Tucker Carlson Interviewed

One of the few TV talk show hosts I enjoy watching is Tucker Carlson on US Fox News. He’s funny and witty and engaging and insightful. I usually only get to watch him if YouTube suggests that I do. YouTube is always suggesting stuff for me to watch. And quite often I watch it.

Yesterday one of YouTube’s suggestions was Tucker Carlson being interviewed on the Rubin Report, and talking about Trump, mainstream media, and revolution. It was a whole 60 minute conversation between Dave Rubin and Tucker Carlson in 2018, in what seemed to be a room in Rubin’s house, with a couple of armchairs facing each other.

Carlson came over as much more animated than he usually is on his own show. I wondered if he was a bit nervous.

I ended up watching the whole show, and finding it illuminating. And the first most illuminating thing that Carlson said, about 2 minutes in, was this:

TC: What was I like as a kid? Well, I grew up here in southern California, and we lived in Studio City. And I think I’ve always been the same: anti-authoritarian, for the individual against the group. I hate bullies. I hate being bullied more than anything. And I so found myself – and I’ve always been this way – in a scenario where everyone is forced to nod in bovine agreement about something my instinct is to be the one guy who’s like No.

He talked about his father:

TC: My father was a non-conformist, I would say. That’s an understatement. His baseline position was Just because everybody says it doesn’t mean it’s true.

And then 46 minutes in he talks about giving up smoking:

DR: And you’re doing this: No booze , no cigarettes any more.

TC: No!

DR: Have you got any vice?

TC: The booze is easy!

DR: You drink coffee.

TC: I drink a lot – Voltaire levels of coffee. Not quite as impressive effects. And I quit smoking 4 or 5 years ago. I wouldn’t call it a vice, but I’m an enthusiastic user of nicotine gum and lozenges, because I think they really have improved my life, like a lot. I don’t want to endorse the product, but I’m not sure what the downside is of using nicotine. There’s a huge downside from smoking of course: the tar gives you cancer and everything. But I don’t think that we’ve shown that nicotine – for people who don’t have blood pressure problems, and I don’t – hurts you, and I think there’s a lot of evidence that it’s great.

And finally, right at the end.

TC: If you start to think that it’s okay to inflict group punishment on groups, then isn’t that the whole lesson of the 20th century that that’s wrong, that’s a cul-de-sac that ends in bloodshed.

Tucker Carlson (born 1969) is currently 50 years old, and he stopped smoking when he was about 45. That means he was probably smoking for 25 years beforehand, maybe longer. Why did he keep on smoking for so long? And why did he stop?

Why did a guy who hates bullies, and hates being bullied more than anything, and when everyone is forced to nod in bovine agreement about something his instinct is to be the one guy who says No – why did a guy like that stop smoking? Wouldn’t he have been the guy who was going to say about the dangers of smoking: “Just because everybody says it doesn’t mean it’s true”?

And perhaps he was. When I started smoking in 1966, at the age of 18 (thanks to the antismoking Dr W), smoking was perfectly acceptable and perfectly normal. But if Tucker Carlson started smoking at the same age, that would have been in 1987, in California presumably, and smoking was already becoming socially unacceptable, and it was a counter-cultural move for him to start smoking when everyone else was stopping.

So why did he stop smoking 25 years later? Did he suddenly discover something that he hadn’t known for the previous 25 years? Perhaps he had a health scare. I remember an old friend of mine, who’d been smoking for a similar period of time, who stopped dead when he thought he’d had a mild heart attack or something.

I think something must have happened to Tucker to make him give up smoking. It may have been a health scare. Or it may have been his wife (or children) who implored him to stop. Or maybe it was simply because he could no longer carry on smoking in the increasingly antismoking corporate world where smoking was banned pretty much everywhere, and he had to start using nicotine lozenges whether he liked it or not. Something like that. Something must have happened.

In his Wikipedia page he’s reported as saying:

I hate all nanny-state regulations, such as seat belt laws and smoking bans.

So there’s another question that comes out of all this. Tucker must have got a lot of bullying over his smoking from all quarters for pretty much his entire adult life. He’ll know exactly what it’s like. He might even know better than I do. So he knows that “group punishment” is being inflicted on smokers. He’s probably been on the receiving end of it countless numbers of times. So why doesn’t he protest against the group punishment of smokers that’s going on all over the world? 

I have the same question for countless other public figures: You can see what’s happening to smokers. You’ve experienced it yourself. So why don’t you protest?

Perhaps it’s simply that the antismoking wind in the USA blows at such hurricane force that it’s actually impossible to resist? Perhaps you get ‘re-educated’ about tobacco whether you like it or not. And that’s why nobody speaks up for smokers.

And if I keep banging on about the smoking ban, it’s perhaps simply because, living alone like a hermit, without nagging wife and kids, or bullying co-workers, or disapproving friends, I don’t face those hurricane force winds. I can think what I like. I don’t have to bow to peer pressure. And I’m lucky. Very, very lucky.

I’ve focused a bit unfairly on just a few things Tucker Carlson said. But he had a lot of other interesting things to say, about Donald Trump, MSM, and a lot of other stuff. And the title of the book he was plugging speaks for itself: Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution.

About Frank Davis

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11 Responses to Tucker Carlson Interviewed

  1. Joe L. says:

    Thanks for this, Frank. Very interesting. I like Tucker Carlson; he is one of the only members of the MSM who appears to march to the beat of his own drum and doesn’t simply parrot the pre-arranged narratives of the networks he has worked for (I’m sometimes puzzled as to why Fox News allows him to cover some of the things he does. For example, he continued to ask questions about the Las Vegas shooting for months after all other outlets appeared to simply forget about it altogether). And he has been very outspoken against the Nanny State.

    In fact, the following quote of Carlson’s appears on the cover of Theodore J. King’s 2009 book, “The War on Smokers and the Rise of the Nanny State”:

    Government efforts to fight cigarette smoking over the past 40 years amount to more than a victory for public health. They are also, as Ted King’s new book makes clear, a cautionary tale of how the state can bully, and ultimately crush, members of a momentarily-unfashionable minority group. Just because you don’t smoke doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be afraid.

    However, I wasn’t aware that he, himself, was a smoker at the time of penning that, nor was I aware that about five years later, he had quit smoking. Why? For him to believe that “the tar gives you cancer and everything”, it certainly seems like he has been thoroughly brainwashed by Tobacco Control. I agree with you that something happened, but I am now very curious to know what that something was.

    • Frank Davis says:

      This 2017 article in the New Yorker may explain it a bit:

      Carlson is forty-seven, and though he was formerly what one friend calls a “pretty heroic” drinker, he says that he quit in 2002, having decided that neither the pleasant nights nor the unpleasant mornings were improving his life. A few years earlier, he had given up smoking—cowed into submission, he once wrote, by “the dark forces of Health.” There is, alas, no substitute for alcohol, but for cigarettes there is nicotine gum, a product that Carlson buys, in bulk, from New Zealand, where it is sold in satisfactorily easy-to-open packaging. He chews constantly, stopping only to be filmed or to eat; he likes long lunches, during which he observes a not-entirely-strict proscription against carbohydrates.

      That he says he was “cowed into submission” sounds like he got thoroughly brainwashed, or placed under Doctor’s Orders, possibly in association with some health issue.

      The article would seem to be wrong in suggesting that he first stopped smoking, and then stopped drinking. From what he says in the video it was the other way round.

      • Joe L. says:

        The article would seem to be wrong in suggesting that he first stopped smoking, and then stopped drinking. From what he says in the video it was the other way round.

        True. The article makes it sounds like he quit smoking in the late 1990s, but it could just be poorly worded. “A few years earlier” may have been meant to be relative to 2017, not 2002, which would align with “4 or 5 years ago” in relation to today. Or maybe Carlson has been “cowed into submission by the dark forces of Health” several times over the years?

        I also wonder why Carlson turned to nicotine gum and lozenges. If he truly believes that “tar” is what causes “cancer and everything,” why would he not switch to vaping, which would provide him with an experience more similar to smoking, but without the so-called “tar”?

  2. Fumo ergo sum says:

    “Why did a guy who hates bullies, and hates being bullied more than anything, and when everyone is forced to nod in bovine agreement about something his instinct is to be the one guy who says No – why did a guy like that stop smoking?”

    That is a very good question which I cannot answer in Mr Carlson’s place of course, but here is a guess which I can infer from my own experience.

    I definitely concur with Mr Carlson when he says: “And I think I’ve always been the same: anti-authoritarian, for the individual against the group. I hate bullies. I hate being bullied more than anything. And I so found myself – and I’ve always been this way – in a scenario where everyone is forced to nod in bovine agreement about something my instinct is to be the one guy who’s like No.” This has been, still is, and probably will be forever my own personal stance toward the conformist bully society as well.

    But I confess that I too did quit smoking last year for about three months. I then might still have conceived of my smoking habit as just that – a habit which was purely accidental to my real personal essence, and which I could shrug off as easily as I picked up the habit back in 2003 at the age of 15. A bit like changing clothes. I always used to wear yellow tee shirts? Then let’s wear blue tee shirts from now on. As easy as that. And perhaps that by getting smoke-free, I could finally find my own place in society under the sun… for whatever reason that may be. It was at a time that loneliness crept in so hard, that I thought that quitting smoking might somehow relieve the (psychological) pain.

    Having always been a non-conformist throughout my life, things did not work out very well, as you may guess. Yes, it was an utter mistake to quit smoking, but nevertheless a mistake from which I have learnt a lot. So let me explain what happened.

    Now that I turned into a non-smoker, I finally had a world of smoke-free cafes, restaurants, clubs, theatres, hotels,… at my feet. So that I could finally somehow build a social life without being frowned upon all the time. Right? Wrong! Because for the simple reason I still continued to hate the smoking ban just as I hated it before. I actually never hated the smoking ban for preventing me from smoking per se. It was the normative foundation – based on lies, threats, naturalistic fallacies and cryptocommunism – that buttressed the smoking ban which bothered me a lot. And which simply continued to anguish me, even as a non-smoker. So I still conceived of all those smoke-free cafes, restaurants, etc. as eerie, state-owned, top-down administered “public spaces” which had to be avoided as much as possible. So I did not go out more often than before. I still continued to live as a quasi-recluse, with my 4 days a week commute to and from work being my only noticeable movement through space and time.

    So instead of turning more social and outgoing, I actually got tremendously bored. This became especially obvious at work during lunch break. All employees at work enjoy a 30 minute lunch break. I always used to split up these 30 minutes in two parts: 15 minutes to eat something in the canteen together with my colleagues, and the other remaining 15 minutes ‘exiled to the outdoors’ for… well, you may already know wherefore. But since I did not longer smoke, I simply remained in the canteen for the whole 30 minutes which allowed me to learn better my (non-smoking) colleagues. I do not wish to say anything bad about them, but as far as I am concerned, I just discovered how disappointingly dull and boring they were. Half of them were just immersed in mind-numbingly swiping through all kinds of social media on their smartphones; the other half kept on yapping about ‘work, work, work’. Or about the chiiiildren that needed to stay with their grandparents. Or the mortgage that still needed to be paid. Or… etc. Waisting time on a smartphone never really appealed to me (even though I have a smartphone); nor did I felt any urge to share any thoughts about my job or about my life with my colleagues that are actually complete strangers to me. So after a couple of weeks, I zoned out and took my lunch break in my car instead. Which didn’t turn out to be such a fantastic idea either, as the parking lot is quite remote from the office building’s entrance. So it turned out that once I finally arrived at my car, I actually had to turn back in order to resume work.

    Another thing that started to annoy me, was that I lost another break. I unfortunately live rather far away from my work, which means that my commute to and from my work involved a one hour drive. Sometimes even 1.5 hours, depending on traffic density. But I always used to have a cigarette break on the parking of a gasoline station on the motorway near Brussels. That, too, all the sudden vanished. Without cigarette, why should I still make a slight detour? To stretch my legs, or stroll around a bit, perhaps? But that didn’t appear to make much sense to me. So I just drove my commute in one single shot from door to door. But that, too, appeared to be very tedious after a while.

    So turning into a non-smoker did not help me to make more social contacts (on the contrary!), not did my life turn out to be more fun and laid-back. Again, the opposite is true. Then there was also this whole antismoking rhetoric of the health benefits of quitting smoking. I would finally feel my energy recovering! Powerful! Feeling less tired! Bright-minded! And so on… There just happened… nothing at all!! Even after three months without smoking, I still actually felt more or less the same way as before. Perhaps my health even slightly deteriorated, as my nose and respiratory tract grew very sensitive to (outside) air pollution, which made me sneeze almost all the time.

    After three months, I found myself still socially excluded. Even as a non-smoker, or ex-smoker, I did not want to partake into a society of bullies. And to make things worse, I felt terribly bored and annoyed. So I evaluated my whole no-smoking experiment. Was my smoking habit a merely ‘accidental property’ of the person that I am? Is smoking a (pathological) habit that needs medical treatment instead of a virtue of character in the Aristotelean sense? Perhaps that, too, was a lie after all. So the more I reflected about it, the more I realised that I actually lulled myself into believing that what the antismokers said was true. Whereas it is utterly false. That I was working from presuppositions that could not withstand philosophical scrutiny. In short, that I had been acting against my own principles all the time. But whoever acts against his or her principles, will sooner or later regret this. And that is what happened after three months.

    So my self-evaluation turned out to be overall negative – indeed, I cannot remind any single real advantage I experienced from being a non-smoker during that time. So after three months, I took my car, drove to work as usual, and made again a ‘slight detour’ to that gasoline station (which has a nice shop as well) after a long time of self-imposed abstinence. And I learnt an important lesson:

    And perhaps this may explain what happened to Mr Carlson. That he, too, is still believing that his smoking habit is nothing but a pathological, medicalized trait – like scratching after an itch or so – instead of an intrinsically good characteristic that constitutes who he is as a person. But if he is really as much individual-oriented as he claims to be, then he, too, will sooner or later discover that he has been continuously fooled all the time.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      You know, Fumo, I think that privately most quitters are the same as you were, but few of them have the courage to admit that they’ve made a mistake by quitting like you did, and as a result most plough on without their relaxing cigarettes and, as far as I can tell from pretty much all the ex-smokers I know, get grumpier and grumpier and angrier and angrier by the day. I think it’s one of the reasons why the worst and most vicious anti-smokers are ex-smokers – they’re jealous of people who continue to give themselves that unique “me time” that only a cigarette can give, but they can’t admit it – so they get angry and self-righteous instead. I think in psychological parlance, it’s called “projection” – they can’t accept the part of themselves that would dearly love to go back to smoking and misses it like Hell, so they attack it in others whenever they see it, as a form of release.

      Few, too, in my experience seem to get healthier and fitter like all those anti-smoking ads of uber-fit people sweating it out in the gym or running miles across the countryside would have us believe. Virtually all of the ex-smokers I know are the absolute worst for going down with any slight cough, cold or ‘flu that’s doing the rounds, whereas my smoking friends and colleagues never seem to fall victim (OK, correction – I did get ‘flu last winter, but it was an incredibly virulent bug which affected almost everyone and it was the first illness I’d had in about 20 years! No sign of a reappearance this year, despite a horrid sore throat and cold going round my workplace at the moment). And fitness – forget it! Post-smoking weight gain seems to put an end to that. Even the most active of my ex-smoking friends have either had to give up or cut down on the amount or type of exercise they do once they give up because they find it’s much harder or more painful once the pounds start to pile on (and, no, the exercise doesn’t keep it off), whereas I continue on with my own strenuous exercise regime at the same level of intensity as I always did, despite everyone constantly asking why I don’t find my smoking interferes with it!

      It’s also a truism that you discovered during your smoke-free period (and which anti-smokers are always keen to avoid talking about) that smokers do make much more interesting and amiable company than non-smokers. That’s why hospitality industries are hit so hard by smoking bans – it isn’t just that they lose the custom of smokers, but they lose the custom of a lot of non-smokers, too, because if a policy excludes all the interesting people (the smokers), then the fairly interesting non-smokers won’t want to go places any more because – well – there’s so few interesting people left, So they stop going, too, and then what are you left with? Just the boring non-smokers, and ironically, even boring people find other boring people boring, if you get my drift, so even they end up abandoning places! So pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes close, simply because the people who made them fun places to go aren’t there any more and over time their customer base is whittled down to only the kind of people that no-one else wants to socialise with – not even each other. Once that’s happened, then the places are doomed. I’ve lost count of the number of my non-smoking friends who have said to me recently “I just can’t be bothered to go out socialising these days – it’s just no fun any more” and who stay at home much more often now. Most of them can’t put their fingers on exactly why they never want to go out (because, to them, the smoking ban still “doesn’t apply” to them – so why would that be the reason?), and are genuinely bewildered by it. Oftentimes, it’s only when I’ve pointed out the curious correlation in time between the smoking ban coming in and them losing interest in going out that they have a little “lightbulb” moment and a sort of surprised “A-ha!” look appears on their faces!

      • Frank Davis says:

        even boring people find other boring people boring,

        I completely understand what you mean. But I have a slightly different view of it, which is that everyone is an interesting person, if you only take enough interest in them, The boring people either have nothing to say, or keep saying the same thing, but if you make the effort to talk to them (very often an uphill struggle) you’ll often discover someone who’s actually very interesting. I can think of a number of school and university friends who at first seemed rather boring people, but who turned out to have remarkable skills and remarkable insights once I’d made the attempt to get to know them. They were people who only opened up, very often in gratitude, when someone paid them attention that they hardly ever got. Conversely there are quite often interesting and attractive people who turn out, on closer inspection to actually be rather boring.

        If even boring people find other boring people boring, that’s probably because boring people don’t make any attempt to get to know anyone. Or it’s that boring people are actually people who find other people boring, and so have nothing to say to them, even though there is very often a lot that they could say.

        Conversely, interesting people are perhaps simply people who are interested in other people, and want to know what they think, what they believe, where they’ve been, what makes them tick.

        It’s a bit like the way that many (all?) chemical reactions require an activation energy to start them happening. Perhaps it’s the same with people. Some people require little energy expended to fire them, and some require a lot. ‘Interesting’ people require little effort, ‘boring’ ones require a lot. And that’s perhaps really the only difference.

  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    It sounds like the cumulative effect of relentless propaganda, persistent bullying, and increasingly intense persecution once again caused a smoker to quit to keep their place in broader society. The propaganda created a feed back loop that justified smoking bans and once the bans were in place justified the persecution and exclusion of smokers which in turn justified new smoking bans…

    The only counter is to expose the lies and manipulated data used to justify smoking bans and create cracks in the tobacco control justifications…

  4. Mark Jarratt says:

    I am about to suffer the effects of the latest top down social control, the inclusion of cigarettes, but not cigars, in the Australian prohibited imports regulations, as I am on my last few packs of German made Camel Blue.
    I wrote to those who know best how other adults should live two months ago seeking various information justifying this latest government intrusion into consumer free choice and autonomy. Predictably I have no reply but will send a reminder tomorrow. If the bully state again fails to reply I will convert my representations into a format suitable for media including the Aust Taxpayers Alliance and Civil Liberties Australia. That may well be yet more nugatory effort when about 90% of the sheeple including smokers believe the social engineering propaganda of the disgraceful tobacco prohibitionists, but someone has to take a stand! I will also make time to send the summary of referenced studies refuting the outlandish claims about smoking causing just about every illness known to humanity. 😠

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Best of luck with that, Mark. Things seem to be even worse in Oz than they are here in the UK (“Obesity” seems to be usurping smoking as the Big Bad Guy over here at the moment – although the uncannily-connected timings between the rise of obesity and the decline in smoking rates is curiously never mentioned!). But as you say, someone’s got to keep challenging these people, and even if one one person hears what you say about the lies, deceit and plain downright bullying and takes notice, then it’s worth it.

  5. Lepercolonist says:

    Tucker Carlson secretly wishes to light a cigarette every time he chews nicotine gum or sucks on a
    unpleasant lozenger. No pleasure or relaxation there .He must be miserable knowing what he is missing. I wish him the best of luck. He is my favorite T.V. personality.

  6. smokingscot says:


    Remember that crap ISIS claimed that smoking is a slow form of suicide. Therefore naughty and sufficiently so that they’d brutalise or kill smokers.

    Well the cleric who issued that decree – and many, many others has been found and arrested. He is one seriously fat bastard, helping to make his followers look like dumb fucks.


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