Tucker Carlson may have been given the boot at Fox News over his emphasis on the importance of prayer and his suggestion that America is not presently afflicted by bad politics, but rather by the forces of evil.
Carlson gave a keynote speech Friday at the Heritage Foundation's 50th anniversary gala in Maryland wherein he stressed that the old political binary fails to account for the division presently afflicting America. Instead, it can be better understood in theological or spiritual terms as a battle of good versus evil, suggested the 53-year-old.
An unnamed source reportedly briefed on Fox Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch's decision-making told Vanity Fair that Carlson was ousted largely over the speech on account of its religious overtones.
"That stuff freaks Rupert out," said the insider. "He doesn't like all the spiritual talk."
The offending speech
Carlson, whose journalism career started at the Heritage Foundation, told a crowd of around 2,000 that recent trends — such as the DEI and ESG initiatives that have swept big business or the medical tyranny that swept the nation along with COVID-19 — exposed not just cowardice but the strength of the herd instinct.
"The herd instinct is maybe the strongest instinct," said Carlson. "It may be stronger than the hunger and sex instincts, actually. The instinct, which again is inherent, to be like everybody else and not to be cast out of the group, not to be shunned — that’s a very strong impulse in all of us from birth. And it takes over, unfortunately, in moments like this, and it’s harnessed, in fact, by bad people in moments like this to produce uniformity."
The former Fox News host cited the LGBT movement’s incoherent speech codes and the efforts by many to contort to satisfy them as an example of herd instinct trumping rational and independent thinking.
Many Americans have surmounted this instinct, however, argued Carlson.
"There is a countervailing force at work always. There is a counterbalance to the badness. It’s called goodness. And you see it in people," he said. "So for every ten people who are putting 'he and him' in their electronic JPMorgan email signatures, there’s one person who’s like, ‘No, I’m not doing that. Sorry, I don’t want to fight but I’m not, like, doing that. That’s a betrayal of what I think is true. It’s a betrayal of my conscience, of my faith, of my sense of myself, of my dignity as a human being, of my autonomy – I am not a slave, I am a free citizen, and I’m not doing that. And there’s nothing that you can do to me to make me do it. And I hope it won’t come to that, but if it does come to that, here I am.Here I am. It’s Paul on trial. Here I am.’”
Carlson noted that during COVID and in the face of other recent "herd" events, there was no predicting who would ultimately stand up, but sure enough, people of various makeups and political persuasions ultimately did. When they did stand up to defend one truth, Carlson suggested the defiant frequently found themselves aggregating and defending additional truths.
“The truth is contagious,” said Carlson. “And the second you decide to tell the truth about something, you are filled with this – I don’t want to get supernatural on you – but you are filled with this power from somewhere else. Try it. Tell the truth about something. … The more you tell the truth, the stronger you become.”
He added that the reverse is also true: “The more you lie, the weaker and more terrified you become.”
Carlson took a more explicit theological view toward the end of his speech, when he suggested that whatever coherent binary that may have existed that was centered on a common vision of America is far gone, rendering useless the analytical framework that many still use to try to make sense of it.
“There is no way to assess, say, the transgenderist movement with that mindset. Policy papers don’t account for it at all. If you have people who are saying, ‘I have an idea: Let’s castrate the next generation. Let’s sexually mutilate children.’ I’m sorry, that’s not a political debate … but the weight of the government [and] a lot of corporate interests are behind that.”
Carlson intimated that the irrationality of leftist politics puts it outside the realm of politics and into the realm of spiritual warfare.
“If you’re telling me that abortion is a positive good, what are you saying? Well, you’re arguing for child sacrifice, obviously. … When the treasury secretary stands up and says, ‘You know what you can do to help the economy? Get an abortion.’ Well, that’s like an Aztec principle, actually.”
Carlson stressed that abortion zealotry, like the transgenderist movement, is a theological phenomenon.
“None of this makes sense in conventional political terms. When people or crowds of people … decide that the goal is to destroy things, destruction for its own sake – hey, let’s tear it down – what you’re watching is not a political movement; it’s evil.”
“I’m merely calling for an acknowledgment of what we’re watching,” said Carlson.
The former Fox News host ended the speech the way he began: imploring his audience to pray: “Maybe we should all take just like ten minutes a day to say a prayer about it … and I hope you will."
The offended sensibilities
The insider suggested that Murdoch "was perhaps unnerved by Carlson's messianism because it echoed the end-times worldview of Murdoch’s ex-fiancée Ann Lesley Smith."
Vanity Fair previously reported that Murdoch and Smith, originally slated to marry this summer, allegedly called it off because the 92-year-old had grown "increasingly uncomfortable with Smith's outspoken evangelical views."
In March, Murdoch, Smith, and Carlson reportedly had dinner together, during which Smith and Carlson discussed religion.
At one point, Murdoch's then-fiancée opened the Bible and read passages from the book of Exodus.
A source close to the Fox Corp. chair said, "Rupert just sat there and stared."
According the source, Smith "said Tucker Carlson is a messenger from God, and [Murdoch] said nope."
Just days after the dinner with Carlson, Murdoch kicked Smith to the curb.
Gabriel Sherman, writing for Vanity Fair, noted that this was just one of many "erratic decisions [Murdoch] has made of late that raises questions about Murdoch's leadership of his media empire."
Claremont fellow Megan Basham responded to the allegation that Carlson's religious overtones had something to do with his firing, writing, "The world is fine with talk of faith when it is soft and toothless. It is the faith that recognizes acts of good and evil that offends them."
Conservative commentator Matt Walsh tweeted, "Fox hired Caitlyn Jenner because he's trans and fired Tucker Carlson because he's religious. That's your 'conservative' news network."
FULL SPEECH: Tucker Carlson’s Last Address Before Leaving Fox News at #Heritage50youtu.be
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