Americans have supported limited but effective government intervention in the economy for at least the past 160 years. They supported the protective tariff, the Homestead Act, and the Land Grant College Act that the first Republican-controlled Congress passed and which helped average people improve their lives. They supported antitrust acts, workman’s compensation laws, and workplace safety laws to prevent monopolies and oligopolies from forcing Americans to work for less or in less safe conditions than they deserved. They supported FDR’s New Deal, which for all of its many faults contained many provisions that even today ensure a depression will never again cause social upheaval and penury. And they continue to support reasonable and targeted interventions when a sector of society can persuade the majority that they have been unfairly treated.
Carlson’s monologue and Trump’s presidency promise to continue that American tradition. They contend that an American prosperity that leaves millions behind is politically unstable. They contend that an American economic system that worries more about the reactions of foreigners than it does the feelings of citizens is unjust. They contend that an American government that enriches those who know how to pull its levers and treats election results as mere Kabuki theater is profoundly immoral and un-American. And they are right.