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#1 User is online   Censport 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:19 PM

Tucker Carlson has sparked the most interesting debate in conservative politics
“All I’m saying is don’t act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God.”
Vox
Jane Coaston
January 10, 2019


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?”

Populism on the right is gaining, again

Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as “the smoke alarm ... telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it.”

Populism is a rhetorical approach that separates “the people” from elites. In the words of Cas Mudde, a professor at the University of Georgia, it divides the country into “two homogenous and antagonistic groups: the pure people on the one end and the corrupt elite on the other.” Populist rhetoric has a long history in American, serving as the focal point of numerous presidential campaigns and powering William Jennings Bryan to the Democratic nomination for president in 1896. Trump borrowed some of that approach for his 2016 campaign but in office has governed as a fairly orthodox economic conservative, thus demonstrating the demand for populism on the right without really providing the supply and creating conditions for further ferment.

When right-leaning pundit Ann Coulter spoke with Breitbart Radio about Trump’s Tuesday evening Oval Office address to the nation regarding border wall funding, she said she wanted to hear him say something like, “You know, you say a lot of wild things on the campaign trail. I’m speaking to big rallies. But I want to talk to America about a serious problem that is affecting the least among us, the working-class blue-collar workers”:

Coulter urged Trump to bring up overdose deaths from heroin in order to speak to the “working class” and to blame the fact that working-class wages have stalled, if not fallen, in the last 20 years on immigration. She encouraged Trump to declare, “This is a national emergency for the people who don’t have lobbyists in Washington.”


Much more here.
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#2 User is offline   That_Guy 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:26 PM

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#3 User is offline   Natural Selection 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:03 PM

View PostCensport, on 11 January 2019 - 12:19 PM, said:

“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?”


The best way to answer that question is to look at countries that had (or continue to have) no free market capitalism, and then compare the differences.

Technological innovation is clearly one of the biggest differences. There's not a lot of high-tech coming out of Cuba, North Korea, or Vietnam. While China seems to have a lot of high-tech of it's own, most of it is stolen intellectual property. Same goes for Russia when it was purely communist.

Then there's the more philosophical question of whether or not it's wise to put a cap on human accomplishment. Most of what we take for granted today can be traced back to a handful of ambitious, driven individuals. The computer operating system you're using as you read this, for example. Airplanes. Televisions. Phones. Vaccines. Cameras. You name it, and the rewards of free market capitalism likely motivated it's creation.

There are those who would innovate solely for the benefit of the collective, but those people are very rare and their innovations are few. Jonas Salk is often held up as an example of a selfless innovator. He made virtually nothing off his polio vaccine. A discovery estimated to have a $7 billion dollar value. Of course, the people holding up Jonas Salk as an example always fail to mention that he was a multimillionaire at the time of his death thanks to other endeavors. :lol:

This post has been edited by Natural Selection: 11 January 2019 - 01:22 PM

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#4 User is offline   Severian 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:25 PM

The problem is we don’t and never did have true free market capitalism, we’ve always had a pseudo capitalism where sadly the “elites” aka politically connected game the system, crony capitalism at its worst. The country has done better the few times the govt has exerted less control over things. And worse when the govt controls the market, see FDRs disastrous handling of the Great Depression, Obama’s handling of the recession, or the 08 housing market collapse, drive. In large part by the govt attempting social engineering by distorting home lending and allowing the creation and abuse of Govt backed securities.

Meanwhile my the political and business elites care nothing about the average citizen, cheap illegal labor is doubleplusgood for their bottom lines, if it increases unemployment and lowers wages for their fellow citizens, meh, that’s what govt assistance is for. Plus that has the advantage of making them dependent on handouts so we can control those smelly plebes.
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#5 User is offline   gravelrash 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:08 PM

Vox... no explanation needed. I understand Tucker Carlson's foray into temperance. Am I going to get all woofed up about it? No.
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#6 User is online   oki 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:32 PM

Think about it this way....

In business if you don't make money, you go out of business and don't get paid. Government doesn't have that issue, no matter how bad a job they do they still get paid. In business if you don't do a better job, do it more efficiently, and at least keep your customers happy enough to come back you go out of business. For Government there is no need to do it better, more efficiently, innovate, or such.
Again, they will still get paid and business doesn't have that luxury.

Oki
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#7 User is online   Hieronymous 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:33 PM

View PostSeverian, on 11 January 2019 - 01:25 PM, said:

The problem is we don’t and never did have true free market capitalism, we’ve always had a pseudo capitalism where sadly the “elites” aka politically connected game the system, crony capitalism at its worst. The country has done better the few times the govt has exerted less control over things. And worse when the govt controls the market, see FDRs disastrous handling of the Great Depression, Obama’s handling of the recession, or the 08 housing market collapse, drive. In large part by the govt attempting social engineering by distorting home lending and allowing the creation and abuse of Govt backed securities.

Meanwhile my the political and business elites care nothing about the average citizen, cheap illegal labor is doubleplusgood for their bottom lines, if it increases unemployment and lowers wages for their fellow citizens, meh, that’s what govt assistance is for. Plus that has the advantage of making them dependent on handouts so we can control those smelly plebes.

Great post. Crony capitalism and the free market are two very different things.
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#8 User is offline   Ticked@TinselTown 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 04:57 PM

Whose policies make it preferable to ream out children from the age of 13 and reward criminals for their actions?

And how does capitalism come into play with those policies?

Carlson does his monologues in a way that does sound like he's 'just asking questions' on he few times I've seen his program when at friends' homes, but you don't put together a monologue without having a point and a stance from which you build that speech, so to say he's 'just asking questions' is disingenuous on his part.
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#9 User is offline   NH Populist 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:27 PM

View PostSeverian, on 11 January 2019 - 01:25 PM, said:

The problem is we don’t and never did have true free market capitalism, we’ve always had a pseudo capitalism where sadly the “elites” aka politically connected game the system, crony capitalism at its worst. The country has done better the few times the govt has exerted less control over things. And worse when the govt controls the market, see FDRs disastrous handling of the Great Depression, Obama’s handling of the recession, or the 08 housing market collapse, drive. In large part by the govt attempting social engineering by distorting home lending and allowing the creation and abuse of Govt backed securities.

Meanwhile my the political and business elites care nothing about the average citizen, cheap illegal labor is doubleplusgood for their bottom lines, if it increases unemployment and lowers wages for their fellow citizens, meh, that’s what govt assistance is for. Plus that has the advantage of making them dependent on handouts so we can control those smelly plebes.


I would argue some of the worst people gaming the system are lawyers and insurance companies, it's like they're in cahoots to rip off doctors and hospitals, as well as their patients. Oh yeah, and drug companies.
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#10 User is online   Censport 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:46 PM

View PostHieronymous, on 11 January 2019 - 03:33 PM, said:

Great post. Crony capitalism and the free market are two very different things.

Can you remember the last time (the only time?) we've had a politician trying to get into Washington by campaigning against crony capitalism? You betcha I can.

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#11 User is online   Censport 

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:55 PM

View Postgravelrash, on 11 January 2019 - 02:08 PM, said:

Vox... no explanation needed. I understand Tucker Carlson's foray into temperance. Am I going to get all woofed up about it? No.

Yeah, they're the store brand toilet paper of internet news sources.
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