Whenever you dialogue with a Left-wing populist, be prepared to fight fire with fire. That is the lesson Tucker Carlson learned when he invited Rutger Bregman, a pop-economist of the Ted Talk variety, on his show. Carlson took notice of Bregman when he trolled the Davos World Economic Forum by denouncing the philanthropy of liberal corporate elites and insisting that confiscatory tax rates are the only real solution to inequality. "All the rest is bulls___," Bregman explained.
Tucker Carlson makes it a point to converse with those on the political Left who are critical of liberal elites, often hoping he can convince progressives to join forces with his brand of elite-critical conservatism. In his eagerness for dialogue, Carlson assumed that Bregman would be interested in joining with him to criticize corporate elites and a converse about possible solutions. Big mistake. Bregman was interested in more trolling. Within minutes, Bregman began attacking Tucker Carlson himself for taking "dirty money" from "millionaires and billionaires."
Carlson was clearly taken off guard by his guest's hostility and even called the guy a "moron" before abandoning the segment altogether. Although Bergman's comments were indeed idiotic—sounding more like a caricature than an argument—the interview did not need play out this way. Tucker could have taken a lesson from Ben Shapiro about how to prepare for engagement with Left-wing populists.
Cenk Uygar of the Young Turks is a progressive populist who agreed to appear with Ben Shapiro in a debate at Politicon—an annual, non-partisan political convention. In preparation for the event, Shapiro watched many of Uygar's previous debates, and saw him attack conservatives, most notably commentator Dinesh D'Souza, in much the same way that Rutger Bregman attacked Tucker Carlson. For example, when cornered, Cenk jabbed at Dinesh,
"Do you really believe these things, Dinesh, or are you trying to get paid by right-wing guys who are paying you to say this nonsense."
When Ben Shapiro stepped onto the debate stage with Cenk Uygar, he was armed with an arsenal of facts about the funding history and connections of the Young Turks organization. Had Uygar decided to hit Shapiro below the belt, Shapiro was ready to hit him right back. Unsurprisingly, their debate went smoothly and stayed in the realm of ideas rather than personal attacks. Conservatives must always be prepared in this way whenever dialoguing with the populist Left. At a moment's notice, progressives can abandon argument and begin attacking any personal connections one might have to "millionaires and billionaires." The only way to prevent this from happening is a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction.
Tucker Carlson should always know his guest's history better than they know his. That way, when a populist progressive goes after his finances, he can hit them right back and expose their fraud. Segments exposing Leftist heroes like Rutger Bregman as substance-free trolls would be good TV.