the culture can get a lot more boring. And there is a symmetry-breaking issue: any particular cultural rules might be fine, but in the nation that would be everything to everyone, which should it be?

    Our social support for the poor tends to revolve principally around their health, framed generally in terms of pleasure and suffering. The other axis, from emptiness to significance, receives little attention. The typical American attitude is to throw up our hands and invite defeat; any government program, we assume, must reek of brutalism and hegemony, and any attempt to support the social lives of the underclass will just annoy them. This attitude is so deeply ingrained that I might never have believed it were possible to achieve anything else, if I hadn't seen it in action myself.
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    Top post man, very thought-provoking.
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    I agree.
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    Here's a piece I excerpted in another thread:

    The injustice driving the populist revolution


    We've grown accustomed to describing the anti-establishment forces destabilizing politics throughout the West as "populism." Even if it makes sense to use the term for the purposes of description, it shouldn't relieve us of the burden of answering the singularly important question of why the populist style of politics is having an impact at the present moment in so many places.

    The answer is injustice.

    It might sound obvious, but it's surprising how infrequently the trend gets described this way. For members of a centrist establishment under siege, it's far more comforting to dismiss as illegitimate the motives of those who support Donald Trump's presidency, who voted for Brexit, who travel from the French provinces to don yellow vests on the streets of Paris, and who have empowered populist parties in Poland, Italy, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic. They're racists, xenophobes, rubes, bigots, and entitled whiners who are stomping their feet like spoiled, resentful children, empowering fascists rather than deferring to the experts who actually know how the world works and how to govern the liberal international order.

    But of course things look quite different on the other side of the dispute. Until we begin to put ourselves in the populists' shoes and view justice as they do, we will fail to grasp the nature of their upsurge and fall short in our response.

    All the way back to Aristotle, political philosophers have recognized that justice is the motor that drives politics. Each class or faction of society has a somewhat different understanding of what justice entails and requires. When members of a class or faction become convinced it has been violated, the normal functioning of political life can become destabilized; when the violation is widely judged to have been great, and the path to redressing the grievance blocked within the current political arrangement, the perceived injustice can even precipitate a revolution — which, for Aristotle, simply meant a change in the prevailing understanding of justice within a given regime.

    This is one way to understand the effect of the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s. The 10 percent of the U.S. population that was African American suffered brutal, systematic racism and discrimination that it understandably considered unjust. Through protests, blacks taught significant numbers of whites to become attuned to this injustice and persuaded them that it needed to be alleviated. The result was a revolution in Aristotle's sense of the term, with the legal apartheid of Jim Crow dismantled in the South and the overt racism of individuals slowly (if imperfectly) worn away by education and moral suasion.

    What we have been living through over the past few years is something similar, though the number of the aggrieved is greater as a proportion of the population. With the help of the Electoral College, Trump won the presidency with 46 percent of the vote. Brexit passed with 52 percent. The margins of victory for other populist movements has usually fallen within that range, with roughly half of voters favoring anti-establishment politicians and parties.

    These voters tend to come from the countryside, far from the bustling, wealthy, cosmopolitan cities where those with the best educations flock to find well-renumerated work in the globalized ruling class. The tacit deal behind this sociological arrangement was that the members of this ruling class would foster economic growth from which everyone would benefit. The reality, especially since the economic crisis of 2008, has been that those at the center have gotten ever richer while those on the periphery have endured socioeconomic stagnation or worse.

    Growing numbers of people feel frozen out of power, their quality of life decaying over time — while the ideology of meritocracy that prevails in the flourishing ruling class drives home the message that their failures are no one's fault but their own. They must deserve their sorry fate. That's a message that in many cases will stifle dissent — at least until it becomes a provocation for anger and resistance in the name of justice.

    Every country facing a populist rebellion has its own variation on this story. Tucker Carlson's Fox News rantfrom a couple of weeks ago has gotten enormous amounts of attention because it distills the American version of the story so well — the one dominated by the rise of finance capitalism that creates a class of super-wealthy overlords who run the country and much of the world for their own benefit while shredding communities and families across the American heartland. Carlson normally has plenty of harsh words for social liberalism on his show, but this time he turned his harshest rhetoric against the conservative movement, for continually siding with the rich without regard for the often pernicious social and cultural consequences of continually empowering capitalism.

    Carlson's diatribe was a cry of injustice against the order of things that has prevailed in the U.S. since the election of Ronald Reagan. No wonder that the strongest pushback has come from Reagan-worshipping conservative intellectuals like David French and Ben Shapiro, who doubled down on the center-right variant of the meritocratic ideals affirmed by most of the ruling class: Stop whining. Take responsibility for yourself. If you have talent and a good work ethic, you will succeed. If you fail, that's no one's fault but your own. It's certainly not the fault of bankers, hedge-fund managers, and CEOs, whose wealth is the fruit of their own hard work and which benefits everyone as it trickles down through the economy. Encouraging those who are struggling to blame others for their failures risks building support for big government, which will only strangle the economy, leaving everyone worse off.

    Note that this response is silent about injustice — the injustice of shattered lives, families, and communities, but also the injustice of trillion-dollar bank bailouts during the financial crisis while millions of ordinary Americans lost their homes and savings. If anything, it conveys the message that Americans should cease caring about justice, keep their mouths shut, and just continue toiling away, trying to better their lives and their communities. If they live in places without jobs, if their neighbors are dying from addiction to painkillers, they should get the hell out and save themselves. Winners make their own luck. It's the losers and slackers who bellyache about the unfairness of life and look for someone or something to solve their problems for them.

    Donald Trump may be a lying, corrupt ignoramus, but he has a better intuitive grasp of the psychology of grievance than his establishment critics do. The politics of injustice demands redress. Populists understand this but too often prefer to direct popular ire toward scapegoats than to lead efforts at real reform. (That's because they often benefit from the very system they denounce for political gain.)

    We are awash in a politics of anger. Those politicians who can channel this anger and direct it toward responsible proposals for reform, whether or not they involve the kind of revolution that Aristotle described, will be populists worthy of support.

    What won't work is a politics of bland, uplifting happy talk. People are pissed. They want to vote for someone who will take a stand against the entrenched injustices of the present and work to make the country a better place to live and work and raise a family — even if that means breaking more radically from the status quo than any party or politician in a generation or more.


    The politics of injustice will be satisfied with nothing less.


    https://theweek.com/articles/817500/injustice-driving-populist-revolution

    I think this is about as close to understanding Trump and his successful exploitation of populism as I can get.

    It also makes a lot of sense re Tucker Carlson.

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    The whole issue is a sham IMO. There is no Benito Juarez or Nasser in this "populist revolution", which seems invariably to consist of some already-powerful people becoming EVEN MORE powerful...see Erdogan, Orban & Trump for examples, amoungst others. All people like them represent is the rule of corrupt oligarches operating under varying levels of official state sanction.

    Yes, of course the issues that led to the election of someone like Trump are important...people's pain is real. But the people who've supposedly benefited from this pain are a sordid group...a venal group who personify the exact decadence they denounce.

    (By "populist revolution", I'm referring to the media's portrayals of political figures like Trump, Bolsanaro, Le Pen etc. and their respective movements.)
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    He makes an excellent point. So it doesn't sound like Reagan.. arguably American conservative thought was already corrupted by 1981. Look to Eisenhower for someone who would have said the nuclear family was the most important American institution, the basis on which the country's strength is based, the basis for Conservative thought, for law and order. Take away the race aspect and I think that's something that could bring bipartisan consensus--those small town values that seem to be so universal. Modern capitalism is the antithesis to that.
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    I believe community and family are v important. I just think most conservatives are still stuck in a "traditional" model that isn't really fitting with the times.

    As a conservative in certain regards, I'm ready for the party to get back to its roots though, particularly fiscally.

    The middle class and class mobility are fundamental to the American Dream.
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    I’m so glad the far right took a page out of the center-left’s book. Now we’ll have a bunch of Bernie’s and never again shall we have a balanced budget.
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    As if we have a free market or capitalism in the West! Or anywhere. The premise isn't even valid, though I think (hope?) Tucker means well. He certainly is clued into the disaster that is multiculturalism.

    Btw tathra, the US was founded by & for WASPs (& Native North Americans, but they're essentially irrelevant to immigration discussion). It's true about the globalists too.
    Last edited by cduggles; 01-02-2019 at 04:36. Reason: Some content edited.
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    Please pm CE&P staff, including senior moderators, or admins with comments or complaints about moderation.


    If your problem has not been resolved and you would like further dialogue, please start a thread in STH.
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