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Tucker exposes Hannity’s outdated conservatism

Tucker Carlson (L) and Sean Hannity had a little disagreement over capitalism this week

July 24, 2020 - 11:23am

Hooray for Jeff Bezos! The plucky businessman from New Mexico increased his net worth by $13 billon this week, Amazon shares surging in the nightmarish plague year of 2020.

Most of the tech giants have done well since the Dark Times began, but then Covid-19 was only accelerating an existing pattern, the consolidation of wealth by an oligarchy.

Bezos’s good news caused a little disagreement between Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.

https://twitter.com/alexsalvinews/status/1285765782920499200

After Carlson had criticised the gazillionaire, Hannity responded: “People can make money
 that’s America, it’s called freedom, capitalism, as long as it’s honest.”

Twenty or even ten years ago Hannity’s views would have been the mainstream on the Right, but not anymore, and there are good reasons for that.

In The Coming of Neo-Feudalism, Joel Kotkin notes that:

In 1945–1973, the top 1 percent in America captured just 4.9 percent of total U.S. income growth, but in the following two decades the richest 1 percent gobbled up the majority of U.S. growth. The combined wealth of the richest four hundred Americans now exceeds the total wealth of 185 million of their fellow citizens.
- Joel Kotkin, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism

Kotkin’s argument is that the modern economy is developing neo-medieval characteristics, in particular that people are far more constrained in their ability to rise up the ladder, and more and more wealth is being concentrated in fewer hands. Social mobility was possible in the medieval period, but it was difficult, and although exact translations of wealth are hard to calculate, the relative amount owned by medieval barons would have dwarfed that of modern plutocrats
 until now.

‘That’s capitalism and freedom” is well and good, except that the collection of public virtues associated with democracy and conservatism depends on a strong middle class, promoting middle-class moderation, middle-class frugality and middle-class patriotism. Republican virtue cannot survive the consolidation of wealth in the hands of a few barons.

Then there is the conservative moral argument that, while inequality is natural in that our abilities vary — 18th century writers talked of our “diversity” to mean natural differences between people — extreme levels are immoral.

But there is also the point that, if we are returning to a medieval tripartite social order, then the very wealthy largely support the established religion — and that religion is progressivism, and an increasingly intolerant form.

Capitalism has traditionally been a force for liberalism and pluralism — the Venetians were always getting in trouble for breaking the ban on trading with Muslims, Jews and later Protestants — but that is no longer the case.

The new intolerance, whatever name we give it, is not being restrained by capitalism, but aided by it; woke capital, by infecting the market with politics, is a force for illiberalism and conformity, and much of what we call “cancel culture” is in fact “corporate HR culture”, with big business being able to silence the opinions of workers living in precarious financial conditions.

Increasingly tech monopolies are using their power to clamp down on unpopular and unorthodox thinkers, while big business uses its influence to lobby for political causes (see Google’s recent tweet targeted at Liz Truss over the trans issue).

As Tucker has said before: “The main threat to your ability to live your life as you choose does not come from the government anymore, but it comes from the private sector.” The sooner conservatives wake up to that fact, the better.


Ed West’s book Tory Boy is published by Constable

edwest

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Yes, Tucker tends to have a deeper understanding of things than any other TV anchor I can think of, here or in the US. But I would say that the threat to freedom now comes equally from the government and the private sector.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

Really surprised by Google’s lobbying for men to be allowed to enter women’s spaces. Creepy hashtag too: #trusstme. Sounds like something a sexual groomer would say.

Before I go, I would like to leave a quote here about Woke Capitalism. It’s not my own – I pilfered it from someone else on Twitter:

If your ‘Revolution’ is endorsed & sponsored by America’s most powerful corporations, and any dissent against it is censored by Big Tech, it’s not a revolution.
It’s the triumphant lock-in of an ideology that controls citizens’ hearts and minds for vested interests.
” – Geoffrey Miller

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Try Googling “men can” and “women can” and see what the Google algorithm suggests for you, i.e.:

Men can have periods
Men can get pregnant
Men can lactate
Women can do anything
Women can produce sperm

Darren Parker
Darren Parker
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucy Smex

Scary. It’s the twenty first century answer to “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength”. Wokeness claiming to have transcended biology…

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Darren Parker

It’s about getting the masses to accept the Big Lie. Once people admit to believing in something that deep down they know is total nonsense, they are committed to whatever direction that movement takes them.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucy Smex

Apologies but I was sceptical – so of course I had a go! And I got all of the above.

So I tried ‘people can’. First suggestion? People can fly!

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago

“People can make money”Š that’s America, it’s called freedom, capitalism, as long as it’s honest.”

When a business such as Amazon deliberately undermines its competitors to drive them out of business, or becomes a near-monopoly, or becomes bigger than the economies of many countries, one has to question that assertion.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucy Smex

“…undermines its competitors to drive them out of business..”
Willing to take a financial hit (financed by its investors through equity and debt) to drive its competitors (who?) out of business is not against the law (or immoral).
There are plenty of European companies (Zolando, MyTheresa, Asos, Zara, etc.) that have outperformed Amazon when it comes to selling clothes on line – as of now.
Amazon firepower didn’t make its Fire platform (phone) a success story.

Jeffrey Shaw
Jeffrey Shaw
3 years ago

Hannity is a classic “Bush-family” Republican. Tucker is far more engaged in Libertarian thought and the preservation of liberty. There is a huge difference. There is a reason that GHW Bush and Bill Clinton were such good friends after they were both out of office.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeffrey Shaw

Considering the US’s republican (small r) and anti-aristocratic/feudal/imperial foundation, I find it fascinating that there are so many dynasties in their politics.

Kennedy family, Bush, Clinton….I would not be surprised to see another Obama in the future.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

The American Revolution wasn’t really about “Freedom!” as Mel Gibson portrayed it. It was about the freedom of the colonial 1%ers to make money. Britain wouldn’t provide the money or the soldiers to allow safe expansion into the interior and the takeover of native American lands, so the rich colonists decided to go it alone.

Jeffrey Shaw
Jeffrey Shaw
3 years ago

As an American, and very fond of studying our economic history – you are essentially correct. The real story was always about managing the wealth of the new world. The patriotic hyperbole was window dressing for the great unwashed. It still is.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

Do agree – and am aware of the details behind the history – the 13 colonies were considerably better off from a taxation perspective among other things than anyone back in the homeland.

However at its foundation, and frequently invoked (via the constitution) since, the US has tried to keep to an anti-imperialist agenda and likes to see itself (in delusion or accurately) as an anti-aristocratic and meritocratic power.

Regardless of the reality – its kind of funny how it also seems to have dynasties like any of the old world powers.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

Threats come from any monopoly supplier, be it Government or private.

One cannot change supplier when you are unhappy with the service, but the ability to do so saves a lot of unhappiness and resentment.

The USA has a precedent with the oil barons, on how to brake up private monopolies and they should use it with the tech giants.

Unfortunately nobody has discovered how to solve the governments monopoly suppliers – or at least they do not dare to.

Penelope Newsome
Penelope Newsome
3 years ago

This seems to be more about Jorl Kotkin than about Tucker, I’m glad to hear about Kotkin’s interesting sounding book :The Coming of neo-Feudalism

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago

I remember reading that the libertarian economist, James M. Buchanan, supported a 100% inheritance tax (above a certain amount), presumably to avoid these kind of feudal concentrations of wealth. Interesting that that position, by an economist regarded as a spokesman of the extreme free-market right, looks left-wing by today’s standards.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
3 years ago

Isn’t this part of the ongoing realignment of politics? The socially conservative right is moving left economically; meanwhile the progressive left is moving right economically into a strange alliance with the corporate culture.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

Yes, the progressive left is doing more than moving right economically. Someone pointed out on Twitter that Owen Jones’ defence of drug use was indistinguishable from the libertarian position; as if he had no interest in the possible social or personal misery that can also result from drug use. (New Labour was at least true to its leftist roots when it banned smoking in public places.) The progressive left are now the party of individualists–at least when they’re yelling, “You’re not my mum!”

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago

the relative amount owned by medieval barons would have dwarfed that of modern plutocrats”Š until now.

I agree some medieval barons seemed to control a lot of territory, but they had huge fixed asset (castles) and running costs (soldiers, horses etc.) and seemed to be perpetually short of money, hence the need for the Jews, Lombards, Templars etc. to step in with loans. Not sure many of them were as wealthy as the top plutocrats of even the 19th century.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

For comparison, on the eve of the Dissolution the King’s (Henry VIII) annual income was about £100,000 in contemporary terms. ‘Mother Church’ about £300,000.

The richest Abbeys and Cathedrals had annual incomes of between £2500-£3000.Some of the great families of the ‘Thugocracy’ also approached these figures.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

Market value goes up, market value goes down. There is a strong argument to break up companies like Amazon, Google etc. But even if you do that Bezos will still be very rich.
Bezos (or any other rich person) will have plenty of money to throw at shaping public policies.

Dorota Retelska
Dorota Retelska
3 years ago

It is so weird…. Tegnell says here that he believes that infection fatality rate will be similar to flu. Last time he said it in the spring, then a government antibody testing showed that a small proportion, some percents of population infected causes full hospitals and a death toll similar to flu.
Testing allows to see if the epidemic is only starting, getting worse or coming to an end. It ®s very useful.
It is very strange that he doesn’t correlate the higher number of cases with lack of lockdown but with case counts. Countries with lockdown see less cases, they did the lockdown for that reason. His counts are surprising too, they contradict the science of epidemiology. Maybe the peak is Stockholm and other cities will come later?
It is surprising that he criticizes masks, I don’t see how to observe 2m social distances in public transport or in an office. Yet the other option, lockdowns, social distancing includes a high risk of disease anyway, so I agree to judge him in a year.

Michael McVeigh
Michael McVeigh
3 years ago

“The new intolerance, whatever name we give it, is not being restrained by capitalism, but aided by it” – do not mistake capitalism(good) for globalism (bad).

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

Globalism has existed since EVER. Phoenicians (3000 years ago) pioneered intercontinental global trade!
Are you going to prohibit selling Airbus (with RR engines) to China or India?

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

Hannity is a moron.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

He is a moron, as is the whole conservative/republican news media (Fox, talk radio, magazines, etc).
What does it tell you about the Republican/Conservative movement?

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

It’s not good to tar a whole demographic based on the words and actions of a few individuals. It leads to lazy thinking and a blinkered view of the world.

Andrew Russell
Andrew Russell
3 years ago

Reality is becoming a moveable feast.