There’s a very distinct reason conservative pundits and Republican lawmakers have been praising the empire the Founding Fathers fought for independence
There are few things Republicans love more than harkening back to the American Revolution and 1776 — whether it’s in defense of their right to own high-powered assault rifles, to storm the Capitol in a deadly insurrection, or to obliterate the separation of church and state and turn America into a fascist theocracy.
So when Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, bringing a symbolic end to a era of British imperialism extending back to when those gun-toting, soon-to-be-American revolutionaries were fighting the Red Coats for freedom 250 years ago, conservatives welcomed the opportunity to turn the page.
Oh, wait … no they didn’t.
Tucker Carlson responded to the news on Thursday by praising Great Britain for “taking over the world,” arguing that the empire “was not perfect, but it was far more humane than any other, ever.”
“It’s gone now, barely even remembered,” the Fox News host continued. “Queen Elizabeth II was the last living link to a truly great Britain.” He then went on a screed about how Africa was better off when it was controlled by white people.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — who has cited the Declaration of Independence and “overthrowing tyrants” in defense of the Capitol riot, and whose pinned tweet glorifies “1776” — also lamented the “end of an era” in remembering Queen Elizabeth.
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk echoed Carlson and Greene on Friday. “British colonialism actually made the world decent,” he said after giddily announcing that the topic will “make the media lose their mind.”
“Certain cultures are better than others,” Kirk said after citing everything from the Magna Carta to Shakespeare. “Saying that out loud is a thought crime. British colonialism was the most benign global empire ever.”
The “certain culture are better than others” bit gets to the heart of the conservative defense of British imperialism, in that “certain” boils down to “white” and “others” boils down to “non-white.”
Steve King — the former Iowa representative with a rich history of racism — summed it up a little more explicitly on an MSNBC panel ahead of the 2016 election. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?” he said in response to a comment about how the Republican Party is run by white people.
“Than Western civilization itself,” King continued when asked to clarify if he was talking about white people. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”
King’s views were extreme at the time, but they’d blend right into the deluge of racism and hateful vitriol pushed by Republican politicians and conservative media pundits in 2022. All the way back in 2019, however, GOP leadership stripped King of his committee assignments after he appeared to question why “white nationalism” and “white supremacy” were considered offensive in an interview with The New York Times. He was primaried two years later, and though he no longer holds a seat in Congress, we’ve been reminded this week that his beliefs animate the party now more than they did before he lost his bid for reelection.
King reminded us, too. “Western Civilization is superior,” he wrote on Friday.