Beware Of The ‘Recent Monticello Visitor’

Jeffrey_Tucker_by_Gage_Skidmore
Jeffrey Tucker (credit: Greg Skidmore via Wikipedia/Creative Commons)

Getting outraged over Fox News holds little allure these days, but occasionally the network will do something so quintessentially Fox News that you have to sit back and marvel at the layers of mendacity.

Today’s little Fox News gem was a segment on what a huge bummer it is to visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello these days, what with all the focus on slavery and what not at what was built as a slave plantation.

A bow-tied, bespectacled guest for the segment was billed hilariously in one chyron as a “recent Monticello visitor.” Turns out there’s a little more to the story.

The guest was one Jeffrey Tucker. Who?

Credit to the journalist and author Jonathan Katz, who quickly pieced together Tucker’s backstory.

Tucker is a former Ron Paul acolyte who has worked with Lew Rockwell in various capacities, including at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. But there’s a bit more to it than that. A 20-year-old report by the Southern Poverty Law Center on the Neo-Confederate movement identified Tucker and Rockwell as founding members of the League of the South:

Both Rockwell and institute research director Jeffrey Tucker are listed on the racist League of the South’s Web page as founding members — and both men deny their membership. Tucker has written for League publications, and many League members have taught at the institute’s seminars and given presentations at its conferences.

We need not be drawn into a debate over whether they were in fact founding members of the League of the South. It wouldn’t be the first time a fringe organization touted ties it didn’t have to draw attention to itself. Suffice to say though, there was a lot of crossover between the League of the South and Rockwell’s Ludwig von Mises Institute. Some that cross-pollination is detailed in this 2016 piece for the Washington Post.

The League of the South faded away for a while, but in its heyday it was a racist and secessionist forerunner of the current brand of white nationalism that animates the far right.

There’s a lot more here to unpeel. We’ll have more later.

Tucker’s star turn on today’s Fox segment came just a few days after he served as a named source for a New York Post story headlined “Monticello is going woke — and trashing Thomas Jefferson’s legacy in the process.”

It’s usually a little more difficult to pinpoint the origins of the newest right wing hobbyhorse. Tucker’s presence makes this one easy.

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