No, Tucker Carlson does not support democratic socialism
On Friday morning, before Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death sucked all the oxygen out of other news, a trending concept on Twitter was that Tucker Carlson is "basically on board" with democratic socialism. This claim was based upon a 45-second snippet of a conversation between Carlson and Cornel West, Harvard's best known democratic socialist. The tweets making this claim had tens of thousands of retweets and hundreds of thousands of likes. But as with so much else that the left touts, this claim was a complete lie. What actually happened was that, during a July 2018 segment with Cornel West, Carlson politely agreed that, to the extent democratic socialists claim to want human dignity, he can support that idea.
Here are some of the tweets making it sound as if Carlson, on the eve of an election that will determine forever the direction in which America travels, suddenly announced that he's a democratic socialist:
Tucker Carlson finally met Jesus, turns out it was Cornel West the entire time. pic.twitter.com/grNTEKr8os— New York Socialist (@berniebromanny) September 18, 2020
— I Am Incorrigible FCA (@ImIncorrigible) September 18, 2020
And here's what really happened: on June 26, 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an open democratic socialist, won her primary battle against the ten-term incumbent, Democrat Joe Crowley. Suddenly, she was the newest darling of the Democrat party. She and her fellow hard leftists were going to be the new standard-bearers of the party that once looked up to anti-communist, pro-gun, anti-abortion, anti-tax John F. Kennedy.
Two weeks later, on July 6, 2018, Tucker Carlson decided to use his show to examine democratic socialism. He invited Cornel West, an openly democratic socialist former professor at Harvard and Princeton, to be his guest. West may not be the brightest bulb on the block (he's a testament to Harvard's and Princeton's fall from academic grace), but he'll reliably unleash a torrent of words about the wonders of democratic socialism.
Carlson opened by asking for "some sense of what democratic socialism is" and concluded his question by asking, as well, for an example of a place in which socialism has worked. He noted that Venezuela is an example of socialism that does not seem to have worked.
West acknowledged that socialism has different forms, ranging from bad to medium to better. And then he launched into his rap about aspirational democratic socialism:
But the fundamental commitment is to the dignity of ordinary people and to make sure they can live lives of decency.
So it's not an -ism. No, brother, it's about decency, it's about fairness, it's about the accountability of the powerful vis-à-vis those who have less power at the workplace, women dealing with the household, gays, lesbians, trans, black people, indigenous peoples, immigrants — how do we ensure that they are treated decently and that the powerful don't in any way manipulate, subjugate, and exploit them?
It was in response to these idealized abstracts describing that people will be uplifted and receive decent treatment that Carlson politely said:
Well, I mean, if that's what democratic socialism is then I'm basically on board. I do think that ordinary people, middle-class people ought to have dignity, and I think that our current systems make it hard for them to have dignity, so I agree with all of that.
However, Carlson then added the killer caveat, "but the details matter."
When West tried to overwhelm Carlson by listing the names of famous starry-eyed socialists in principle (Einstein, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King), Carlson cut him off:
I understand, but has it struck you as interesting that it's never actually worked anywhere. So the question is not what are our goals. Our goals are the same. The question is, how do we get there, is the question. So what happened in Venezuela? They call that democratic socialism, but they don't have toilet paper, and it's less equal than ever.
In other words, no, Tucker Carlson did not and does not support socialism. He understands, as any intelligent person does, that socialism never has worked and never will work because it cannot work.
The pattern is always the same: because statism deprives people of a profit incentive to work, the economy shrinks, and the government must use coercion to force people to produce. When the people get restive, the government becomes more coercive, while building a military cadre that will support it. It also creates specific scapegoats (historically, Jews) to keep people from recognizing that it is their own government that is abusing them.
The remainder of the interview is enjoyable only if you want to see that West (did I mention he's a former Harvard and Princeton professor?) is an uneducated, ill informed lunatic who blames everybody but his special interest groups for socialism's inevitable failure. He throws in loving words about brotherhood, but if the Cornel Wests in America ever get power (which will happen with a Biden puppet presidency), we're all doomed.
Image: Tucker Carlson talks to Cornel West; YouTube screen grab.
Correction: Cornel West is now an emeritus professor.