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.
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.