JOHN DERBYSHIRE: Tucker Carlson's Virtue-Signal With Kanye West Backfired—But Exposed Regime’s Rampant Social Credit Canceling
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

My normal routine on a weekday evening is to sit down to dinner at 7:30, eat steadily for half an hour while making light conversation with Mrs. Derbyshire and such family members or friends as may be present; then, at 8 o’clock, move to the living room, usually clutching my half-eaten dessert, switch on the TV, and watch Tucker Carlson’s show.

Friday evenings I’m under pressure to get my podcast finished and posted. I don’t let that interfere with my normal routine, though. I have to eat dinner; and, having eaten it, I have to sit still and do something undemanding while my digestive tract grinds through its work. There aren’t many things less demanding than watching TV; so, the eating done and digestion well underway, I watch Tucker before returning to my podcast labors.

I don’t always watch the whole show. If I’m behind with the podcast I cut out at the first commercial break; or later, if Tucker starts talking about flying saucers, I quit right there.

Well, last Friday Tucker started in not with his monologue as usual, but with an interview. The interviewee was Kanye West.

I knew the name Kanye West because it shows up in New York Post headlines, attached to stories that I skip right over. I knew he was some kind of celebrity, and I think I knew that he was showbiz, not sports. That was the sum total of my Kanye West knowledge last Friday evening. I don’t have to engage with celebrity culture, and you can’t make me.

I sat through the first few minutes of the show, but neither Tucker nor West said anything interesting, so I went to my study and recorded some podcast.

Around 8:30 p.m., by which point Tucker has generally finished with his first segment and is halfway through his second, I stopped by the living room to see what Tucker was covering in that second segment. To my surprise he was still sitting across from Kanye West asking him questions. I watched for a minute or two, again heard nothing interesting, went back to my study.

Apparently Tucker gave over that entire hour to the interview with Kanye West, a thing he very rarely does. Why? West didn’t seem very smart or eloquent. The few minutes I caught of him actually speaking, he was mumbling gibberish. I did some lookups on the internet.

So now I know who Kanye West is. He’s a rapper.

Not my thing, you understand; but then, rock’n’roll wasn’t my parents’ thing, jazz wasn’t their parents’ thing, and so on back to the Bronze Age. Chacun à son goût. A young friend (white male) who listens to rap music for pleasure tells me that West’s is much better than the average.

West isn’t just a performer, either; he’s a producer and entrepreneur in those black styles of performed and recorded music, and also in the fashion business. He has real entrepreneurial talent and has made himself stinking rich.

That’s not nothing, and all good luck to him. The point of a prime-time pundit show, however, is not to showcase entrepreneurial whizz kids. The point is for the pundit to sound off intelligently on matters of public concern, and to bring on guests who’ll do the same for five or ten minutes while the pundit catches his breath.

So what was Kanye West doing on Tucker’s program? For a whole hour?

The proximate cause here seems to have been West showing up at a fashion show the previous Monday wearing a shirt with the legend WHITE LIVES MATTER printed on it.

As far as I can fathom his political views—and it ain’t easy—West started out a traditional left-liberal, Democrat-voting, anti-white, anti-semitic black American, then in recent years lurched off to the populist right, hobnobbing with Donald Trump and running for president himself in 2020 on an independent ticket.

Religion seems to have something to do with it; West describes himself as a Christian, although I can’t find any information on his churchgoing habits. Whatever: Right now he seems to be traveling with the Black Conservative movement. Next year, who knows?

There’s nothing especially black about any of that, it’s basic celebrity stuff. There’s no reason to expect a celebrity to have any well-thought-out political philosophy. Smiling for the paparazzi, or looking happy or sad or angry while reciting lines someone’s written for you—those are just physical talents, like being able to wiggle your ears. They don’t need much connected thought.

Most celebrities are low-IQ. Sure: entrepreneurial success like West’s needs some people skills and planning ability, but not much abstract thinking.

So once again: What was Tucker thinking, giving West a whole prime-time hour to ramble incoherently?

What he was thinking was, in a word: equity.

Conservatives who are respectable enough to have their own TV shows—a category that obviously includes Tucker—live in terror of being thought hostile to blacks. They want thirteen percent of their guests to be black, for equity. For the Tuckers of the world, black conservatives are gold—even airhead celebrity blacks who are no more able to articulate consistent conservative opinions than they are to solve cubic equations.

So there’s your answer: Tucker was Virtue Signaling.

It came back to bite him, though. That Tucker interview was on Friday. The very next day, Saturday October 8th, West posted a weird tweet on Twitter, saying that he would soon ”death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” and adding as an afterthought: ”You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”

Yes, he actually wrote ”death con” for ”def con,” either to add a bit more outrageousness to the anti-semitism, or—much more likely—from sheer illiterate ignorance.

Twitter deleted the tweet and suspended West’s account. Poor Tucker was left with egg all over his face.

If there is one thing a cable-TV prime-time host dreads more than being thought racist, it’s being thought anti-semitic, or even just being accused of hosting an anti-semite on his show. They really, really hate it when that happens.

What do we learn from this, comrades?

We learn that when selecting guests for your TV show—especially guests you intend to keep talking for an entire hour—stick with people who you know have given more than thirty seconds connected thought to issues of public policy.

Corollary: Do not invite showbiz, sports, or business celebrities, unless they also have Ph.D.s in political science.

But a footnote to all that. Tucker’s interview with West was aired last Friday. West’s tweet appeared on Saturday. Four days on from that, on Wednesday, we learned that JP Morgan Chase bank, which Kanye West has been using for his various enterprises, will no longer take his business.

As Rod Dreher points out, we are proceeding steadily towards a ChiCom-style social credit system in which, if you are suspected of harboring thoughts not approved by the regime, private business corporations will not accept you as a customer [The Regime Debanks Kanye West, American Conservative October 12, 2022]. This action by JP Morgan Chase illustrates the process very clearly.

Some days before that we had had another illustration of this creeping, and very creepy, trend. On Friday October 7th, the same day Tucker’s interview with Kanye West aired, reports came out that PayPal would, starting on November 3rd, sanction users who engage in ”prohibited activities” [New PayPal Policy Lets Company Pull $2,500 From Users’ Accounts If They Promote ‘Misinformation,’ by Ben Zeisloft, Daily Wire, October 7, 2022].

What did they mean by ”sanction” there? They would, they said, fine such users up to $2,500 per offense, presumably just sucking the money out of your account.

And what did they mean by ”prohibited activities”? Quote:

The sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials promote misinformation or present a risk to user safety or wellbeing…the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory.

We all know, of course, that what’s being targeted there is the expression of opinions not approved after the Biden-Era communist coup.

Who gets to decide what is ”misinformation”? Or what poses ”a risk to user safety or wellbeing”? Or what forms of intolerance are ”discriminatory”?

Again, we all know the answer. Merrick Garland’s thin-lipped apparatchiks get to decide. The Regime’s bought-and-paid-for Gestapo, formerly known as the FBI, gets to decide. The Southern Poverty Law Center—half cynical money racket, half refuge for red-diaper babies still weeping for the demise of the Soviet Union, which their parents told them was the Hope of the World—the SPLC get to decide.

The day that new PayPal policy was aired, Friday October 7th, PayPal stock fell four percent on the exchanges. Then on Monday, the next trading day, it fell another six percent. It rallied a bit later in the week, but is still underperforming the market.

There could be extraneous reasons for that—please don’t come to me for deep market analysis—but whether or not that’s the case, PayPal was badly spooked by the general public reaction to its October 7th announcement.

The following day, Saturday the 8th, PayPal management scrambled to save the situation. A spokesman for the company put out a not-very-convincing email telling the world that

PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy. Our teams have made appropriate updates to correct these inaccuracies and we apologize for any confusion this has caused.

[PayPal faces backlash after floating fines for sharing misinformation, Washington Post, Analysis by Cristiano Lima  with research by Aaron Schaffer October 10, 2022]

Executive Summary: Oops!

The pushback against PayPal wasn’t just coming from us semi-fascist deplorable crackpots of the far right, either. There were words of disapproval from Senators Marsha Blackburn and Tim Scott, Brendan Carr at the Federal Communications Commission, a spokeslady for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former president of PayPal David Marcus, and Elon Musk.

On the other hand, the Cancelling of Kanye West rolls on:

But he apparently has a new Significant Other, Juliana Nalu, below:

So he’s doing OK.

We can dare to hope that if the GOP gets control of Congress—or even just of the House—in the upcoming midterms, they might take some legislative action against these big software monopolies fronting for the Democratic Party.

That’s assuming of course that Republican legislators can spare some time from voting more five-billion-dollar aid packages to Ukraine.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.


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