Tucker Carlson: Morally Bankrupt and Intellectually Void

This is one of the most draw-droppingly stupid 29 seconds I have experienced in some time.

I don’t often make such strident statements, but I feel I am actually being kind after watching the following clip”:

Ok, so in less than thirty seconds we get:

1.  The US is the only country in the world with the “moral authority” to launch preemptive war.

2.  The US is the only country in the world that “does not seek hegemony in the world.”

3.  “Iran deserves to be annihilated” because they are “lunatics” and “evil.”

4.  The risk of “tanking our economy” as a result of an explosion of oil prices is just a “small factor” to be considered.

(That’s an impressive amount of stupid per second, I must say).

Now, in regards to point #1:  This is a claim without a foundation.  The US may be the only country in the world with the power to launch preemptive wars on a global level but unless might does, in fact, make right then I fail to see the moral foundation for such acts.  This also underscores that Carlson apparently learned nothing from the Iraq war. 

Indeed, on that count it is worth noting in this context that one of the reasons the Iranians want a nuclear weapon is because they learned a key lesson from that invasion:  one “Axis of Evil” country without nukes (Iraq) was invaded, while one “Axis of Evil” country with nukes (North Korea) gets treated with kid gloves.  Further, the remaining “Axis of Evil” country without nukes (Iran) has been the subject of invasion talk for almost a decade.  Another factor linked to the invasion of Iraq:   Iran’s security was clearly threatened (and continues to be) by the US military presence in the region (note:  Iran is bordered by Iraq and Afghanistan).  Security threats lead states to pursue means to increase their security, hence the drive to acquire a nuclear weapon.

In response to #2:  I suppose he has a point but only insofar as since the US is the global hegemon at the moment, so I guess, technically, one does not seek to be what one already is.  Being a “hegemon” is synonymous to being the lone super power (i.e., having the largest economy and largest military in the world).  Of course, the notion that the US has not sought this power position is absurd, but:  see the post’s title.

In regards to #3:  When one talks of annihilation (something that a military super power like the US could, in fact, do to Iran) one ought to be a bit more circumspect.  It is one thing to be concerned about the power implications of another nuclear power in the world, let alone in the Middle East, but yet another to blithely call an entire nation of roughly 74 million people evil and crazy and to assert that they deserve eradication.  This is truly a morally reprehensible position.

In regards to #4:  The notion that “tanking” the US economy and potentially devastating the energy supply is just some “small factor” is stunning.

The combination effect of the above mnakes me wonder exactly who the true lunatic is here.

According to Jeffrey Goldberg, Carlson claims to have been “tongue tied” and actually opposed a war with Iran. I have watched the clip multiple times–I am having a hard time seeing where the alleged tongue-tie took place.

h/t: Sullivan.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. de stijl says:

    Steven,

    In the headline “Tuck” s/b “Tucker”.

    Of course, feel free to substitute “T” for “F” at your discretion.

  2. @de stijl: Thanks for pointing that out–looks like James beat me to the fix.

  3. Brummagem Joe says:

    Tucker Carlson = Republican party….life imitates art?

  4. Gromitt Gunn says:

    These people saber-rattling at Iran baffle me. From Iran’s perspective, how is it not logical for them to seek equivalent armaments? We’ve had a military presence immediately to both their east and their west for roughly a decade. If the USSR had put armed troops with superior firepower into Canada and Mexico during the Cold War, we sure as heck would have been trying to meet or exceed their capabilities, and would have scoffed at anyone who suggested we weren’t within our rights to do so.

    Obviously, the fewer global nuclear powers that exist, the better. But I certainly can not fault Iran for wanting to join the ranks under the circumstances.

  5. Hey Norm says:

    As discussed in another thread today…this clown supported Bush’s mis-adventure in Iraq…and thus should not be given the opportunity to discuss such things ever again.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    Once again the significant distinction between “preemption” and “prevention” is being ignored.

    All countries have a right, based on the right to self-defense, to preempt an attack in the offing by an enemy. A good example, cited in comments earlier today, is the 6 Day War. Under the circumstances Israel was, indeed, within its rights.

    A preventive strike is something quite different. I hate to resort to a reductio ad Hitlerum but Hitler’s pretext for attacking Norway and Denmark was that Britain might have used them as bases from which to attack Germany. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a preventive strike. One of the many reasons I opposed the invasion of Iraq was that it was preventive in nature.

    Ignoring the moral problems with preventive war and its bad associations it is illegal under accords to which the U. S. is party.

  7. Since the clip is from Red Eye, I would be a little concerned about taking what he said out of context.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    one of the reasons the Iranians want a nuclear weapon is because they learned a key lesson from that invasion: one “Axis of Evil” country without nukes (Iraq) was invaded, while one “Axis of Evil” country with nukes (North Korea) gets treated with kid gloves.

    There by showing that at least the Iranians can learn from our Iraqi experiment.

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    I have watched the clip multiple times–I am having a hard time seeing where the alleged tongue-tie took place.

    Possibly he’s using a novel definition of “tongue-tied”: when the mouth is running significantly faster than the brain.

  10. legion says:

    Carlson has always had the intellectual depth of a petri dish, the moral shallowness here borders on true sociopathy. Even in his lame, not-really-a-defense-defense to Goldberg & Greenwald, he says things like:

    Of course the Iranian government is awful and deserves to be crushed. But I’m not persuaded we or Israel could do it in a way that doesn’t cause even greater problems.

    and

    I was arguing that an attack on Iran might cause a massive spike in energy prices that could tank our economy.

    In other words, the downside to a full military assault on Iran would not be the countless millions of civilians in Iran & Israel (and maybe elsewhere) whose lives are brutally devastated (if not ended outright), but just that it hurt the US economy. What a filthbag.

  11. anjin-san says:

    I think after being slaughtered by Jon Stewart on TV, the only thing left for Carlson is pandering to bithead, JT and their ilk…

  12. Tano says:

    Modern American conservatism. Its just an arms race, with the currency being stupidity. Carlson moves the bar a bit, but that will only force others to go even further.

    Would be hilarious if it weren’t for the significant chunk of the population who go with their flow….

  13. James says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    stupid per second

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could quantify this?

  14. Graham says:

    So he openly and specifically calls for genocide on national television, and he’s claiming something along the lines of, “Whoops, that just slipped out?”

    How exactly do you just throw that out there? I tend to have a dark sense of humor, but I can’t imagine the total annihilation of an ancient and storied culture just popping off my tongue in a serious discussion of policy.

    What a monster.

  15. @Timothy Watson: Agreed. It’s Red Eye. It’s like if you believed that “Stephen Colbert” on the Colbert Report represented what Stephen Colbert believes. If you believed everything that’s said on Red Eye, you’d believe Greg Gutfeld has a basement full of pre-teen slaves, Bill Schulz is a transsexual hermaphrodite, and Ann Coulter is an attractive woman. These things are not plausible.

  16. He should dye his hair orange, because he sure is a Bozo.

  17. @Chris Lawrence: Except in an e-mail to Goldberg (see the link), Carlson seems to be defending himself and treating the situation as serious.

    I am unfamiliar with “Red Eye”–are you suggesting that Carlson plays a character on that show akin to Colbert?

  18. @Chris Lawrence: And Greg (or whoever the host was in this case since it didn’t sound like Greg) regularly baits people to make comments like Carlson made. I remember one time he had Remi Spencer, a former defense attorney on there, on the show and asked her something like, “What are your thoughts on defense attorneys all being scumbags that get murderers and rapists off?” Or the time that he had Ann Coulter on for the whole show and then brought in Ru Paul (NOT Ron Paul) for a segment.

  19. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I guess I’m out of the loop. I’ve literally never heard of the man to whom reference is made in this blog. Tucker Carlson??

    In any event, regarding the four points in question:

    1. Substitute “ability and geopolitical mandate” for “moral authority” and then I would agree. Nations don’t have moral authorities. Nations have national interests.

    2. I don’t see the tree up which this Carlson man is barking. His commentary to me is incoherent.

    3. Patently ludicrous. Verging on total insanity. Iran as a state and the Iranian people do not deserve to be “annihilated,” nor should they be. Iran’s nuclear weapons program should be dismembered and with luck its people then will overthrow their leadership, a goal to which we should contribute money, intelligence and covert and perhaps some degree of overt military assistance.

    4. It’s not a “small factor,” in the literal sense, but certainly the potential effect on oil prices should not be a determining factor in connection with whether and to what extent military force should be used against Iran’s nuclear ambitions. A nuclear-armed Iran would pose existential global threats and risks, the likes of which far would outweigh the potential, transitory negative economic impact of preempting those risks and threats. Plus the U.S. economy is more than resilient enough to deal with a spike in oil prices in connection with military action against Iran. Our economy survived OPEC embargo I, OPEC embargo II, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and more recently it survived $160 per barrel oil prices at the height of the long carry trade mania in 2008. If necessary it again would survive $160 oil. Lastly, in matters of war the tail never should not be allowed to wag the dog.

  20. @Steven L. Taylor: Steven, check out this link, gives you an idea of the type of stuff they have on there:
    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/the-five-best-moments-of-the-first-1000-episodes-of-fox-news-red-eye/

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If you believed everything that’s said on Red Eye, you’d believe Greg Gutfeld has a basement full of pre-teen slaves,

    He doesn’t?

    Bill Schulz is a transsexual hermaphrodite,

    He isn’t?

    and Ann Coulter is an attractive woman.

    I always thought Ann Coulter was a very sexy…. something, I just haven’t figured out what it is yet.

  22. @Timothy Watson: I think I get the idea.

    Still, you are telling me that, therefore, these statements were intended as jokes? (and, as I noted above, how does that comport with Carlson’s defense?).

  23. JohnMcC says:

    @Hey Norm: According to Wikipedia, Mr Carlson supported Operation Iraqi Freedom for about one year and then turned against it. So his inconstant brain is not a new thing.

  24. @Tsar Nicholas:

    I guess I’m out of the loop. I’ve literally never heard of the man to whom reference is made in this blog.

    Have you ever noticed a pattern that you never seem to recognize names that everyone else in the comment section seems to be well acquainted with?

  25. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Bill Schulz is a transsexual hermaphrodite,

    He isn’t?

    One could argue the term is an oxymoron.

  26. Anderson says:

    Jesus, someone got to the right of “Tsar Nicholas.”

    … # 1 depends on # 2. Because we are so utterly disinterested in exerting power over other nations, we have the moral authority to attack preemptively, because we’re doing it for such unselfish reasons.

    Meanest comment I saw was in a Chait thread: “Carlson is trying to be the new Ann Coulter, but without a penis.”

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Have you ever noticed a pattern that you never seem to recognize names that everyone else in the comment section seems to be well acquainted with?

    Perhaps the fact that for over 90 years he’s been down a mineshaft or in a granite box in the Peter and Paul fortress explains it. Of course there could be other explanations for such total ignorance of elementary knowledge.

  28. @Brummagem Joe: I’ve always interpreted it as a tiresome, unfunny shtick.

  29. Gulliver says:

    A global hegemony of free democratic nations – promoted by western democracies – that are not controlled by radical agendas which include forcibly and without cause taking a) the treasury belonging to another nation, b) the land of another nation , or c) eliminating the citizenry of another nation because of ethnic, religious, or political differences. What a travesty that would be…

    America is soooooo evil. In the last 100 years we have forcible taken the treasury of … Well, no, but we’ve taken the land of… Well OK, but because of ethnic, religious, or political differences we have eliminated the citizenry of ….

    The ultra-left wing analysis here is sophistry masquerading as intelligent discussion. Navel gazers unite….

  30. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’ve always interpreted it as a tiresome, unfunny shtick.

    Typical undergrad stuff methinks….I used to do it when I was about 19….but will he grow out of it?

  31. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Gulliver:

    America is soooooo evil. In the last 100 years we have forcible taken the treasury of … Well, no, but we’ve taken the land of… Well OK, but because of ethnic, religious, or political differences we have eliminated the citizenry of ….

    Some of them of course never grow out of the inapposite reductio ad absurdum

  32. Doubter4444 says:

    This is what scares me about the right – older ones you might kind of sign and eye roll, like an dottering uncle, but even younger ones, whelped on Reagan, have this “American Exceptionalism” myth ingrained so deeply that anything we (theUSA!!11!!) do is right and good and strong and worthy.
    And that sucks, because it means we can never discuss the real world limits of power and it’s responsibilities in a way that can make us better as a nation and a people.

  33. @Brummagem Joe: Who said anything about evil? Hegemon/hegemony/hegemonic are not terms that describe morality, they describe power relationships.

    Although if you don’t think that the US has pursued power, you haven’t been paying attention.

  34. Oops, I meant that to go to @Gulliver.

  35. @Timothy Watson: The host in this case is Andy Levy, normally of the Halftime Report.

  36. Gulliver says:

    @ Brummagen

    Some of them of course never grow out of the inapposite reductio ad absurdum

    Just out of curiosity, do you think you will some day mature to the point where you realize that repeatedly quoting Latin is a substitute for actual thought…

    Cynicism is the intellectual cripple’s substitute for intelligence. It is the dishonest businessman’s substitute for conscience. It is the communicator’s substitute, whether he is advertising man or editor or writer, for self-respect.

    -Russell Lynes

  37. Neil Hudelson says:

    To be fair to Tucker, every time I wear a bowtie, I become a complete horses ass too.

  38. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    To be fair, based on the time that Tzar Nic appear, his current shtick is marginally funnier than that individual’s previous unfunny shtick.

  39. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Gulliver:

    Just out of curiosity, do you think you will some day mature to the point where you realize that repeatedly quoting Latin is a substitute for actual thought…

    Actually some familiarity with the latin tags for most fallacies is evidence of having been taught to think because you see even the ancients were already familiar your sort of nonsense and it hasn’t become any more persuasive in the meantime.

  40. mattb says:

    @Gulliver:

    America is soooooo evil. In the last 100 years we have forcible taken the treasury of … Well, no, but we’ve taken the land of…

    I’m pretty sure that the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan might disagree with this.

    Not to mention the number of governments (in particular, Iran, Syria, Guatemala) we helped overthrow in the name of corporate interests:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions

  41. Graham says:

    @Gulliver:

    Well OK, but because of ethnic, religious, or political differences we have eliminated the citizenry of ….

    Do you not realize that we are commenting on someone advocating that the United States of America should in fact do this? Did you even watch the clip?

  42. @Gulliver:

    Just out of curiosity, do you think you will some day mature to the point where you realize that repeatedly quoting Latin is a substitute for actual thought…

    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

  43. EddieinCA says:

    “..tongue-tied”…

    I do not think the word means what he thinks it means.

  44. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Now put that catapult away….you could shoot your eye out.

  45. @Brummagem Joe:

    Now put that catapult away….you could shoot your eye out.

    Ex meis frigidis et mortuis manibus…

  46. PJ says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Have you ever noticed a pattern that you never seem to recognize names that everyone else in the comment section seems to be well acquainted with?

    I bet he knows who Saul Alinsky is though 🙂 A name most commenters are/were totally unaware of…

  47. PJ says:

    I learned two things today.
    1. Google Translate can translate Latin.
    2. Since Google Translate is translating “Catapultam habeo.” in the phrase into “You can not say.”, I really shouldn’t trust it for any important legal documents.

  48. mattb says:

    @PJ:
    Though remember that every Poli Sci professor is supposed to be intimately familiar with that particular name and the huge effect it had on political theory.

  49. Ben Wolf says:

    I think it’s safe to say that Tucker:

    1) Believes morality is entirely a construct of power.

    2) Has a lust for death and destruction which is literally insatiable. Along with Glen Reynolds he’s called for the extermination of tens-of-millions of people whos’ crimes consist of opposing the will of the United States and Israel.

    3) God is with us (as a propaganda point; I don’t believe for a moment Carlson or his fellow neo-con travellers are religious)

    These three points appear to be the basis of neo-conservative thought, and it’s a shame we can’t go back in time to stop Leo Strauss before he inflicts this sort of thinking on us.

  50. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Ex meis frigidis et mortuis manibus…

    Now you’re pushing me the only bits I recognised in that earlier quote was catapults and something about rocks.

  51. @Chris Lawrence: Thanks, had trouble telling who it was from the voice.

  52. @Brummagem Joe:

    The first quote was “I have a catapault. Give me all your money or I’ll fling an enormous rock at your head”, which has become something of an internet latin joke. The second was, of course, “From my cold dead hands” 😉

  53. WR says:

    @Ben Wolf: “Along with Glen Reynolds he’s called for the extermination of tens-of-millions of people whos’ crimes consist of opposing the will of the United States and Israel.”

    Actually, it’s even worse. He’s called for the extermination of tens of millions whose crimes consist of living in a country whose political leadership opposes the will of the US and Israel.

  54. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’ve largely forgotten all my latin as I had be crammed to pass an extrance exam. I remember the latin tags more easily from philosophy and they are useful for pinning insects like our resident of Lilliput.

  55. An Interested Party says:

    Tucker Carlson: Morally Bankrupt and Intellectually Void

    Steven, these are facts that anyone who has ever had the misfortune to see/hear/read Tucker Carlson has known for some time…

  56. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ann Coulter used to be very sexy–age and the effects of worshiping at the altar of “Saint Anna” seem to be taking their toll.

  57. Graham says:

    It’s really nice to see that everyone here*, from Ben Wolf to Tsar Nicholas, can all agree that Tucker Carlson is a moron who is clearly advocating a nonsensical position.

    It gives me a small glimmer of hope for humanity.

    * I’m going ahead and writing Gulliver off as simply a troll.

  58. James says:

    @Graham:

    * I’m going ahead and writing Gulliver off as simply a troll.

    I’ll admit it, I lol’ed

  59. grumpy realist says:

    @Brummagem Joe:Slightly OT: For the interested, there’s a book called “Latin: an intensive course” which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to get all of Latin grammar pounded into his head over the course of a summer of self-study. By the end of it, you’re reading Caesar nattering on about Germanic tribes and fighting traditions. (One reason to read Caesar’s Gallic Wars is all the vocabulary for Roman armament and fighting machines.)

    Yah, you gotta be careful of Google Translate. It’s ok for short and simple sentences, but if there is any possible ambiguity, whew, you’re at the mercy of whatever algorithm they use. (My co-worker tested it on some Japanese. Definitely incorrect..)

  60. Brummagem Joe says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Yah, you gotta be careful of Google Translate.

    I didn’t know there was google translate until someone above mentioned it and I’m not really interested enough to look at it. And for reading I prefer other subjects….I’m in the middle of a biography of George Kennan at the moment and have several other books awaiting my attention so I’m afraid Caesar’s commentaries are going to have to wait.

  61. Moosebreath says:

    cracker,

    “worshiping at the altar of “Saint Anna””

    If this is an anorexia gag, wouldn’t it be Queen* Anna?

    *I know — Latin for Queen is Regina, not Rexia.

  62. Franklin says:

    … but yet another to blithely call an entire nation of roughly 74 million people evil and crazy and to assert that they deserve eradication.

    I think this is a key point. I have Persian friends here in the States who have family in Iran. It turns out they are actually humans. Perhaps Tucker is just ignorant of that fact, I don’t know.

    BTW, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t support the annihilation of Ahmadinejad.