Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of identity politics and try my best not to categorize anyone according to their skin color or ethnicity. And this includes white people (I know, I’m a bad liberal). However, given I am white, I do feel I have some leeway in making observations about what could be generally perceived as “white culture” and “white privilege”. They are grossly overused terms, particularly among the far left and on college campuses. Nevertheless they are quite helpful in understanding the unequal power structure of American society and the culture that creates and maintains it.
With this in mind, if you were to create the perfect representation of white culture and white privilege, you would come up with something remarkably similar to Tucker Carlson. From his preppy name (his brother’s name is Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson for heaven’s sake) to his nauseating smugness and general air of self satisfaction, Carlson represents everything everyone hates about white people in America. Carlson was bred to be an annoying turd from an early age through years of boarding schools and private East Coast colleges, and has conformed to every stereotype created about elitist white people imaginable.
Carlson has expertly used his extreme whiteness to create a lucrative career for himself in the media. He justifies extremist conservative politics that overwhelmingly benefit people just like him — a fact he likely understands but will never admit to. Carlson is an expert at turning reality upside down for his viewers and has helped create a fictional world where rich white people are persecuted and criminal minorities are running the show. He has taken this routine to Fox News where he has become the intellectual face of Trumpism. Carlson bashes up effete liberals, eschews identity politics, and normalizes Donald Trump on his show to great applause, and he has become a hero in Alt-Right circles. Carlson is a rich, white asshole and proud of it.
It is hard to overstate the danger Carlson represents to America in the era of Donald Trump. Yesterday, Carlson illustrated why he may well be the most toxic media figure in the country — and when he’s up against the likes of Sean Hannity, Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh, that’s saying something. Decrying Trump’s proposal to confiscate guns from potentially dangerous people before due process, Carlson accused the president of basically being a dictator (or worse, a Democrat!):
“Imagine if Barack Obama had said that?” said Carlson. “Just ignore due process and confiscating guns. Obama would have been denounced as a dictator. Congress would be talking impeachment right now. Someone would be muttering about secession.”
“If voters wanted that kind of government, they could have voted Democrat and they still have a chance to vote Democrat in the midterms, which he should keep in mind,” Carlson said.
“Most of the President’s supporters have stuck by him no matter what has happened, and a lot has happened,” Carlson added. “There’s a limit to the tolerance, they will not tolerate — and they shouldn’t have to tolerate by the way — betrayal of core promises of his campaign and that seems to be happening on guns, unfortunately.”
Granted, Carlson isn’t wrong about this — Trump’s proposal to confiscate guns before due process may well be illegal and he is abandoning one of his core promises if he goes through with it (which he almost certainly won’t). But what is interesting is that Carlson chose to turn on Trump over this particular issue.
Throughout his presidency, Carlson has now seriously turned on Trump twice — the first time for wavering on immigration, and now his willingness to entertain real gun control reform in the wake of another mass murder in a public high school.
Carlson has not taken Trump to task for his non-stop lies, for his history of sexually assaulting and abusing women, for insulting minorities, for ripping up global environmental treaties, for destroying Obamacare, for potentially colluding with a foreign government, for obstructing justice, for trashing the standing of the White House, for insulting foreign allies, for not reading intelligence briefings, for trying to kick off a nuclear war with North Korea or any other grievous sins Trump has committed against his own country. None of that was enough to penetrate Carlson’s shell of smug arrogance. But for proposing stricter gun control and relenting on his vicious anti-immigration plans? Trump is now akin to a dictator.
“The alternatives to what we have now are scary, and are getting scarier,” Carlson also said on his show. “The Democratic party is completely irresponsible and increasingly anti-American. They prefer illegal aliens to our middle class. That’s true, and it’s terrifying. Someone needs to defend the country from these people, and Trump mostly does that.”
If he had an ounce of integrity or decency, Carlson could lend his intellectual weight to getting rid of the most idiotic, dangerous president in American history. Instead, he calls Democrats “un-American” and accuses those on the left who are working to restore the country’s respectability as being “irresponsible”. This is what makes Carlson so dangerous — he uses his considerable talents to advocate for the nastiest policies imaginable under the guise of preppy conservative respectability. In other words, more power to more white people. And especially to Tucker — the whitest of them all.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.