Tucker Carlson addressed America Fest attendees on Saturday night in Phoenix as part of Turning Point USA’s four-day event. Carlson spoke a lot about his miscalculations on the 2022 midterm elections.
Carlson said the last month or so has “really changed the way” he thinks about a lot of things — which doesn’t happen often for someone in their 50s, he noted.
“The midterm elections taught me a number of new things,” he said. “You never learn anything except through pain and humiliation. I wish that weren’t true, unfortunately, no one has put me in charge of the rules of nature, so that is the law. And it’s unchanging.”
Carlson said he’s never learned anything from succeeding and getting what he wanted. But he has learned a lot from failure and humiliation.
The midterm elections were a “grave disappointment,” he said, to every normal person.
“But they were particularly painful to me because I got them so completely wrong,” he said. “Like, I’ve never gotten anything wronger in my life. And it’s not like I blew a question on a physics test. I blew like, a question on the test that I’ve been preparing for for 31 years since I’ve been covering politics.”
Carlson said he thought the elections would be “super simple.” He said the Democrats were in charge and not only weren’t delivering on making people’s lives better in measurable ways, but are failing in measurable ways.
“People are getting poorer, the country is getting more chaotic,” he said. “I could belabor this for an hour, in fact I do Monday-Friday if you care to tune in, but you almost don’t need to because it’s so obvious that it doesn’t kind of need explanation. I mean the story tells itself — it’s the story of your life because you live here. It’s not going well and in a normal system the party in charge of deciding what we do next would be punished for that.”
Democrats aren’t even trying to make anyone’s life better.
“They’re not even pretending,” he said. “‘Go castrate some children, OK. How about a war that we have nothing to do with? You want more of that? Yeah, a lot more.’ There’s no way a party that pretends that, you know, that that is going to make your life better is not even up for debate. So it’s like they’re going to be destroyed because they’re not even trying.”
Of all the Biden Administration’s efforts, Carlson said the only one that made sense to him is the student loan scam.
“At least it kind of made sense — we will pay you to vote for us,” he said. “I get that. That’s not complicated, that’s just corrupt. But everything else, it was like, ‘How about this, I’m going to make it almost unbearable to live here. That’s what I’m offering you, more suffering, degredation, poverty.’ And then they win. And my mind was blown.”
Carlson said he was wrapped up emotionally in the elections, which doesn’t typically happen. He also believed Lee Zeldin would have a chance to be the next governor of New York.
“New York is a state that’s controlled by a political machine that has no intention of letting Lee Zeldin win,” he said. “It’s like, it’s not going to happen, but I convinced myself that it was and then it didn’t.”
Almost all of his midterm election predictions turned out to be false, he said, which led to him going on a pheasant hunt in South Dakota. He wanted to get silence to “marinate in his shame.”
It led to him being reminded that humans cannot predict events very well.
“There is a limit to our insight about the future,” he said. “That is a human limitation that every person is bound by because, repeat after me, we are not God. So we actually don’t know what the future holds, actually.”
It’s important to acknowledge our own limitations, he added.
“We are limited — that is the beginning of wisdom right there,” he said. “And the opposite of that, by the way, is the beginning of hubris which is the cause of virtually all the suffering now currently on display. People who don’t understand their own limitations, who don’t understand how unwise they are, who have no sense of their own ridiculousness, who really believe they got it all figured out. People who make that claim and worse, who believe it, have made the fatal error in life, which is mistaking themselves for God. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s the division in life.”
Carlson said he believes there is a growing sense that we cannot see everything that is happening and there are “other forces at work.”
He wasn’t talking about a specific religion, but just pointing out the existence of something more powerful than us.
“And that shouldn’t be a point that anyone would have to make because it’s just so obvious, you’re born knowing that,” Carlson said. “The fine points we are taught, but the basic facts we know.”
He said most people at most periods in history ever needed to learn there was something bigger than humans existed.
“There has never been a society at scale, in all history that we know of, until now, that was secular,” he said. “Where it wasn’t just an obvious observation that there was a God or that there was some force larger than us. That we weren’t the last word.”
Carlson said every king and emperor ruled on the basis of the claim that they were chosen by a power bigger than themselves and were ordained by God.
“My only point is we live in a society, the only society ever, where that’s not taken for granted,” he said. “Why is that significant? Here is why…In place of that, has been the opposite — which is leaders who believe they are god. And the problem with believing you’re god is you’re not. You’re not. And you can’t be. That’s just not true. So it’s not just an offense against theology, it’s an offense against reality.
“Having people who don’t believe in God, in other words, who don’t acknowledge that authority above themselves, isn’t just like bad, it’s a recipe for total destruction. Period.”
He said leaders who do not believe in God think they are god.
“And the last person you ever want in charge is someone who is demonstrably insane,” he said. “And anyone who thinks he is god is by definition insane. And that fact I would say explain the majority of what we’re seeing now.”
He asked why anyone would encourage children to mutilate their bodies, and why that issue would be so important to someone. He asked why someone would advocate for abortion — not tolerate it — but advocate for it.
Two years ago he said people started advocating for abortion, like it was a good thing. He said people have begun saying abortion is the key to salvation the last couple years.
“It’s at that point that you realize we’re not really having a political conversation. This is not a conversation about our rights, our bodily autonomy — and by the way, I’m sorry, the bodily autonomy argument, the my body, my choice, you kind of blew that with the vax mandates, so back off,” Carlson said. “Anyone who’s advocating for abortion as a positive good is doing something very different than advocating for women or choice or freedom — this person is advocating for killing other people. Like what is that? What is that? Not tolerating the killing of other people. Not like wars are bad and sometimes you have to in self-defense…But this is a different thing. No, no, no, you should do this.”
He talked about Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen telling people who believe in inflation should get an abortion.
“What is that,” he asked. “It’s demonic. That’s exactly what it is. That’s next level. That is truly, that is purely an effort to hurt people. Not help them. If you cared and I do care — my dad was adopted and his mom was like 15, and I get it, you know, a pregnant girl, as the father of a daughter you feel for that person who feels trapped, no choice, no future — it’s a disaster. I don’t think it justifies an abortion but I certainly understand why people feel they have no choice, I get it, but if you really cared about the woman, you would say ‘what can we do to help you?'”
Carlson said they aren’t trying to win votes, but they are seized by a spirit to hurt other people.
He discussed voters in Montana rejecting an amendment to save a child who is born alive. He highlighted Montana because it is a “very reasonable” state.
“There was a referendum on the ballot this November that said, super simple, if a baby is born alive, take care of the baby. You have to save the baby’s life,” he said. “It failed. What? In a state that’s not, you know, Portland, Oregon. Not everyone from Santa Monica has moved to Montana yet. And it failed. Like, that’s not a tough call. Voters refused to say if a child — a child — is born alive, that you have to save the child’s life. What is that?”
Carlson said he is totally opposed to all electronic voting machines and we should use paper ballots, but he said if voters in Montana are refusing a ballot initiative that simply says to save the life of a child, maybe there’s something else going on.
“I’m serious. There’s something else. That’s too dark. That’s too dark. There’s no other explanation for that,” he said. “What the hell is that? There is no rational explanation for that and a whole bunch of other dark things that are happening from which no one is really profiting and people are only suffering.”
You can tell if something is bad based on the fruit it produces, he said.
“Any idea that causes a lot of people to suffer for no reason is demonstrably bad — that’s obvious,” he said. “But I would also say that bad ideas produce chaos, they produce disorder, they produce noise, they produce ugliness, physical ugliness, aesthetic ugliness. Bad ideas produce ugly things. That’s why our great basilicas are beautiful, right? That’s they the Dollar Store is ugly. Because one grew out of the idea that we need to help the average person transcend his life and think about the next life, about the eternal, about God. And the other on the idea let’s sell more cheap, plastic crap from China to poor people.”
Carlson said not to “ignore the obvious.”
“If something is beautiful, what does that mean,” he asked. “By the way, beauty transcends culture. All beauty is the same. And what is beauty? Beauty is truth. Truth is beautiful and beautiful things are true, it’s true. It’s real. The most beautiful things are real — your children, your dogs, nature — those are real things. They’re beautiful.”
Beautiful things are also “calming,” he said, through their symmetry.
“Just like in nature,” he said. “Virtually everything in nature is symmetrical. Have you ever noticed that?”
Our duty, Carlson said, is to bring order out of the chaos.
“Chaos is a sign of evil, period,” he said. “And you don’t know how hard it is for me to use the word evil as someone who never grew up using the word evil, but I don’t have another word for it. So you will know that an idea is a good idea when the people who follow that idea have lives that are calmer, more orderly, more purposeful, cleaner.
“Anybody who is pushing a program that creates confusion, chaos, disorder, anyone who is pushing cultural products, which is art, film, literature that is disordered, chaotic, asymmetrical, architecture, Frank Gehry anyone — what is that? It’s disgusting is what it is. It’s oppressive to the human spirit. It doesn’t elevate us, it crushes us. That’s what it does. So, that’s how I judge it.”
Despite the darkness, Carlson said he is still in a good mood for two reasons. The first, he said, is a moral duty he believes we have to be cheerful. He also offered advice to people to marry someone who is cheerful.
While he was hunting, he said, he had a surge of hope and optimism.
“And it stemmed from this knowledge that has been learned over time, which, it is 100 percent true, that your lowest points in retrospect were the best moments in your life,” he said.
He said those moments are the foundation for something better to accrue. And victories often can be losses.
Carlson said he is certain in his heart that we’ll look back at this moment as the beginning of clarity.
“If you’re not even conservative, if you just think what’s going on now is really wrong and really destructive to the country that you love and dangerous to your children and grandchildren — I think most people do — you will look back on this moment of despair and confusion — what the hell just happened? No one really knows. It’s bad, we know that, we don’t really know how or why. You will look back on this as the beginning of clarity. You will. This is when I really began to understand what was happening and what I personally could do about it. I changed for the better. Suffering causes growth. That is always true and it’s true now.”