Thirty years goes pretty fast. Thirty years ago, it was the fall of 1989, believe it or not -- it seems like yesterday.
And at the time, if you can remember that far back, America seemed unbeatable. Our chief rival, the Soviet Union had just collapsed. Our economy and military strength dwarfed those of every nation on the planet. America in 1989 was the uncontested leader of the world -- free and otherwise.
But just three decades later, that advantage has evaporated completely. Instead of expanding and solidifying our power, we've wasted it. And as a result, we're now in the race of our lives against a country that in 1989 was so poor that many of its people could not afford meat or electricity -- China. And at this rate, China will beat us.
So the question is, how did America fall so far so fast? And the answer is simple -- bad leadership. The people who benefited the most from this country cared about it the least. They were also the quickest to sell it out to foreign powers for profit.
That's obvious now, thanks to people like LeBron James. James, of course, is one of the most famous athletes in history. But he started off at the very bottom. He was born to an impoverished 16-year-old mother in Akron, Ohio. He never went to college.
And yet, thanks to hard work and remarkable skill, James's endorsement income alone now exceeds $50 million a year. If there's anyone whose life is a tribute to America, to its decency, to its endless opportunity, it's LeBron James. In return, he showers America with contempt.
Just on Monday, James was asked to comment on the NBA executive who issued a one-line statement on Twitter in support of democracy in Hong Kong. Here's how LeBron James responded:
LeBron James: I don't want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand. And he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say, and what we do. Even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too.
So freedom of speech is just fine, says LeBron James, as long as you don't do anything crazy with it, like, I don't know, obliquely criticize the Chinese Communist Party. No, that's out of bounds. It might harm people spiritually.
It also might potentially make LeBron James slightly less rich. And of course, that's the real problem with it.
Think we're being unfair? Think that's an unfair interpretation of what you just saw?
Well, according to ESPN, LeBron James has been adamant in his defense of Chinese fascism, even off-camera. Here's this:
Dave McMenamin, ESPN senior writer: Adam Silver got up and addressed the players, and LeBron James is one of the players who got up and spoke and said, "hey, what are we doing here? Daryl Morey made these statements? You know damn well if a player made the same similar statements and caused such war ramifications for the league, there'd be some sort of league recourse."
There would be repercussions that the player has to pay. You know, potentially, this tweet could cost the NBA hundreds of millions of dollars, which could come out of the players' pockets. And so that's the double standard that was being addressed in that meeting.
In other words, any American who questions China ought to be punished. That's LeBron James's view. That's what he's demanding, in fact.
If there's anyone whose life is a tribute to America, to its decency, to its endless opportunity, it's LeBron James. In return, he showers America with contempt.
The Chinese Politburo must not be criticized, and yet there's a very different standard that James holds for his own country and his own president. Watch this past interview on CNN:
LeBron James: He [President Trump] has kind of used sport to kind of divide us. I would never sit across from him.
Don Lemon, CNN anchor: You would never -- you won't talk to him?
JAMES: No. I'd sit across from Barack [Obama], though.
Yes, that's the American president he is talking to.
Well, if you read James's Twitter feed, you won't be surprised to learn any of this. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," he tweeted once. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
OK, well, obviously, things that matter does not include throwing Muslims in concentration camps in China or the oppression of more than a billion people in China. So what does matter to LeBron James and his friends in our ruling class?
Well, the first thing they care about is popularity and that's why they're delighted to weigh in politically -- when it's fashionable in West Los Angeles, bashing the administration or protesting the National Anthem or retweeting and being supportive transgender rights or whatever. Their friends call them brave when they do this, which is one of the indications it's not bravery. It's conformity, which is the opposite, usually.
The other thing that James and the rest care about, of course, is money. When you criticize Beijing, it might cost you money.
Here's a perfect example. LeBron James is both starring in and producing an upcoming film called "Space Jam 2." The movie is expected to do big business in China if it's released there. And James can't risk that.
The rest of Hollywood made the same decision many years ago. We used to see, occasionally, movies that criticized the dictatorship of China or took the side of Tibet. (Remember Richard Gere? Whatever happened to him?) But not anymore. In fact, that's unimaginable.
You can't imagine a major Hollywood picture taking the side of Tibet or Hong Kong, or the Dalai Lama or human rights in China, the world's largest country. No. Instead, studios now grovel for Chinese funding. And if China appears in films at all, it's always in a positive portrayal.
This is what corruption looks like.
Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Oct. 15, 2019.