Last week, Tucker Carlson, a conservative, right wing pundit on Fox News, delivered a powerful speech on the desperate state of American society and the terrible direction it is headed in. Carlson’s speech deserves to be watched in full, but I wanted to highlight some things that are particularly relevant to Muslims and non-Muslims in America and around the world. Carlson starts by noting:
In countries around the world — France, Brazil, Sweden, the Philippines, Germany, and many others — voters are suddenly backing candidates and ideas that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. These are not isolated events. What you’re watching is entire populations revolting against leaders who refuse to improve their lives.
This is a critical point that Muslims need to understand. As Muslims in the West have shifted leftward in recent years, they have also adopted many of the asinine political platitudes of the left, including the idea that Trump won the election “because white people are racists.” How many Muslim talking heads mindlessly repeat this democratic talking point from the minbar?
The deeper reality is people are dissatisfied with their lives. People are suffering. And they blame the establishment. The opportunity for Muslims is to understand why in this historical moment people are dissatisfied, why they are suffering, and to realize that, at its core, all suffering in this dunya is due to distance from the Creator. If we truly believe this and we truly care for our fellow man, we have a duty to show people a better way, namely, Islam. So how do we do this? How do we connect these dots for ourselves and for others?
The answer used to be obvious. The overriding goal for America is more prosperity, meaning cheaper consumer goods. But is that still true? Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones, or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven’t so far. A lot of Americans are drowning in stuff. And yet drug addiction and suicide are depopulating large parts of the country. Anyone who thinks the health of a nation can be summed up in GDP is an idiot.
This is a lesson for our Muslim brothers and sisters in the so-called “under-developed” world. Development, science, technology, etc., brings material wealth, but does that lead to happiness? If it did, why are so many in the most developed countries killing themselves or drugging themselves into oblivion? Why is depression at all time highs?
The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It’s happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity. Purpose. Self-control. Independence. Above all, deep relationships with other people. Those are the things that you want for your children. They’re what our leaders should want for us, and would want if they cared.
Deep relationships means family. Not your friends. Not your co-workers. Not your classmates. Family is an essential component of human happiness. This is how we were created. Allah created Adam and then He created his spouse. Before humanity even came to earth from Janna, we were a family. The family institution predates humanity’s tenure on earth itself. How significant, then, is this institution? As Muslims, we know. We can see just how much of the Sharia is dedicated to creating families, maintaining them, strengthening them, etc. No religion comes close to Islam’s preternatural ability to champion the family. And this is one of the strongest proofs that Islam is the truth.
What kind of country do you want to live in? A fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. […] And above all, a country where normal people with an average education who grew up in no place special can get married, and have happy kids, and repeat unto the generations. A country that actually cares about families, the building block of everything.
So here, we can connect this back to Carlson’s argument. Ultimately, Carlson’s main point is that the building block of civilization is the family. Whatever strengthens families strengthens a people and whatever harms families harms a people. The problem with today’s world is that political leaders do not value the family institution and are in fact undermining and dismantling it at every turn.
Carlson cites a six different ways modernist social and economic policies destroy families:
For generations, Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars. Modern Democrats generally support those goals enthusiastically.
As Carlson argues, war in the Middle East doesn’t serve American interests. In fact, it creates economic hardship that strains American family cohesion. Carlson doesn’t go so far as to acknowledge the crime of endless occupation and genocide wrought upon Muslim lands for decades now. So even if he doesn’t have the right reasons for rejecting war in the Middle East, at least he is rejecting it, at least in this instance.
Single Motherhood and Disappearance of Fathers
Thirty years ago, conservatives looked at [urban] Detroit or Newark and many other places and were horrified by what they saw. Conventional families had all but disappeared in poor neighborhoods. The majority of children were born out of wedlock. Single mothers were the rule. Crime and drugs and disorder became universal.
What caused this nightmare? Liberals didn’t even want to acknowledge the question. They were benefiting from the disaster, in the form of reliable votes. Conservatives, though, had a ready explanation for inner-city dysfunction and it made sense: big government. Decades of badly-designed social programs had driven fathers from the home and created what conservatives called a “culture of poverty” that trapped people in generational decline.
There was truth in this. But it wasn’t the whole story. How do we know? Because virtually the same thing has happened decades later to an entirely different population. In many ways, rural America now looks a lot like Detroit.
This is striking because rural Americans wouldn’t seem to have much in common with anyone from the inner city. These groups have different cultures, different traditions and political beliefs. Usually they have different skin colors. Rural people are white conservatives, mostly.
The most effective way to weaken families is to weaken marriages or nullify them entirely. The majority of children born in the Western world are now born to single mothers. What is the societal impact of this? Well, there is decades of evidence of what happens. Drugs and crime shoot up as does poverty. Urban populations and especially black communities experienced this malaise firsthand. But now, whites in rural parts of the country are experiencing the same problems. But one of the central sources of these problems — single motherhood — is not addressed. Sexual and reproductive norms are never addressed in a way that would actually roll back the disaster of the Sexual Revolution. Why do people think it is acceptable to have children outside of wedlock? Why is casual sex considered morally acceptable in the first place? Why is marriage disincentivized socially? Why are marriage commitments so easily broken? Why is there no stigma in being an unwed mother?
The left refuses to associate economic problems with personal morality. But this is delusional. Of course personal morality affects society and the economy as a whole. When hundreds of thousands of women all make the personal moral choice to have casual sex and raise children on their own without a committed husband, this has a clear, measurable impact on society as a whole. Here, again, we see the wisdom of Islam in dozens of ways. Islam’s emphasis on marriage and nasab, its strict penalties on fornication and adultery, the responsibilities and privileges given to husbands over their wives — all of these ensure single motherhood is virtually nonexistent in Muslim society.
Women in the Workplace
Manufacturing and male-dominated industries all but disappeared over the course of a generation. All that remained in many places were the schools and the hospitals, and both of them are traditional employers of women. In many areas, women simply earned more than men. Now before you applaud that as a victory for feminism, consider some of the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don’t want to marry them. Now maybe they should want to marry them, but they don’t.
Over big populations, this causes a drop in marriage. It causes a spike in out-of-wedlock births and all the disasters that inevitably follow — more drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed in the next generation. This is not speculation, it’s not propaganda from the Evangelicals, it’s social science. We know it’s true. Rich people know it best of all, that’s why they get married before they have kids. That model works. But increasingly, marriage is becoming a luxury only the affluent in America can afford.
Carlson received some heat for this part, but he makes an excellent and undeniable point. All else being equal, women entering the workforce en masse is a disaster for the family institution. This is in large part because of the preferences of women. Women don’t want to marry men who earn less than they do. A variety of peer-reviewed research establishes this point. For example, consider the 2017 paper “When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Men.” Researchers found that when men lose jobs, fertility and marriage rates plummet. Meanwhile births out of wedlock and the percentage of singe family homes blows up. They found the opposite to be true as well. When men are employed and are earning more than women, marriage and fertility rates go up and single family homes decrease. Other research corroborates the conclusion that women’s preferences for husbands that out-earn them underlies this dynamic.
This has become an embarrassment for feminists. The numbers don’t lie. Female career advancement negatively impacts marriages which increases single motherhood, and single motherhood leads to higher crime rates, drug rates, unemployment rates, and other social ills. Even if feminists don’t like it, facts are facts. And given the facts, then through basic causal reasoning we can conclude that female career advancement is a bad thing for society.
For our ruling class, more investment banking is always the answer. They teach us it’s more virtuous to devote your life to some soulless corporation than it is to raise your own kids.
Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook wrote an entire book about this. Sandberg explained that our first duty is to shareholders, above our own children. No surprise there. Sandberg herself is one of America’s biggest shareholders. Propaganda like this has made her rich.
What could be more fulfilling than climbing the corporate ladder? This is the rhetorical question women are fed over and over again. The indoctrination runs so deep that even many of those women who make a commitment to raising their children full time nonetheless experience crippling self doubt. “What am I missing in the corporate world?”
This modern cultural emphasis on “career” is toxic for families but is absolutely deadly when the emphasis is on women to pursue corporate careers at the expense of getting married, having children, and raising those children.
Both parties ignore the crisis in marriage. Our mindless cultural leaders act like it’s still 1961, and the biggest problem American families face is that sexism is preventing millions of housewives from becoming investment bankers or Facebook executives.
Muslims, once again, are in the best position to understand all this and operationalize it, since a man’s role as breadwinner is legislated within the Sharia. Of course, this does not foreclose the possibility of some women working in different capacities, but for Muslim civilization, these were exceptional instances that proved the rule.
And by the way, if you really loved your fellow Americans, as our leaders should, if it would break your heart to see them high all the time. Which they are. A huge number of our kids, especially our boys, are smoking weed constantly. You may not realize that, because new technology has made it odorless. But it’s everywhere.
Try having dinner with a 19-year-old who’s been smoking weed. The life is gone. Passive, flat, trapped in their own heads. Do you want that for your kids? Of course not. Then why are our leaders pushing it on us? You know the reason. Because they don’t care about us.
Weed has been a disaster for American Muslim youth. Many kids are regularly getting high. The damage physically, mentally, and spiritually is hard to understand at this point, but will become clear in a few years. These kids have no will to do anything. They don’t care about anything other than getting high. And Western pop culture is at fault for glamorizing it.
Yet, despite these dangers, some Muslim politicians and activists have made it part of their public platform to fight for drug legalization. Just another example of mindlessly following the left’s policy platform, even when it contradicts common sense and Islamic ethics.
Look, I agree that the war on drugs is a policy disaster that has led to the brutal policing of blacks which has, in turn, ballooned the prison population. But those excesses can be addressed without legalizing substances that ruin lives and destroy families. And yes, this also applies to alcohol. Muslims should have principled positions in formulating our own holistic drug policy by drawing guidance from our Sacred Law. Unfortunately, some Muslims have internalized the belief that the Sharia is not relevant for our times or for non-Muslims and, hence, ignore the Divine guidance that holds the key to humanity’s salvation in this life and the next.
[We] should also speak out against the ugliest parts of our financial system. Not all commerce is good. Why is it defensible to loan people money they can’t possibly repay? Or charge them interest that impoverishes them? Payday loan outlets in poor neighborhoods collect 400 percent annual interest.
We’re OK with that? We shouldn’t be. Libertarians tell us that’s how markets work — consenting adults making voluntary decisions about how to live their lives. OK. But it’s also disgusting. If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it’s happening in the inner city or on Wall Street.
Riba is a plague. It is at the root of so much misery in the world around us. Everything from personal interest-bearing loans to high interest IMF loans to developing countries. Riba flourishes all around us, but as Muslims, we know the clear moral imperative. Allah says:
“Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity. That is because they say, “Trade is [just] like interest.” But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. So whoever has received an admonition from his Lord and desists may have what is past, and his affair rests with Allah . But whoever returns to [dealing in riba] – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.”
Corruption and Resultant Social Conflict
[Democrats and Republicans] tell us our multi-tiered tax code is based on the principles of the free market. Please. It’s based on laws that the Congress passed, laws that companies lobbied for in order to increase their economic advantage. It worked well for those people. They did increase their economic advantage. But for everyone else, it came at a big cost. Unfairness is profoundly divisive. When you favor one child over another, your kids don’t hate you. They hate each other.
This is the root of so much hate and animosity in the country and the world today. Corruption allows the rich to get richer by manipulating laws in their own favor. Certain classes of people are exploiting the rest of us in this evil way. It’s not just one party. Democrats and Republicans are both equally involved in this racket. Which is what makes Muslims’ blind support for Democrats so infuriating.
As Carlson points out, yes, racial hatred and division is a problem, but it is but a symptom of an underlying cancer, namely economic stress caused in large part by corruption from both parties. To focus on the racial hatred by simple-mindedly rallying behind Democrats is to treat the symptom instead of the underlying disease. In fact, it only exacerbates the disease. This is the main reason I personally find so much of American Muslim political discourse so naive and shallow. How much of our community’s energy, resources, emotions, and aspirations is vested in Democratic party politics and this view of Democrats as our saviors? This is all for naught. These Muslims are simply feeding one head of the two-headed hydra and think they will avoid being eaten by the monster. To the contrary, we’re the main course.
If you want to put America first, you’ve got to put its families first.
If we want to put humanity first, we must put Islam first. Because Islam is the only truly pro-family religion in the world today. And it is the only true religion. We invite all our brothers and sisters in humanity to accept the Truth.
May Allah guide us and protect us all.