If you’ve been paying attention to prime time cable news, which I would not blame you if you haven’t, you’d notice Tucker Carlson dominates the evening. Perhaps many of you still think of a young Carlson with a squirrely bowtie on CNN debating James Carville. However, the Tucker Carlson that broadcasts weeknightly these days is nothing like that young geeky kid. Carlson is a firebrand now. He has been quietly advocating for what seems to amount to American Third Positionism. This is edgy territory for a prime time cable news host. Third Positionism, which is a mixture of populist social conservativism and nationalist economic policies, has long been used by hardcore ethnic fascist parties throughout history. Carlson recognizes this and is careful about the way in which he approaches the topic. Third Positionism does not have to include racism and xenophobia. But it so often slides into it. With all the chatter of Carlson entering the political arena, he must navigate the waters of populism and the Third Position carefully. Lest he give his political opponets all the ammunition they would ever need to bury him in an election.
The Third Position is a political movement born out of the turmoil of 20th century Europe. It was presented as a middle ground between Western bloc capitalism and democracy and Eastern bloc communism and authoritarianism. It both borrows from both while being highly critical of both. Tucker has been walking this line for some time now. He bashed socialism for what it is, a disaster that leds to starvation and death, but he also rightly points out that unregulated market forces almost always crush the native population of a country. The problem arises when populist ideas surrounding race and culture enter the discussion. Too many times, especially in Europe where Third Positionism started, this ideology devolves into racism and ethnic fascism. It believes a certain group of people must be mandated by the state to be separated based on their skin color. This idea simply does not work in a country like America, which is too young to have a true ethnic character. Tucker masterfully counters this by constantly bringing up culture over race. It has nothing to do with the color of your skin, to think so is abhorrent and unAmerican. Instead it has to do with the content of your character, imbued in you by your culture since birth. Tucker is smart to make this distinction as Third Positionism needs to rid itself of the albatross of ethnic fascism if it wants to gain any traction in America.
Carlson believes the American values of liberty and freedom to be paramount. However, he is not afraid to put his foot down when liberty and freedom trample on the American people. He is vocal against large corporations exploiting American workers, Big Tech censoring Americans, and Big Pharma getting Americans addicted to life crushing opiates or when trendsetters and influencers push drug legalization because, hey, freedom! Notice the theme here? Tucker Carlson cares about Americans. Full stop. He is not partisan about it either. In a recent episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson gave a nod to Elizabeth Warren for her nationalist economic policies that put American workers first. And at the same time he has rallied against giant libertarian Republican funders like the Koch Brothers for infecting the party with market fundamentalism that crushes the ordinary person. He has said multiple times he supports politicians and policies that put Americans first, no matter what.
Tucker Carlson deeply cares about America and her values and culture. Being a part of the cultural elite he sees the rot affecting our nation and seems determined to eradicate it. He speaks emphatically about these problems being “poison, injected into the veins of our nation.” Powerful imagery. But so very true. Tucker is trying to wake us up. He is trying to tell us to stop being partisan, both sides have great ideas, and its unfortunate that one side or the other has to come as a package deal with the undesirables. Want social conservativism and classical liberalism? Sorry that comes with unregulated markets that crush common folk. Want economic policies that don’t ship your jobs overseas, or regulation against predatory economic practices? Sorry that comes with ghoulish excitement over abortion and political correctness. Why is there no middle ground? Now there is. His name is Tucker Carlson.