Welcome to the Intellectual Dark Web

I’ve been watching YouTube and podcasts with some pretty inspiring (in the public discourse) thinkers.  I came across this article and want to introduce my friends to the Intellectual Dark Web.

I also want to us this opportunity to criticize this writer of this article because she seems to be clueless about what is really going on.



She introduces the main figures of this movement and then, now that she has established the I.D.W. as a group, shows her concern for how they allow members into their group—members who might be bad for them.  Typical of a journalist, she immediately starts watching out for outside-the-mainstream members who might damage the I.D.W..  As if that was her job.

“This episode was the clearest example yet of the challenge this group faces: In their eagerness to gain popular traction, are the members of the I.D.W. aligning themselves with people whose views and methods are poisonous? Could the intellectual wildness that made this alliance of heretics worth paying attention to become its undoing?”

This is her worry after noting that members such as Eric Weinsten have met with, gasp, Kanye West and Candice Owens!  Oh, no!  They might be bad for the I.D.W.!

She then introduces a few more members and what they did to earn entry into this new, cool club.  And then the fixing begins:

“Emphasis is one problem. Associating with genuinely bad people is another.

Go a click in one direction and the group is enhanced by intellectuals with tony affiliations like Steven Pinker at Harvard. But go a click in another and you’ll find alt-right figures like Stefan Molyneux and Milo Yiannopoulos and conspiracy theorists like Mike Cernovich (the #PizzaGate huckster) and Alex Jones (the Sandy Hook shooting denier).

It’s hard to draw boundaries around an amorphous network, especially when each person in it has a different idea of who is beyond the pale.”


Now the journalist is behaving like a journalist.  She’s the gatekeeper and is telling the I.D.W. what their boundaries are.  She talks about Joe Rogan and Dave Rubin, who will let just about anyone talk on their podcasts, as well as themselves appear as guests on the podcasts of ‘unhinged’ types.  Dave Rubin calmly explains, “I talk to people. And I record it. That’s it.”

This helps us clarify the primary difference between the I.D.W.’s podcasts and YouTube videos, and the mainstream media.  The I.D.W. membership developed as a response to having their free speech curtailed.  The mainstream media can sort of sympathize, but they still believe they are the arbiters of what is to be said to the public.  The journalist says: “The subject came up at that dinner in Los Angeles. Mr. Rubin, whose mentor is Larry King, insisted his job is just to let the person sitting across from him talk and let the audience decide. But with a figure like Mr. Cernovich, who can occasionally sound reasonable, how is a viewer supposed to know better?

She has exposed herself and the media attitude.  She knows Mr. Cernovich is a bad influence and American citizens shouldn’t hear his views.  She’s sure they’ll be confused and make wrong decisions.  But in a recent podcast with Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, Eric Weinstein and Jordan Peterson, they all agreed that their audience was a lot smarter than was thought by the elites.  And the success they are having at explaining their ideas and attacking the worst of the Leftist ideas is all the evidence necessary. (That podcast is here and well worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PagNM_oxssE&t=2s)

Even after explaining this point, that much of what the I.D.W. does is in response to attacks on their freedoms, the author concludes with:

“But people who pride themselves on pursuing the truth and telling it plainly should be capable of applying these labels when they’re deserved. It seems to me that if you are willing to sit across from an Alex Jones or Mike Cernovich and take him seriously, there’s a high probability that you’re either cynical or stupid. If there’s a reason for shorting the I.D.W., it’s the inability of certain members to see this as a fatal error.”

Again, this is the journalist as proud member of the Nanny State’s Fourth Estate. And someone who is so arrogant that she can write an article about the I.D.W. and completely miss the point of free speech.

I am impressed with Bari Weiss and wish her well in her career.  I hope she learns that free speech means we can say, and believe, whatever we want.  And if she doesn’t like what I believe, I encourage her to make her argument to change my mind.  I will defend her right to do so to the death.


Note: The individuals profiled in the article are listed here.  I suggest you start looking them up and reading and watching.  Especially Dr. Peterson (my favorite).

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Sam Harris

Heather Heying

Claire Lehmann

Douglas Murray

Maajid Nawaz,

Jordan Peterson

Joe Rogan

Dave Rubin

Ben Shapiro

Michael Shermer

Debra Soh

Christina Hoff Sommers

Bret Weinstein

Eric Weinstein

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