A video of Tucker in August 2021 is somewhat brilliant. It’s over 30 minutes so I posted a rough transcript for the first 13 minutes of the clip.
Tucker said in his speech in Hungary that it was good to get out once in a while to see people who were happily living their lives. He began by discussing the migrant crisis and how well Hungary handled it.
“I was impressed personally by the response of your government to the 2015 migrant crisis. Hungary stood alone essentially in saying, you know, ‘no thanks,’ and that struck me as a totally legitimate thing to do.
He told the Hungarians that he wanted to mention an article he read that he found very funny.
“Those of you who are from America will understand why it was the funniest thing I’ve read this year and I’m quoting. ‘In Orban’s Hungary, more than 90% of the media is controlled by the ruling party. Businesses are physically and legally harassed. If they don’t toe the party line,’ listen, this gets better, ‘elections are manipulated, and my favorite party leaders are mysteriously rich.’
“And I thought to myself, ‘Wait a second,’ that sounds familiar. I live in that country… I live in a country where over 90% of the media are aligned with the ruling party. In fact, I work at the only mass media outlet in the entire country of 340 million that is not aligned with the ruling party.
“You watch CNN, which I believe is available here, and I think they may be here today. ‘Welcome CNN! I worked there for many years, and you will never hear a single word on CNN that deviates from the party line coming from the White House … from the Biden administration. That’s exactly right.
“I have lived in cities. I know that if you were dumb enough to put up a sign in the window of your store in an American city disagreeing with the prevailing party orthodoxy on any one of a number of questions, whether it’s immigration, human sexuality, who you’re gonna vote for, you get your window smashed. If you disobey the political orders from the ruling party, they’ll shut you down.
“And I live in a country where Barack Obama, who has never actually had a paying job in the private sector, is now living on, you know, a $30 million estate on an island off the coast of Massachusetts and throwing himself a birthday party, I believe today, with 200 servants. So I think we’re checking the politicians become mysteriously rich box on that.
“So I read this, and I think and I am as patriotic an American as you’re gonna find. I’m not leaving. I will never leave, no matter what happens to the country. I don’t have a foreign passport I’m in. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about it – because I have nowhere to go, and I’ve got four children and four dogs, and they don’t travel well. We’re not leaving, so I’m all in on America, and I think you know this is a really dark moment in American history.
“But I think that it will improve so I’m not attacking America, merely the current condition of America, when I say that and I read that, I laughed out loud. Because it’s hilarious. You’re lecturing this landlocked central European country of 10 million that has free and fair elections, which has a much healthier media balance. I’m sure every person in the front row is from the opposition media, whatever that is. I don’t know because I don’t speak Hungarian because it’s a secret code inaccessible to those who weren’t born speaking it.
“So there’s a lot I don’t know about Hungary, but I know a robust political system when I see one. No one in Hungary, on the other side, has to hire armed bodyguards. Lots of people in the United States do. I can tell you you are living under physical threat if you disagree in a loud way. You are immediately censored if you depend on social media to get your message out.
“I think America is the greatest country in the world… I will always think that but don’t tell me it’s freer than Hungary because that’s a lie.
“So I read this I and I find it hilarious because it suggests not only a high level of stupidity, which after all these years in Washington I take for granted, because that’s the, you know, that’s the soup I’m drinking, that’s the world I live in, but it also suggests a total lack of self-awareness.
Tucker then went to the banning of humor.
“I thought to myself, this is not just, you know, contemptible, but it’s also a sign of ebbing freedom, of freedom going away. When they ban humor, you know you’re moving towards something dark. … they have banned humor in the United States. You are not allowed to laugh at things. Nothing is funny. Everything is dead serious. This tells us two things – why do they do that?
“The first two things authoritarian movements do – first, they try to control your language and second, they stop you from laughing. Why do they do that? Well, they control your language, so they can control your mind. And for those of you who were born speaking Hungarian, someone said to me the other day that Edward Teller, when he won the Nobel Prize, said I would not have won this if I didn’t speak Hungarian. But, because I do, my brain works differently. And I think a language as complex as Hungarian totally indecipherable.
“I mean, I pick up Spanish going to Taco Bell. I’ve not picked up one word of Hungarian this entire week. I think it’s true, especially for your language, but it’s true for all languages. Words determine the way that you think and if you take the words away, as Orwell famously noted in about four different books and 100 newspaper columns, you take away people’s ability to think about things.
“So that’s the first thing they do. The second thing they do is make it illegal to laugh, particularly at them now. Why do they do that? Well, partly because they are thin-skinned and insecure and that’s why they went into politics in the first place – to prove something to their absent alcoholic fathers, granted.
“But there’s a deeper reason for it, and that is that humor is perspective. How do you find something funny by rising above it to a high altitude and looking down at its outline by seeing things in their entirety, by looking up from the script and gazing around and noticing where you are and finding it hilarious?
“That just in fact happened to me. I was kind of in my own world, texting with my wife, and I look up, and I’m right across the Danube from Slovakia, about to give a speech to people I don’t know, and I thought to myself, kind of … I laughed to myself because I had perspective. Perspective is the one thing they refuse to allow you. This is the way it is, this is the way it’s always been, and this is the way it’s going to be. Now that’s an obvious lie.
“But in order to convince you of it, they have to eliminate any reference to the past. They topple your statues… they tell you to shut up and stop talking about your family or your country. Be ashamed of what your ancestors did; hate your history. They prevent you from having old words because old words describe old ideas and above all they prevent you from rising above the current situation and looking down to assess it clearly, otherwise known as comedy.
“So I’m not bragging when I say the United States has been – I’m 52 – for my life, the single funniest country in the world – a truly hilarious place. We have an entire economy built on being funny. It’s called stand-up comedy and we led the world, as we did in aerospace, in comedy for generations.
“It’s all gone… It’s all gone.. it is no longer allowed. So I think if you’re going to, you know, recognize what’s happening, you first need to recognize that this is not liberalism that is being imposed on you. That’s one of the many words they’ve stolen. It is illiberalism… it is the opposite of liberalism… it is a totalitarian idea that everyone behaves the same, everyone reads from the same catechism, from the same list of slogans, and that everyone obeys. That is the opposite of enlightenment liberalism, which forms the basis of my politics and my worldview.
“OK, that’s the first thing. The second thing is they hate it when you leave the country and look around.
“Because you might conclude that they ….you know, a country with the GDP smaller than the state of New York, that has no Navy because it doesn’t have an ocean, that is stuck between hostile neighbors, that’s been overrun by foreign powers, you know, for the last 900 years, even a country like that can have happy people and can stand up for its own citizens.
“So if they can do it, if they can do it, why can’t we do it, like how hard is it?
“I went to your border the other day, …[we] were talking on the trip down and you know, obviously, Hungary’s not as rich as the United States but they’re technologically advanced. They’ve created all these Nobel Prize winners, you know, they sort of understand math, OK, so they’re good at chess, so clearly their border barrier is going to be this super high-tech wonder.. . We get there, and your border wall turns out to be a chain link fence, and there’s nobody there. There’s not one person there.
“I grew up on the US border …I know what it looks like now and it is a perpetual scene of human suffering children crying, people getting hurt, garbage everywhere. …It’s hellscape and it’s a sad thing…
“ [I] look at your border and I’m thinking well what is the secret here? How can this country be there? I didn’t see anyone with a gun. There was one guy with not even a vishala; he had a German shepherd…
“But here’s my point, it took about an hour to figure out how exactly a country much less rich and technologically advanced than ours with a much bigger, as a proportion of population, border problem than ours could secure the border completely. And we found out in the afternoon, over the space I timed it, it was about 26 minutes where two migrants from the Middle East, I believe they were from Syria, were apprehended, two young men and they were taken into custody right in front of us. They were photographed they were patted down on the outside of their clothes, and then they were led away right in front of us. They were led away.
“Now I’d read enough about Hungary to know that when you’re led away in Hungary, obviously you’re going to the dungeon, so I decided as a journalist I should follow these unfortunate young men as they were led to hang from the rack in the basement of the castle. So they went through this door and I followed them and I said to the guy who was escorting us what is this and he said this is our border. And they were led politely out and brought to the other side, and that was it, the whole thing. Took 30 minutes, that was the whole process. They weren’t taken to downtown Budapest to beg…”
This transcript gets you to 13:50 minutes in on a 32-minute video. It doesn’t get any less interesting for the remainder of the video.
FLASHBACK: Tucker Carlson and our team broadcast a week of shows from Budapest, Hungary in August 2021. It made a few headlines.
But not many people saw the speech Tucker gave in Esztergom, Hungary on that same trip at a large 3-day festival called MCC Feszt. Here it is. pic.twitter.com/5jgXAxftxp
— Justin Wells (@justinbwells) August 20, 2023