Tucker Carlsons musings that the proper U.S. policy is to side with Russia in the current Eastern European standoff are of a piece with his swooning over Viktor Orbans drive to create an authoritarian Hungary. Whats news-making is that his current swoon over Vladimir Putins manfully standing up to tolerance and democracy has been echoed by the Taylor Greene-Boebert-Gosar wing of congressional Republicans and embraced by the ahistoric lunkheads who make up the core Fox viewership.
But Tucker isnt really carving a new trail. In 2013, it was Pat Buchanan who became the first American opinionist who hailed Putin for his vilification of homosexuality and other sins against orthodoxy. Praising Putin for his moral clarity and contrasting that with the louche morality of the ever more de-Christianized United States, Buchanan lamented that too many Americans were still caught up in a Cold War paradigm. Instead, he suggested, the 21st century struggle may be horizontal, with conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite. He applauded a recent decision of the Supreme Court of India for reinstating an 1861 law that criminalized gay sex and commended the four dozen (by his count) Muslim nations where same-sex marriage is not even on the table.
As I noted in a Washington Post column on the rise of just such a New Right, Buchanan had come full circle: When he was a child, his family fervently supported Francisco Francos fascists in the Spanish Civil War. The moral arc of Buchanans universe may be long, I wrote, but it keeps plopping him down in the company of thugs.
Noting the rise of a culture-war right in France and elsewhere in Europe, I pondered the future of the Intolerant International. Those, it now seems, were the Good Old Days. At least members of Congress and thousands of Fox viewers werent avidly applying for membership.