I guess I’m not the only one who noticed the blatant ironies of
The Intellectual Dark Web. So did Nathan Robinson.
Weiss says that “offline and in the real world, members of the I.D.W. are often found speaking to one another in packed venues around the globe,” such as the O2 Arena, where they dare to say “That Which Cannot Be Said,” offering “taboo” thoughts like “There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart.” (Gosh, perhaps it’s just the fringe conservative circles I move in, but I seem to hear that stuff constantly!)
Well, are they right? Are they being “purged” as part of a “siege” on free speech by the illiberal left? It’s interesting that Weiss chooses to use the formulation “feeling locked out of legacy outlets,” since I seem to remember a great philosopher once saying that Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings. These people may feel as if they are persecuted renegades, suppressed at every turn by Postmodern Neo-Marxists. But there are a lot of facts to say otherwise.
First, even from the evidence in Weiss’ article, we can see that freely speaking about the “siege on free speech” is impressively lucrative. Dave Rubin’s show “makes at least $30,000 a month on Patreon” while Jordan Peterson “pulls in some $80,000 in fan donations each month” and recently released a bestseller. Ben Shapiro gets 15 million downloads a month and has published five books, Sam Harris gets a million listeners per episode and has published seven books. Though Joe Rogan insists “he’s not an interviewer or a journalist” (I wouldn’t disagree) his three-hour podcast conversations are among the most downloaded in the world. These dissident “intellectuals” each seem to make about as much money in a month, with far larger audiences, than is made annually by the critical race theorists and gender studies professors they think are keeping them from being heard.
I guess we can put all of them soundly in the conservative camp, since they meet the two main diagnostic criteria: they make money off their persecution complex, and they’re all flailingly hypocritical.