At some point in their education, students learn about the Venn Diagram – a graphic depiction of the similarities and differences of two things. It is a great device for a visual comparison of both the individual characteristics of each as well as those things they have in common. In Binary America, circa 2021, where everything is either/or, with little room to assess the grey area of overlap, the ideological Venn Diagram may be more necessary than ever to brook dissenting views.
One Venn-like moment occurred recently on the Fox News show, Tucker Carlson Tonight. Carlson featured Dr. Naomi Wolf, a feminist author who has very little in common with the host on the face of it. Wolf is an ardent leftist, Democratic political adviser, and architect of Third Wave feminism. Carlson is a staunch conservative and leftist scold, with a ready arrow in his quiver for hypocrites on both sides of the political aisle. The list of things they disagree on is considerable – while the common ground they share is no doubt abbreviated.
But in this interview, Wolf and Carlson existed entirely in that overlap area of the Venn diagram. They agreed on virtually everything about her highly disturbing thesis – iterations of which Carlson argues nightly on his show.
Ten Steps to Fascism
And make no mistake; Naomi Wolf is sounding the alarm. She clings to a figurative rope attached to metaphorical cathedral bells and is using her reputational weight to send out the fervent peels of an international S.O.S. Her warning knell? Wolf believes that creeping fascism in the West has progressed from an amble, has skipped cantering, and gone straight to a gallop. Wolf has been concerned about this disquieting trend for a long time, and years ago, in 2007, she sat for an interview in which she discussed the ten steps all dictators take when turning an open society fascist. She stated:
“If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy – but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.”
Wolf rattled the cage reliably during Trump’s tenure and seemed certain he was the fascist authoritarian about whom she had prognosticated who would sledgehammer America into a police state. She also appeared to run a kind of interference for violent leftists like ANTIFA during those years while simultaneously recognizing them as harbingers of a coming devolution into a chaos destined to be weaponized by authoritarian elites.
Revelation: Trump Was Not the Danger
But Wolf’s appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight marked an inflection point for her. She is no longer crouched in relative safety behind the lines of her political ideology but is reaching across the aisle to find common ground during what she asserts is a red flag moment of crisis. It seems possible that since he left office, Wolf has been freed from the perseverative Trump hatred that addled so many on the left. Lowering her “orange angst” to a simmer has allowed her impressive intellect and reason to also weigh the considerable contributions of her own party – with power currently secured across two branches of the government – in the rise of the authoritarianism against which she inveighs.
As do many on the right and an increasing number on the left, Wolf believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has been used with deep cynicism and nefarious intent as a pretext to control the masses, kick-start totalitarianism, and subvert the Constitution. She was astonished that Biden would continue the devastating and senseless lockdowns of 2020 – but why? Biden said all along he would do just that. Could she be experiencing a kind of voter’s remorse over her endorsement of this administration?
Wolf asserts that we have moved to what she calls Step 10 on the To-Do List that will occasion The End of America – which is the alarming title of her book, now over a decade old. Step 10 is to Subvert the Rule of Law, and Wolf has spoken out against vaccine passport initiatives as an Orwellian subversion of our liberty as Americans and global citizens. This is, Wolf describes, “something I thought I would never see in my lifetime.”
The Common Enemy
She worries about the dark wedding of corporate and government power as an overture to autocracy – something we have seen gestate in the increasingly perverse and transactional relationship between Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley. This merger of the damned, she notes, is “really characteristic of the total fascism in the ’20s.” It’s something Carlson has dubbed “Corporatocracy.” These entities have colluded to hard-sell the lockdown, masking, and vaccine orthodoxies and used outsized fear of a virus with a 99.74% recovery rate to close the deal. As Wolf laments: “We are turning into a totalitarian state before everyone’s eyes.”
It is not only politics but crises that make strange bedfellows. Naomi Wolf has written disparagingly of Tucker Carlson in the past. They could scarcely be any less aligned ideologically. They are effectively antonyms. And yet Wolf accepted an invitation to appear on Carlson’s show. The common ground they happened on exists in the middle of an intellectual Venn Diagram. Two cultural opposites allying on something as consequential as this American moment is a most welcome development.
And not a moment too soon. Patriots and warriors of conscience of all political stripes will need to march under one flag to confront the encroaching fascism we are only now calling by name.
That one flag? The Stars and Stripes. It means freedom.
Read more from Pennel Bird.