Features, Free Speech, Politics

Laci Green, The Matrix, and the Future of Free Speech

Earlier this week, popular YouTuber Laci Green, with almost 1.5 million subscribers, released a video entitled “Taking the Red Pill?” The “red pill,” obviously is an allusion to the famous 1999 film The Matrix, in which one of the lead characters, Morpheus, an infamous leader within the Matrix presents Neo, a hacker seeking to explore the Matrix, with two choices—taking the blue pill or the red pill. According to Morpheus, if Neo takes the blue pill, “you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe,” but if Neo picks the red pill, “I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Virtually everyone has seen The Matrix or has heard of the red pill meme; indeed, a Google search for red pill brings up almost 7 million results. However, what makes Green’s video particularly important and distinguishes it from the thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of other banal red pill videos is the context around which Green’s red pilling has occurred.

As Laci states at the very beginning of her video, her red pilling has centered on “feminism and social justice warriors.” Most significantly, and why this video deserves particular attention, is that Laci has built her enormous online following in part by being “the pinnacle of a social justice warrior, my SJWness has been memified.” Her conversion or evolution or whatever you want to call it “has apparently really confused people, there have been thousands of tweets and emails of people freaking out, like what is going on.”

I have a few more quotes from the video that I think are particularly salient and that I will discuss further down, but first I want to take a moment to clarify what this essay is about. My intention is not to debate the merits or concerns of either side of these polarizing feminism/SJW arguments, but rather focus on the implications of Laci’s revelations. Specifically, in her video, she finds herself walking a very fine tightrope between appealing to the fan base she has spent so many years of hard work cultivating and the need to feel authentic and congruent with her current views, and then wonders what the future holds in store. It’s a very difficult transition, but one that would normally hold very little interest or value to a general reader, except that it perfectly illustrates the cultural tensions permeating through our society today.

Let’s go through this video in a little more detail and then pull the lens back to see how it relates to broader social and cultural issues. In order to ease the sting of this transition, Laci needs to first restate and qualify her liberal credentials and then soften them to pave the way for making sense of her subsequent red pilling. According to her, “While yes, I am a feminist, I wouldn’t describe myself as the ideologue that people sometimes make me out to be.” I find this particular need for qualification particularly troubling, as it is indicative of a unique kind of groupthink in which the individual is in imminent danger of expulsion. In other words, yes I’m about to disagree with you on some significant issues, but I am still one of you, so please don’t throw me out just yet. I don’t mean to speak directly for Laci, but as someone who is analyzing this video, this is how it feels, especially as it follows a specific format that can be seen in countless other “confessional” type of videos.

She then provides a fuller backstory of her life and purpose, describing how she escaped a stultifying Mormon childhood along with some background on her half-Iranian heritage. These are all interesting tidbits but they primarily serve as signifiers of a certain kind of cred. She is both a refugee of the patriarchy and a recognized oppressed minority (perhaps Muslim?) all in one sentence. These are talking points that provide her legitimacy within her in-group, and I’m not blaming her, but again, I am establishing the difficult tightrope in on which she is about to embark.

Her videos have always presented a sex-positive message, and I completely support her mission. However, she also presented her views in a kind of format that appeals to certain pre-determined biases. In a way, it is this biased slant that has now placed her at a cross-roads. This is where she attempts to make her transition, for not only is she intersectional and sex-positive, but also a skeptic. “A skeptic?” she asks. “As in, not easily convinced of stuff, science is my rubric wherever possible because we are all prone to human error.” This all seems good in theory, but what Laci doesn’t realize is that her endorsement of science places her squarely against much of Far Left rhetoric. Unfortunately, her appeal to science will not help her escape the corner she has painted herself into.

With the tables set, she then goes into the specifics of which rabbit holes she has gone down. She starts with the “anti-SJW” rabbit hole. She almost apologetically (from my perspective) announces that she has “found channels that are well cited and reasoned, and you know, make some interesting points, sometimes I’m like, yeah, I agree with that or huh, I didn’t really think of that.” It’s as if she is trying to communicate to her audience that she simply stumbled upon some interesting content, rather than actually fraternizing with the devil, and oh by the way, she discovered they are not all devils. In other words, she is still with us (her self-described SJW audience), not them (the anti-SJWs). What’s especially troubling about this is that her comments are an admission that previously she, and still currently her audience, have little to no exposure to counter-arguments and really have no idea what people who disagree with them are thinking. To me, this is highly exemplary of in-group isolation and willful ignorance.

She then discusses Far Left censorship efforts of what they consider hate speech and makes some poignant comments about how feminists “cannibalize themselves as usual” as exemplified by the current Tuvel/Hypatia transracialism controversy. If you are not familiar with it, I would go ahead and click the link to familiarize yourself before reading further. Laci is extremely troubled by the hostile reaction of Tuvel’s academic colleagues, “The accusations are a complete misrepresentation of her argument, to an extreme degree,” she states. “This makes the whole ordeal even more troubling, these are not grounds to censor an academic paper, they are not grounds to ruin someone’s academic reputation,” she continues. Laci finishes her analysis of this sordid affair with a poignant question, that perhaps reflects her own anxieties of “coming out,” “What’s the end goal here, is it that only a specific perspective can be heard?” As Laci alludes to, these issues around censorship and in-group cannibalization will perhaps play an exceedingly important role in Laci’s subsequent experiences, whether she realizes it or not, but as I’ll illustrate momentarily, I suspect she does.

Let’s cut to the chase of Laci’s main thesis. She is now in full contact with anti-SJWs and is planning to host online debates between both opposing sides. What does the future hold for her? Will she be able to keep her audience and build upon it by expanding the Overton window? Unfortunately, and this is where the societal piece comes into play, I suspect not.

Laci is not the first person to try to go down this route. Indeed, Dave Rubin, a liberal stand-up comedian, who previously worked for “The Young Turks” political commentary show, paid a severe price for going solo and starting his own show with guests on both sides of the political aisle and of all manner of intellectual persuasion. As he has disclosed, he has lost most of his friends over the past years and has even been labeled as a bigot and homophobe, even though he is gay. The end result though, is that Rubin has developed hundreds of thousands of new fans who are open to his classical liberal message and is now making a good living fully-funded by fans.

Indeed, I predict if Laci Green continues down this path, she will probably follow a similar trajectory as Rubin. She will be welcomed with open arms by a more moderate crowd and will go on all of the anti-SJW talk shows (and according to a Twitter post she has already been booked on Rubin’s show). She will lose a lot of fans but will add many more. The classical liberal YouTube channels such as Sargon of Akkad and Shoe on Head are wildly popular, while SJW oriented programming from MTV and BuzzFeed are known for their high multiples of thumbs down ratings.

But most importantly, she’ll lose a lot of friends. Maybe most or all of them. If she thinks she can present diversity of opinion, with appeals to science, and be met with acceptance and rational discussion by her previous in-group, she may find herself in for a rude awakening. And unfortunately, this is exactly where we are at as a society. Isolated pockets of small groups policing the ideas and language of others. To Laci’s credit, she is courageous enough to speak out in congruence with her values. But most will just shut up and remain silenced in their own private Kafkaesque nightmare.

I’ll leave the last thought to Laci’s final comments in her video. “This is a pretty big concern of mine, I’ve felt this way for a long time, it affects my work, it affects the way I can interact with people, the things I can talk about, the people I can talk to.” Perhaps her coming experiences will serve as a litmus test for the future of free speech. Let’s all heed these concerns and work together to create a different kind of society. We can and should do better than this.

Filed under: Features, Free Speech, Politics


Michael Aaron is the author of "Modern Sexuality: The Truth About Sex and Relationships," and a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. Visit his website at www.drmichaelaaronnyc.com.


  1. Uri Harris says

    Thanks for the briefing. As you mention, there’s clearly conflict between science (both in terms of methodology and observed facts) and the far left. I think we’re going to see a growing number of smart people go through a similar process. And once you open up the floodgates, there’s no going back, as we’ve seen with Rubin.

    I actually think her strict religious background may have played a role. Once you’ve experienced the effects of an uncompromising ideology, you’re probably more likely to reject coming under the influence of another. Bertrand Russell said something to this effect about Marxism.

    • Micha Elyi says

      What is popularly called science, modern empirical science, was invented by medieval Catholic churchmen. Copernicus was a Catholic monk. 35 craters on the moon are named after Catholic priests. The gene theory, invented by a Catholic priest. The theory its atheist detractors tried to mock by calling it “Big Bang”? Yep, invented by a Catholic priest.

      Some will then try to move the goalposts by finger-pointing at the Separated Brethren called Fundamentalists. Hah ha. Let’s see the goalpost movers define who a Fundamentalist is in 25 words or less off the top of their heads and without resorting to an Internet search engine. If the definition includes Catholic Christians, it is wrong. If it includes Muslims or Mormons, it is wrong again.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till says

        I’m not sure why you think any of that is either impressive or relevant. Everyone on earth was religious before a certain point so it’s hardly surprising that you were able to cherry-pick a meagre list of Catholic scientists who have contributed to modern science. The question is whether anything in their absurd religious dogma helped them make their discoveries, to which the answer is no. We had a glorious sunburst of philosophy and mathematics in Greece two thousand years ago – what happened after Christianity came into the ascendance? The dark ages and the effective end of secular inquiry for almost fifteen hundred years. What happened when people began to fight back against religion and its votaries? The Enlightenment and the scientific revolution.

        I won’t labour the point by listing the irreligious scientists who have all moved science forward in far greater ways than either Lemaitre or Mendel.

        • Leigh says

          Two Christian beliefs that spring immediately to mind as examples of what you call “absurd religious dogma” that likely influenced Christian scientists would be, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of man to seek it out”; and “God is a God of order and not of disorder”. Both are from scripture. The former positively invites believers to seek answers to the mysteries of the Universe. The latter assures believers that, because the Universe is orderly, cause and effect can be discovered, understood, and relied on. This is essential to scientific research.

          I’m no expert on the history of science, but I do know that there is quite an impressive list of Christian scientists dating back all the way to the Enlightenment, including several who founded their respective fields. I’m sure you can find such a list with a little googling.

          Lastly, you can’t persuasively argue that Christianity and science are mutually exclusive, and then turn around and dismiss prominent Christian scientists by saying that “everyone was religious” back then. If “everyone” was a Christian when scientific breakthroughs were being made, then Christianity and science clearly are not mutually exclusive.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till says

            I try to be careful with my words, which is why I know I didn’t say, and wouldn’t ever say, that Christianity and science are “mutually exclusive”, and certainly not in the sense you mean it. Physicists like Paul Davies, John Polkinghorne, biologists like Ken Miller, obviously attest to the ability of people to be both Christians and excellent scientists. That part of your post is strawmandering.
            I would say that the methodology of science is inconsistent with religious belief but that’s obviously not the same as saying that religious scientists can’t do their job. The unscientific, unfalsifiable bumf that Christianity promulgates doesn’t stymie all religious scientists, in the same way that a modern left-wing student’s beliefs about feminism, gender and the patriarchy do not stop them from proclaiming the genius of a sexist moron like Kanye West. People are capable of holding contradictory beliefs in their head. It’s one of our defining features.

            Your quotes from the bible are very nice and all(although I could easily cherry-pick a few verses that preach the exact opposite), but the fact of the matter is that when religions are on the wane science tends to flourish(that is ‘tends to flourish’ not ‘always flourishes’ – Communist totalitarianisms are notable counterexamples) and vice-versa. It’s impossible to ignore the period bookended respectively by the Renaissance and Greek civilisation – this was when Christianity was at its strongest, at its most dogmatic and influential and it resulted in an intellectual pall hanging across the west for over a millennium.

          • Michiel van Haren says

            I think It just proves that humans are perfectly capable of compartmentalizing, holding different, even opposing ideas in their heads at the same time. Obviously, the existence of science and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. And equally obviously, being a Christian and a being scientist are not mutually exclusive (although tellingly, the level of atheism among scientists in for example the USA is significantly higher than in the general population). Nobody is claiming that no scientist could ever be inspired by aspects of their religion (but people can be inspired by religion to do basically anything, and find justification for it in the holy scriptures). However, most of the central tenets of the Christian faith are directly in conflict with the findings of science.

        • KAM says

          Truly, you do not know what you are talking about.

          Why did inductive science emerge in the Christian West, and not elsewhere?

          What were its philosophical underpinnings?

          Why was Taoism, for example, hostile toward what we would call science?

          Who preserved science and learning through the “dark ages”?

          You haven’t even carefully read the post you attempt to rebut. Yours is textbook secular liberal provincialism.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till says

        And just a P.S.: no-one “invented” science. That’s like talking about who “invented” music.

        • Ken says

          Of course, science was invented. In the same way music was invented. No one stumbled across a rich vein of science ore.

          • Rich says

            Quite possibly one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. I bet you’re a college grad. You have to go to college to get to this level of stupidity.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till says

            Really? So who invented music? I’d be interested to know.

      • Jules Maigret says

        Actually, most of modern science isn’t performed by churchmen. In fact, I’ve personally never seen a single one of them wearing a labcoat.
        So were the laws of gases developed by rich aristocrats. I couldn’t care less

    • Ken says

      “As you mention, there’s clearly conflict between science (both in terms of methodology and observed facts) and the far left.”

      There’s a conflict between science and the left.

    • Michael says

      “there’s clearly conflict between science and the far left”. To me the opposite is true. There has always been an association between socialism, atheism and materialism. Usually it was the right who subscribed to such supernatural or illogical ideas as the divine right of kings, racialism, religious fundamentalism, aristocracy, or free-market libertarianism. Most of the big brains from Einstein on, have been socialists or liberals or left-leaning, and that’s not an accident.

  2. SM says

    Dave Rubin isn’t the only gay to be accused of homophobia.

    Rubin, Milo, Thiel, Douglas Murray, Anne Marie Waters, the French gays who supported Le Pen, all of them accused of homophobia and Islamophobia. There’s a pattern here. Someone should ask them to contribute, under the bannerhead, the “right” type of gay…or something.

  3. Simon Chen says

    While most commentary videos on Youtube and forums on Reddit and 4Chan is on going for precaution and/or outright rejection of her efforts, this article really goes through analyzing and summarizing what could well be a similiar path Dave Rubin had took. I hope it will go that way.
    Still in that video itself, one would hope some apology from her after what she did to Roaming Millenial.

  4. Lee says

    When she wake’s up fully I hope she will get married and have 6 White children.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till says

      Why can’t you racists ever write properly?

      • Ed Snack says

        Maybe you “bit” to a flagrant bit of bait offered in front of you ? Just sayin…

  5. Nice summary of a complex situation. Unfortunately, sex education is no longer about sex education. Instead, it’s become about agendas, and heaven help those of us who use the wrong pronoun or dare to focus on the things that matter about sex and relationships to 95% of the population.

    So Ms. Green is at the crossroads where many of us have been–she can no longer pretend to do sex education and please the political forces who have taken over sex education. It seems that she’s now trying to take a middle road, and as you have pointed out, this will most certainly end in relentless attacks and derision. There is no way any of us can be effective educators and please those who demand we do “gender studies speak” and relish in using terms like “toxic masculinity.”

    Sorry it had to happen to you so soon, but welcome to the Rabbit Hole, Ms. Green! And sadly, it’s a lot more like the Rabbit Hole you grew up in, than in the one you idealistically hoped it would be.

  6. EK says

    Heresy is like pregnancy; one cannot be a little heretic just as one cannot be a little pregnant.

    In short order, twerpy, virtue signaling Laci is either going to have to confess error and repent or leave the faith.

    My field of study is 17th C. England and its American colonies. Laci reminds me of many, many precisionist or puritan Reformed christians who ran afoul of the emerging presbyterian-independent orthodoxy in the Bay Colony.

    People like Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, William Pynchon, and John Wheelwright, all of them godly throughly Reformed christians, who ran afoul of one or another pronouncements of the Puritan divines who dominated the Boston-Salem-Cambridge hothouse of Reformed theology. They were all either banished to Rhode Island, New Hampshire or New Amsterdam or were sent back to England.

  7. j thomason says

    FYI – The “red pill” and “down the rabbit hole” originated with Alice in Wonderland. The Matrix just referenced it.

  8. Quayle says

    And in the the end, she’ll find herself most accepted and supported In the Mormon culture, where, even with all its idiosyncrasies and shortcomings, the ideals of love and forgiveness and acceptance of others is no more effectively urged, articulated, and practiced.

    Because Mormonism is not a culture which idealizes or is centered on power over others, there is no specific concern or need to address a mythical institutional patriarchy. And this rejection of power as an ideal has been so since the origins of Mormonism, as clearly stated and rooted in the Scriptures that Joseph Smith left behind. (See e.g. Doctrine and Covenants Section 121). Any specific individual in Mormonism who varied from the clearly states norms did so based on their own ignorance, personal weakness, of out of ther own willful desire to exert power over others rather than live the gospel as Joseph Smith taught.

    If you don’t believe me, I invite you to listen to the speeches of the last General World Conference of April 2017 (available at lds.org) and you will hear only concern with living principles which enable and strengthen one’s ability to love others, and to and lead and care for people in a non-coercive and mom-condemning way.

    (And to disagree with my assertion without personal exploration or long-time experience is to take the blue pill.).

  9. Cadence says

    It seems there are so many self-created crisis here. I’ve noticed that so many who promote their own sensitivity and support in such a public and self-satisfying way are actually big bullies who want to be excused for their intellectual and physical violence and if you don’t agree then you are a racist sexist blah blah blah….

  10. “We are now under total Republican rule. Textbook fascism. Fuck you, white America. Fuck you, you racist, misogynist pieces of shit. G’night.”
    tells us a lot about “Laci Green” and her intellectual values.

  11. Ken says

    “What’s especially troubling about this is that her comments are an admission that previously she, and still currently her audience, have little to no exposure to counter-arguments and really have no idea what people who disagree with them are thinking. To me, this is highly exemplary of in-group isolation and willful ignorance.”

    This is the most important point made in this article. The number of times I argue with leftists on economics, when it’s an actual debate, is “I never thought of it that way” is quite astonishing. When it’s not a debate, I typically hear “You’ve just not thought that hard about things.”

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  13. hahaahah @ Rubin appealing to more moderate people. the dudes a Trump apologist who is funded by pepe avatars. Yeah he makes a good living do it, but hes no more than their “liberal” gay Trump apologist. 30k a month to interview Infowars flunkies haha

    • the last 2 guests before election were pro hillary on rubins show. how dare he try and understand the otherside even tho he openly attacked trump and hillary but not bernie. he even dissed his boy gary johnson who lost it after the interview by going nuts. you are a left wing ideologue who cant handle the free exchange of ideas without personal attacks. want to properly describe rubin….try watching his rogan interview. perfectly moderate.

  14. Semjon says

    Sargon of Akkad and Shoe on Head classical liberals? Give me a break! They are more alt-right cultural warriors than defenders of liberal ldeals. Their worldview aligns more with Breitbart that The Economist.

    Anyone who is as pro-Trump as Sargon just cannot be a classical liberal.

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