Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson opened his show by scoffing at claims by CNN’s David Gergen and others that President Donald Trump was acting in an authoritarian manner.
Carlson argued it was instead the tendency of the left with its positions on speech, firearms, family, faith and bureaucracy that were signs of authoritarianism, not Trump.
Let's say you were an authoritarian & wanted to weaken American democracy. How'd you do it? 1) ban free speech 2) disarm the country 3) undermine families and churches 4) Empower unelected bureaucrats. Trump isn't doing that. The ruling class is #Tucker @FoxNews
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) February 20, 2018
Partial transcript as follows:
CARLSON: You may have noticed an accelerating cycle in Washington lately. Here’s what it looks like. The permanent class hates Donald Trump. They attack him as racist, criminal, a foreign spy working to destroy America.
Trump, because he watches more bad television than is healthy, sees these attacks and then responds with hostile tweets attacking his critics. His critics then point out those tweets as evidence that Trump is every bit as bad as they said he was and so on.
Well, the latest installment of the saga took place over the weekend. CNN political analyst David Gergen warned that Trump’s criticism of the media proves he’s a would-be dictator. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GERGEN, “CNN” POLITICAL ANALYST: Discrediting Mueller, discrediting what may come out through the Justice Department from Mueller, discrediting the press and what we’re reporting on what Mueller does, this is what splits a country apart and it is the beginnings – in many other countries, it’s been the beginnings of an authoritarian rule. And that’s the larger threat hanging over us now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: That’s kind of hilarious. The irony, of course, is that David Gergen spent much of his own career in government, not simply criticizing reporters, but actively lying to them, as is the custom. Was that the behavior of a despot? Pretty funny.
But pause and consider this seriously for a minute. Authoritarianism. That’s what our ruling class says it fears. They tell us that all the time.
OK. Let’s say you really were an authoritarian and you wanted to weaken American democracy and impose a kind of oligarchy on the country. How would you go about doing that?
Well, you’d probably start by trying to control what people say and think. If citizens dissented from the mandated orthodoxy or dared to consider unauthorized ideas, you target them, you’d shame them on social media, you’d shout them down in public, you’d get them fired from their jobs, you’d make sure everybody was afraid to disagree with you.
After that, you would work to disarm the population. You take their guns away. That way, they’d be entirely dependent on you for their safety, not to mention unable to resist your plans for them.
Then, just to make sure you had quelled all opposition, you’d systematically target any institution that might oppose or put brakes on your power. You’d be especially concerned about churches, the family, and independent businesses. You’d be certain to undermine and crush those using laws and relentless propaganda.
If despite all of that, election results still didn’t go your way, you’d use an entrenched unelected bureaucracy to neuter any leader you hadn’t handpicked yourself. But you’d be shaken by an election like that. You’d resolve never to allow one again.
And to make sure of that, you’d work tirelessly to replace the old and ungrateful population with a new and more obedient one. That’s what you do.
Sound familiar? We are not talking about Donald Trump. For all of his faults, Trump isn’t doing any of that. Our ruling class is. And that’s what all these issues are really about.
The speech codes, the calls for gun control, the relentless attacks on the nuclear family, the demands for unlimited mass immigration, none of that is designed to help you. None of it will make you happier or more prosperous. That’s not the point.
The point is to make you more dependent on the very people who are yelling at you right now on cable television. They are the authoritarians.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor