Recently the NYT breathlessly reported on the ‘Intellectual Dark Web,’ a collection of academics, comedians, artists and feminists. Some of the more well known include Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and Ben Shapiro, with Joe Rogan also being tangentially lumped into the ‘movement.’ The entire premise of this loose collection of podcasters and public personalities is that of having conversations that aren’t allowed anymore. Controversial ideas such as ‘men and women are biologically different.’ The following illustrates the true insanity of the left and who exactly is actually creating and implementing policy. “After his talk (Sam Harris), in which he disparaged the Taliban, a biologist who would go on to serve on President Barack Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues approached him. “I remember she said: ‘That’s just your opinion. How can you say that forcing women to wear burqas is wrong?’ But to me it’s just obvious that forcing women to live their lives inside bags is wrong. I gave her another example: What if we found a culture that was ritually blinding every third child? And she actually said, ‘It would depend on why they were doing it.’” While the level of censorship, degeneracy and cognitive dissonance in the media and politics continues to spiral into a near-indecipherable level of victim hierarchy and approved language and thought, does the resistance to ‘consensus parroting’ really constitute an answer to it? Should we be cheering on the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ as a valid answer to the left’s thought control? In my opinion, no.
Not to pile on the recent criticisms of Jordan Peterson, but the man’s worldview is one of have your cake and eat it too. He espouses a relativism, but coyly admits the efficacy of Christian morals in an evolutionary sense. If Dawkins is correct, they why not take him at his word and just eat people because we can? Sam Harris is a leftist atheist. Ben Shapiro is a never-Trump orthodox Jew. Heather Heying and her husband Brett Weinstein are former professors at Evergreen College and also leftists. Steven Crowder is a Canadian conservative comedian. The issue with a movement or intellectual group built around varying beliefs on what constitutes absolute truth or the nature of truth altogether, is there is no philosophical leg to stand on. Peterson and Harris may prefer a Western society that doesn’t blind every third child, but neither can offer a defense about killing every third child that is unfit in some way other that it might hurt their feelings. I do enjoy listening to long form discussions about controversial and complex issues, but a discussion implies an answer to the question. The Intellectual Dark Web seems to be an exercise in skepticism with a liberal dose of Kant and empiricism mixed in. One is left at the end of it all wondering why it matters if the answer either doesn’t exist or cannot be known. Wrapping all of that up in a bowtie and a collection of rules that Ward Cleaver or any decent father would have told you does not profundity make.
So aside from the philosophical, the recent promotion of this specific group leaves me to wonder if an Approved Alternative™ is being established. The idea that anyone in the mainstream media, particularly the NYT would describe me as ‘princely’ is laughable. We are intellectual and culturally opposed in nearly every aspect of our lives, the existence of AP’s philosophical school of thought is an anathema to their relativistic hedonism. One does not praise a movement or philosophy that provides competing or superior answers to meta-questions. From a pragmatic viewpoint the recent attention and promotion of this idea that discourse is the be-all-end-all indicates to me that the dominant liberal apologists understand this as well. Simply, cui bono? A lack of coherent ideology and a large amount of overlap with the dominant ideology today does not make a movement, but a cacophony. In my opinion the left has created or allowed a blowoff valve for dissident thought to combat the growing dissatisfaction with their values and ruthless grip on mainstream society, without any of the teeth that dissident thought has.
In conclusion, don’t disagree with the notion that dissent and discussion of controversial or difficult subjects are a bad thing. However, we must all be careful to examine the underlying presuppositions of what we are being told to believe. Why are we being presented these people? Why if an enormously popular music mogul cannot express free thought, is the mainstream media a and thought police embracing this? If you were trying to consolidate and control both sides of the social and cultural conflict now raging in America, would you do anything differently? Food for thought.