Last week Tucker Carlson produced a long, thoughtful analysis of the problems of America today. He may be a conservative commentator, but his analysis isn't grounded in conservatism as such. Instead, he looks at the root of American society - families - and asks how we got where we are today. He identifies both major parties (quite correctly, IMHO) as equally guilty of the current malaise - something I've done in these pages for years, as regular readers will recall. Mr. Carlson calls for a family-focused and family-centric solution. I found it very hard to disagree with either his arguments or his conclusions.
The video of his presentation is provided below. The full transcript is available here. I'd like to highlight a few points from the transcript, and recommend them to your attention. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
Donald Trump rode a surge of popular discontent all the way to the White House. Does he understand the political revolution he harnessed? Can he reverse the economic and cultural trends that are destroying America? Those are open questions. But they’re less relevant than we think. At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be too. The country will remain. What kind of country will be it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live? These are the only questions that matter.
. . .
... culture and economics are inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible. You can’t separate the two. It used to be possible to deny this. Not anymore. The evidence is now overwhelming. Consider the inner cities. Thirty years ago, conservatives looked at Detroit or Newark and were horrified by what they saw. Conventional families had all but disappeared in poor neighborhoods. The majority of children were born out of wedlock. Single mothers were the rule. Crime and drugs and disorder became universal. What caused this nightmare? Liberals didn’t want to acknowledge the question. They were benefiting from the disaster, in the form of reliable votes. Conservatives, though, had a ready explanation for inner city dysfunction: big government. Decades of badly-designed social programs had driven fathers from the home and created what they called a “culture of poverty” that trapped people in generational decline.
There was truth in what the conservatives said. But it wasn’t the whole story. How do we know? Because virtually the same thing has happened decades later to an entirely different population. In many ways, rural America now looks a lot like Detroit. This is striking because rural Americans don’t seem to have much in common with people from the inner city. These groups have different cultures, different traditions and political beliefs. Usually they have different skin colors. Rural people are white conservatives, mostly. Yet the pathologies of modern rural America are familiar to anyone who visited downtown Baltimore in the 1980s: Stunning out of wedlock birthrates. High male unemployment. A terrifying drug epidemic.
Two different worlds. Similar outcomes. How did this happen?
. . .
What kind of country do you want to live in? A fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don’t accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement. A country you might recognize when you’re old. A country that listens to young people who don’t live in Brooklyn. A country where you can make a solid living outside of the big cities. A country where Lewiston, Maine seems almost as important as the west side of Los Angeles. A country where environmentalism means getting outside and picking up the trash. A clean, orderly, stable country that respects itself. And above all, a country where normal people with an average education who grew up no place special can get married, and have happy kids, and repeat unto the generations. A country that actually cares about families, the building block of everything.
What will it take a get a country like that? Leaders who want it.
. . .
Socialism is a disaster. It doesn’t work. It’s what we should be working desperately to avoid. But socialism is exactly what we’re going to get, and soon, unless a group of responsible people in our political system reforms the American economy in a way that protects normal people.
If you want to put America first, you’ve got to put its families first.
There's much more at the link - or you can just watch the video below for his full presentation. Highly recommended reading and/or viewing.
Mr. Carlson's recent book, "Ship of Fools", is in many ways an expanded version of his comments above. It makes for sobering reading.
Regardless of one's personal politics, I think we can all benefit from sober, careful reflection about what Mr. Carlson has to say. We may not agree with all of it, but he's offered a serious and (IMHO) even-handed analysis of what got us into this mess, and a way to get out of it. Unless we listen to people like him, on both sides of the political aisle, I'd say we're riding for a fall, collectively and individually, in these formerly United States.
The greatest tragedy of this situation, IMHO, is that the US education system has been so deliberately, systematically dumbed down over the past half-century that most of its graduates are no longer capable of independent thought. They haven't been taught how to think - only how (and what) to feel about a problem or situation. There's no way out of this mess through feelings. It can only be solved by thinking it through, analyzing its causes, coming up with workable solutions, and implementing them. None of those things involve feelings at all - only facts . . . yet facts are precisely what most of this country's people (including many of our politicians) are refusing to face.