Kanye West, Dragon Energy, and Why The Establishment Fears Him

Kanye West has unleashed his dragon energy and set the world ablaze the last week. It’s already had some tangible results, for now at least, in that The black male approval of Donald Trump has doubled. Whether that represents a new floor will take longer to tell. It shows hints of why there have been such hysterical reactions to Kanye West since he started making his remarks.

Make no mistake, the prospect of Kanye West jumping into the “dissident” camp is huge. It’s arguably bigger than Donald Trump’s campaign and victory. Caution still needs to be exercised. We still don’t know how committed he is, if he is at all, but he and his “dragon energy” have even more potential to move the needle now than Donald Trump does. The number of people that can be persuaded by Donald Trump has likely reached its limit. Kanye West, though, is only getting started in terms of persuading people to leave the establishment zeitgeist.

It might be worth it now to reread the post I did on Kanye’s potential election chances in November 2016, because he’s definitely making moves with that “dragon energy” of his.

Political and Demographic Impact

The “social justice” left is a coalition of groups that the establishment desperately needs to keep perpetually aggrieved. It’s a dangerous game, though. Only a small fraction of these aggrieved groups need splinter from the whole and the left won’t be able to win elections. Indeed, as I predicted in Stumped, Donald Trump did better with black voters than did Mitt Romney, particularly with black men. Should Kanye West enter the fray in some form or fashion, he can bring many, many more black voters, especially men, with him. If Democrats can’t get 90% of the black vote, it’s game over. Yes, pre-Trump Republicans were that bad at connecting with black voters, which is even more pathetic given the causes du jour on the left now. The emphasis on open borders, feminism, LGBT, and Islam are hardly popular in the black community.

The actual issues aren’t as relevant as the authority and influence Kanye West wields in the community. Kanye West, should he ever endorse any candidate, can unleash that “dragon energy” and move many voters with him.

While the black community is the most obvious one Kanye West has influence over, he cuts across all demographics that skew younger.

Cultural and Intellectual Impact

More significant than any electoral shifts are the cultural implications of Kanye’s seeming defection from orthodoxy. Kanye’s audience, for one, is much younger than that of Donald Trump, and therefore has more power to influence cultural trends. Kanye’s vast authority and the social proof he commands can change media and entertainment far more quickly than it would change without him.

On the very last day of 2016, I went over how waves of populism would influence an increasingly artificial, and therefore stale, pop-culture complex. Part prediction, part explanation, it described how influential pop-culture is on personal and political behavior. After seeing high-profile media scalps, the NFL losing out in part because of its holier-than-tough virtue signaling, and the poor reception of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the idea I proposed that people were searching for something new proved well-founded in 2017. Kanye West could prove the biggest signal of all, as he may be responding to and creating new paradigms. Perhaps the force of dragon energy will be the new “thing,” as opposed to brainless virtue signaling.

Kanye West Dragon Energy

The usual character assassination attacks quickly came in the usual clickbait outrage flood. Since they couldn’t call Kanye West “racist,” they called him crazy, which appears true enough that some people will assume he is. After all, who talks about “dragon energy?”

Truthfully, they’re terrified, because even more than Donald Trump, Kanye West can make getting out of the bubble of orthodox opinion cool, and to a younger audience.

What is this bubble? I’ll quote James Howard Kunstler again:

We’re now living under that condition of “intellectual martial law.” The consequent degradation of thinking means that the polity can’t construct a coherent consensus about what is happening to it (or devise a plan for what to do about it). This is exactly the point where the Overton Window turns into an Overton Bubble, as described by Devers. The bubble comprises ideas that are assumed to be self-evident (though they actually aren’t) and notions that are potentially destructive of society, even suicidally so. Here is a partial list of the current dogmas and shibboleths inside today’s Overton Bubble:

  • Russia hacked the election of 2016 (no evidence required).
  • Russia (Vladimir Putin in particular) is bent on destroying the USA.
  • All immigrants, legal or illegal, have equal status before the law.
  • National borders are inconvenient, cruel, and obsolete.
  • Western Civilization is a malign force in human history.
  • Islam is “the religion of peace,” no matter how many massacres of “infidels” are carried out in its name.
  • Men are a negative force in society.
  • White men are especially negative.
  • Brownie points given for behaviors under the rubric LBGTQ.
  • All discussion about race problems and conflicts is necessarily racist.
  • The hijab (head covering worn in public by some Muslim women) is a device of liberation for women.
  • There should be a law against using the wrong personal pronoun for people who consider themselves neither men nor women (recently passed by the Canadian parliament).
  • A unifying common culture is unnecessary in national life (anything goes).
  • Colonizing Mars is a great solution to problems on Earth.

I added on more bullet points:

  • Any restrictions on immigration, legal or illegal, are “racist” or “xenophobic.”
  • Any attempt to question or restructure trading arrangements are “protectionist” or “are bad for the economy.”
  • Any questioning of America’s interventionist foreign policy is labeled as somehow unpatriotic, in recent times updated with the “pawn of Putin” variant.
  • Anyone questioning established politics in general may be labeled as a Russian pawn.
  • Those who question leftist identity politics should be censored and censured.
  • Free speech and other rights of acceptable targets are to be subordinated to the feelings of what Thomas Sowell calls “mascots.”
  • Imagination is an acceptable substitute for reality, so long as it’s the imagination of a favored person or group.
  • Emotional outbursts are an acceptable substitute for debate as long as they come from a favored person or group.
  • Anyone who questions the self-appointed intellectual class is a low-status rube.

Kunstler continues:

Now, the question of motive. Why does the thinking class in America embrace ideas that are not necessarily, and surely not self-evidently, truthful, and even self-destructive? Because this class is dangerously insecure and perversely needs to insist on being right about its guiding dogmas and shibboleths at all costs. That is why so much of the behavior emanating from the thinking class amounts to virtue signaling — we are the good people on the side of what’s right, really we are! Of course, virtue signaling is just the new term for self-righteousness. There is also the issue of careerism. So many individuals are making a living at trafficking in, supporting, or executing policy based on these dogmas and shibboleths that they don’t dare depart from the Overton Bubble of permissible, received thought lest they sacrifice their status and incomes.

The thinking classes are also the leaders and foot-soldiers in American institutions. When they are unable or unwilling to think clearly, then you get a breakdown of authority, which leads to a breakdown of legitimacy. That’s exactly where we’re at today in our national politics — our ability to manage the polity.

If Kanye West can unleash his dragon energy and make it cool and trendy to think outside this bubble, it’s no longer “respectable.” A preference cascade, the kind mentioned in Stumped’s chapter on social proof, begins to show itself. Then the bubble can’t be enforced. Kunstler’s “intellectual martial law” is lifted, since it’s not enforced with guns, but by the hectoring of a deeply insecure class of people that claims an unearned monopoly on respectability.

It just so happens that Kanye West, like Donald Trump, is in a position where hectoring and outrage-stirring can’t work. He, perhaps more than anyone, can bring this awareness and pop the bubble under the force of his dragon energy, especially if he starts a movement of ultra high-level defections. Up to now, Donald Trump was the only one. If more come in, the preference cascade accelerates that much more.

You can see why they’re very, very afraid.

I still don’t know what to make of Kanye West, but this is an exciting development. Unleash the dragon energy!

To predict where things may head, read Stumped. Two years on, it’s still proving its predictive power.