Tucker Carlson has never been your average TV host, but in the midst of America’s slide into anarcho-tyranny, his Fox News program has taken on a new significance.
Just how significant was made clear last week, when the New York Times incited violence against Carlson and his family. Carlson announced on his show that the newspaper was planning to publish a story revealing the location of his home. The newspaper’s purpose couldn’t be more obvious. Later, the Times appeared to retract the story and tried to pretend they had never had such plans, but this came only after Carlson called out the newspaper on his show and threatened to counterpunch. Evidently, they weren’t expecting that response.
This scummy, depraved behavior is part of a pattern. Two years ago, a mob threatened Carlson’s family at home in D.C., and eventually, he was forced to relocate. Activists have been trying to get his show canceled since its inception and recently those efforts have grown more intense. Last week, as the Times was planning to dox him, Carlson was targeted with an absurd and fact-free lawsuit from a jaded former guest.
Why do the worst people in the world hate Tucker Carlson? To understand that we need to consider his success. Carlson’s show recently became the highest-rated program in cable history. This can’t be a coincidence. Against the backdrop of the present reign of terror, his talents have never stood out more, and they have never been more valuable.
Between the Black Lives Matter riots and the petty managerial tyranny spawned by coronavirus, America is becoming unrecognizable. The basic rights to life, liberty, and property are under siege. Government is turning its back on citizens, leaving them vulnerable to violent mobs. City councils are actively disarming and defunding police, and prosecutors are going after innocent people for defending their homes. Our elected leaders heap scorn upon us. Almost nobody in authority is telling the truth. Every institution except the local police is arrayed against normal people.
Carlson is not a policymaker and he is not the president. But nobody has stuck his neck out like he has, night after night, standing up for America against those who want to destroy it. Nobody talks about what is happening to the country with more bravery, more precision, or more rhetorical power. His monologues are the works of a master craftsman. Amidst the confusion, they have the arresting clarity of a fireside chat.
In order to address a threat, you first need to be wiling and able to see it. You need to identify who is hurting your country, what they’re after, and who they work for. Otherwise, you’re just flailing in the dark.
The appeal of Carlson has always been his talent as a good social critic: his ability to get to the heart of the matter, to define what people feel but can’t articulate themselves. He has again set the standard. As the country unravels, Republicans are out to lunch. President Trump, in spite of his good instincts, does not have the theoretical understanding to articulate the threat with any consistency or coherence. Partly this is a weakness of will, but it is also a failure of imagination.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the mob went after Carlson for calling Black Lives Matter the most powerful political party in America. At the time it was the most essential political fact, and it still is. It probably hadn’t occurred to most to put it in those terms, but it was true, and its consequences have been profound. Nobody else dared express it, assuming they could grasp it. Carlson did.
This is the visceral level of the danger we face: civilized life and the rule of law are at stake. Lives and property are in danger. Black Lives Matter is an anti-American faction that must be vigorously opposed. Now is not the time for navel-gazing or the hand-wringing accompanied with supposedly clever rhetorical traps about the racism of the Democratic Party 150 years ago.
The continuing clueless rhetoric of the Republican party won’t do. Those political leaders who still claim to represent the United States should be talking about the violent insurrection that is happening right now and confronting it, with the kind of urgency and candor that Carlson has done.
Carlson is good at defining what is essential: the fragility of good things is never far from his thinking. As Carlson has said, when a passion for novelty takes hold of society, it’s very hard to turn things back. It is precisely when the fundamentals are shaken, when it is most difficult to see through the fog of war, that good things are most in danger. Before you even know what has been lost, it’s too late.
If you don’t bother to define what needs preserving against those who want to destroy it, then your enemy will succeed. The American Right is particularly bad at defining its goods and its enemies, and as a result the Left and its projects have assumed an aura of inevitability. The pressure from one side is so crushing that it seems like theirs is the only point of view. Anyone who thinks differently must be insane or bad. That’s what the Left wants. They want their dominance to look effortless and feel natural.
But it’s neither of those things. They need to suppress because their power is built on lies and on making people too afraid to contradict them out loud. What may appear on the surface to enjoy the uncoerced mandate of the public, what may appear impossible to stop, is in fact a political project forced onto the public from above. But they want people to believe that what they have in store for the country cannot possibly be averted, that Americans might as well accept it now. Anyone who suggests that an alternative is possible is their enemy and must be destroyed.
Whether Carlson sees himself this way or not, for many of us, he is the closest thing to a leader we have—the strongest, most consistent, most courageous advocate for Middle America. The Right knows this. The Left knows this. It is the only reason it even occurred to the New York Times to doxx him.
These people don’t see us as human beings, let alone as friends and fellow citizens. They see an opposition to be crushed by any means necessary. What they have done to Carlson, they would happily do to anyone who stands in their way. It’s time for the Right to stop acting surprised at all of this. We have to see what’s in front of us. We can either adapt or die.