Conservatives sometimes claim that celebrities are false idols in our society as a sometimes jealous reaction to the Left’s clear dominance over culture, but all too frequently they are urgently seeking any cultural significance they can.
The conservative movement is harmed by the hasty rush to praise a single celebrity because they uttered one purportedly conservative thing among a sea of not-so-conservative things. This desperation has one especially devastating effect. The best example is Kanye West.
The rapper, who now goes by Ye, attracted the rekindled interest of conservatives after showing up at his Yeezy design show in Paris while sporting a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt and an obscenely big portrait of Pope John Paul II.
This was plainly a marketing gimmick that capitalized on the cultural thirst of the conservative movement, and it worked. Ye soon rose to the top of the conservative discussion and, later that week, made an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News. He made certain comments during the one-on-one conversation that adhered to conservative values, such talking about the abortion problem afflicting black neighborhoods.
Ye has won the admiration of conservatives in recent years for his pro-life remarks and backing of former President Donald Trump. This time, the conservative community erupted in celebration of their cultural hero based only on his pro-life attitude and T-shirt choice, instead of exercising a modicum of moderation in reaction to an enormously prominent celebrity expressing a few conservative viewpoints.
“Kanye. Elon. Trump,” even the Republican House Judiciary Committee tweeted. Then Kanye went all Kanye on everyone. West said in a since-deleted tweet, “I’m a little drowsy now, but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” The irony is that black people are Jews too, therefore I can’t really be anti-Semitic. He said, “You people have used me and tried to black ball everybody who opposes your agenda.
After appearing to send fellow rapper Diddy a message that stated, “Ima use you as an example to teach the Jewish people that told you to contact me that no one can intimidate or influence me,” a few days prior, Ye apparently did just that. I warned you that this was war. Now out to take care of some business.
By the standards we use to assess those on the Left, Ye is antisemitic when taken in the context of more recent remarks made by Ye, such as the assertion that Jared Kushner, who is Jewish, only pushed for the Abraham Accords to “make money” or that “black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people.”
Democrats have after all been accurately branded as antisemites for talking far less about it, or at the very least for being much more subtly.
Ye has pushed the radical Black Hebrew Israelite ideology, which not only inspired two deadly attacks in December 2019 but also the waves of physical violence against Jews in black communities, by promoting the ideas that Jewish politicians are only interested in making money, that Jews exercise an excessive amount of control, and that Jews are actually black. You’d think that the wider conservative movement would reject Ye just as fast as it did Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-NI), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Despite the fact that some people did criticize Ye, the uneasy and ashamed silence from others is deafening. Why?
The first response is that, as British comedian David Baddiel revealed in his brilliant book Jews Don’t Count, Jews are treated equally by both political parties. By electoral calculations, there are around 8 million Jews living in the United States, compared to far over 41 million black people. For those of us who lack moral fiber, the cost of rejecting the enormous societal influence exerted by someone like Ye surpasses the benefit of merely ignoring his overt antisemitism.
The second response, which is the same as the first, is that the conservative movement is in dire need of cultural relevancy. So much so that an excessive number of people refuse to take into account the contextual “total” of any new cultural figure. Whether it’s Andrew Tate, Kyrie Irving, or Ye, newly discovered ideological heroes are pushed based on only one topic, and too many people hope to profit from their fleeting fame.
But as the dust settles, conservatives are forced to take responsibility for the wrongs committed by their fictitious heroes, exposing a degree of blatant hypocrisy that they will find difficult to overcome.
Conservatives must ask themselves: Is it worthwhile to rush to revere a celebrity each and every time he or she offers us the chance to “win” a minor aspect of the cultural war if it means destroying the very core of our ideology? As strongly as humanly possible, I would contend that it is not.