Tucker Carlson doesn't really believe the Democratic Party is heading a vast plot to replace white Americans with highly-organized brown and black left-wing foot soldiers.
Carlson does not believe the Democratic Party is hatching immigration policies designed to flood every corner of the nation with people of color who will obediently support any and all Democrats. He doesn't actually think liberals have strategically poured opioids into poor white counties in Appalachia to slowly kill white working-class folks, or that white birth rates have somehow been dramatically lowered by corrupt, unseen forces – genocide by any other name.
Carlson, host of the most openly racist show in the history of western television, knows that's all bullshit. He's not dumb. So-called white replacement theory – long pushed by the most radical elements of the American right – is nothing more than an expression of the fear and dread that grip the worm-infested minds of white folks terrified of a future in which the white race is not dominant. Tucker Carlson, a shit-eating Ivy League cosplay Klan member, surely laughs at anyone who buys into white replacement theory as the unquestioned truth. Carlson's peddling of "white replacement" horseshit reveals his contempt for his audience. He thinks they're fucking idiots (he's right).
That doesn't stop him from mainstreaming white replacement theory on his primetime Fox show watched by five million people every single night. Carlson's trumpeting of this neo-nazi fever dream has made white replacement theory the centerpiece of conservative politics in the United States. Once a fringe idea discussed by the most odious, raving-mad white supremacists, fully half of Republican voters now agree that the Democratic Party is conducting a white replacement campaign. Polling shows Republicans endorsing the idea that immigrants are not coming to the US for economic opportunity, but to influence elections and dilute the power of the Republican Party. The widely-held belief that immigrants are in on the grand plan crafted by liberal elites is particularly dangerous, for there's only one solution to stopping immigrants complicit in white replacement. And immigrants, unlike politicians, don't have security details.
These are the seeds of genocide. They are planted with great care by Tucker Carlson and his ilk. And these seeds of genocide are nurtured with bad faith. Carlson surely does not believe in white replacement.
Carlson's Bad Faith Racism Becomes Real-World Horror
Carlson probably smirked when he read about the 18-year-old nazi in Buffalo who stormed a marketplace in a predominantly black part of Buffalo and murdered 13 people, almost all of them black. Such is the price of doing business in conservative media. Carlson can't help if some deranged kid who's watched nazi YouTube videos since childhood loses his head and commits mass murder, right? Carlson didn't tell the killer to kill. He merely told the killer that an elite cabal of child predators and satan worshippers had worked with black and brown immigrants to systematically destroy the killer's family, his friends, his culture (if there is such a thing). Carlson only suggested the killer was being targeted in a genocidal campaign, that he may be imprisoned or sent to a camp, that people who look like him are in mortal danger every single day. What the killer did with that information was on him.
There's no reason Tucker Carlson should be allowed by the federal government to discuss white replacement on a primetime news show. But this is free speech, which we hold as sacrosanct, even when bad actors leverage free speech to inspire murderous rampages. Everyone deserves to speak, we're told. It's up to people – consumers – to determine what is and is not right. In the marketplace of ideas, the best ideas will reign. To me, a moron, this checks out.
It's all dogshit, of course. Free speech must be reined in; it's the only viable long-term solution for the insidious problem of white supremacist violence (which should be the central focus of every law enforcement agency in the country). Their speech cannot be allowed in the public square, whether that's on TV, in print, or online. Their speech must be squelched, disallowed, censored into oblivion. They must be removed from politics. Any politician who promotes anything resembling white replacement should be permanently banned from every major social media platform, and if the speech is deemed dangerous enough, they should be monitored by law enforcement. These theories – that poor immigrant families have come to your city to replace you – are far too dangerous to be allowed into the political mainstream. The bullet-riddled bodies in Buffalo are proof, as were the corpses in El Paso after a white supremacist's 2019 rampage. Oceans of blood have been spilled – families torn to pieces, communities ripped apart – because Tucker Carlson is allowed to speak.
Carlson's campaign against immigrants in the US is followed nightly by fellow Fox fascist Laura Ingraham, whose racism is so naked that she greeted the 2016 GOP Convention with a nazi salute. As far back as 2018, after Democrats captured the House with women of color who triggered the shit out of every conservative in the country, Ingraham made sure to include undocumented and documented immigrants in her screeds about white folks being systemically replaced by the foreign, brown-skinned bogeyman. Her hatred of so-called legal immigrants is refreshingly honest; the American right has despised legal immigration since their ancestors arrived from Germany or Italy or England or wherever the fuck else white people came from.
"The America we know and love doesn't exist anymore," Ingraham said in August 2018. "Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don't like ... this is related to both illegal and legal immigration."
Anyone with white, even moderately conservative white parents knows how these words ignite the fear center of the racist brain. Ingraham's words were created in a laboratory to drive baby boomers insane with fear and loathing. She absolutely should not be legally permitted to say these things on TV.
Free speech has been compromised by the supercharged bad-faith politics that run rampant on Twitter every minute of every day. This, naturally, spills into highly-influential TV shows and into real life, where we have Republican senators carrying water for Qanon in their questioning of Supreme Court nominees. Free speech has been weaponized by right-wing grifters who understand how to grow and maintain a loyal white audience – with a steady drip of fear and hate, administered with a knowing smile. Carlson has somehow managed to accuse mainline Democratic lawmakers – the most spineless, ineffective politicians on the planet – of engaging in eugenics against whites while advocating for a eugenics campaign aimed directly against black and brown people. It's an almost magical kind of bad faith.
Refusing to acknowledge the right's weaponization of free speech is a resounding victory for the worst among us: The inheritors of the nazi cause, the nihilists, the progeny of the greatest villains in history. They cannot be permitted to speak freely if we are to be free.
The concept of free speech must be reassessed for the 21st century, and any argument to the contrary is either naive or in total bad faith. You can't see what's happening in 21st century media and political landscape and genuinely believe American ideals of free speech have any place here. Tucker Carlson is not handing out pamphlets on the street corner in 1798. He's not publishing a hateful Sunday column in a local newspaper in 1917. He's not posting racist screeds on a blog read by approximately no one in 2003. Carlson is blasting out the world's most bilious political speech to an audience of millions. He's turning apolitical Americans into Hitler adherents. For this to go unchecked in the name of some elementary school ideal of the First Amendment is unconscionable.
This week you'll hear politicians and community activists and news anchors and pro sports teams in the Buffalo area rambled on about "stopping hate" and "stopping racism." How we are to stop these phenomena is never discussed. I think that's because we know the only real way to "stop hate" is to unhook the hate IV from Americans plastered to to their phones and tablets and TVs. To "stop hate," we must seek the root of the hate and rip it out, once and for all. Carlson and media personalities like him are the root of hate. They must be removed from the discourse if we are to have any chance to "stop hate," whatever that might mean to you.
You Will Not Replace Us
The words rang in my head for months after Trump-adoring, all-American nazis – emboldened by the Republican Party's full embrace of fascism in 2016 – stormed the sleepy town of Charlottesville in August 2017. "You will not replace us," they chanted in unison (it may have morphed into "Jews will not replace us") with their polo shirts and neatly-creased khaki pants visible in the light of their tiki torches. The phrase was said with such force, such plain animosity, and all the fear and anxiety that comes with having your brain hijacked by hate.
This Klan-like show of power was in fact a show of weakness. These people are afraid, fragile, feeble minded. They know only terror and hate. They do not know love: They are neither loved nor capable of love. They are, to a person, fundamentally unlovable. White supremacists do not deserve love or forgiveness, even if they repent for their sins. Their souls are forever stained; they can't be allowed to forget that.
These men had given into the rot that had festered in their minds for years and years, maybe their whole lives. On that muggy, terrible night in Charlottesville, they became the rot, a collective cancer that melded together and told the world that hate would no longer be contained. It would be set free. The president, after all, would want it that way.
The Charlottesville nazi chant was their pushback against the plot to replace white Americans with folks of color. The intent was clear: We will use violence to achieve our political aims. And really, if a group of people truly believes they are victims of genocide, violence as a political strategy cannot be dismissed. How many of the Charlottesville nazis truly believed in the replacement theory, we'll never know. Surely many of them did believe in it as a matter of fact. For that, you can thank conservative media, which should not be allowed to exist in a multiracial, democratic nation.
Following Tucker's Orders
The Buffalo shooter, an online broken brain radicalized by algorithms, had diagrams of his path through the marketplace he attacked; he said he targeted the Tops Markets location in Buffalo because its zip code has the highest percentage of black people close to where he lives. Surrounded by white folks in upstate New York, the nazi had to seek out his victims – the people Carlson indicts every night on Fox. The Buffalo shooter followed in a proud and horrifying tradition of transmuting racist bad-faith politics into good-faith real-life horrors.
In a perverse Q&A manifesto published before he followed the orders of conservative media, the Buffalo killer called his murder spree "a partisan action against an occupying force." He said "there is no non-white living on white land who is innocent." His attack, he said, was "beyond all doubt anti-immigration, anti-ethnic replacement, and anti-cultural replacement." The killer's manifesto reads like a transcript for Tucker Carlson Tonight.
The right's bad-faith anti-immigrant rhetoric has created and emboldened an army of white supremacist killers who rampage through communities of color, fighting a war that exists on their screens and in their heads, taking and destroying lives because their worst instincts have been carefully cultivated by Tucker Carlson and people like him. These people don't belong in society; they belong in cages. But first, they must be stripped of their right to speak freely.
Tucker Carlson's seeds of genocide have sprouted, and ending free speech as we know it is the only way to kill the weeds.
Follow Denny Carter on Twitter @CDCarter13 for maximum alienation.