Is the Left Involved in its Own "Great Replacement"?Breaking News
tags: racism, immigration, Tucker Carlson, Great Replacement
Last Saturday’s horrific act of racial terrorism in Buffalo, New York—where ten people were killed and three wounded in a shooting spree that specifically targeted the city’s black residents—has reignited polemics about so-called “Great Replacement theory,” which holds that nefarious elites are trying to “replace” native-born Americans or Europeans with Third World migrants. A lengthy manifesto reportedly written by the accused shooter, 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron, reveals an obsession with the idea that white people in America are being replaced by nonwhites (“We are doomed by low birth rates and high rates of immigration”). Now many progressive commentators claim that a somewhat toned-down version of this obsession has become standard fare in the Republican party and in the right-wing media. Most conservatives reject the charge as a dishonest attempt to exploit a tragedy.
The progressives are mostly right—though, as often happens, they overreach and undercut their own argument by reductio ad absurdum. And the conservatives have some valid points—but their overall argument amounts to spinning the unpalatable. Let’s address each side in turn.
The accurate substance of the progressive argument is this: For the last few years, a number of leading conservative pundits and prominent Republican politicians have been stoking a demographic panic that closely echoes “Great Replacement” themes.
Tucker Carlson leads the pack. An analysis recently published in the New York Times claims that he has discussed various elements of this theory over 400 times on his Fox News show, Tucker Carlson Tonight. Is it possible that some of these examples are connected to “Great Replacement” rhetoric only in the loosest sense? Maybe, but there is plenty of fire behind the smoke. The most infamous example is the April 8, 2021 broadcast in which Carlson openly addressed claims that he was promoting “replacement theory” and offered the defense that it’s the truth:
Now, I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term “replacement,” if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World. But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true.
If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there. So every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter. So I don’t understand what we don’t understand cause, I mean, everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it. Oh, you know, the white replacement theory? No, no, no. This is a voting right question. I have less political power because they are importing a brand new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that?
Of course, if it’s just a matter of “the more voters there are, the less weight your individual vote has”—regardless of the voters’ race or origin—then high birth rates are also bad, as is long life expectancy. Every time someone’s kid turns reaches voting age and every time an elderly voter lives to see another election year, another bite gets taken out of Tucker Carlson’s political power. Is there a reason immigrant votes bother him in particular? Could it have something to do with “the Third World”? (Also: the “voters now casting ballots” aren’t going anywhere.) And is there a reason Carlson believes those “Third World” voters are singularly “obedient”? It’s something of a Carlson leitmotif, by the way: About three weeks earlier, on March 16, 2021, he snarkily suggested that the Biden administration’s immigration policies amounted to covertly “working to import as many new citizens as we can in the United States to replace all the disobedient ones who didn’t vote for us.”
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