The American Ruling Class

A transcript of the Lew Rockwell Show with Tucker Carlson

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Rockwell:  Good morning.  This is the Lew Rockwell Show.  And what an honor it is to have as our guest this morning, Mr. Tucker Carlson.  I’ve been a fan of Tucker for years on various cable news shows but it’s such a thrill that he’s on at 8:00 every night on the FOX News channel with Tucker Carlson Tonight.  Tucker also is an entrepreneur.  He started the Daily Caller as the editor-in-chief and it’s a very successful site.

Tucker, your book, I was thrilled to see, pushed Bob Woodward out of number one on the New York Times best-seller list.  Amazon said that they’re having trouble filling the orders it’s flying off the shelf so fast.  It’s Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution.

Tucker, why does the ruling class hate the American working class so much?  Why do they want to replace it with immigrants, as Bill Kristol openly champions?

Carlson:  Well, I mean, that’s kind of the central question.  I think there are a couple of reasons for it.  But let me just note, as I think I’ve read you write, this is the only revolution in anyone’s memory waged against the working class, not on its behalf.


Typically, you know, revolutions are supposed to be for the unemployed.  And now, of course, we’re trying to make – I think there are a couple of reasons.  But, I mean, they’re inconvenient.  They complain.  They’re living proof that the power schemes of the people in charge have failed.  I mean, if you’re running a country and your middle class is dying, you’re demonstrably a failure.  And so, you know, you want to get rid of that evidence as fast as you can. Ship of Fools: How a S... Carlson, Tucker Check Amazon for Pricing.

But I also think there’s something deeper going on, which is that technology has eliminated a lot of the value in labor.  So in 1947, no politician could attack the working class.  That was the heart of the country.  I mean, our industrial base needed workers to build things.  And now we have an economy based on finance, and technology promises to replace, you know, a huge percentage of those people who still work with their hands.  So actually, labor isn’t worth much anymore.  And so it doesn’t matter; you can attack people you don’t need; and they are.  And it’s disgusting because the point of leadership is not simply to reap its benefits but to rise to its obligations.  And the first obligation is to the people beneath you.  If you’re a parent, your obligation is to your kids; if you’re an officer, to your troops; I mean, if you’re a CEO, to your employees; and if you’re the U.S. government, it’s to your citizens.  So there’s something not just unimpressive but something immoral about their failures, in my opinion.

Rockwell:  I think you’re exactly right.  And when we look at Silicon Valley, for example, as part of the working class, it seems like the government, maybe for the first time in history, has outsourced the police state to these private companies.

Carlson:  Exactly.

Rockwell:  So that we have to worry about Google and Facebook and the rest of them.

Carlson:  That’s exactly right.  And if you’re a kind of conventional conservative, like I have been for most of my life, you’ve been – I’m 49, so I grew up in the Reagan era and I was trained to believe that the singular threat to our liberty was government.  That’s what Reagan said.  He was probably right at the time.  And it takes a while, if you’ve grown up believing that, to readjust to the new reality, which is now the singular threat to your freedoms, to your freedom of association, certainly to your freedom of speech, to your ability to think, is technology.  It’s the big tech companies.  It’s Google primarily, but it’s also Facebook and Twitter and the rest.  Simple question: Who knows more about you, Google or the Social Security Administration?  There’s no contest.

And Google is the biggest company in the history of the world.  I’m not really surprised that conservatives still defend it because they’ve been so trained by Libertarian economists and the Chamber of Commerce to kind of bow down to any company because that’s capitalism, the free market or whatever the slogan is.  But I’m really surprised and horrified that the left has given up its long-standing position that concentrations of power, corporate power, are a threat to a democracy.  They were right, absolutely.  I laughed at them.  I shouldn’t have; they were right.  And now they’ve decided to enter this bargain with corporations, where the companies fund left-wing activism in exchange for suspending all criticism of their greed and power.  It has completely changed my politics, I’ll tell  you that, because I think it’s real; it’s a threat.

Rockwell:  And we have that 85-page document just leaked in the last couple of days where Google admits that they, of course, want to abolish free speech.  And they want to be in control of the abolition.

Carlson:  Well, they’re embracing what they euphemistically call the European tradition.  And, of course, that’s a tradition without a Bill of Rights, without a First Amendment.  And there’s no greater threat, I would say, to our democracy than these companies.

The remarkable thing is that we think – I mean, we should have seen this coming.  But we’ve been trained to believe that these are American companies because they’re primarily staffed by Americans, they were incubated partly at taxpayer expense on the campus of Stanford.  They could only have grown in a country with a legal system, with a patent system like ours.  So America made these companies possible.  But they’re not American.  They’re multi-national corporations that have no loyalty to our country or our government.  They are, in fact, owned by foreign countries in large part by the sovereign wealth funds of nations that hate us or are our rival.  So, in fact, they’re foreign entities in our midst, which control almost all information in English.  So, by definition, why is that not a terrifying reality?  It is.  And I’m not sure why more people aren’t saying that, but they should be.

Rockwell:  Isn’t there a section of the Communications Decency Act that gives them a special privilege that they’re now violating and nobody seems to even know about it or care about it?

Carlson:  On your show, if you accuse somebody of a crime or if somebody on your show – if I said it right now, you are liable.  You could be sued.  Google cannot be.  If we planned some crime on G-mail, they can’t be held accountable.  That’s because they have an exemption under the Decency Act, which gives them immunity from that.  In exchange, they say, we’re not a media organization; we don’t edit the content; we’re a conduit to this information because we’re a neutral platform.  And that’s how they describe themselves.  That’s a lie.  And now we have documents showing it’s a lie.  They edit content.  Google, among other things, is a news organization.  It edits content.  It decides what you can see and what you can’t.

So the Republicans are in charge of the Congress.  They should be protecting the population from this obvious risk but they’re not.  Mike Lee, Senator from Utah, is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrusts.  Google is obviously a monopoly; it’s got a monopoly on search.  So I brought this up to him, why aren’t you doing something about this, and he looked kind of embarrassed and muttered something about the free market or capitalism, neither of which applies, of course, to Google, but whatever.  That was the talking point and he kind of moved on.  The truth is the public is not being protected from the threat because there’s a bipartisan agreement that Google’s interests are more important than those of the population.  That kind of tells you everything right there.

Rockwell:  Do you think, as rumor has it, that the CIA had something to do with starting Google and funding it in the beginning?

Carlson:  I can’t speak to that precisely but I know that government has intersected with the growth of the tech sector at every turn.  I mean, there’s a reason that Amazon might move to northern Virginia and that’s because the U.S. government, after 9/11, expanded the information-carrying capacity, the pipeline in northern Virginia, at public expense, in order to protect the country from terrorism.  So there’s many examples of these companies piggybacking on federally funded military projects, defense projects, and turning a profit.  I mean, this is a long-spanning kind of tradition, of course, of where does government begin and where does the company end, it’s not always clear.  It’s not clear at Raytheon or Boeing and it’s not clear at Google.

And yet, again, these are not American companies.  Google has, just yesterday, pulled itself out of the running to work with DOD on a project because it said working with the American Defense Department is inconsistent with its corporate values.  And yet, they’re full speed ahead on catering to the government of China, the Fascist government of China in its efforts to suppress free speech within China.  I mean, their loyalty is not to our government.  This is a foreign entity and I think we should start to see it that way.

Rockwell:  No, you’re exactly right, of course.  And it seems to be true of the entire tech sector.  All left wing.

Carlson:  Yes.

Rockwell:   And as you pointed out, some of the billionaires behind all of this are considered to be on the right as well as on the left.  We’ve got the Kochs as well as George Soros.  You point this out in your book.

Carlson:  But if you’re in charge of something, again, whether it’s a family or a company or a country, you have to be all in.  That’s why the captain goes down with the ship, because that’s an assurance to the rest of us.  He’s the captain, he’s got his quarters, got better food, but in the end, if something goes wrong, he takes full responsibility for it.  And that’s the way human society, successful ones, have always been organized.  If you reap the benefits, you have to take the risks.  And we’ve disaggregated risk from benefits all up and down our society, the banking sector, most famously, but also in our political sector and our tech sector.  So in other words, these guys are running companies that hurt the country, our country.  And yet, if our country goes south, like how many of them have foreign passports, how many consider themselves as American, how many of them think nationally is even a legitimate category?  None.  You know what I mean?

Rockwell:  Yes.

Carlson:  Like they’re not loyal to America and yet they have enormous power over America.  That’s a very – that’s a system that cannot continue.

Rockwell:  Why do they hate Trump so much?  I mean, such bitter, bitter hatred that I’ve never seen in my lifetime.

Carlson:  Well, it’s not ideological.  And this was something that took me a while to figure out because I am ideological.  You know, I’m interested in ideas.  And I’m not a deep intellectual but I see the world through the lens of ideas.  That’s just my nature.  And so I was baffled by this for the first couple of months.  And during the campaign, it was like Trump, on the merits, is the most moderate Republican, most liberal Republican we’ve ever elected, that’s for sure.

Rockwell:  Mm-hmm.

Carlson:  He’s a casino owner from New York City.  Are you kidding?  So he’s the opposite of evangelicals.  That was always their fear that we would get a theocracy, that Pat Roberts would take control and turn it into a Handmaid’s Tale or whatever.  We got Trump instead and they hate him much more.  They like Mike Pence, the actual evangelical more.  Well, why is that?  It’s really simple.  It’s not about ideas, it’s not about policy.  They don’t care about that.  What they care about is evading personal responsibility for the disasters they’ve created.

So Trump’s main sin is the fact that they can’t control him and he’s likely to say anything.  Trump’s one gift – Trump is obviously not a deep thinker.  I’m not attacking him.  I’m not a deep thinker either.  Trump’s main gift is being able to smell what’s true, the obvious truth, and say it out loud or ask a question about it.  He asks questions like, well, why do we have NATO.  Wasn’t the point of NATO to keep the Soviets from invading western Europe, they don’t exist, why do we still have it?  Why are we still in Afghanistan?  We’ve been there 17 years, we’re not succeeding, why are we still there?  So the threat that Trump poses is really simple – he calls them out on their failures.  He asks question that, for some reason, no one has asked.  The most obvious of all questions, why are we signing trade deals and not making the other signatory live up to them.  That’s not a complex question.  I don’t understand much about trade, speaking for myself, but I recognize that as a legitimate question.  We’ve got troops on the Korean peninsula.  They’ve been there since 1950.  The Koreans are not paying us for that.  We’re protecting them from being invaded but they’re not paying in.  Why is that?  Maybe there’s a good reason.  I don’t know.  Why are we still in Afghanistan?  I don’t know.  Maybe there’s a good reason.  Speak slowly so I can understand what that reason is.

They won’t engage because they don’t have an answer.  Their answer is, shut up, Racist.  So Trump’s main threat to them is he’s the one guy who doesn’t care if you say, shut up, Racist.  He says, yes, whatever, what’s the answer?  And that quality of his, above any other, is why they hate him.

Rockwell:  And it’s also why they hate the people who elected him.

Carlson:  And that’s what’s different.  And that’s what is so shocking to me.  I think you’re absolutely allowed to hate Trump or any other politician.  I think it’s OK.  I don’t like politicians but I’ve spent my life covering them.  They’re horrible.  So I think it’s totally legitimate to dislike a politician, for sure.  What’s not legitimate is to ignore the concerns of your fellow Americans and attack them for asking to be represented or asking to have their questions answered legitimately or for voting for a candidate.  If you find yourself truly hating half the country, the problem is with you, not with them.

Rockwell:  Tucker Carlson, I can’t thank you enough for coming on the show this morning.  You’re, as always, doing a great job for America and for the future of this country if, indeed, it has a future.  You point out so many things, the growing violence that only a few of us seem to care about.  Your show is terrific.  Your book is outstanding.  You’re a brilliant writer as well as a brilliant talker.  So it’s just a thrill to have you on the show.  And I can’t thank you enough for coming.  And we’re going to sell some copies of your book.

Carlson:  I’m honored to come on.  Thank you, Lew.  I appreciate it.

Rockwell:  Thank you, Tucker.

Well, thanks so much for listening to the Lew Rockwell Show today.  Take a look at all the podcasts.  There have been hundreds of them.  There’s a link on the LRC front page.  Thank you.

This originally appeared on October 12, 2018.