Bad Takes, Ep. 3: Tucker Carlson’s case for the British Empire

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Bad Takes, Episode 4: Tucker Carlson’s case for the British Empire




Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s glowing review of Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy divides Matthew Yglesias and Laura McGann this week.

“Queen Elizabeth II was the last living link to a truly great Britain,” Carlson said on his primetime show the night the monarch died.

Matt doesn’t sign onto Carlson’s full monologue, but he does conclude the British weren’t the worst imperial power, looking on data comparing outcomes for countries under British, French and Spanish rule. The British left behind better infrastructure, political systems and economic opportunities.

Laura, meanwhile, finds Carlson’s take absurd. In her view, the colonial era left millions dead or enslaved and the monarch has a responsibility to face history and make amends for it. Elizabeth, she argues, never did.

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Suggested reads:

Queen Elizabeth II is being attacked by some because she lived in a better time, Tucker Carlson, Fox News

How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth, Mark Jared Rubin and Mark Koyama

Colonialism and Modern Income: Islands as Natural Experiments, James Feyrer and Bruce Sacerdote

Republic, U.K. movement to replace the monarchy with an elected head of state. (Note: this is what Matt is referencing when he calls Laura a “republican”; it’s in opposition to monarchists, not Democrats.)

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