BEN HARVEY: Not everyone in the crowd at Tucker Carlson’s Freedom Tour was a wacko. Should we be worried?

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Ben Harvey
The Nightly
BEN HARVEY: The scariest thing about the crowd at Tucker Carlson’s Freedom Tour was they weren’t all tin-foil hat-wearing wackos.
BEN HARVEY: The scariest thing about the crowd at Tucker Carlson’s Freedom Tour was they weren’t all tin-foil hat-wearing wackos. Credit: Supplied/The Nightly

If you are reading this column hot off the press (or whatever the equivalent is for a digital newspaper) on Friday night then you aren’t at the Australian Freedom Conference in Sydney.

As you flick/scroll/swipe through the pages of this edition of The Nightly several thousand people are listening to a handful of speakers at the Clive-Palmer conspiracy festival.

I would fit right in because, at least on paper, I look like a Tucker Carlson fan.

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White. Middle class. Constantly complaining about how things were better back in my day. Confused by transgender politics.

But I also think that government is, generally, a force for good, and immigration is, generally, a positive thing for the economy and society.

I’m a political mystery wrapped in a ginger enigma if you will.

Are there any people like me at the Clive Palmer-bankrolled Freedom tour? Maybe.

It was hard to tell from the appearance of the audience at the Perth leg of the tour.

There were no Ford Broncos with Confederate flags in the carpark, no “F... Off We’re Full” T-shirts and no Southern Cross tattoos (at least none on show, it was a cold night so everyone was in long sleeves).

If they were the Trump-loving “deplorables” despised by Hillary Clinton, then they hid it well.

It was billed as the Tucker Carlson and Clive Palmer Freedom Tour, but fifty per cent of the top-billed act failed to show up at Monday night?s event in Perth.
It was billed as the Tucker Carlson and Clive Palmer Freedom Tour, but fifty per cent of the top-billed act failed to show up at Monday night's event in Perth. Credit: Kate Emery/The West Australian

I was pretty comfortable on Monday night, and it was only when the first speaker, Ivermectin champion Pierre Korey, received the kind of welcome that would make Axl Rose blush that I realised what I had got myself into.

I would be surrounded by anti-vaxxers for the duration of the show. Intermission? More like transmission!

Korey reckons the entire medical system is corrupt. I was determined to keep an open mind but he lost me early with a caveat along the lines of “there won’t be a lot of science in this presentation”.

Every time he talked about how the vaccine program was untested and dangerous the audience cheered, including a lot of the people who had been vaping out the front before the show.

Korey, who has been cancelled so comprehensively that he is referred to as the “ghost of the internet”, blamed a media conspiracy for Ivermectin’s bad name.

Apparently, as a journalist, I have the ability to bend people to my will. I must remind my family about this, for they clearly did not get the memo.

I also discovered that Bill Gates is secretly controlling the world media by spending huge amounts on advertising. And here’s stupid old me lobbying Kerry Stokes for a pay rise.

Censorship was an enduring theme of the night and the next speaker, Queensland doctor Melissa McCann, hammered the point.

McCann believes governments have understated the number of injuries and deaths from vaccines and is appalled that authorities are shirking further investigation under the pretence that “the science is settled” on the safety of inoculation.

Her position infuriates her critics but they should be mindful of other matters upon which the science was settled: the earth being flat; the earth being the centre of the universe; heavy objects fall faster than light ones; the atom is the smallest particle in the universe; and ulcers are caused by stress.

Depending on your politics the Freedom tour’s next speaker, American author Dinesh D’Souza, is either a tinfoil hat-wearer or a hero exposing deep-state shenanigans.

He actually used that word — shenanigans — several times in his presentation, which I found quite endearing coming from a man so detached from reality.

He talked about electoral fraud and warned us of a “police state coming toward us in a benign disguise”.

D’Souza started his talk with the assertion that Anthony Fauci had made up the six-foot social distancing measure not to stop the transmission of COVID but to disrupt the imminent US presidential election and pave the way for mass electoral fraud through an illegal ballot paper trade.

The conspiracy was uncovered not by the FBI, CIA or the US Justice Department, but by two electoral fraud investigators working out of what appeared to be a backyard garage.

After two hours of occasionally entertaining and always bonkers discussion, we had intermission/transmission while a redneck country and western band played Talkin’ Bout a Revolution. I’m not sure how Tracey Chapman would feel about that one.

FILE - APRIL 24, 2023: It was reported that Fox News has announced that it has parted ways with Tucker Carlson, the network?s highest-rated prime-time host April 24, 2023. ESZTERGOM, HUNGARY - AUGUST 07: Tucker Carlson speaks during the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) Feszt on August 7, 2021 in Esztergom, Hungary. The multiday political event was organized by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC), a privately managed foundation that recently received more than $1.7 billion in government money and assets. The leader of its main board, Balazs Orban, who is also a state secretary in the prime minister's office, said MCC's priority is promoting "patriotism" among the next generation of Hungary's leaders. (Photo by Janos Kummer/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson. Credit: Janos Kummer/Getty Images

The host returned with the news that Clive Palmer was a crook and wouldn’t be appearing in person.

They played a video of his last speech to make up for it, lacing the video with images of Palmer with other heroes of democracy, such as Vladimir Putin and Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

He talked a lot about Titanic II and a lot about how Ivermectin saved his life when he nearly died from COVID-19.

Oh, and he dropped the bombshell that Captain James Cook discovered Australia, which will come as a surprise to Aboriginal people, Torres Strait Islanders and the Dutch.

Then came the main event.

Tucker Carlson is bloody entertaining. He is a great speaker and had the crowd genuinely believing he had dreamed of visiting Perth since he was 10.

Mind you, this was a crowd that believed in an international conspiracy to poison the world with birth rate-lowering vaccines, so they were willing to be led up the garden path.

Tucker argued, sometimes persuasively, that the people in the “Anglo” countries of Australia, New Zealand, Britain, the US and Canada were being milked by politicians who were taking advantage of the innate politeness and decency of their electorates to ruin Christian society.

His point that those in power had allowed mass immigration, which was ruining the dream of homeownership, played nicely because, to be frank, he’s right.

His observations about Australian gun laws (the government “didn’t trust you to protect your family”) didn’t land so well.

Better received was his low-rent rip-off of Muhammad Ali’s “No Vietcong ever called me n....r” line to explain why Joe Biden was more of a threat to the US than Vladimir Putin (“Putin never called me a racist”).

With 10 minutes to go, he took the safety off and let rip in the Fox News style that made him one of the most influential broadcasters on the planet.

Current government policies were “not modelled on compassion but modelled on a hatred of us,” he said.

The transgender movement was designed to “crush my spirit and make me their slave”.

The state was “willing to kill you so that the stakes couldn’t be higher”.

The crowd loved him for it. And there were a lot of them.

That’s not a problem.

What is a problem is this: they weren’t all nuts.

For every conspiracy theorist, there was one quite normal person who was there because they were deeply frustrated with mainstream politicians.

Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton should be mindful that this new generation of forgotten people are willing to be led down the garden path.

They have eschewed the United Australia Party so far but past performance is no indicator of future results.

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