Fox News host Tucker Carlson has long been criticized for using his show to promote racist, white nationalist themes, and conspiracy theories, as New York Magazine has documented. But on Wednesday night, the 50-year-old Carlson aired one of his stranger segments, embarking on a tirade against the metric system.
The metric system is a standardized system of measurement now used by every country in the world except for three, according to ZME Science. Those three countries are the African nation of Liberia, Myanmar — a country in Southeast Asia — and the United States of America.
But according to Carlson, as quoted by Media Matters for America, all of those other countries of the world have now fallen under “the yoke of tyranny.” Namely, Carlson said, the metric system — lamenting the other countries who are “forced” to use such units of measurement as millimeters and kilograms.
“The United States is the only major country that has resisted, but we have no reason to be ashamed for using feet and pounds,” Carlson declared.
On his nightly Fox News program Wednesday, Carlson discussed the metric system with self-proclaimed “anti-metrite” who told Carlson, as quoted by Raw Story, that the metric system must continue to be resisted in the U.S. because the system has its origins in the French Revolution and “it was imposed at the business end of the guillotine.”
Pinero’s claim was accurate in that the “founding father” of the metric system is considered to be Gabriel Mouton, a clergyman in Lyons, France, who concocted “a decimal system of measurement” as far back as the year 1670, according to a history by the U.S. Metric Association. And indeed, during the French Revolution in 1790, the country’s National Assembly ordered the French Academy of Sciences to “deduce an invariable standard for all the measures and all the weights.”
It was at that point that the French devised the names for such units of measurement as the “meter” (in most other countries spelled “metre”), which was based on the Greek word metron, which means simply, “a measure.”
But what Carlson may not have known as he delivered his anti-metric diatribe, which may be viewed above on this page, was that the United States — at least in an official capacity — has already adopted the metric system. In fact, the U.S. signed a treaty with 16 other countries in the year 1875, a treaty known as “The Metric Convention,” according to the Metric Association. In that treaty, the U.S. adopted the metric system. Though metric units have never been commonly used by Americans, the metric system remains in place as an official American standard of measurement.