Tucker Carlson: Putin, Navalny, Trump, CIA, NSA, War, Politics & Freedom | Lex Fridman Podcast #414

Tucker Carlson: Putin, Navalny, Trump, CIA, NSA, War, Politics & Freedom | Lex Fridman Podcast #414

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Lex Fridman explains why he decided to interview Tucker Carlson despite criticism.
  • He believes in exploring diverse perspectives and understanding people and ideas.
  • Fridman aims to have long-form conversations that allow guests to express their genuine ideas without feeling defensive.
  • He acknowledges the criticism of not asking tough questions but believes his approach leads to more insightful discussions.
  • Fridman emphasizes that his goal is to provide wisdom, not drama, and encourages listeners to form their own opinions.
  • Tucker Carlson shares his first impression of Vladimir Putin.
  • He describes Putin as "very smart, very tough, very cold."
  • Carlson notes that Putin is "not a nice man" but is "very effective" as a leader.
  • He believes Putin is "a product of his environment" and that his experiences have shaped his worldview.

Putin (00:03:53)

  • Tucker Carlson interviewed Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, finding him nervous and overprepared, avoiding direct answers about the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Carlson believes the war is not in the best interests of the United States and criticizes the Biden administration's actions in preventing Ukraine from reaching terms with Russia.
  • He rejects the media's biased portrayal of the conflict, focusing solely on moralistic narratives rather than discussing potential outcomes and solutions.
  • Carlson emphasizes his perspective as an American, prioritizing the interests of the United States while acknowledging his opposition to war and the moral implications of the conflict.
  • He expresses concern about the future of the West and Ukraine, questioning the endgame and criticizing the lack of meaningful discussion beyond the moralistic narrative.
  • Tucker Carlson expresses sadness over Alexei Navalny's death in prison and criticizes baseless claims about the cause of death.
  • Carlson believes imprisoning opposition figures is wrong and questions who is responsible for Navalny's death, including Putin, someone else in Russia, Ukrainians, or even the United States.
  • He criticizes US interference in other countries' elections and emphasizes basing policy decisions on knowable truth rather than lies.
  • Carlson acknowledges positive aspects of Russian culture but views Russia as not free due to the imprisonment of opposition leaders.
  • Despite Russia not being a democracy, Carlson experienced no restrictions on his freedom of speech during his visit to Moscow.
  • Carlson was surveilled by the US government before his trip to Russia and met with Edward Snowden, who declined an interview.
  • He expresses concern about the erosion of freedoms in the United States, particularly the media acting as an auxiliary of the National Security State.
  • Carlson criticizes the focus on issues in other countries while ignoring domestic problems and discusses privacy concerns and surveillance by intelligence agencies.
  • He suggests assessing leaders based on the practical effects of their policies and actions, rather than solely focusing on their personalities or ideologies.

Moscow (00:41:20)

  • Tucker Carlson visited Moscow and was impressed by its cleanliness, safety, and beauty, which he believes are the main metrics that matter when measuring a city.
  • He argues that it is possible to have both freedom and a clean and orderly society and criticizes the low expectations and tolerance for issues like crime and illegal immigration in the United States.
  • Carlson highlights the impressive infrastructure and preservation of historical landmarks in Moscow, contrasting it with the state of infrastructure and public transportation in the United States.
  • He criticizes the current state of the US economy, arguing that it is not truly capitalist and is dominated by monopolies like Google, and advocates for a return to a more moderate and sensible system that prioritizes the needs of Americans.
  • Carlson discusses his recent trip to Moscow and Ukraine, challenging the mainstream media's portrayal of these countries and emphasizing the importance of direct experience and unmediated information to counter misinformation and propaganda.
  • He expresses regret for his previous bigotry towards Slavic people and Muslims, attributing it to decades of propaganda from major news networks and criticizes the exclusion of Russian athletes from Wimbledon, arguing against the demonization of entire groups of people.
  • Carlson believes that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is more complex than it is often portrayed and that there are nuances to the situation that are not being fully considered.

Freedom of speech (01:00:48)

  • Tucker Carlson criticizes the US media for working for the government and lacking freedom of speech compared to other countries.
  • He criticizes John Stewart for preparing the population to accept less freedom and calls him a tool of the regime.
  • Carlson believes Americans should expect more freedom and prosperity and not live in fear of tech oligarchs or the FBI.
  • He emphasizes the importance of press freedom, honesty, and courage in journalism and criticizes the lack of these qualities in the US media.
  • Carlson highlights the double standards in media narratives and the importance of practical freedom, arguing that theoretical rights without the ability to exercise them effectively are not true rights.

Jon Stewart (01:07:03)

  • Tucker Carlson and Jon Stewart had a contentious encounter on the show CrossFire in 2004, with Stewart criticizing Carlson for being a partisan and working on a show that framed everything as Republican versus Democrat.
  • Carlson defended himself, stating that he is not a partisan and has been critical of both Republicans and Democrats.
  • Carlson believes that Stewart is a partisan who brings too much emotional intensity to political debates and criticizes him for believing that political debates are the most important issues in the world.
  • Carlson also criticizes Stewart for being overly partisan, motivated by his moral views, and for never criticizing the aid sent to Ukraine or questioning the use of weapons and money.
  • Carlson suggests that Stewart should not pretend to be a truth-teller or someone who challenges entrenched power since he has never taken a stance that would be deeply unpopular on mainstream media shows.
  • Carlson believes that Stewart was seen as the winner of their debate because he was more popular and engaged in personal attacks rather than discussing ideas.
  • Carlson criticizes the lack of debate in the media on important issues such as the economy and war and expresses his opposition to the carried interest loophole in the tax code and the chaos created by the US around the world.

Ending the War in Ukraine (01:19:48)

  • Tucker Carlson believes a reasonable settlement is needed to end the war in Ukraine, with both sides making concessions.
  • Putin's willingness to engage in dialogue suggests he wants a settlement, not because Russia is collapsing, but because war has unpredictable consequences.
  • Carlson questions the purpose of NATO and would withdraw the US if he were president, viewing it as an attack on US sovereignty.
  • He criticizes Zelenskyy for his talk of nuclear exchange and frequent US appearances but sympathizes with him as he believes he has been misused by various parties for their own ambitions.
  • Carlson praises Zelenskyy's bravery for staying in Kyiv but suggests he should focus on his country rather than making frequent appearances in the US.
  • He compares Zelenskyy's situation to George W. Bush's actions on 9/11, emphasizing the importance of leaders caring deeply for their people.
  • Carlson discusses the qualities of a good leader, highlighting bravery and the willingness to die for one's country.
  • He criticizes the US and UK for preventing a peace deal brokered by Israel between Russia and Ukraine, which he sees as the most upsetting aspect of the situation.
  • Carlson expresses concern about innocent people being killed in Ukraine and criticizes the US government for its role in these events.

Nazis (01:29:15)

  • Tucker Carlson criticizes Putin's justification for continuing the war in Ukraine, calling it "densification" and dismissing it as illogical.
  • Carlson argues that there is no significant Nazi movement in Ukraine and that labeling Ukrainians as Nazis is a misleading association with a non-existent evil regime.
  • He acknowledges the presence of small Neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine but emphasizes their lack of power and influence in the government.
  • Carlson suggests that Putin's use of the term "densification" may refer to nationalist movements in Ukraine, which Putin opposes due to his experiences with nationalist movements in Chechnya.
  • He highlights the historical impact of World War II on Slavic and Eastern European societies and suggests that this history contributes to the sensitivity of the Nazi label in those regions.
  • Carlson expresses his disapproval of using words like "Nazi" or "liberal" as political weapons and advocates for meaningful discussions instead of dismissive labeling.
  • He questions the feasibility of negotiating peace if the primary objective is to eliminate Nazis in Ukraine, given the ambiguity of who qualifies as a Nazi and the ethical dilemma of negotiating with them.
  • Carlson speculates that Putin's use of the term "densification" may have been intended for his own population and to avoid mentioning NATO as the justification for the war.
  • He criticizes Putin's communication skills and suggests that his isolation during COVID-19 may have contributed to his autocratic tendencies.
  • Carlson praises Fridman for openly criticizing Putin during his visit to Moscow.

Putin's health (01:37:42)

  • Tucker Carlson met with Vladimir Putin and observed that Putin appeared healthy, despite rumors of Parkinson's disease.
  • Putin expressed a desire for peace and a willingness to negotiate with the US and NATO.
  • Russia's attempts to join NATO in 2000 and align with the US against Iran were rejected, while Ukraine was encouraged to join NATO despite not meeting the criteria, potentially contributing to the current conflict.
  • The military-industrial complex and outdated thinking among those focused on foreign policy in the Republican Party influence decision-making, leading to a continuation of policies aimed at opposing a non-existent threat.
  • Wars are not always the result of weakness, and aggressive postures may not always lead to the desired outcome.

Hitler (01:48:47)

  • Tucker Carlson discusses the possibility of interviewing Adolf Hitler in 1939-1941 and emphasizes the significance of his interview with Vladimir Putin in fostering dialogue and understanding.
  • Carlson criticizes those who focus on trivial matters rather than seeking more information and perspectives, describing such individuals as totalitarian.
  • He confirms that he has been approached by Putin's associates for a potential interview and expresses his willingness to conduct it.
  • Carlson mentions that both Zelenskyy and Putin are intelligent and witty individuals, but their humor and wit are best expressed in their native languages.
  • Visiting Moscow and spending time there would provide a better understanding of the society and its restrictions.
  • Conducting an interview in a native language is fundamentally different and requires a different approach.
  • Carlson had many questions prepared for his interview with Putin, focusing on the war, but he chose to keep the conversation centered on that topic.

Nuclear war (01:58:12)

  • Tucker Carlson discusses the potential negative effects of fame and popularity, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a strong support system and connection with nature to avoid becoming consumed by the pursuit of external validation.
  • He expresses concerns about the controlled nature of online environments and the dangers of seeking validation from strangers, believing that this can be detrimental to one's mental well-being.
  • Carlson highlights the example of South Korea, where despite being a technologically advanced and prosperous country, it faces societal issues such as declining fertility rates, high suicide rates, and a decrease in life expectancy. He suggests that the excessive penetration of technology into society may be contributing to these negative trends.
  • He questions the decline in South Korea's population and wonders why North Korea, despite its dystopian reputation, might have a higher population in the future.
  • Carlson raises doubts about the net benefits of technology due to declining life expectancy, low birth rates, and the prevalence of harmful substances like fentanyl.
  • He acknowledges the potential for digital beauty but suggests that growing up in the pre-internet age may have made him more appreciative of traditional forms of beauty.
  • Tucker Carlson and Lex Fridman discuss various topics, including digital beauty, architecture, and the potential dangers of artificial intelligence (AI).
  • They debate the ethics of using force to prevent potential threats, such as AI or a person pointing a gun, before any harm is done.
  • Carlson expresses concern about the potential misuse of AI technology to manipulate people's minds.
  • He emphasizes the importance of recognizing one's own ignorance and flaws in decision-making.

Trump (02:16:31)

  • Tucker Carlson explains the context behind his leaked private texts about Donald Trump, expressing frustration with the lack of evidence to support Trump's claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
  • Despite his efforts to investigate the alleged voter fraud, Carlson was unable to obtain substantial evidence and regrets not standing firm against the release of his private texts, acknowledging his right to privacy.
  • Carlson believes the 2020 US election was rigged due to changes in voting procedures and censorship of information related to COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of unfettered access to information in a democracy.
  • He questions President Biden's cognitive abilities and fitness to lead, especially during ongoing wars, criticizing the lack of qualified candidates and the embarrassing situation of having an unfit president.
  • Carlson criticizes the excessive power and influence of money and monopolies, particularly the federal government, in the failing US political system.
  • The raid on Mar-a-Lago and Trump's indictment on fabricated charges highlight the weaponization of the justice system to eliminate political opponents, undermining representative democracy.
  • Trump's potential nomination as the Republican candidate is seen as a reaction to perceived injustice and a desire to preserve the existing system where voters, not prosecutors, decide elections.
  • Carlson discusses the strengths of various intelligence agencies, including Israel's sophisticated intelligence gathering, the NSA's global reach in communications, and France's impressive capabilities despite its decline.
  • He expresses concern about the CIA's involvement in domestic politics, including its alleged role in the Kennedy assassination and interference in recent elections, questioning its original purpose and criticizing its focus on influencing election outcomes.

Israel-Palestine (02:33:27)

  • Tucker Carlson believes that countries should make decisions based on their own interests and capabilities, and questions the long-term benefits of US military aid and security guarantees to Israel.
  • He expresses concern about the potential for a major military conflict in the region, particularly after Ramadan, due to rising tensions and poor American foreign policy leadership.
  • Carlson criticizes the track record of American foreign policy leaders, citing failures such as the Iraq War, the destruction of Libya and Syria, and the 20-year occupation of Afghanistan.
  • He suggests that Israel may be in a difficult position with regards to accepting aid and guidance from the US, given the questionable effectiveness of American foreign policy in improving other countries.
  • Carlson emphasizes the importance of stability in the region and warns of the potential for a rapid escalation of violence.
  • He criticizes Nikki Haley's lack of impressive qualities and believes she should not be considered for leadership positions.

Xi Jinping (02:39:37)

  • Lex Fridman and Tucker Carlson discuss the importance of engaging with world leaders and gaining a global perspective to challenge parochial views and promote informed judgment.
  • Lex Fridman praises Joe Rogan's impact on media and his ability to engage in deep conversations, emphasizing the value of curiosity and open-mindedness.
  • Tucker Carlson reflects on his personal life, emphasizing the importance of a solid core beyond ephemeral things and shares his perspective on the secret to a successful marriage.
  • Tucker Carlson believes that true humility comes from acknowledging one's limitations and not pretending to be God, considering Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) of Abu Dhabi as the greatest leader he has ever met due to MBZ's constant awareness of his limitations and foresight.
  • Tucker Carlson criticizes America's leadership class, including Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo, for lacking the impressive capabilities and wisdom that he sees in MBZ.
  • Tucker Carlson shared his thoughts on various topics, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Alexei Navalny, former US President Donald Trump, the CIA, the NSA, war, politics, and freedom, during his appearance on the Lex Fridman Podcast.

Advice for young people (02:53:34)

  • Tucker Carlson believes that having children is the most important thing in life and should not be delayed.
  • He criticizes feminism for hindering young people's ability to connect and have fulfilling lives.
  • Carlson believes that men will not achieve until they have no choice and that creating something beautiful and worthwhile, like children, is the only meaningful pursuit in life.
  • He expresses hatred for Corporate America for denying people the opportunity to have children, as it takes away the only source of enduring joy.
  • Tucker Carlson has no career aspirations beyond continuing his current work of talking to people, expressing his thoughts, and learning.
  • He acknowledges his limitations and appreciates the skills of his friends in areas where he lacks expertise.
  • Carlson focuses on activities he enjoys and excels at, avoiding tasks he dislikes or is not good at.

Hope for the future (02:58:53)

  • Tucker Carlson believes that tampering with the human brain through technology is dangerous and unethical, as it could have unintended negative consequences.
  • He emphasizes the importance of long-term thinking and questions the motives and capabilities of leaders in power, advocating for leaders who prioritize the well-being of future generations.
  • Tucker Carlson discussed various topics with Lex Fridman on the Lex Fridman Podcast, including Putin, Navalny, Trump, the CIA, the NSA, war, politics, and freedom.
  • Mahatma Gandhi's quote about the triumph of truth and love over tyrants and murderers is shared as a closing thought.

Overwhelmed by Endless Content?