Media, Politics, recent

Is the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ Politically Diverse?

Earlier this month, popular author and podcaster Sam Harris tweeted out a graph titled, “A Visual Breakdown of Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) Positions.” The graph purports to compare the political positions of six prominent members of the IDW on the main issues that supposedly divide liberals and conservatives.

The tweet links to a blog post by cybersecurity expert and writer Daniel Miessler, where he explains his motive for producing the graph. Miessler was frustrated that members of the IDW often are labelled conservative or even alt-right, so he set out to gather information on the positions of six prominent members—Harris, Eric Weinstein, Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, Jordan Peterson, and Ben Shapiro—on some important political issues. The resulting graph indicates that all these people, with the partial exception of Ben Shapiro, are far more aligned with liberals than with conservatives on the issues that Miessler believes divide liberals and conservatives. The IDW members are not conservatives, Miessler argues, but “mostly a collection of disilliusioned liberals looking for a place to have honest conversation.”

Now, this claim by Miessler is one that is often made by members of the IDW themselves, and he certainly deserves credit for gathering the data and making a graph. There are reasons, however, to be skeptical. When I saw Harris’s tweet, I responded with the following:

After gathering a lot of data, it’s important to do a “sanity check,” which means taking a step back and making sure that the big picture that emerges from the data makes sense. In this particular case, if it’s true that the IDW members, with the exception of Shapiro, align almost entirely with liberals on the main issues that divide liberals and conservatives, then we should reasonably expect them in practice to align politically with liberals and not conservatives. Yet, as I point out in my tweet, this is clearly not the case with Rubin, as even the briefest of glances at his twitter timeline reveals: he relentlessly attacks Democrat politicians (but never Republicans); regularly appears at speaking events with conservative organisations such as Turning Point USA; and frequently retweets—and is retweeted by—prominent conservatives like Donald Trump Jr., Charlie Kirk, and Candace Owens. In other words, while the data suggests that Rubin should be politically aligned with liberals and against conservatives on the main issues that divide them, in practice the opposite is true.

Much the same can be said of Peterson, who Miessler’s chart claims is aligned with liberals and in opposition to conservatives on every issue but one (climate change), yet who nevertheless is admired by prominent conservatives from Charlie Kirk and Donald Trump Jr. to Douglas Murray and Roger Scruton, while many liberals reject him completely. Even if you grant Miessler’s assertion that liberals have been misled about Rubin’s and Peterson’s actual positions, you still have to explain why so many conservatives embrace them. Have conservatives also been misled, in this case into embracing people who oppose them on the issues that matter most to them? It’s possible, I suppose, that a mass delusion has occurred, but a far simpler explanation is that something is off with Miessler’s chart. Either he’s wrong about their positions on the most important political issues, or he’s wrong about which issues truly divide liberals and conservatives.

*   *   *

In a long article published last year, Vox’s Ezra Klein describes how a political realignment has taken place on YouTube, in which disparate groups of people have coalsesced around an opposition to “the social justice left.”

Klein draws on a report by Data & Society researcher Rebecca Lewis titled, “Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube” (which, it should be noted, was strongly criticised by Weinstein upon release; later an analysis showed that YouTube actually disproportionately recommends channels on the centre and left rather than the right), and he echoes her use of the term “reactionary right” to describe this loosely connected set of people. He then draws on the work of political theorist Corey Robin to explain why these people are reactionary, suggesting that their motivation is a resistance to social and demographic changes and a desire to hold on to power and privilege.

Now, I’m not a fan of using the term “reactionary” so broadly or, relatedly, to attribute the positions of all these people to threats to their power and privilege. There is a useful analogy to be drawn, to the socialist movements of the late 19th and early 20th century. These movements were driven by social changes, and they were resisted by people attempting to hold onto their power and privilege, yet it was still the case that many criticisms of these movements were valid. Similarly, while it’s true, as Klein suggests, that the term “reactionary” has a lineage and a specific meaning that can be useful here, it’s also true that the term has been used historically by radicals as a smear against those who weren’t sufficiently radical. In other words, Klein is too dismissive of an entire set of people and their cultural and political criticisms.

Having said that, I still think his core argument is correct. A “new” right has indeed been forming online, especially on YouTube, and it includes many people who don’t think of themselves as being on the right, but who nevertheless find common ground with conservatives in opposition to the “new” left, with its focus on identity and structural oppression. As Klein points out, what constitutes left and right changes over time, and this particular division is the basis of the main political and cultural tensions on YouTube. So, in the YouTube world of politics and culture war, it’s largely irrelevant that Dave Rubin is gay married and pro-choice, what matters is that he angrily calls out the “social justice warriors” of the new left.

Klein is also right in claiming that YouTube is, “where tomorrow’s politics are emerging today.” We’ve already seen this in action the past few years, on both political sides. On the left, appeals to identity and structural oppression have become increasingly mainstream, while on the right, criticisms of these appeals have become similarly popular. Mainstream conservative outlets like National Review, The Spectator and Fox News increasingly express the kinds of arguments and phrases that a few years ago were mostly found on YouTube channels like Rubin’s.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that as the mainstream right gradually morphs into the new right, characterised first and foremost by opposition to the new left and its focus on identity and structural oppression, agreement on issues that previously divided liberals and conservatives (such as gay marriage and abortion) is no longer a requirement for being on the right, even on the mainstream, offline right. This development is further enhanced by someone like Rubin appearing on Fox News and at conservative speaking events touting his socially liberal beliefs on gay marriage and abortion while emphasising their shared opposition to the new left.

There’s also a commercial aspect to this. The new left provides an endless supply of monetisable outrage for conservative news outlets, even more so than more traditional social issues. Once someone is immersed in a worldview where the left is characterised by intolerance of diverse opinions, mob behaviour, and divisive identity politics, it’s easy to produce a steady stream of articles and news segments confirming what they already believe. This is what popular new right YouTube channels like Sargon of Akkad have been doing for years: scanning the news every day for examples that confirm this worldview and presenting them with outrage. Mainstream conservatives, perhaps most notably Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, are adopting a similar approach. This further exacerbates the shift in the political divide, as mainstream conservatives become more and more convinced that the new left represents an existential threat that supersedes all other political issues.

*  *  *

What does all this mean for the IDW? Well, a significant selling-point for the IDW has been that it fosters political bridge-building and across-the-aisle debate. And if one accepts Miessler’s claim that issues such as abortion and gay marriage are the main points of contention between liberals and conservatives today, then it does indeed seem that this is what the IDW is doing. If, however, one accepts that the main point of contention between liberals and conservatives (or left and right, if one prefers) is not the particular political issues Miessler lists, but rather has now become acceptance or rejection of the new left and its focus on identity and structural oppression (i.e., modern “social justice”), then it’s pretty clear that this is not what the IDW is doing.

To put it more concretely, when Rubin and Shapiro get together to do a show, are they bridging the political divide between left and right in order to find common ground, despite disagreeing on fundamental issues, or rather, are they simply setting aside their disagreements on things like gay marriage and abortion in order to focus on what truly matters to them politically: defeating the new left? I find the second description far more convincing, and indeed, it seems to me to apply to virtually all the IDW members.

The IDW needs to make a choice. Does it want to be a partisan organisation, where its members get together in front of an audience to iron out their differences and strategise on how to defeat the new left, or does it want to be genuinely non-partisan? If the latter, it needs to open itself up to new left people and ideas. When a prominent IDW figure dismisses white privilege as a “Marxist lie,” which Peterson did in a speech in late 2017, it’s really hard to have good faith discussions on such issues. As I’ve written on several occasions—with decidedly mixed feelings—the new left isn’t going anywhere, and issues of identity, structural oppression, privilege, critiques of classical liberal notions of free speech and assembly, and similar topics will probably play an important role in the cultural and political discourse in the future. The question is whether the IDW will take a leading role in these discussions or will it allow itself to be pigeonholed?

Uri Harris is on Twitter @safeortrue.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include reference to two criticisms of the Data & Society Report “
Alternative Influence Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube” by Rebecca Lewis.


  1. Ray Andrews says

    “The question is whether the IDW will take a leading role in these discussions or will it allow itself to be pigeonholed?”

    Sorry, but first things first. The essential thing, which rightly consumes all our energy right now, is stopping the Warriors before they destroy civilization entirely. (They’ve already insured that the next generation of academics and bureaucrats and mainstream politicians and media types, inter alia, will be a sort of godless jihadi, dedicated to the destruction of their own society.) It might already be too late. But should the day come when sanity is restored, then polite leftists and polite conservatives can once again engage in reasonable discussions over their disagreements.

    • Saw file says

      I’m not so sure about that scenario.
      The push back against the extreme nonsense is steadily gaining momentum.
      Regression to the norm is taking place.
      I work with many young adults, and more and more of them are expressing their disgust at such extreme lunacy.
      Mind though: I work in construction, where expediency and the resulting quality are the primary concern of the workers.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Saw file

        There are currents within the currents within the currents. The young adults I know are just as you say. They literally wrinkle their noses and roll their eyes. But the momentum ‘higher up’ is surely there. How long until PC burns out and the Warriors are shunted out of the system? Surely decades?

        BTW, just so you know, it’s now official that we dolphins have sex for pleasure. I could have told them that ages ago if they’d just asked. But you monkeys never ask, you have to meddle until you figure it out for yourselves. You should have stayed up in the trees where you belong.

        • Saw file says

          “decades” is optimistic/pessimistic. I choose optimism.
          Charter challenge’s, science, market pressure and reality is leading the change.
          See Alberta tonight…
          Btw….wtf us w/ BC now?

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Saw file

            Yeah the Tories are back eh? Another socialist paradise that didn’t quite work out. Still, you could call me a Tommy Douglas socialist (but NOT a woke NDPer).

            “wtf us w/ BC now?”

            Sorry, you’ll have to translate that for me, I don’t know that language, that’s textish no?

            Anyway, I love your optimism. I tend to gloom myself.

        • Stephanie says

          The young (more ethnically diverse) guys who work construction with my husband have no use for political correctness, but the academics I work with are homogeneously PC devotees. There is a distinct class difference here, which suggests to me the leftist elite/conservative redneck tropes aren’t going anywhere. The left will try to force their policies down the throat of the electorate, and like with Trump and Brexit, will be enraged that people aren’t voting the way they were told to.

          • Ray Andrews says


            Gotta love the perspective of an academic lady married to a regular workin’ man. Could it be that they are ALL wrong? The PC priesthood of course, but also the foaming at the mouth mad-dog right wingnuts? Maybe most people are just regular folks with some sense of decency toward their fellow humans, but who understand hard work and sacrifice and dedication. Neither ‘xenophobes’ nor globalist-fusionists, happy to see ‘diversity’ yet still wanting to keep some sense of being the masters in their own homes. Where’s Harry Truman?

          • Philipe Mendes says

            People that work construction dont make the rules. Academics set the rules.

          • Julia says


            It’s not even about class differences, but who gets to speak online and who’s excluded.

            To see a bigger picture other than stories from a few personal contacts, try to compare Facebook and Twitter with sites like Nextdoor connecting people by neighborhoods. It’s easy to claim “moral superiority” with strangers on the internet, score points from other trolls and shut down everybody else. It’s harder to shut down people from your own neighborhood. You don’t want to be seen as an asshole when your dog got lost or you need garbage removal.

          • Saw file says

            My industry also.
            Curious: what trade, and discipline?
            Plz…plz…don’t say ‘pipefitter’!!!

        • Saw file says

          @Ray Dolphin
          ‘Trans Mountain’ situation.

      • Kencathedrus says

        @Saw file: I’m seeing that in my own students too. They’re (the young men in particular) are completely over social justice issues.

    • brad says

      Lol do you ever wonder why you feel so threatened by a relatively small cadre of twenty somethings in college or doing social work or public defense?

      Why does the suggestion that america still has a race problem scare you? Why do concerns that women are harassed and sometimes assaulted with no recourse freak you out?

      Like, even assuming yall are right on the merits, the hysteria of “people who care about social justice have ensured a generation of godless jihadi” is utterly bonkers. If i were running a leftist version of Tucker Carlson’s hype machine designed purely to freak people out, I’d quote you, my friend.

      • “Lol do you ever wonder why you feel so threatened by a relatively small cadre of twenty somethings in college or doing social work or public defense?”

        You’d have to be pretty naive (or gaslighting) to say it is a “relatively small cadre”. It’s a worldwide movement in universities and colleges that is being spread by academics onto both students and others (legal system, corporations, etc). It’s also something being funded by massive foundations, e.g. the Ford Foundation (since the 70s), and has the backing of American foreign policy (see all the overseas State Dept programs and NGOs peddling this stuff for the last 20 years). The idea that this mimics a secular religious movement (“godless jihadis”) is an apt analogy, given it is a top down movement with wide spread, financing, support of power structures, and fanatical footsoldiers.

      • “Lol do you ever wonder why you feel so threatened by a relatively small cadre of twenty somethings in college or doing social work or public defense?”

        Because I work in teaching and if I ever make the mistake of telling my colleagues my views that is the last time I’m invited to join them for a Friday evening drink. After that some even refuse to say ‘Hi’, or even look at me, as we pass in the corridor. Maybe this phenomenon is more widespread than you think.

        “Why does the suggestion that america still has a race problem scare you?”

        Doesn’t scare me. It’s just exaggerated and distorted. Most of the racism is in one direction: from the bottom to the top. Logically this makes sense. Why would anyone resent someone below them in society? No, nearly all the rage, resentment and envy goes from black to white and crime figures reflect this. For example, white Americans are 27 times more likely to be attacked by a black than vice versa. Please refer to the Obama Administrations figures on this.

        “Why do concerns that women are harassed and sometimes assaulted with no recourse freak you out?”

        I don’t think any normal person is freaked out by women’s concerns. However, I believe women still have recourse to the law, rape, assault and so on still being considered crimes in America. Were you under the impression that this isn’t the case?

        • Bruce Wilson says

          Saying white people are 27 times more likely to be attacked by black people without acknowledging this is an association makes the figure a nonsense. For example aren’t rich people also more likely to be attached by poor people than visa-versa? Couldn’t this be mixed up with the black white statistic making it meaningless?

      • Ray Andrews says


        @C and @theunrecordedman have replied for me but I’ll add one more comment:

        “Why does the suggestion that america still has a race problem scare you?”

        It scares me because the cure is not treating the disease but rather making it worse. The cure on offer is DIE, but enforced equality of outcome is like ordering a pig’s ear to become a silk purse. It cannot work and in the process very many otherwise nice people are going to be driven into the arms of very nasty people on the very far right because only the latter offer some relief from SJW madness. You do understand that it was folks like yourself who put Donald Trump in the Oval Office?

      • Asenath Waite says


        Whenever I see a comment beginning with “Lol” I know I’m in for some respectful and constructive debate that I should take seriously.

      • Angela says

        I live in Seattle because of my job. The entire local government is controlled by so called SJWs. Im a democrat myself, but these people are completely bonkers. Google the documentary “Seattle Is Dying” if you want a taste of the insane people who hold office here. And no its not some right wing hit piece it’s a documentary aired by a local Seattle network that an award winning investigative reporter spent years putting together.

    • Nathan says

      People are way overstating the threat that SJWs pose to the West. They’re hardly going to cause the destruction of Western Civilisation, despite the popular hyperbole surrounding the topic. But to right-wing reactionaries on the internet who have a rudimentary grasp of policy and have audiences that expect these kinds of videos/articles have businesses that depend on this concept so I guess I can see why it’s so prevalent.

      There needs more discussion centred in policies and how they can be implemented to make people’s lives better, What policies can make or break a country or make it thrive on an economic level? Or even generally make people’s lives better? Instead of having these discussions however, people appear to be more interested in defending their tribe and attacking the other one. It’s like politics has suddenly become a petty sport where we want to “own” the other side instead of genuinely trying to learn something from each other. And it often gets extremely childish. It’ s a real shame and both sides are to blame for it. But hey I guess it’s human nature.

      • Kencathedrus says

        You are correct about the childishness of the ‘them and us’ minded. I try to avoid it as much as possible. I’ve recently moved to the States and find it weird that the party you vote for makes a statement about what kind of person you are.

        However, I did emigrate to the US because I was tired of the SJW mindset back in Europe. It celebrates mediocrity and confuses licentiousness as freedom. With the advent of the EU (a bureaucracy that was created for the purpose of being better able to siphon away national wealth), it has become less democratic in its politically correct views. Despite the animosity between political tribes here in the US, I do find there is more freedom to be who you are, rather than hiding your thoughts to try to fit in. I live in the rural South so maybe that makes a difference. Really love it here.

        • Kencathedus, I belong to the Party of American Fascists and I agree with you that the political party you belong to says absolutely nothing about the kind of person you are. How could it?

          Not so sure that ‘them and us’ thinking is ‘childish’. Primitive, maybe, but it is something we all indulge in to a greater or lesser extent. You were indulging in it when you pitted yourself against those Europeans who mistake their licentiousness for freedom. To imagine you are above such partisanship is to imagine yourself out of existence.

        • Angela says

          Wow how does someone from the EU end up in the rural south? I’m from the deep south myself and even I would have no interest in ever living in the rural south. I have extended family that live there and man if nothing else it’s just boring as hell. I cant stand SJWs, but I dont hate them enough to move to the middle of nowhere.

      • Kevin Herman says

        What economic policy has the left ever introduced besides higher taxes and wealth redistribution. Maybe supply side economic is a pile steam but I’ll never support an even more progressive tax scheme. As for not grasping the issues in sure your probably think global warming is a top issue and nationalized healthcare is just the thing we need.

    • Todd W. Clark says

      Geez, calm down. It was one game. Albeit an epic choke that is cause for real concern. To be sure. And losing Cousins, while not good, will get Looney & Bogut more minutes. Its the defense…

    • K. Dershem says

      @Ray, is this hyperbole? – The essential thing, which rightly consumes all our energy right now, is stopping the Warriors before they destroy civilization entirely. As you know, I’m a committed critic of the Regressive Left, but I’m not convinced that they represent an existential threat to the West. If you are, can you explain why?

      • Ray Andrews says

        @ K. Dershem

        Yeah, hyperbole. Dunno, like everyone I’m trapped in the Matrix and maybe Zuckerberg is feeding me what keeps me glued to the screen which is existential SJW Armageddon. On my good days I can picture the whole thing as a passing fad that might just vanish overnight like disco. On bad days I note that — it was fit for late night comedy a few short years ago — Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office. This is really true.

        The Warriors in themselves might be ignored except for the constant irritations to society and the false Narratives and the wrong cures for exaggerated ills and grotesque court cases and absurd hiring fashions in university and corporations. And the mobbings of decent people like Al Franken and Dr. Hunt. How much of this can we endure, I wonder? It was worse in 1969 tho.

        But it’s not just the Warriors, its the backlash. As I like to say, if anyone can reelect Trump it’s AOC. Then we see the Correct delivering Europe to racial/religious/social … chaos? … some say it will end in horror, others that they’ll pull thru. It was a good time for Notre Dame to burn down. Perhaps they’ll put up a drop-in center for gay Muslims in it’s place. So long Europe, it was a good run.

        So I end on the downer.

        They say that the rooster survived tho. I try not to be superstitious but maybe that’s a message from God.

        • K. Dershem says

          It’s certainly true that the excesses of the Regressive Left fuel the antics of the Reactionary Right, and both tribes have their biases continuously reinforced by their respective echo chambers. Facebook, MSNBC, Fox News, Breitbart, Alternet, etc. are cashing in on the outrage, heedless of the damage being done to civil discourse. In the U.S., however, democracy has survived far worse challenges, including the Civil War and the tumult of the late 60s/early 70s — so I’m not ready to give up just yet.

      • Angela says

        I dont think it’s really an existential threat, but that’s largely because of the massive pushback that began 5 to 10 years ago. Before then it seemed like we were on a crazy train to insanity.

    • Benjamin says

      “destroy civilization entirely”. I think you’re overreacting dear snowflake

      • Kencathedrus says

        @Benjamin: It’s a slow process 😉 Rome wasn’t destroyed in a day.

        • Ray Andrews says


          There was a book out a few years back: “Dark Age Ahead”. I never read it but heard a long review. It seems the author’s predictions are all coming true. Point is that a civilization takes a long time to run down even when all power to the flywheel is gone. Yes, Rome coasted along for two centuries after everything that built it had stopped building. The author pointed to things that are not overtly obvious, like decline in respect for teachers, professionals and congress. Decline in religion and charity, and so forth.

          • K. Dershem says

            @Ray — the book looks interesting! I just ordered it. Hopefully it will arrive before civilization collapses. 🙂

      • Foyle says

        Demographics is destiny. Europe is at this stage almost inevitably broken. The highly productive low-dependency culture that bought them success is being sapped and out-grown by low-productivity, high welfare dependency muslim culture, religiously proscriptive laws (and cultural decline) will follow as they grow.
        There is nothing that can be done to change that future as it is already set by the larger proportion of Muslim children. Percentage of Muslims in a population is strongly negatively correlated with GDP per capita.

        • Ray Andrews says


          At what percentage of the population do you think Caliphate will be declared? I’ll go with 30%. Well within this century. May as well just rebuild Notre Dame as a mosque right now and get it over with.

    • This is a ridiculous analysis. There’s no “new right”. The IDW are yesterday’s left. The only thing that’s shifted is the landscape left of the old left.

      Recalibrate your bias and try again.

      • doug deeper says

        Ike, Brilliant.
        The IDF is glued by classical liberal, enlightenment values. This doesn’t allow for big government or ID politics, but rather for free individuals. The author appears nervous that there is a group of bright, free-thinking people who do not find a need for rigid ideologues or intolerant SJWs to join them. God I hope they never do pollute the wonderful IDW discussions. Hail the IDW!

        • Rev. Wazoo! says

          @Ike & @doug deeper
          Indeed. The author misses the point as, despite the civil tone, primarily uses guilt by association as argument. He also stays away from the term ‘liberal” (until recently associated with left-of-center folk) precisely because it would blow up his argument that Rubin Peterson et al. are somehow “rightists” when they are clearly liberals.

          Guilt by association strategy gets applied as excommunication tactics of which this article, albeit politely, is an attempt, akin to a particularly self-regarding high school clique freezing out anyone who won’t participate in their self-delusionary righteous groupthink.

          Time for a new name for the self-appointed “new left” which doesn’t include the latter term but I’m having trouble coming up with something more accurate and as catchy as ” the regressive left” which unfortunately buys into the false assertion that these ideas and people are in fact on the left.

          “Alt-right adjacent” already has currency and seems apt as their single-minded focus on race, sex, ethinicity, creed etc is a common bond with the alt-right proper and indeed adjacent when political spectrum is plotted on a circle or horse shoe rather than a line.

          “Faux-left regressive” captures the hijacking, wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing nature of pretending censorious puritainism, racism and sexism are “leftist” perspectives and trump liberalism.(pun intended)

          “Anti-liberal extremists” combines the two; whilst being strictly descriptive.

          Here’s an example: ” Anti-liberal extremist, Ms/Mr X, proposes that race, sex and creed should be primary considerations in hiring a new department head at their organization.”

        • The vast majority of commenters on the IDW may agree with liberals and the left on free speech and civil liberties but their propensity for vicious attacks and accusations against environmentalists reveals innate attitudes towards dissenters as well as against science and reason that are inconsistent with Enlightenment values. The same goes for many commenters on Quillette, who feel emboldened because Jordan Peterson (whom I deeply admire) has put his stamp of legitimacy on dismissing the impact of climate change and not taking other environmental issues seriously. Frankly I have not yet discovered those “bright, free-thinking people who are not “rigid ideologues” yet. I have found right wingers who rejoice in being able to accuse the left of their errors and thus come out ahead as the truly virtuous ones. It is no surprise that
          many liberals remain silent about the SJW idiocies; they do not want to be associated with the extreme right wingers who deny climate change and mock those who believe the planet is in danger. The right is saturated with ignoramuses and demented libertarians more interested in promoting their own ideology than in listening to others or learning. The left is saturated with
          their mirror image: selfstyled victims intent on reshaping public discourse to bring about their own privileged position.

      • My thoughts as well. A little disappointed in the superficial analysis in this article. I do think he’s correct that one of the primary focuses/defining characteristics of the IDW is criticism of the Far Left’s ideology, and that there are fewer IDW debates with people from the Far Left. But from what I can see, that is largely due to a lack of willingness by the Far Left to engage in honest debate. And those who do, IMO, have seemed less informed and have had less empirically convincing arguments. The author of this article also confirms what most of the IDW’s say: Anyone who disagrees with the Far Left can no longer be considered part of the Left, but is automatically “on the Right,” and more specifically Alt-Right “adjacent” or Alt-Right proper. This is patently wrong, unless you redefine Left as he calls it, as the “new” Left. This is incredibly reductionistic. You can be for social upliftment of the disadvantaged and explore new options towards this end while disagreeing with Far Left ideology and approach.

        • gab.s says

          agree, and the absolute inability of left wingers to consider that a person of the right might be in favour of helping the poor but not by handouts but by creating jobs, while also being critical of predatory corporatism, is damaging to all.

    • Rafael Marchante Angulo says

      “Sorry, but first things first. The essential thing, which rightly consumes all our energy right now, is stopping the Warriors before they destroy civilization entirely”

      That’s what Peterson would have you believe. Only Peterson is wrong but he’s happy pushing lies about postmodernism portraying it as proposing the opposite of what it does. He’s pleasing right wingers by condemning a supposed monopoly of the left on “identity politics” but himself and all the rest of the right play identity politics all the time. Same with social justoce and victimism, he’s made an online carrer of his victimism (as the rest of the IDW have)

      You can’t have you cake and eat it, you cannot pretend to be a defender of reason and “the western world” whilst having such low academic standards as Peterson (recommending Hicks’ book on postmodernism which is a philosophical aberration that would fail any undergrad phil student) or Harris not to name Shapiro. The Weinsteins are a different kettle of fish to some extent

      • Stephanie says

        Raphael, thanks for the list of people you don’t like. Super informative.

      • Rev Wazoo! says

        OK, you’re right.
        Peterson is sharing his lived experience with us so we must listen carefully and not marginalize the Canadian minority in North America as Americans, for example, are wont to do, dismissing them as pseudo-Americans who failed to join the American Way two centuries ago and still have a monarch on their stamps.

        Certainly his words are spoken to support his privilege and power just as your words are; you seek hegemony over others’ expression of their lived experience, invalidating their experience and hoping to suppress their voice and even erase them from the public discourse.

        You are just like him; as there is no objective truth, all speech is lies including yours, aiming at power by putting yourself above others. You use White, Western claims of objective truth like a bludgeon to make others do your bidding.

        Check your privilege!

      • Angela says

        Shapiro isnt part of this IDW (a dumb name admittedly) and I dont think he’s ever claimed to be. Shapiro is just a social and fiscal conservative who happens to be pretty smart. A key feature of the IDW is that theyre liberals, former liberals, or moderates who are taking hetereodox views. Shapiro has just always been a pretty much down the line conservative.

      • wri1940 says

        Why don’t you debate Peterson. Many of us find him informed and articulate. He did not persuade me of the inanity of the the Left’s PC ideology (which was already apparent to me), but he certainly well-articulates the reasons for opposing this ideology. Nor is he the first to criticize post-modernism and its origins. I have seen any Peterson interviews and debates, but would certainly be interesting in seeing someone from the ideological Left challenge him. So far he has received a lot of hyperbolic criticism of his personal character and academic qualifications, but few of those from the Left have confronted hm in person and none successfully.

        If Peterson is the “pretender” you say, this should be easy for a well-qualified academic to expose. Peterson has shown he is open to debating critics, so it is not likely he would refuse you a debate. Given Peterson’s current popularity and notoriety, your exposing Peterson as a fraud would make you famous, especially among the ideological Left. Seems like an opportunity a highly competent academic would not want to pass up.

    • Earl says

      No, the identity warriors will win, and the right will have no choice but to either die or join in the identity politics, history providing one example being the KKK.

    • D.B. Cooper says

      Does [IDW] want to be a partisan organization… or does it want to be genuinely non-partisan? If the latter, it needs to open itself up to new left people and ideas. When a prominent IDW figure dismisses white privilege as a “Marxist lie,” which Peterson did in a speech in late 2017, it’s really hard to have good faith discussions on such issues.

      For what it’s worth – and by the end of this post, it almost certainly will be very little – the author, Uri Harris, deserves a degree of good language. By any standard (style, breath & depth of knowledge) Harris’ prolificacy of work – having no less than 10 erudite articles on social justice to his credit (or some iteration thereof) – gives every appearance of a fine prose stylist and no less a shrewd social critic. Granted Uri is no Carl Bernstein, but who is? Post Russiagate, Carl Bernstein isn’t even Carl Bernstein. In short, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say, Harris is one of the top two or three contributors at Quillette.

      I mention my admiration for Harris (as a first-rate expositor of the pundit class, just to be clear) for two reasons: First, despite generally being right on all the important questions regarding social justice and its various translations, Harris’ latest rendition is, to put it charitably, wide-of-the-mark. In this instance, wide should be taken to mean an idiopathic about-face from his erstwhile opinions, while drawing suspiciously specious conclusions (‘IDW is partisan’) and intellectually servile prescriptions (‘open itself up to good faith discussions on the ideas of the new left’) that do not rise even to the dignity of error, and can hardly be described as anything short of a pathological attempt to vandalize the church of moral reasoning and rational discourse.

      As for my second reason, it can be put aside for now. Or rather, it has been put aside indefinitely, though not purposely. It was lost in transit during my struggle to understand the author’s cri de coeur – that a non-partisan IDW is conditional to opening up “to new left people and ideas.” That is, the IDW needs to take seriously the new Left and its ideas, IF it wants to be a non-partisan organization.

      I’m not sure that Harris has thought this through. The claim that ineffectual endorsements of the new Left ideas will suddenly grant non-partisan status to the IDW is, frankly, indistinguishable from setting a new precedence for imaginary pragmatism. It doesn’t take a great deal of forethought to realize that the IDW has weighed the ideas of the new Left and found them wanting. What are the chances that any member of the IDW would be willing to sacrifice TRUTH (and possibility the cannibalization of civil society) for any claim on non-partisanship? I’m gonna say zero. As in no chance at all. One look at the IDW members will tell you how absurd this idea is. Peterson was ready to go to jail over speech codes. Weinstein lost his and his wife’s job over a principled definition of racism. Shapiro made his bones on being a contrarian. These guys will never kiss the ring. It’s not in them.

      And why does the IDW need to do this? According to Harris, because “the new Left isn’t going anywhere… [and its ideas/concerns] will probably play an important role in the cultural and political discourse in the future.” Put succinctly, the indefatigability of the new Left and its ideas. Let’s assume for a moment that Harris actually believes this is a sound argument. Personally, I’m convinced (regrettably) Harris actually believes what he says. To be sure, a novel idea in the year of our Lord 2019. Further, let’s assume the continued or prolonged existence of a set of sophistic claims provides a credible warrant (justification) for taking seriously claims that would otherwise be fallacious.

      Also, if being open to the new Left and its ideas is the mediating unit that qualifies the IDW as genuinely non-partisan, would the inverse be true – being open to the IDW and its ideas qualifies the new Left as genuinely non-partisan? And if not, why not? Is there a reason not to expect reciprocating openness on the part of the new Left (for the IDW and its ideas)? I see no good reason the onus to be placed on the IDW, and if there is, that’s not obvious.

      Moreover, if it is the case that being open to the new Left is a prerequisite for the IDW being genuinely non-partisan, why would it also not be the case that a non-partisan IDW is conditional to opening up to “Alt-Right people and ideas” I see no reason to expect the Alt-Right or its ideas to go gently into that good night. Surely, no serious thinker expects the Alt-Right to be absent in the cultural and political discourse in the future. In fact, we have every reason just the opposite. If there’s one thing we can depend on (b/c we’re constantly told as much), it is the continual proliferation of Nazis irrespective of age, sex, race, religion, class, location, extant/dissolution status or caught in between, and sentience – nominal or otherwise just to name a few. If so, it would also seem to be the case that EVEN IF the IDW suddenly because open to the new Left people/ideas, they would not be genuinely non-partisan (the same holds for the new Left) unless and until they also became open to the Alt-Right people/ideas. Of course, this would apply in equal measure to every marginally defined ideology with sufficient longevity. Given this scenario, it’s not hard to imagine Harris’ entire argument falling prey to the paradox of tolerance.

      Let’s be blunt here: Harris’ argument fails as much on its own terms as it does logical coherence. It’s not persuasive, and it’s almost certainly specious, e.g., Harris’ line of reasoning seems to limit the options of non-partisanship to two (open/not open to the new Left), when there’s no reason to believe there aren’t more options to choose from #false-dichotomy. Harris should tender its resignation posthaste.

      Although there’s much more to criticize say on the subject, I think I’ve said enough for now.

  2. Saw file says

    As soon as I see the descriptive “alt-right”, I roll my eyes. Same with ” islamaphibia”. It’s somewhat telling, when ‘spell check’ highlights both of them. The nonsensical addition of words and word definitions deserves it’s own descriptive I’m sure such exists?.
    I decry the current bastardized deconstruction of the English language.

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      @ Saw file
      You mean the Muslims can breath underwater?

      • Saw file says

        @Denny S.
        I don’t know about such.
        I’m not a ‘scholar’ of the koran or the hadith.
        Considering some of what I’ve read as “facts” there, that’s possible.

    • Jolly swagman says

      ’islamafibia’. Lol. A typo maybe, but accurate none the less. That’s a keeper

  3. Matt H. says

    This is one of the poorest pieces I’ve read on Quillette. You’re basically just recapitulating Klein’s piece. And the proposition that being against the identitarian left automatically makes one of the right is risible on its face. I am fervently against identity politics and its postmodern glosses, but somehow I doubt the Republican Party is going to welcome old school liberals like myself, with our desire for gun control, stringent climate change policies, increased marginal income tax rates, greater government intervention in commerce and medicine, etc., etc. And I would rather gouge out my eyes than vote for Donald Trump.

    Being against the SJW left no more makes me of the right than William F. Buckley’s stance against the John Birch Society made him of the left.

    • Eddie Van Heineken says

      Jordan Peterson in 2018: “Abortion is clearly wrong, but it’s not that simple”.

      It’s a position that has a great deal of nuance and is quite similar to the old democrat party and their creed that abortion should be ‘safe, legal and rare’. There are currently only 2 remaining democrats who are pro-life, and one is a west Virginia coal miner turned senator. He is apparently holding out hope that the dems will someday renew their vigorous support for rural coal workers (they’re not).

      That said, this is truly a bad piece of writing in Quillette. Another tired case for the validation of identity politics, which can be found anywhere in clown world. Of course the constant wringing of ID politics comes at the expense of so many former noble cause of the progressives (teamsters and other union support, support for environmental causes at the local level, opposition to mountaintop removal, etc.)

    • Oldskool Satanist says

      Agreed. Usually the work here is superb but taking anything Vox or Klein say seriously is a big red flag.

      • Angela says

        I read the NY Times, The Atlantic, NYMag, WP, and CNN. I draw the line at Vox though. Especially Ezra Klein articles. Theyre just downright intellectually dishonest to a degree that is inexcusable.

    • Ryan says

      I think that in the certain contexts they are on the right. For example, universities lean so far left that the being moderately “liberal” makes one seem on the right. Now, of course there is the view that Hilary is a moderate Republican, but that is delusional.

      Another way to look at it is that, a liberal (when not used to mean left wing) would, if transported to the USSR be on the right. Essentially the IDW is building bridges to establish a centrist coalition. It is important to realize that this is no fan Trump fan club. What this bridge building hopes to accomplish is oppose the Illiberal left, but its members on the right are also fighting for influence on the right.

      It is possible that the result of this bridge building results in a realignment, but that hasn’t happened yet. Especially, because both the right and left of the IDW are NOT represented in politics. At least not by the two American parties.

      If the most important political question remains identity politics, and the Republicans put forth a more palatable candidate than Trump, then I imagine that old school liberals might switch. Just like some Republicans voted for Hillary, and more would have it she was more palatable.

      The movement of both parties towards the extremes has created a open center, but in the US the mechanism to capture it doesn’t exist. I could imagine that in Canada, the Conservatives moving towards the center and gaining the support of liberals.

    • George says

      “… the proposition that being against the identitarian left automatically makes one of the right is risible…”

      Amen to that.

      • Alan Appel says

        George, Agree. I note that the author seems to be unable to consider using the word “center.” Everything must bifurcated left or right. Thanks.

        • Angela says

          Yeah and that’s crazy because the vast majority of the IDW are best described as political moderates overall.

    • Benjamin says

      Not only your rejection of the sjw left makes your right wing. The type of “classical liberalism” that you embrace has been traditionally embraced by the right for centuries. “Classical liberalism” is just a fancy way of clustering a bunch of right wing positions.

      • Defenstrator says

        Actually for most of history they were left wing positions. It’s only after they became stabilized as the norm and people started to try and conserve them that they were considered right wing. And even then people on both the left and right embraced them in the face of fascism and communism.

      • Rev Wazoo! says

        Indeed! Liberals get the bullet too! If you’re not with us, your against us. And I don’t think you’re really with us; you’re a bourgois faker so up against the wall, motherlover…

      • Angela says

        In the current electoral environment in the US being classically liberal puts you closer to the center than anywhere else.

    • georgeherold says

      Matt H. Right. I think what the author gets wrong is that there is more than a single axis of political views. A two axis model can have Authoritarian/ Libertarian on the vertical axis. And the IDW rests in the Libertarian part of that divide.

    • Defenstrator says

      Trying to conserve liberalism as the left and right radicals attempt to destroy it does not make you a conservative. It makes you a liberal.

    • Blue Lobster says

      Liking what’s familiar does not imply a dislike for what’s unfamiliar. Some one who actively dislikes what is familiar is either overstimulated or traumatized.

    • Seems like you’re conflating Left with “progressivism”/Far Left, with its desire for radical change. An old-school Leftist liberal approach is technically “conservative” relative to radical change; it is not “Conservative” with a capital “C.” You confirm that the IDW’s are right when they say that the Far Left thinks they are the only Left, and that anyone who disagrees with them is Conservative, on the Right (or Alt-Right adjacent).

    • Angela says

      Wanting to preserve free speech and individualism is hardly similiar to wanting to eat the same boring cereal every day.

  4. Joshua D Schwartz says

    The author seems to suggest that the IDW should effectively be like “the Heterodox Academy”. The latter is committed to “non-partisan” diversity of ideas (albeit in one particular setting – the Academy). One can debate the extent to which it succeeded, since it tends to pull in IDW-types. The actual IDW group is clearly coalesced around some guiding principles that are recognizable as those of classical liberal thought and Enlightenment rationality.

    I think something has indeed happened to upset the usual liberal/conservative divide, and that something (in my opinion) is that the liberals largely won on all the issues in the social arena. Having no real dragons left to slay, part of the left went full Don Quixote – and another part of the left is standing up and saying “stop!” while amused conservatives can’t believe their luck at all their new “friends”. Indeed, the IDW is organized to oppose the new left – but that doesn’t make it alt-right in the slightest. The enemy of one’s enemy is not one’s friend.

    • Angela says

      Yeah ive got mad respect for Johnathab Haidt and what he does, but there’s a place for him and a place for the more outspoken IDW types.

  5. Zachary Reichert says

    I don’t know man. It’s like. What do you mean by ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’?

    I think the particular issues you’re raising are more about what’s getting reported rather than what is real.

    I’m a liberal, I believe in Liberty. Capital L. That puts me on the ‘conservative’ side of most of these questions supposedly. Whatever.

    • Ryan says

      Liberal is not the opposite of conservative, it is just used that what in the states, where is it really means left. There is such thing as a liberal conservative. Progressive is more the opposite of Conservative. It gets all weird because when the terms conservative and liberal began to be used politically, Conservatives were by default the established hierarchy. This being the context in European monarchies. The US was Liberal from it beginning, even if not for everyone.

      • Stephanie says

        Ryan, liberals and conservatives are the tow main parties in Canada, but the Conservatives are actually called Progressive Conservatives. In Australia the liberals are the conservative party. It’s gotten pretty confused.

  6. It needs to at least be noted that the “social justice warriors” are the major force against good-faith discussion. The author appears to be arguing that the flaw of the IDW is that they aren’t really having good-faith disagreements because they’re not having good-faith discussions with those who adamantly refuse to have good-faith discussions.

    The core value that unites the IDW, it seems to me, is freedom of speech.

    • E. Olson says

      HA – very good point. Why does David Rubin “hang out” with Candace Owens, Charlie Kirk, or Ben Shapiro when he disagrees with them on many issues? Perhaps he does so because they will engage in discussion and debate with him without calling him names, or trying to ruin his career and livelihood, or physically threatening him?

    • hail to none says

      @Hamish– well put. people are yearning to have good-faith discussions and that’s very difficult in this atmosphere.

    • Closed Range says

      The authors appears rather blindsided on that point. When JP calls white privilege a Marxist lie, he is engaging with their ideas. When the new leftists make a smear campaign demanding that his visiting fellowship at Cambridge be canceled, then we are left in no doubt who is failing to engage in a discussion. I could go on all day with examples of this kind.

      I think the author was unfairly biased, but hey we all read his article in good faith and im not going to start a campaign to get him fired for his job just because of that. The same can’t be said of those on the left.

  7. The IDW should remain a big tent which includes a diverse array of libertarians, reasonable liberals, conservatives, and centrists of all stripes, all committed to free speech and Enlightenment values and opposed to the moral and intellectual rot of the intersectional/SJW-left.

    Once it starts vying for actual political “relevance” or power, it will be as susceptible to corruption and infighting as any political party. The IDW needs to stays in the realm of ideas, and not be tempted to wander into the halls of power.

    • Claudia says

      @ Coffee Klatch

      “So get that shit straight.”

      What’s this tic that everyone on the left has these days with ending tweets and posts with some immature put-down catchphrase like “do better” or “get that shit straight”? It’s as though they think by using some stock line that’s used a million times a day on Twitter that they’ve won an argument. Usually when I read it I imagine some college student who just got a “B” in an introductory political science course and suddenly thinks he’s an expert.

      • Joshua says

        Maybe stop being such a condescending cunt Coffee Klatch.

    • Northern Observer says

      Coffee Klatch. You are right. All these far left intellectual movements and concepts are the long denouement of the Protestant Reformation and the shattering of the one true Church which turns out was a better social construct for organizing justice, peace and liberty than what modernity and specifically atheistic post French Revolutionary Rousseauian liberty has brought us. It has brought us to a dead end, it brought us to Civilzational extinction. And as Chigur Anton in No country for Old Men quips “if the rule you followed brought you you here, of what use was the rule?” It doesn’t bother me that the left is radical, it bothers me that they are not radical enough and cling to outdated notions of colonialism, sex, race and equality. Those old arguments are anachronisms that don’t address the problems we face today. The far left should recognize that. Maybe given time they will

    • K. Dershem says

      The IDW should remain a big tent which includes a diverse array of libertarians, reasonable liberals, conservatives, and centrists of all stripes, all committed to free speech and Enlightenment values and opposed to the moral and intellectual rot of the intersectional/SJW-left.

      I completely agree, although I would amend your statement by inserting “reasonable” in front of conservatives — there are plenty of fanatics and ideologues on the right, as well.

      • @K. Dershem

        Your proposed amendment would improve my comment. I wrote and posted the comment quickly, and when I re-read it after posting it I regretted not having modified “conservatives” with “reasonable” (or some similar adjective).

    • Just Me says

      Yes, they are all products of Western thought, but how does that make them any more correct than any other product of western thought? We have produced a lot of different strands of western thought, and they disagree with each other.

      Existentialism was all the rage just a few decades ago, now no one ever mentions Sartre, de Beauvoir gets occasionally trotted out by people who clearly never read her.

      Soon critical theory, etc. will have been forgotten, too. But in the meantime…

      The irony is, all this modern Marxist, Social Justice obsession is indeed a very Western ideology derived from the Judeo-Christian belief in the equal human worth and dignity of the poor and weak, the old Biblical prophets and Christian saints and their vows of poverty and charity, etc….taken to its extreme.

      It is no accident this originated in the West and not in any other civilisation. It is the Christian West which started caring for the sick by opening hospitals, orphans by running orphanages, the poor through charities, running schools and missions, etc.

      But just as everyone has the faults of their qualities, western civ seems to have jumped the shark by repeatedly producing revolutionaries who believe not just in improving the lot of the poor, but transforming society into some Utopia according to some ideal blueprint that takes no account of the reality of human nature. That always ends badly, and here we go again…

    • Blue Lobster says

      Coffee Klatch,

      I think you’re correct that “the far left are every bit as much about capital-F freedom as libertarianism”. The Western world has become increasingly free and liberal throughout my lifetime – ostensibly because freedom and liberalism are nice things which make our lives better. Obviously, somewhere, something has gone wrong, however, because clearly most people’s lives are not getting better (or at least they don’t feel like they are and, really, that’s what counts) given the rise of all things political in the recent past. Politics is mostly irrelevant when things are going well. It seems to me that the newfound interest in socialsim, particularly among the youngest generations is a reaction to what might not unreasonably be described as the excessively free and liberal society that we have created for ourselves. The difference between liberals/left and conservatives/right is that each views the freedoms most cherished by the opposing side as the cause of all the problems that the West now faces. They are, of course, both correct. As I see it, and despite as un-American as it makes me feel to express it, the needed course correction, generally speaking, is a roll-back of freedom. For you, me and all of us because our freedoms are what are now destroying us.

    • Johnny Sclerosis says

      Are flying buttresses ‘bullshit’ though? Is that supposed to be a Notre Dame crack or summat?

    • scribblerg says

      Postmodernism is a rejection of the western canon (a cannon is a large gun), and modernity itself. Socialism is a rejection of classical liberalism. This is basic. To claim one emanates from the other is just odd.

    • Angela says

      Yeah non of the IDW people I follow seem to have much interest in actual electoral politics. They keep their focus on opposing the ideas of the regressive left.

    • Angela says

      If you cant comment with some basic civility then maybe you should try YouTube comment sections instead of here.

  8. Farris says

    The IDW is the response or reaction to wokeness. As the Left continues to insist upon remaining “woke” it demonstrates its intolerance and unwillingness to debate. The IDW is willing to test ideas without resulting to epitaphs.

  9. Trinette deWijk says

    The “New Left” have given me a new gender (cis), says things like “I hate all white people”, strongly suggests that reparations be paid to descendents of former slaves, suggests that as a women I am not appressed because I am not a victim, but, should do something about male oppression.

    I might be able to talk to them if they were not self righteous and oh- would listen. And might they consider making reparations to those they have mobbed on social media. Might they explain how using their preferred pronouns actually helps prevent violence, and could they also enlighten the rest of us why we are Isamaphobic because we think it is reprehensible to throw gay people off the top of buildings.

  10. Jairo Melchor says

    While i understand the alleged concern of the author, i find his critique as a very well-written guilt by association piece.

    The default example on this piece is Dave Rubin, somehow who considers himself a libertarian who shares views that one would consider “mainstream left”. However, the piece implies he isn’t a real libertarian just because he usually hangs out in the internet with conservatives, therefore, he’s just faking it.

    His idea of “new right” is wrong but the “defeating the new left” is correct. Rubin and others are not instantly politically right or new right just for having a common ground with conservatives/right wingers, they just found an actual threat to the very foundation of Western Civilization. I don’t find anything bad in liberals, conservatives, libertarians, centrists, etc etc sharing a ground, in fact, i think it is amazing that we are finally gathering together to share ideas about a better future for everyone.

    One could say that the social justice warriors are so toxic and illiterate that they found a way to build an alliance between older enemies without even realizing. If we want to have an actual pushback against these idealogues, we have to keep doing exactly that. We won’t win by alienating everyone and just telling them “You hold your stuff, i’ll hold mine”, we will win if we stick together despite not sharing the same views on certain issues.

    • I find Dave Rubin’s view on gay marriage somewhat at odds with his statement he is a libertarian.

      Why would a libertarian want/need the nation state to provide the person with its imprimatur for his personal relationship?

      Wouldn’t the correct libertarian view be to get the nation state out of a person’s bedroom?

      The whole notion of placing people into particular groups and expecting their views to be identical with the group is what is wrong with identity politics.

      • Jairo Melchor says

        I agree on your last statement but usually these days people themselves are the ones putting labels to their so called “identities”.

        In the case of Rubin, he might be a libertarian on many issues but i think gay marriage and the likes aren’t part of it, that’s why it somehow contradicts what a fully libertarian view would say about it.

  11. jimhaz says

    Isn’t it the case the reason the tag IDW was created was because they do not fit neatly into the conservative domain? This gives them the freedom to not be conservative if they so wish – but lets not expect them to have an adequately informed position on areas they have not personally researched, such as the merits of higher taxation of the wealthy.

    Yes the conservatives will use them as a tool – just as trans people are trying to piggy back on the acceptances gay people have achieved in recent years or left white women piggy back on racial identity politics to improve their social status.

    In being accepted by conservative media they will naturally begin to spend more time with conservatives and will begin to adopt some of their views (I see this with JBP in relation to global warming – he is struggling to resist that aspect of conservative tribalism).

    • Stephanie says

      Jimhaz, I wouldn’t be so sure that JBP’s perspective on global warming is being moved by his proximity to conservatives. His views are quite normal for people of his age from rural Alberta. I think he’s struggling with it in the opposite way: as an academic he could get skewered for going against the internationally-mandated “consensus,” so it seems to me he tries to make his statements about it as innocuous as possible.

    • Angela says

      Anyone getting all their political views from one guy like Jordan Peterson is an idiot. Peterson is amazing at empathizing and reaching out to struggling young men who are increasingly falling behind in society. He has changed many lives and I personally know of two people who’ve basically turned their lives around after being inspired by JP. I could care less what his views on climate change are. The man is a psychologist for crying out loud. Why even ask him about clinate change?

      • Closed Range says

        I agree. It is also worth adding that it is rather more likely that JP could and would change his mind if he were to witness directly enough some of the forms of evidence of global warming (eg trips to the poles, spending a year measuring co2 in the air, etc) instead of starting a campaign to crucify the people who present that evidence.

  12. “When a prominent IDW figure dismisses white privilege as a “Marxist lie,” which Peterson did in a speech in late 2017, it’s really hard to have good faith discussions on such issues.”

    A better article would have a least mentioned how when the IDW does engage with the left, they are hit with tons of bad faith, e.g. Michael Eric Dyson calling Peterson a “mean white man”, Harris and Ezra Klein, Harris and Omar Aziz, Maajid Nawaz and everyone on his left.

  13. C Heston says

    I don’t think you’ve fully pulled this apart, there is a much simpler explanation:

    The American left has moved from being center-left (with liberalism as its ideology) to progressivism and socialism.
    The Donald Trump American Right has stayed closer to the middle, but given up on the OLD culture war issues like gay marriage by instead espousing more social libertarianism.
    This has created a vacuum in the old center-left position that is now occupied by the IDW.

    So the IDW is not right-wing, it’s just the American Left of 20 years ago.

    • CTE says

      This, at first blush, is the best analysis I’ve heard on this. Or perhaps I just haven’t considered it in this light.

      I would say that I fit somewhere in this. I thought I was on the left for years and kind of feel left behind. Identity politics has just poisoned the well for a lot of us. When I first heard some from the idw talk it was so refreshing to just hear some push back when everyone else was in lock step agreement.

      That said I don’t agree with everything they say and it’s also refreshing to have an article criticizing them on this site. I think the article is a bit wrong for the the reasons c Heston has stated but that doesn’t mean I disliked the push back. I hope members of this group will consider this. Furthermore, I wish they would find more people on the left they can have conversations with. They must exist (right?).

    • E. Olson says

      C Heston – you are exactly right, and yet the Left continually says the Right is becoming more extreme. My favorite analogy is the Left is on a boat that is moving further Left with the tide and sees the Right on solid ground getting further away and thinks the shore is moving.

      By the way – I’m a big fan. Loved you in the 10 Commandments, Planet of the Apes, and the NRA hasn’t been the same since you departed.

  14. y81 says

    This argument totally contradicts the standard left/liberal talking point, peddled by people like Kevin Drum, that the batshit crazy Republicans have moved steadily right while the sane liberals (like Kevin Drum and the Democrats in Congress) have remained steadily where they are, preaching sanity. Now Harris proudly proclaims that of course progressives have moved steadily further left, while their retrogage opponents have refused to keep up.

    I think that maintaining proper progressive credentials (or getting a decent grade in a current Yale poli sci course, which is the same thing) would probably require me to believe both of those things, but fortunately those aren’t my goals.

  15. Sean Leith says

    What you don’t realize is these “classical liberals” are no longer on the left. The criteria you listed no longer apply. Today’s liberal are a bunch of crazy extremists. Looks at all the democratic 2020 presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders is called right wing among them, and everyone knows that Bernie is a crazy socialist, and he is not crazy enough!

    • S. Cheung says

      I agree. I consider myself fiscally maybe slightly left, and socially liberal, but have spent several decades seeing myself as a center-left type overall. These days, the alt-right may have pushed the right extreme a small ways, but the regressive left have taken the left extreme a mile. THe playing field has changed, such that the “half-way” line now, as you say, is at a place that would have been fairly left on the spectrum of 20 years ago. And my position would probably occupy a moderately-right spot on the new spectrum.

      BUt here’s the thing. My views haven’t actually changed. So if my position is static, but the playing field shifts, I’m not suddenly moderately conservative in the genuine sense, but “right” and “left” have simply lost their meaning (or at least that meaning has changed from 20 years ago). Which, as you suggest, leads to the bizarro world where someone accuses Bernie of being a rightie. It’s almost like we need a new lexicon for this stuff.

      • Biologist says

        “It’s almost like we need a new lexicon for this stuff.”

        You do. Read Darwinian Politics: The Evolutionary Origins of Freedom by Paul Rubin.

        Envy is the root moral intuition of the left. Envy is inherently collectivist. Envy demands equal sharing of all desirable things, whether that be money, fame, prestige, attention, praise, prospects, outcomes, etc. etc. etc. The economics of Envy are simple: Wealth is not made but found so all those who have must share with all those who have less until everybody has the same.

        Jealousy is the root moral intuition of the Right. Jealousy is inherently individualistic. Jealousy demands that everyone mind their own business and keep their muggy paws off my stuff. The economics of Jealousy are complicated: Wealth is made not found so if you want something you haven’t made yourself you have to trade for it and that means finding ways to equate the values of disparate things. Measures of value become both necessary and negotiable. Mathematical calculations soon become both necessary and elaborate.

        Terminology: Left = “the Envious Sharers” : Right = “the Jealous Traders”.

    • E. Olson says

      As I’ve noted in other posts, just look at how the Left has become more radical.

      In the 1990s the Clinton Administration signs the Defense of Marriage act, now they want trannies in the ladies room and military, and use the full force of government to sue bakers for not making gay wedding cakes.

      Up until about 2006 the mainstream Democrats (including Obama, Schumer, Reid, Pelosi, Clinton) were voting to fund a border wall with Mexico, now they want to abolish ICE and have open borders.

      Up until recently the Democrats were strong supporters of Israel and respectful of religious freedom in the US, but now support Palestinian terrorists and force Catholic nuns to buy birth control for their employees.

      Through the 1960s the Democrats were strong supporters of providing cheap electricity to help the poor, now they prefer to save polar bears by jacking up the prices of electricity and gasoline so the poor can’t afford heat, A/C, or driving.

      In 1992 Clinton ran on keeping abortion legal, safe, and rare, and now Democrats support abortion on the delivery date.

  16. The ‘Dark’ part of ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ is ridiculous. The Dark Web is a secret, shadowy place for crooks and spies. But nobody is as open and outspoken as the people on that graph. What you see is what you get. The IDW is not an organization at all, but a loose umbrella term to denote some people who share certain views and styles of writing and speaking.

    • OleK says

      Sure it is (the ‘Dark’), but remember that Eric Weinstein just made up the term tongue-in-cheek to begin with. No one involved ever meant it as being serious or official. I think it is just a name/term that suffers from the information age – obsolete almost after it is invented.

    • Closed Range says

      The term is meant as a joke, just as Sam Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens and Dennett being the four riders of the apocalypse was also a joke. I understand the term IDW refers to the fact that they are considered beyond the pale by the leftist media and academia.

  17. Benjamin Perez says

    Or, perhaps there’s really two Lefts, a modern Left, which the so-called IDW conforms to, and a postmodern Left, which the so-called “woke” conforms to? (as well as two Rights, a modern Right, which individuals like George Will and Matt Lewis conform to, and the postmodern Right, which the Trump supporter conforms to?). With concern to the two Lefts, although I suppose an IDW liberal might seem “right wing” when compared/contrasted to a progressive “woke” (just as an anti-Trump conservative might seem “left wing”…), that that’s so easy for so many to do just seems like more and more evidence to support Steven Pinker’s notion of the “Left pole” (which, if one doesn’t know what that is, is worth Google searching).

  18. Zack says

    Can someone explain the importance of having a politically diverse group? Having a diverse set of ideas seems important, as well as having an open forum for discussion for challenging those ideas. Is the thought that a diverse political representation will lead to better discussions? What if a subset of those political parties uses mob tactics to silence discussion?

  19. joseph says

    I support liberal policies (both social/economic), have voted for democrats in every election. The reason I have embraced IDW is they’re the only ones pushing back against the anti-free speech stuff from the left, which I consider a much bigger problem than bigotry.

    Many on the left have seemingly appointed themselves judge/jury of who is morally worthy in society, and act as if this justifies almost any behavior toward those they deem ‘bigots’, including property damage + violence, harassment, public shaming, cancel culture (basically mccarthyism).

    I find this absolutely reprehensible, I don’t think these people possess the wisdom or right to try to enforce their ideas of virtue by force on the rest of society, and even if all their goals are righteous this approach runs counter to what democracy should be about.

    As for your suggestion that IDW engage with opposing ideas instead of being ‘anti-left activists’- after looking at Jordan Peterson’s debate with Michelle Goldberg or Sam Harris’s conversation with Ezra Klein about the Bell Curve stuff, what I see is consistent attitude from the left that they shouldn’t have to engage with ‘bigots’ because it ‘legitimizes’ their ideas, so it’s constantly just implying the other person is a racist/homophobe/misogynist.

    100% agree with everything you said about the tribalism stuff though, a lot of the things that the IDW folks say they’re against like twitter mobbing dissenting opposing views they often do a really poor job of recognizing and pushing back against people on the right doing it.

  20. Daniel says

    Perhaps what’s wrong is our working definition of liberal and conservative in the realm of American politics

    • Meh. says

      @Daniel. think that’s close. In my view, the problem is that the descriptors we use “right”, “left”, “conservative”, and “liberal” are muddled, interchangeable, and almost completely without meaning at this point. Worse, the underlying concepts they weakly describe are not even the key issues of our time. Those being concentrations of power (be it corporate, government, or “non-profit”), the end of the nation state, the end of work, and thus to some extent personal meaning, the rise of a new aristocracy, just for starters. All these debates seem like a shell game. Right-left-liberal-conservative are completely orthagonal to what matters.

  21. S. Cheung says

    This article completely and utterly misses the point. Even when it tangentially touches on the point, it is only paying lip service.

    The IDW aren’t there to change anyone’s mind on issues. By the time you make the effort to seek them out, you’ve already formulated your position on those issues (or even if not on a specific issue, you’ve developed a set of guiding principles that would allow you to deduce your own position on those new issues). What you are seeking, and failing to find in mainstream media and the regressive left, are open-minded conversations about those issues that allow you to explore your own ideas. It’s the opportunity to stress test your own logic. That opportunity does not arise in echo chambers, be they offline or online driven by silo-hunting algorithms.

    To me, the biggest attraction of the IDW is their collectively open minds, and the willingness to have those conversations. Rubin in particularly often has guests that he disagrees with, and his job is to platform their ideas just so they can be examined in, and by, sunlight. It is the antithesis of the deplatforming MO of the regressive left. THe reason why he goes on Fox etc is probably because they respect his principles, if not his position on issues. BUt that’s ok. Hearing a guy out is more important than agreeing with everything he says. You can still respecfully disagree. THe regressive left, meanwhile, is both disrespectful and disagreeable.

    A real eye-opener for me was watching Ben Shapiro interview Andrew Yang on his SUnday Report. This is buttoned-down SHapiro who treats his guests with the decorum as befits a host. He is much less rabid there than on Daily Wire. But that conversation was substantive, intelligent, and informative, both of his and Yang’s position on issues. You get to hear the what, and the why. You are still free to disagree, but you don’t walk away feeling it was a waste of time. And the bigger surprise was in the comments. Again, it’s you-tube, and it’s Shapiro’s channel, so you expect it to swing fairly right. And Yang probably spent half his time talking about UBI, which is probably like waving a red flag before a raging bull. But almost all of the comments related to how “this guy has really well thought out policies that I might disagree with, but I respect where he is coming from” and stuff to that effect. And Shapiro wasn’t there to do a hatchet job; he wanted to platform a guy talking UBI to his fairly-right audience. It was an adult conversation meant for adults….which is something the regressive left is currently not capable of having, and ill-equipped to consume.

    So the author has it all wrong, and the IDW have left him behind. The unwillingness and intellectual inability to foster civil discussion is precisely the problem of today…it is not exclusively a problem just with the regressive left, and it is one that is inherent with any extremist position, but the SJW’s certainly have it in spades. In order to lead a discussion, you need people willing to participate in good faith. The author seems to think only content matters. While it does, of course, you simply can’t discuss content until you are first willing to have a conversation.

    • S.Cheung says

      The highest utility for this article is the link to Miessler’s page, where he came up with the phrase “breaks the stupidmeter”. That bad-boy should be trademarked.

    • hail to none says

      S.C. hits the nail on the head. We just want to have a freakin’ discussion. We want to hear people who disagree engage with one another. We don’t need the new priests to tell us who we can and can’t listen too, what topics are off limits, and what positions are unacceptable. We are not children.

    • ms100 says

      Although Glenn Greenwald is not part of the IDW, he goes on Fox because he has been blacklisted from the left leaning stations due to his stance on the Mueller investigation. He was vindicated.

      Dave Rubin was redpilled a bit in 2017 by his interview with Larry Elder regarding racism.

      Rubin comes across here as a buffoon. He had obviously never did his homework and looked at the actual data, he just believed the propaganda that activists told him. This is a major problem with much of the population, the belief in a one line summary of an issue. The devil is in the details. The IDW provides those details that the left wants censored.

    • Heath says

      S. Cheung with a much more perceptive analysis. I think that Uri was trying to analyse the IDW through the left and right lens which is simply not a useful way to analyse them. The IDW represents not left or right, but rather one end of the spectrum that measures how politically entrenched you are. At the other end of the spectrum are the Ezra Kleins of the world who have picked their team and have now retreated behind the battle lines.

  22. Serenity says

    “…mainstream conservatives become more and more convinced that the new left represents an existential threat that supersedes all other political issues.”

    Why? Because it is true.

    New left “characterised by intolerance of diverse opinions, mob behaviour, and divisive identity politics” is radical movement leading by people acting in bad faith and engaged in aforesaid psychopathic behaviour, trolling and bullying.

    It is grassroot tyrannical totalitarianism which represents existential threat to Western democracy.

    “One of the most ridiculous aspects of democracy will always remain… the fact that it has offered to its mortal enemies the means by which to destroy it.”

  23. Cedric says

    This article helps prove my theory that most adults never mature past middle school. To say Dave Rubin is a conservative because he hangs out with conservatives reminds me of the kids who used to say “Cedric must be a stoner because he hangs out with the stoners.” I just liked Nirvana and skateboarding… is that such a crime?!?

    • Jay Salhi says

      “To say Dave Rubin is a conservative because he hangs out with conservatives reminds me of the kids who used to say “Cedric must be a stoner because he hangs out with the stoners.””

      To put it differently, Ruth Bader Ginsburg must be a conservative because she was “best buddies” (her actual words) with Scalia. This article is a train wreck of bad logic.

    • peanut gallery says

      “Lisa’s going to marry a car-rot! hahaha!”


  24. ” a lot of the things that the IDW folks say they’re against like twitter mobbing dissenting opposing views they often do a really poor job of recognizing and pushing back against people on the right doing it.”


    Look, I like a lot of the ideas that the IDW comes up with (why else would I be reading Quillette)? And the new left is badly in need of a pushback because they really suck at what they’re doing now, which is refusing to engage with stronger arguments. But I want the left to win because I’m still a lefty at heart. I just think those whiny de-platforming buttheads have lost the plot and have become insufferably precious authoritarians (If I hear the term “safe space” again, I’m gonna hurl). But those tools do not represent all lefties. Not hardly! Some people on the left still have good ideas, and like it or not, history tends to trend leftward in terms of social issues. The long arc of justice and all that. I think this is where I end up aligning with the Weinsteins and Harris and Haidt more than anyone else in that bucket. They see the big picture.

    And let’s not forget the fundamental math of clicks. The reason some of these IDW folks don’t dare criticize folks on the right and instead use all their ammo on the new left is because they know where their bread is buttered. It’s their danged job to get people riled. Some of these guys — Rubin comes to mind — are basically shills for their own product (don’t even get me started on Candace Owens). Which ultimately makes them boring and predictable. You can say what you want about Peterson — who has monetized his brand better than anyone — but he’s not boring and predictable. Even when I disagree with him, he’s got strong arguments. Rubin doesn’t. Rogan doesn’t (he’s more a facilitator than a pundit). And Shapiro is just abrasive. No thanks.

    To further digress, this is our new political reality. People shilling for clicks because there’s money to be made fomenting outrage on the left and the right. Spare me. Quillette does an admirable job of throwing interesting ideas out there. But it’s godawful depressing to read through some of the comments on articles and realize that the only idea some folks have in their tiny little heads is this unbridled rage against the new left. Hey, they frequently disgust me too. But rage is right up there with guilt as a counter-productive emotional state. If you allow yourself to dehumanize others, it dehumanizes you. Don’t fall for the trap, even if you believe your “enemies” already have.

    • Jay Salhi says

      “The reason some of these IDW folks don’t dare criticize folks on the right”

      I suggest you review Sam Harris’ comments about Trump.

  25. No Uri, what you’re missing is that the “New Left” is a small, albeit loud and growing, segment of what used to be known as “liberalism”. They are intolerant of debate, discussion and dissent, even amongst their putative “friends”, and that causes moderate liberals to drift away in search of a new home. The debates and discussions between IDW moderate liberals (and I don’t know why Shapiro ever got lumped in with them anyways, he’s a plain old traditional conservative, borderline Never Trumper in fact) and conservatives are the debates and discussions that should be happening within the broader society more generally, but aren’t because of the New Left’s extreme intolerance.

    • K. Dershem says

      I think this is exactly right. Very well put!

  26. Type1civilian says

    I think Eric Weinstein’s move to brand these disparate individuals the Intellectual Dark Web was a bad move. It invited the kind of targeted broad generalizations and lazy thinking that now permeates online media outlets such as Vox.

    It’s been interesting to follow Dave Rubin on Twitter. I’ve observed a slow transition from nuanced, balanced critique of people across the political spectrum to what is now a general, and now quite cynical critique of “the Left.” The terms left and right as applied to politics are essentially meaningless. The terms refer to where members of France’s National Assembly were seated in the early days of the French Revolution. That was 230 years ago. I believe it is time to move on. The modern world and it’s citizens are too complicated to be summarized on a single axis. For an example of what Dave Rubin could have been, observe Maajid Nawaz or Sarah Haider.

    Sam Harris, in conversations with Omar Aziz and Ezra Klein, has established the limits of what kinds of discussions are possible with people the author has categorized as the “new left.” The IDW has already been pigeonholed, but they haven’t been marginalized. There are many discussions that society needs to have, and members of the IDW have made headway in advancing those discussions.

    I have been disheartened by the lack of ambition which seems to permeate society at the moment. Instead of wondering what we can do with advances in AI, biotechnology, materials science, etc. We spend our time arguing about how much of the world we can preserve in its current form. I don’t know if the ideas of Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill, and Adam Smith can stay relevant in a world of neural networks, CRISPR Cas9, and Falcon Heavy rockets. If they are to stay relevant, then we cannot fall into the same political ruts that have been worn into the fabric of society by previous generations.

  27. I definitely encourage more critical assessment of the IDW here at Q.

    This article misses the target for me. From my anecdotal view point, my D voter friends skew Harris/Weinstein and my R voter friends skew Rubin/Harris. All four have thoughtful discussions together. You aren’t going to see Tucker Carlson and Rachael Maddow have any thoughtful illuminating discussions in this lifetime. Sounds like the IDW is about all we’ve got going for bridge building for the time being.

  28. LukeReeshus says

    …does [the IDW] want to be genuinely non-partisan? If [so], it needs to open itself up to new left people and ideas.

    The IDW has quite a bit of experience with new left people and their ideas.

  29. Geof says

    In my opinion, social justice extremists are largely members of the top 10% professional class who have benefited handsomely from neoliberal globalization. Since the crisis of 2008, they are challenged from two directions: on the one hand, from the majority of the population who have been left behind; on the other, from within-group competition.

    As Thomas Frank says, the professional classes believe that “you get what you deserve, and what you deserve is determined by how well you did in school.” They feel entitled to success in life: yet in a precarious globalized economy, their degrees are worth less and less.

    In a lottery economy where wealth is more often won through connections or luck (or position in the hierarchy of corporate, NGO or government monopolies) than earned through labor, they have little faith in hard work. Like feudal vassals, they believe that wealth is deserved because of who you are, not earned because of what you do.

    There is little sense of solidarity among them. They will happily denounce one another in their efforts to climb the ladder. They certainly have no interested in social programs that would aid the lower orders who, being “ignorant,” deserve their lot. Having been told since birth that they are princes and princesses, they cannot even imagine that they (like everyone else) are just regular people in a hard and imperfect world, and that while progress is possible, we must also learn to make peace with that.

    They are, in other words, temperamentally (not politically) conservative reactionaries seeking to preserve their privileges. (If you really want to understand them, take their criticisms of others – some of which do have merit – and apply them to themselves. It’s no accident they talk about privilege so much: they want to obscure the real social and economic privileges that got them where they are.) Social justice justifies their superiority to the “deplorables,” establishes the value of their (debt-encumbered) “education”, is a game for status, and rules out any consideration of class or bread-and-butter economic issues that might threaten their assumed technocratic superiority. (A need made even greater by a lack of real skills.)

    Their ideology derives historically from the left, but via an academic institutional structure of privileged and isolated bureaucracy rife (along with many of our other institutions) with hypocrisy. It is not surprising that they adopt the language and form of social justice, while often pursuing the exact opposite. They have jettisoned any concern for labor: they don’t want to overthrow the elites, they want to be the elites. They are not politically conservative, for they have little concept of personal responsibility, and would happily overthrow the social structure that made so long as their own privilege was conserved.

    This article is wrong, but raises an important issue. Racism, sexism and so on are serious problems that deserve serious solutions. But identity politics is a bad-faith argument. For it, these issues are means, not ends. There are decent (and deceived) people in the movement, but as a whole, the movement’s real function, and the purpose of many of its key figures, is to exclude others (the majority!) from politics. There can be little political balance with left, right, and the IDW because the movement, at its core, is anti-political and anti-democratic.

  30. Fickle Pickle says

    The first thing the IDW should do is ditch the use of the word DARK as a descriptive title. A title which obviously at first glance has dark connotations – first connotations and impressions are
    VERY important.
    Not much more-than-wonderful de-light to be found on the IDW. None at all in fact.
    Although I do find much resonance with Sam Harris’s books Waking Up, The End of Faith, and Letters To a Christian Nation. I also know some interesting stuff about Sam’s background and one particular Spiritually Gifted person with whom Sam had a very intimate friendship.

    Especially as they at least pretend to bring some LIGHT or even truly en-light-ened perspectives into the never ending and entirely unresolvable culture wars shouting match which is signified by much sound-and-fury that signifies nothing much more than the strutting self importance
    and ignorance of the various bloviators.

    I do find some resonance with Sam Harris’ truth-telling books Waking Up, The End of Faith, and Letters To a Christian nation. I also know some interesting stuff about Sam’s background and about one particularly Spiritually Gifted person with whom Sam had a long very intimate friendship

    But where does the left versus right divide really come from?
    It has nothing whatsoever to do with what the now artificial divide that occurred in the French National Assembly 230 years ago.
    It is really a dramatization of a fundamental (essentially psychotic) split in the human psyche. The brain and nervous system dominated and patterned by either predominately left brained thinking or by right brained thinking.
    The presumed split between self and world, the subjective ego and the objective world, inside and outside, even up and down.
    All of which gets dramatized on to the world stage in conflicts between Heaven and Earth, man vs woman, cult vs cult, State vs State, left versus right (etc), and between all beings or conditions that can be separately identified and known (and therefore controlled).

    All forms of Western knowledge (in particular) are at their core level about power and control for both the individual, and for collectives which accumulate around various thought memes

    Such collective power and control thought memes have immense cultural and political power. Western Civilization altogether is a gigantic hugely enormous power-and-control-seeking MEME. As of course is Islam, and China too.

  31. Emblem14 says

    The Left/Right dichotomy has just about lost its usefulness as a conceptual shortcut to encapsulate a person’s bundle of values and preferences. There are now multiple “Rights” and “Lefts”, and no one knows which one somebody is referring to without delving further into the specific priorities and agendas of each, which defeats the purpose of catch-all labels. And yet, the labels are so useful in a context of shared understanding (within an insular community of politically like-minded people), that most continue to use the shorthand even when it leads to fundamental confusion when the discussion inevitably seeps out to other audiences with different internal reference points.

    Uri Harris is correct – what is referred to as the “IDW” has become an “anti-SJW” partisan intellectual movement. It is the central ideological stance that binds that group together as a coherent entity, and Quillette is squarely within this camp as well.

    Of course, there are a variety of ideologies that are “anti-Radical Left”. Both Classical Liberalism and Right Wing Ethno-Nationalism share an antipathy toward Leftist theory (both Materialism and PostStructuralism) and Utopianism. Which is why it’s easy to smear moderate liberals in the IDW with the “Alt-Right Adjacent” label, because at least in opposing Leftist overreach, their efforts are aligned with some otherwise very odious ideologies. That there can be multiple different rationales for opposing something, or sharing opposition to something does not mean you also share the same end goals, is deliberately ignored.

    This is exacerbated when those on the Ethno-Nationalist Right co opt anti-SJW rhetoric originated by small-l liberal critics (or vice versa), making it seem like they’re on the “same team”, or at least that liberals are “useful idiots” in service of a Right-Wing agenda. It’s exacerbated even more when people who self-label as “Moderate” or “Centrist” wind up cozying up to and fraternizing with Ethno-Nationalists for self-aggrandizement or to reach larger audiences.

    Viewed from the outside, this can appear like the tap dance of people who secretly sympathize with Far Right views but want to maintain plausible deniability. Since so much of political rhetoric is communicated in code and euphemism due to taboos against being honest about our true motives (for example, insincere but politically “acceptable” arguments about economics or crime covering for the visceral resentment of rapid, non-consensual cultural disruption brought about by new immigrants), the ambient level of paranoia in political discourse ensures that such “plausible deniability” will be read as a thin facade covering an uglier truth.

    Guilt by association is the leading tactic of political combat mainly because our byzantine set of norms around political correctness makes liars out of so many people. But our friendships and affiliations, professional and personal, supposedly betray us. Honest people must make an extra effort to be fully transparent – to put all their cards on the table – and “walk their talk” in an environment where talk is cheap and there are a never ending supply of hacks willing to shill for a paycheck (or a bluecheck).

    The prevailing pseudo mccarthyite view that sees “Globalist Cucks” or “Fascists” around every corner is obviously going to bias towards false positives, but many on the anti-SJW liberal left don’t do themselves any favors by playing nice with people who traffic in rhetoric that is hostile to marginalized groups, like transgendered people or immigrants – groups that any liberal or moderate would be tolerant of and certainly not demonize. This is a clear signal to members of those groups that, however they self-identify politically, the IDW will collaborate with forces that are fundamentally hostile to them.

    In that sense, there is no meaningful difference between an IDW type “just asking questions” about
    race and IQ, or gender discrimination in the workplace, or if transgenderism is just a mental illness – and someone who wants to “erase” the transgendered by excluding them from social institutions or sending them to conversion therapy – because the IDW person cannot be trusted to protect the transgendered person in a zero-sum struggle for their right to be treated with fairness and dignity. It’s an open question.

    if Bret Weinstein goes on Tucker Carlson just to bond over how crazy the SJWs are without holding Carlson to account for his own questionable opinions, people will begin to suspect Weinstein’s self-proclaimed progressive bonafides. If he had said, “the SJWs are crazy, and also, fuck you Tucker for trafficking in racist fear-mongering against immigrants”, he might have distinguished himself more clearly as inhabiting a unique position, both against the SJWs but also against Xenophobia, and avoided the “fellow traveler” smear. This would not be a mere “virtue signal” but a useful social signal that forces the audience to carve out a seperate conceptual category for Weinstein’s politics, on his terms, instead of the default terms of the dominant political framework, which operates on pigeonholing people into the obsolete Left/Right binary based on superficial pattern-matching.

    That so many in the IDW don’t do this (Rubin being the most glaring example) simply gives credence to people who say that the IDW is just a “gateway” to right-wing radicalization, given how much more hospitable and accommodating the IDW is to anyone who is anti-SJW, regardless of how dubious their other positions may be.

  32. Harold Porter says

    What constitues ‘the left’ these days is actually just the very far-left end of the spectrum. They have proven to be as unreasonable and non-sensible as the far-right (the actual far right, the swastika wearing, Hilter fan-boys). The far-right and the far-left constitute only the extremes of the spectrum. What the IDW represents is the middle ground of moderate leftists and moderate conservatives and centerists who are appalled and annoyed equally by the extremes on both sides. However, because it is the far-left that has much more public presence and has been setting the socail agenda of late, they are the ones who are the foucs of most of the IDW’s ire.

    The IDW has gained such a following because, in fact, most people are not extremists and can have conversations with people who hold differing views and can be civil to each other despite philosophical differences.

    • K. Dershem says

      [B]ecause it is the far-left that has much more public presence and has been setting the social agenda of late, they are the ones who are the focus of most of the IDW’s ire.

      Right. James Lindsay has explained why he focuses on the left as a means of confronting the right:

      “[A]s a liberal in today’s political climate, I feel it important to focus most of my time and energy to my left, not to my right, though the latter is the considerably larger danger in nearly every regard …. Unless and until the far left is deradicalized or excluded from the left-liberal project, it will remain one of the most significant forces in undermining both itself and liberalism to the right’s advantage. Because these problems have created one another, not only is this trend self-reinforcing; it necessarily comes at the worst possible time — when the ascendant right had already been completely hijacked by hardliner lunatics.”

  33. Steve D. says

    Miessler’s observation that the IDW is “mostly a collection of disillusioned liberals looking for a place to have honest conversation” definitely holds up. Although Dave Rubin has become more conservative over the last few years, he definitely began his current project as a disillusioned liberal who was sincerely attempting to create a space for honest conversation. The Rubin Report has regularly brought on guests from across the political spectrum for honest conversation. Harris writes that, ‘a significant selling-point for the IDW has been that it fosters political bridge-building and across-the-aisle debate’. The Rubin Report has fostered precisely such bridge-building and debate. This is not a ’selling-point’. It sells by nature of it being such a rare occurrence that resonates deeply with those who have a thirst for it. I do believe that the IDW is legitimately politically diverse and I do not think one needs a nice and tidy graph to grasp this. If you’ve been following its members for years and witnessed how they have gravitated into each other’s orbits, it’s all pretty clear. The coalescing of the IDW into such a formidable force has been the most fascinating and hope-inducing intellectual movements of our time.

    I have enjoyed many Uri Harris articles in Quillette, however I believe this piece is unfortunately off-base. To his credit though, I do believe that there is something to be said for maintaining the bridge-building goal as a defining element of the IDW. It is easy to see how this aspect could get lost over time. I believe that there are plenty of well-intentioned, highly intelligent liberals out there who are wary/ignorant of the IDW and yet who could definitely be swayed if persuaded properly. I think that perhaps more efforts should be made in this direction. Dave Rubin does seem to be moving pretty far away from this. Quillette, on the other hand, could potentially be instrumental in targeting such liberals on occasion. It’s a very difficult mission but it’s certainly worth attempting.

  34. Hamilton Sunshine says

    The hypocrisy in this article is astounding:

    “This is what popular new right YouTube channels like Sargon of Akkad have been doing for years: scanning the news every day for examples that confirm this worldview and presenting them with outrage.”

    And the left doesn’t do this en-masse every day? The author does this in his own article.

    Oooh how dare the left leaning people of the IDW spend time with Conservatives. How dare Conservative leaning people also have some progressive views? They must all be disingenous right?

    Dave Rubin eand Petersom don’t engage with the far left? Maybe it’s as much the fault of the far left refusing to talk to him (and only smearing and twisting their words when they do) as it is there’s for not reaching out?

    Everything that Uri criticises Rubin, Peterson and the right fo could be levelled at the left and even at himself.

  35. Stephanie says

    The IDW was so-named as a smear, connecting individuals who seldom even work together, and certainly didn’t have a group identity at the time. To think that the IDW should have a mission is ill-conceived: it is simply a collection of people leftists don’t like because they have utilised emerging technologies to get around leftist hegemony of mainstream news outlets and criticize their identity politics. They should continue doing what they were doing as individuals.

    This piece was a little silly because it claims that despite all evidence to the contrary, the IDW is dominated by conservatives, just because of their rejection of the identitarian left. It would be more reasonable to argue that they are all libertarians united in their opposition to authoritarianism.

    Only a leftist uninterested in understanding conservative positions could claim that abortion as an issue doesn’t matter. There are still real differences between the sane left and right, the common cause (loosely) reflected by the IDW does not diminish those differences.

    Asking the IDW to open itself up to leftist ideas is tantamount to asking it to destroy the meaning of it’s existence, and to compromise the integrity of its members who have devoted years of their lives to fighting the radical left. The radical left already dominate mainstream media, giving them a place among their only semi-organized opposition is a manipulative way of reinforcing their dominance and lending them cover they do not deserve.

    Poor article. I’m thoroughly unimpressed.

  36. Rendall says

    “Peterson… nevertheless is admired by prominent conservatives from Charlie Kirk and Donald Trump Jr. to Douglas Murray and Roger Scruton”

    The thesis of the article could reasonably be rephrased as “The chart is demonstrably wrong because Rubin hangs out with conservatives and Peterson is admired by conservatives.”

    That Peterson is passively admired by conservatives is a very weak frame on which to hang an entire article, even granting the previous point about Rubin.

    The very next paragraph quotes Ezra Klein!

    Continuing to read was more than I could handle.

  37. Parappa says

    Being against social justice warriors doesn’t mean you’re right wing. What are you revealing in this that wasn’t apparent in the original article? What do you think “mostly a collection of disillusioned liberals looking for a place to have honest conversation” meant? That is clearly in reference to them being associated together by the current climate of social influence via SJWs.

    Honestly this article is extremely dishonest. Attempting to sell off the idea that the “new right” is anyone who disagrees with far left identitarians. Yes, the laundry list of other issues matter when determining where someone sits on the political spectrum. You just just get to shovel all that into a ditch and instantiate this ridiculous “new right” paradigm.

  38. Owntown Dart Scene says

    What’s in a name? An endless, pointless gushing fount of confusion, apparently. If “the IDW” needs to make a decision, it’s one to get rid of the whole clubby moniker, with all the attendant purity policing and pigeonholing it’s attracting with magnetic inevitability. This isn’t a carefully designed “movement” as much as something reified into being by that Bari Weiss article in the NYT enlarging on a stray piece of musing by Eric Weinstein. And it appears it’s being enthusiastically embraced mostly by those seeking to discredit “members”, as well as the undoubtedly politically naive Dave Rubin.

    Also, as the author (whose other work for this publication I incidentally find generally much better) seems to acknowledge, the traditional notions of “Left” and “Right” no longer make much sense in describing actual political oppositions. So why do we keep up the charade of clinging to expired brands for dear life with all these “I’m still totally Left Wing!” testimonies, even as the main current of leftist politics roars over the cliff of reason with the fury of a flash flood? As far as I’m concerned, the most important political issue today is the total incompatibility of the SocJus agenda with the notion of Liberal (with that old capital L) society. Figuring out which side of the assembly the participants would have sat on in ye glory days of the French Revolution doesn’t really merit the obsession it’s being afforded.

  39. Arche Lasalles says

    Uri, you can’t have a discussion with a brick wall.
    Ideas don’t all have value otherwise we’d be having discussions with the KKK & flat earthers.
    Some ideas are just dead ends & entertaining them for the sake of appearing to be open won’t wash.
    I get your moral relativity angle but ultimately we all start from the same point & have to survive within those constraints of which extremes can’t.
    To proud to live in an echo chamber?
    “Man’s gotta know his limitations” – Dirty Harry

    • Arche Lasalles says

      And another thing, these relentless zombified kooks would only exploit IDW as useful idiots.
      Using western freedoms such as tolerance to justify authoritarianism is the the new black, just ask Islamists.
      Wearing justice on your ego doesn’t beget it.

  40. Anti-identity says

    “… issues of identity, structural oppression, privilege…” Postmodern jargon always asserted without evidence to “deconstruct” (and eventually destroy) the very foundations of western civilization.
    “… critiques of classical liberal notions of free speech and assembly…” We must invite in the totalitarian ideologues to corrupt and co-opt the ‘IDW’ as they have nearly every other western institution. What a joke of an article and all of you far-left totalitarians are enemies of civilization itself. There will be no discussion on the merits of liberty.

  41. This article makes so many factual and logical errors. How did this get published on Quillette?

    Even if you did agree with the Democrats on more issues overall, it doesn’t follow that you’d side with them, because not all issues have equal weight. I think what Rubin would say is that free speech outweighs all of the other issues combined, and the republicans are currently better on that issue. I’d agree.
    The social justice Left, which is what they all oppose, is not a party. Plenty of democrats are not part of the social justice movement. If it’s Bernie vs Trump in 2020, I think Eric, Bret, Christina, Sam Harris and Joe Rogan would probably all vote for Bernie. So there’s no sense you can say the IDW is anti-Left in principle.
    You clearly haven’t watched Rubin’s interviews with Shapiro. They’ve spent quite a lot of time going into their disagreements on abortion, gay marriage, and transgender pronouns. Joe Rogan also spent a lot of time going into these disagreements in his last talk with Shapiro.

    • Arche Lasalles says

      I’d have to agree with Uri on Rubin here.
      Rubin’s a lovely man & i’m a real fan but he knows eff all about abortion. He literally let Lila Rose run riot over the issue by not having enough philosophical knowledge regarding personhood & moral obligations of women v men.
      He needs to research his purported stances a little more or risk playing flunky.

  42. Jay Salhi says

    “How did this get published on Quillette?”

    The article is complete garbage but I don’t have a problem with it being published. Part of what makes Quillette good is publishing things others won’t publish. The occasional horrible article is a small price to pay for the generally good content.

    • Arche Lasalles says

      Maybe even ol Uri hits a clunker from time to time just like when JP did on Kavanaugh.
      Lets just pray he doesn’t try the “i was just thinking out loud defence” & owns up to tripping over his ego.

    • Garbage? It was such a good article that it changed my opinion – or rather it made me think about something I hadn’t thought much about before. I think the author is absolutely right that all members of the IDW are really lined up against the New, Social Justice Warrior, left. In which case their views aren’t as divergent as Miessler’s graph would suggest.

      Where I disagree with Mr. Harris is that the members of the IDW should open their ranks to the very people they are up against, people who already hold the high ground in the media, academia and most other places. What would be the point of ceding the only bit of ground that our side holds to a more powerful side that already possesses everything else? Sure, talk with them if you like, just as Sam Harris talked to Ezra Klein a couple of times before. However, they were horrible, pointless exchanges.

    • Closed Range says

      Also this bad article was a good springboard for discussion in the comment section. Hopefully Uri will take some of it on board, because this article was below the usual level of Quillette.

  43. Jeff says

    Mr. Harris, how about identifying the two people in the photo at that top of the article. Maybe a descriptive caption for photos ought to be a Quillette editorial standard.Thanks.

  44. DL Hyde says

    The writers mistaken belief that Liberal ideas are incongruent with the IDW or that Liberalism requires its proponents to be politically liberal is because he is himself too mired in political affiliation to realise it is possible to whistle and walk at the same time.
    I am a feminist that believes in equal treatment for all (and that there are fundamental difference between males and females); I’m a life-long vegetarian (but think humanely farmed meat is healthy and moral); I am pro choice (but horrified by some in the US’s position on late-term abortion);I believe in equal access to quality healthcare and education (but think it can be funded and organised in lots of ways to deliver it); I believe in condemning bullying, cruelty and hateful language (but do not think more than incitement should usually be prosecutable); I think some kids are born in the wrong body (but am uncomfortable with the rates of children receiving hormone treatment and the excessive influence of trans activists on the discussion of gender and how that is impeding proper scientific study); I believe in trans rights (but that does not include self-identifying women without treatment using female only spaces or trans athletes competing in sporting events against females if there body has male characteristic advantages); I believe we should respect different belief systems (but that all kids should understand their rights including to choose their own partner and that they have autonomy over their bodies.); I think that native populations can be proud of their heritage and history (and should welcome newcomers as interesting and enriching additions); I think newcomers to a country should be themselves (but respect the fundamental values and practices of the society they join and adapt if it is required); I think we should respect diversity (but call out universal evils like fgm, child marriage, child soldiers, persecution of homosexuals or systemic abuse of women as well as question oppressive practices like the compulsory hijab or lack of a free press).
    I am not a paradox and neither are the IDW – true liberalism is taking a free and expansive, nuanced and individual approach to each issue, analysing and investigating it, being open to having your mind changed or influenced. It is not a partisan or political position. The discussion is ongoing and has nothing to do with partisanship.
    The writer made me laugh at the irony of chastising the IDW for alienating some on the left by taking a view on specific issues as if only certain views were acceptable to take or that divergent ones should be suppressed to attract those with a more fashionable one. He misses the point entirely. Anyone is welcome to engage in the debate; it and they will be richer for it. It just so happens that more politically conservative people found their way to the table first.

    • E. Olson says

      Good comment DL, and you touch upon something that demonstrates the problem with attempts to use a neat little table to show “conservatism” across the IDW, because such “simplifying” efforts typically miss a lot of nuance and hide a lot of debatable differences. For example, Bjorn Lomborg and Jordan Peterson believe that global warming is a serious issue and that man is likely a major contributor, but also believe there is currently no reasonable or workable solution, so are they “pro-climate change” or “deniers”? Similarly, can someone who thinks it is desirable to encourage immigration as long as borders are secure and the immigrants are therefore legal and selected on the basis of not being burdens on taxpayers or depressing wages of natives, be considered “pro-immigration” or “xenophobic”? Is someone “pro-life” or “pro-choice” if they think abortion is the killing of innocent life, but is willing to allow abortion in cases of rape or incest or when the mother’s physical life is in danger? And is it “racism” or “science” when Sam Harris and JP believe that IQ and personality differences explain much of life outcomes, and that Leftist policies such as “free college” and affirmative action are doomed to fail in creating equal outcomes. Rubin believes in full gay rights, but is he a sellout if he gives a respectful interview with Mike Pence who believes marriage is between a man and woman, but is otherwise supportive of the rights of homosexuals?

      And within each of these issues there are further differences that might shift classifications and lead to greater protests by SJWs. How about being ok with morning after pills or aborting fetuses with birth defects? How about a massive shift to nuclear power or encouraging natural gas as a replacement for coal to avert climate change? How about using cultural compatibility in immigrant selection? Is it ok for Rubin to interview a Muslim who believes homosexuality should be outlawed?
      Thus on the surface there can seem to be lots of similarities that hide more nuanced differences that can make for thoughtful and interesting research, discussion and debate, which is unfortunately what most of the current “mainstream” Left tries to prevent through protests, deplatforming, legal actions, and violence.

    • Euan MacIsaac says

      Relax folks the kids are alright. It’s the educated fools who are terrified about loosing there privelage both left and right. The left, in a collective act of cognitive dissonance, unable to reconcile their cosmopolitan privelage with their ethical standards are victim blaming the uneducated mob (white privelage/toxic masculinity ect).

      The mainstream right are doing something similar, clinging to their neo-Liberal privelage by telling the victims of their economic rent seeking policies, its all about poor migrants coming to steal jobs.

      Both lots of empty rhetoric are rapidly loosing traction with the reasonable person in the street. That’s why the media are in a panic, people are tuning out and watching Netflix and YouTube, hence the hyper partisan stance. Careers are on the line if they can’t suck in more revenue.

      But like the Internet itself things are evolving in unexpected ways. But since we’re not going to have a bread riot soon the revolution in politics is a long way off. What’s really happening, as with the first Enlightenment, is a revolution in understanding ( cognitive science genetics and so on). The future as always is rarely possible to predict, but it is hardly as grim as the experts predict. We just have to get on with it.

    • hail to none says

      DL- if anyone ran on the kind of philosophical platform you describe I would vote for them in a minute. Until then I am politically homeless.

      • S. Cheung says

        I’d vote for DL too. A centrist, reasonable position as a starting principle, then individually applied to multiple different scenarios. Our problem is that the public appetite for nuance (and the media’s willingness to bring it to them) now approaches zero. That paragraph that spells out the nuances of DL’s position wouldn’t work as a soundbite.

        What people long for (at least among the cohort that follows the IDW, and comes to sites like Quillette), I think, is a place to consume long-form discussion between reasonable people. I think that’s one of the reasons for JRE’s success.

  45. Lior says

    partisanship is a relative term based on the conservative/liberal spectrum. it seems to me you’re accusing the IDW of partisanship for being exclusively made of people opposing the “left”(1) i.e the liberal side of the spectrum, where the left(2) you describe here refers to the progressive post modern crowds who seems to resent western civilization and aim to bring it down.
    (1) and (2) are not the same. a group of people united in opposing fascists is not partisan, even if they differ within the conservative/liberal spectrum.

  46. Daniel Miessler’s “Visual Breakdown of the IDW” produced misleading results because he asked the wrong questions. His list of the “main issues that divide liberals and conservatives” reflects his personal bias and produced the result he was probably looking for. Just look at his list…

    First of all,how did ‘vaccinations” make the cut? It’s not a “main issue” which divides liberals & conservatives and I have no idea why it was even asked. Maybe Miessler thought it would make the group appear more liberal?

    Secondly, “Immigration” should be replaced with “Illegal Immigration”. The conflating those 2 terms is purely a political tactic and Miessler should no better to place it on the list as if it’s controversial. The truth is… There’s significant divide when it comes to “immigration”, but there is when it comes to “illegal immigration” or “open borders”. That question should’ve been asked to the group of 6 and it probably would’ve made them appear a little more conservative.

    “Wealth inequality”? Ok… But what about Taxes? A list of the “main issues” that divide liberals & conservatives and there’s no question about taxes? Are the rich taxed enough? Do they pay their “fair share”? That’s where Liberals and Conservatives are really divided. And, seeing the group’s
    honest answers on that issue would probably change the look of that graph.

    The graph also has a few more critical omissions that should’ve been asked. Here’s a few that cut to the core of what really divides liberals & conservatives today…

    The continued growth in the size and influence of government?
    Belief in the existence of a Liberal Media Bias?
    Belief that Liberal domination of universities is a threat to free speech?
    Is radical Islam a bigger threat to our safety than conservative Christians?

    Again, the group of 6 prominent IDW members may very well lean to the Left a little more than Right, but Miessler’s graph in not an accurate reflection of the extent to which that might be the case. The group’s not as far to the Left as Liberals would hope.

  47. Lydia says

    There is so much wrong with this article I don’t know where to start. So I will just say that leftist don’t talk or debate. They sabotage, scream, protest, shame, censor, accost opposition in restaurants, shut down highways, etc. They would march me to the gulag if they could. They remind me of the sin sniffing thought policing Puritans who demanded conformity.

    Of course they are not interested in the IDW forums.

  48. The IDW doesn’t need to make any choice. The only reason IDW exists, or QUILLETTE exists for that matter, is that we have a problem with free speech. What Dave Rubin talks , time and time again is the need for ideas to be presented and discussed. Are you forgetting why Bret Weinstein became a member of IDW? He lost his job for holding a very liberal position! The IDW doesn’t have to have any internal consistency around a common political view. In that respect they are like the group of atheists ( not much in common besides not believing in god).
    I have no illusions that given an oportunity many people on the right would engage in silencing disgreement, but right now, it’s the left that is doing all the silencing and censoring. That’s the problem at hand. We are facing a secular sect of fanatics.

  49. Ben Shapiro isn’t a climate change denier, he simply disagrees with the proposed solutions ( that he strawman’s a bit).

    • The idea of “climate change denier” is itself a strawman. Like much of the new left, as soon as they give up their name-calling and dogmatism, they will be forced to enter the realm of objectivity and reason – which risks too much loss for them.

  50. For myself, I’m having trouble thinking about how to have meaningful conversations of substance when I can’t accept the premise of the other party as being reasonable.

    When you don’t accept someones premise everything else that flows from it becomes wrong as well from that stand point.

    It’s as if two people were arguing over who correctly solved a math question, but one person used BEDMAS as their order of operations and the other used SAMDEB (not withstanding here that one is actually correct). They arrive to different conclusions, in a completely logical fashion. While here one answer is correct, and one form of logic is correct, things get messy outside of such formal systems.

    How do you have a meaningful discussion between someone who accepts the labour theory of value and someone who thinks value is determined subjectively and independently of the inputs?

    How do you discuss rights when one party views them as coming from God while the other says they are entirely human constructs that are derived from government?

    Must agreement be relegated to peripheral issues that do not touch upon central premises? I don’t know.

    It’s here that I appreciate what the IDW tries to do on occasion, have discussions between people who have fundamentally different premises but can act cordially towards one another. Like when Rubin and Shapiro discuss gay marriage, I can see they both struggle with it but are willing to take the chance and talk knowing that the other isn’t going to attack them. Or when Eric Weinstein pushes back on the need to dismantle all regulations because he has a more nuanced view of things.

    Often the IDW can go in circles, especially when they talk to those they are most aligned with in this lose coalition. That I don’t think can be denied, that cartoon about Rubin just agreeing with everyone was poignantly funny, even to him, because he does tend to just nod along and agree with his guest.

    I suspect that they would speak to others who disagree with them, but the question is whether those who disagree are willing to sit down and speak reasonably with them without throwing out ad hominem attacks like Mr. Dyson did. The number of those willing to do so seem’s fleetingly rare, and sadly so.

    But, that’s just my two cents and musings on the matter.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      “I suspect that they would speak to others who disagree with them, but the question is whether those who disagree are willing to sit down and speak reasonably with them without throwing out ad hominem attacks like Mr. Dyson did. The number of those willing to do so seem’s fleetingly rare, and sadly so.”

      An important point which illustrates the logical inconsistency of the article with its dependence on ad hominems, “guilt” by association, and bad-faith bait-and-switch circular reasoning. Uri Harris could explode his own argument by contacting Dave Rubin who’d love to have him on his show. Similarly, most of the others would be happy to talk with him and piblish the exchange in its entirety.

      Bret Weinstein ” went on Fox News” (itself such a serious transgression that it helped get him fired from a university) because CNN, MSNBC etc studiously ignored the story hoping to consign it to the memory hole. Rubin has repeatedly said he’s love to have his old pals the Young Turks on.

      It’s ingenuous to “refuse to engage” with people then deride them for “only engaging” with whoever else will. It’s self-contradictory to assert that others should agree with you because of your own open-mindedness. It’s circular reasoning to contend that you’re wrong because you disagree with me, and because you disagree with me you’re wrong.

  51. The Resolute Mind says

    The IDW is dominated by socialist libertarians who are anti-religious bigots, philosophically speaking. Here is their creed.

    “Everyone has a right to live exactly as he or she pleases, but if something goes wrong, some abstraction called ‘society’ is to blame and must pay the bill for damages. The savings and loan debacle of the 1980s was not an isolated incident but a paradigmatic example of the delusionary character of American thought near the end of the twentieth century. The S&L [financial bankruptcy] debacle occurred because the government freed financiers to make risky investments and at the same time insured the depositors who put up the money from any loss. This same generous public policy applies to individual behavior. Everyone must be free to make risky choices, and everyone must be protected from unpleasant consequences by social insurance that is ultimately provided by government, which is to say by nobody.” REASON IN THE BALANCE, The Case Against NATURALISM in Science, Law & Education, Philip E. Johnson

  52. I often don’t feel that I’m intellectually nimble enough to contribute to these sorts of discussions but here’s a thing – I’ve watched Dave Rubin for a while now. I listen to his podcast, follow him on Twitter and take note of what he’s doing. I do the same with Sam Harris, Joe Rogan, Ben Shapiro, Christina Hoff Somers, Jordan Peterson

    Of all these identities (sorry), I am concerned that Dave Rubin may be a one trick pony. A lot of his conversations feel as though they are the same from person to person and I don’t feel I’m hearing anything new from him. That may be fine for some and, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Dave Rubin at all. But I want to hear him engage with people to find solutions to emerging problems, rather than have him welcome a guest onto his show, agree that they don’t like the “new left”, then sign off until next time. Conversations have to be deeper than that.

  53. The piece is neither informative nor is it persuasive. The 92% of the population that do not align themselves with the SJWs’ 8% are not all or even mostly part of the “new right” as the author defines that term. Additionally, the absence of invitations to the IDW to appear on mainstream and/or left leaning media as opposed to the open invitations for any members of the left to sit down with any members of the IDW for a discussion is fairly good evidence as to where there is close mindedness and who needs to open itself up to new people and ideas. But the author, like so many if not all of his woke friends, already know “the truth” and so they feel no need for discussion and instead consistently rely on name calling instead of debating ideas. I wish that they would join with everyone else “in the marketplace of ideas” to see which ideas have lasting currency.

  54. Andrew van Trigt says

    There is so much wrong in this article. I can point to it best through this quote:

    “To put it more concretely, when Rubin and Shapiro get together to do a show, are they bridging the political divide between left and right in order to find common ground, despite disagreeing on fundamental issues, or rather, are they simply setting aside their disagreements on things like gay marriage and abortion in order to focus on what truly matters to them politically: defeating the new left? I find the second description far more convincing, and indeed, it seems to me to apply to virtually all the IDW members.”

    Or, they are just politically civil adults who can be friends despite disagreeing on certain issues. The author of this article seems to assume that individuals in differing political camps should not or cannot get along. If two individuals get along while claiming different political views, they must be lying to us for some deeper insidious purpose. In this case, the IDWs war on the new left.

    Have you seen the Rubin Report Episode where Rubin and Shapiro discuss under what circumstances he would bake a cake for Rubin? Shapiro said he would not bake a cake that would in any way be connected with celebrating Rubin’s homosexuality. He also said he would not attend, for example, Rubin’s marriage anniversary party. Was Rubin offended? Not at all. Shapiro said if Rubin just had a party for no particular reason just to get together with friends, and Rubin asked him to bake a cake for the party, he would have no problem with it. Apparently, Shapiro showed up unannounced at a one of Rubin’s events with a cupcake because it became a joke between them.

    • @ Andrew van Trigt

      “Have you seen the Rubin Report Episode where Rubin and Shapiro discuss under what circumstances he would bake a cake for Rubin? ”

      Yeah. That is not politics. Shapiro is a conservative, and Rubin is mostly getting there.

  55. Andre says

    “The IDW needs to make a choice.”

    Seriously, wtf. IDW isn’t some monolith that chooses.

    It’s a label for folks that are willing to have conversations about topics the rest of media considers outside the Overton Window. That’s all.

    Stop committing the fallacy of composition. It’s the same bigoted, simplistic thinking that has the hordes in the center (including folks in the IDW) peeved at the regressive left.

  56. asdf says

    “The IDW needs to make a choice.”

    It seems they did.

    The New Left is a totalitizing ideology. If you don’t agree with it, there is no choice but to fight it.

  57. Asenath Waite says

    The uniting factor is that they are all against identity politics, as are conservatives. Progressives currently value identity politics above all else, so they disavow as evil anyone who stands against them on that front, even if that person agrees with them on every other major political issue, like Eric Weinstein for example. Conservatives, on the other hand, are generally happy to talk with IDW members despite disagreeing on most political issues. So naturally you will see IDW members associating with conservatives at speaking events, social media, etc., whereas they would be deplatformed or shouted down if they attempted to speak to progressive audiences. Both liberal IDW members and conservatives see the importance of diffusing the identity politics movement that is corrupting western civilization on a fundamental level.

    • Also globalism. Most liberals who believe in civic nationalism (i.e. the Democratic Party platform until circa 2012) and the labor movement, now find little welcome in a Democratic party dominated by elitist cosmopolitans with little commitment or loyalty to keeping the sovereign state going or protecting citizens who don’t fall in certainidentity politics categories.

  58. Victor says

    The IDW—like me, and like many—have held onto liberal positions, including the defense of free speech, free thought, civility and tolerance, while the left has moved further and further left, away from these ideals, prompting people like you to now identify “liberal” as a right wing position. Bullshit.

  59. cfkane1941 says

    This article seems like an attempt to impose labels on people who are not sure traditional labels mean anything anymore. “Intellectual Dark Web” is a term Eric Weinstein tossed off one day as a way to describe the people who were having long-form conversations on various media. The people who are “in” it don’t even think of it as a real group or formal organization. But those who attach more importance to group affiliation than an individual’s words or thoughts seized on the term to define them.

    I’ve listened to everyone on Miessler’s chart. Sam Harris seems like a good guy. I like his voice. I disagree with a lot of what he says, but I can see how he gets there. I admire Joe Rogan for having just about anyone on his show and really talking to them. The podcasts get a little old for me, but a lot of people seem to like them, and I’m really in favor of more people listening to long conversations that cover a lot of ground. Dave Rubin’s podcast also gets a little old, mostly because it all seems a little superficial, but I still listen from time to time. Every podcast I’ve ever heard with Eric Weinstein in it, I’ve learned something new. He seems like a fascinating individual. I mostly agree with what Ben Shapiro says, but his delivery gets tiresome after a while. Finally, I bought Jordan Peterson’s book, have watched him on Youtube and listen to him from time to time.

    So, what do you know about me now? Into which categories would the writer want to place me? And how would I be expected to behave once I was sorted? And if I didn’t behave that way, would it be me misbehaving, or would the label be inaccurate?

    These people are talking with each other about important things. Sometimes they debate, sometimes they discuss. The common ground they mostly find is freedom of speech, because many wish to silence the things they say. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to listen to them, and it’s extremely refreshing compared to what passes for intellectual debate elsewhere, where the argument is mostly, “Shut up.”

    I think the attempt to shoehorn these people into labels that can be admired or condemned without the necessity of listening to them is lazy at best, dishonest at worst.

    • S. Cheung says

      well said. It used to be that “liberal” was more of an adjective, or perhaps a general descriptor of your way of thought. Yet one “liberal” could still disagree with another on the finer details of one issue or another…or perhaps even in big strokes.

      Now, these terms act more as silos, or straitjackets, such that it forces you to conform without need or want of individual thought or perspective. And any deviation from the gospel truth is punishable by defrocking and expulsion from the clan. THe regressive left is now a cult rather than any sane political point of view.

  60. François St-Onge says

    Citing Ezra Klein quoting a discredited Data and Society research to make a point? Pushing the guilt by association narrative? In Quillette? I value diverse opinions, not dumb dishonest ideologically myopic ones.

  61. Kevin Herman says

    Gay rights and abortion are the big issues of the day that divide the right and the left? That’s pretty quaint. I would say the fight of the day is between classical liberals and progressives. Classical liberals of all stripes can agree to disagree on plenty of individual issues while still being over-all allies. The progressive left has no home for anything resembling a classical liberal.

    • Lightning Rose says

      I’d say at this point battle has been joined between capitalists and unrepentant Marxists. It’s gone way beyond the “sex stuff” now . . . the Left wants to control what we can write, think, buy, do, and eat. That’s pretty scary. And they’re not even bothering to hide this anymore.

  62. Joana George says

    There is a subtle point to this article. Rubin in particular does seem to do a type of virtue signaling, and seems to loooooooooove to ask stuff like “How is it that we can have a civil conversation and others don’t?”

    That’s easy to address though, how much of the IDW content is centered around discussions on free speech (which they all agree on and are quite boring and repetitive) and how much of it is actually exercising free speech and talking about other issues?

    If the first case were true (which could probably then be proven by an algorithm), the article would make a good point. Personally, I find that the majority of IDW output is not about the topic of free speech, it just exercises it.

    • Dave says

      It’s just people who like to discuss instead of shouting each other down.

  63. Michael Russell says

    I must agree this is sloppy writing, as the author is using a one dimensional filter. The author labels identitarians and collectivists as “left” whle this is a 90 degree variable from left and right. There are collectivists on the right as well. The IDW has lots of liberals, but not many collectivists. As does Quillette. Thus he misses the point.

  64. Dave says

    Sorry, URI. Your problem is that you confuse issues and philosophy. The IDW wants to discuss issues — problems and solutions— while rejecting the ridiculous philosophy of identity politics and structural oppression. This is especially appropriate since this philosophy is generally only used as a hammer to silence, on grounds of purity of thought, any actual, critical discussion of the ridiculous policy propositions that its adherents put forward. As you are trying to do here. So,yes, the IDW excludes identity politics proponents from its ranks, but only because identity politics proponents have rejected rational thought and debate, not because their policy prescriptions aren’t up for debate.

  65. Markus says

    The “new left” comprises only about 8% of the population:

    That is way too small to define what the left in general now is. And so it cannot function to define the right by who opuses it either. Not just IDW types and the conventional right but large parts of the groups that vote for democratic candidates are opposed to those views. So unless you want to define the left as compromising 8% of the population and the right as 98% of the population this analysis does not work.

  66. Markus says

    It would also be really, really strange to define as right wing people who VOTE left. Which many of the IDW members do.

    • David says

      But but but they agree with right-wingers about something! Double-plus ungood badthink! No alignment with badthinkers on anything! I won’t even eat at a restaurant if I hear that Gary Sinise has eaten there.

  67. This article just exposes the ultimate intolerance of globalists like Lehmann and Harris. They may reject neo-Marxism and Postmodernism, to their credit, but their brand of utopian economic liberalism has a lot of quasi-religious character. Bryan Caplan’s new book on open borders exemplifies the messianic belief in globalism.

    Despite a rationalist façade, economic liberalism is driven by a deeply emotional impulse of molding humanity in some spirit of “cosmic justice,” as Thomas Sowell has aptly noted. This in turn leads to a need to denounce dissent, even if, to their credit, most liberal internationalists don’t (yet) feel the need to enforce their views in an authoritarian manner. Of course, with social media censorship and in denial of banking services, we are starting to see that totalitarianism arise, and it allows pure-hearted liberals to outsource silencing others.

    In this context, the Republican Party is becoming a big tent party for everyone from traditional religious types to liberals who still believe in civic nationalism, organized labor, and individualism. People like Tucker Carlson are articulating what were bedrock views among Democrats into the 2000’s, yet here is Harris denouncing Rubin for association with such heresy. The fact Harris cites Ezra Klein, an utterly venal operator, most infamous for the JournoList scandal, and relentless purveyor of venomous identity politics, speaks volumes.

  68. DippityDoo says

    There’s no way to rationalize your way around this point… Dave takes on the far left, as should any center-right person take on the dip shits on the far-right. Dave is trying, I believe, to clean his own house. Just so happens that most Democrats don’t want to join him in that… Of course, many conservatives are happy to help him take out the far left. But FAR left is the distinction here… very few on the “honest” left sees this as a significant problem, or are willing to take it on. Dave is imploring them to do so.

  69. Johnny Mootball says

    The thrust of this article is aimed at Rubin and Shapiro, not the IDW. In turn it strikes at the heart of what it means to be a part of the IDW. Hate that its necessary, but I’ll preface by saying I enjoy Rubin in moderate doses and would certainly get along with him in person. But is Rubin truly part of the IDW or is he merely its biggest fan and booster? Frontman or superfan? That’s my question.

    Rubin seems to be the odd man out on several fronts. Most notably, Harris, Peterson and Weinstein x 2 are all experts. They are all scientists: biologists, psychologists and so on. Dave is a media personality and former stand up comedian. His area of focus is media and culture but it does not come from a specific lens or viewpoint. He has good media savvy and he’s a decent public speaker. But this seems to be where his skill set diverges from what I view as the value of the IDW.

    Dave is very good at defending the conversations that we want our experts to have. Unbridled discourse free from the limitations imposed by political correctness is what the IDW is about. But the heart and soul of the IDW are supposed to be the conversations whose existence Rubin defends, not Rubin’s defense in and of itself.

    Which is why I worry about Rubin as the most visible member of the IDW. His focus is slightly off the mark. But given his visibility, his voice steers the discussion to the meta and away from the underlying discussion. This distracts from the valuable policy debates the IDW should be having.

    For instance, I would love the IDW to debate and discuss the 2nd Amendment, gun control etc… I don’t think I’ve found a single podcast or Youtube video by the IDW that speaks about firearm issues at length. And yet, the 2A is one of the clearest dividing lines in American politics. It is also one screaming for reason, study and nuanced policy. Yet there are terrific philosophical discussions that can be had at the same time.

    So when Uri attacks Rubin and Shapiro, in my mind he’s really picking the low hanging fruit of the IDW, if he’s picking at it at all

    • Nathan says

      Dave is of the IDW in the same way Rogan is. Neither are the intellectual experts, but they are driving the conversations that matter.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Johnny Mootball

      I agree. Rubin and also Joe Rogan are facilitators of IDW discussions, but are not members themselves.

  70. To think measuring the political affiliations of a few high profile Intellectual Dark Webbers tells you much about the historical significance of the IDW is about as relevant as thinking measuring changing shoe sizes of NBA players tells you how the game of basketball has changed.

    As many commentators have suggested, the emergence of the IDW is a reaction to what’s going in Academia. In the 1980’s Alan Bloom pointed out that American minds were closing . . . a generation later, American minds are now closed.

    Following Tocqueville, Bloom observed that the ultimate function of the university in a democracy is the one place where all questions remained open. Bloom said that the university represented the “institutionalization of Socrates”.

    Speaking for myself, I care as much about “Intellectual Dark Web political positions” or an “Ideological balance of perspectives” on the IDW about as much as I care about Jordan Peterson’s or Bret Weinstein’s shoe size. My only concern, is the quality of debate, the quality of the philosophizing.

    Socrates has been expelled from Academia. Perhaps he’s found a home on the Intellectual Dark Web.

  71. Nathan says

    The criteria that attacking the left makes someone “of the right” (like Uri’s view of Rubin) is solid if you’re in 3rd-grade.
    Complex thinkers (or really, anyone who can read) can disagree with the dogmas on their own side.

  72. Ed Powell says

    Critiquing the far left does not make a person right-wing. We don’t see too many people of the left criticizing the crazy social justice warrior types, or the insane conspiracy-theory-driven news media, but there are a few. Unfortunately, these few get deplatformed and end up in the “IDW”. That’s what you are seeing here.

  73. Jack Danzey says

    I will start by saying that there is some merit to this argument. I think you are right to say that identity politics is more of the main battleground now than gay marriage, for example. However, this point does not get you to where you seem to think it does.

    Ten, maybe even five years ago, nobody would ever confuse Sam Harris for being conservative. Yes, things change, but that does not mean that you can immediately shift someone off into the conservative bin so lightly. It may be true that gay marriage and abortion are not the main points, but you cannot dismiss being pro choice and gay marriage so easily when they are still mainstream conservative positions. If they are mainstream positions, and you do not favor either of them, that at least puts you into center right territory. When you add in other positions that many IDW members hold, you simply cannot put them into the right wing.

    Also, yes positions change with time, but they also reverse. Sometimes leftists go too far, but before we realize that they have, not agreeing with them makes you a reactionary in their eyes.

  74. This commentary fails to address the significant problem of mischaracterizing people as “deniers”, racists, bigots, etc. or otherwise evil or hateful and attacking the person rather than the arguments – behavior that seems to me far more frequent on the left than the right. I think it’s important to note the religious behavior of the left with regards to its dogmas, especially in contrast to those of the more traditional religions.

  75. Isaac Hunt says

    so tl;dr if you often disagree with the current party line, you must be a conservative?

    am I reading The Grauniad?

  76. Emerald City says

    If you start from the premise “what does the IDW do/What is the IDW for?” One might answer that it’s a community sharing ideas with an explicit prohibition on ‘cancel culture’ and bad faith engagement. This doesn’t (or shouldn’t!) imply any political affiliation or partisan slant. As many people have stated repeatedly, most folk are a mix of views that, in aggregate, place them in the political center. That a group of people with mostly similar mixed views get together and have conversations where they disagree isn’t anymore of a ‘phenomenon’ than most people’s family dinner tables.

    However, our two party political system has metastasized into everyday life, by which I mean people’s off-the-cuff observations, comments, and spontaneous conversations are now subject to partisan alignment. Boycott this or that store because they donate to Republicans, smash your Keurig because they pulled their ads from Fox News, ruin so and so’s career because of a tweet from ten years ago, etc. People on the fringes categorize every word, action, observation, etc. into the Right-Left dichotomy. The IDW can’t simply exist as it is, based on non-partisan principles of good faith discussion, it has to be categorized and absorbed into one of the two warring tribes. Old-school liberals try to assert that the IDW is fundamentally center-left, perhaps to distance themselves from the right and maintain good standing with the far-left? Whereas the far-left makes the IDW out to be far-right neo-nazis, perhaps to lazily discredit anything they say without having to actually engage with the possibility that well-meaning people can disagree with one another without one of them being evil. I don’t really know what the center-right or far-right think about most of these figures, so I won’t comment.

  77. Lightning Rose says

    The MSM would like to think they control The Narrative. They don’t, because We the Red-Pilled are like water–we seep through the cracks and the unseen spaces, and find our own platforms. We are far more in numbers than they would like to believe. We tend to be literate enough, including scientifically, to do our own fact-checking from primary sources and tend not to trust “arguments from authority.” We also do not necessarily believe the world is in need of radical change because of demonstrably straw-man arguments. They cannot control us and that freaks them out. We are EVERYWHERE, like the grass! And we make up our own minds.

    Remember: Common Sense is a Super-Power!

  78. David BC says

    “are they bridging the political divide … or rather, are they simply setting aside their disagreements … in order to focus on … defeating the new left?”

    I wouldn’t paint it as an either-or. They’re doing both. The shared value of skepticism toward the new left helps with bridge-building and conversation on other topics. But I agree, the IDW would benefit from members who are capable of “steel-manning” social justice activism, intersectionality, the presumption of structural oppression and privilege, etc.

  79. Tony T. says

    This is a tire fire in every possible way. What in the world was Claire thinking, publishing this poorly investigated, poorly thought out garbage piece? The IDW is…. too conservative???

  80. Denny Sinnoh says

    I did not agree with the logic of this article. Maybe Uri should go back to bending spoons with his mind.

  81. NoleonMeric says

    This is surprisingly low quality for Quillette. The article states the obvious that the IDW is “against identity politics,” and then draws the relatively unsubstantiated conclusion that this represents the right in the new divide between left versus right. A brief glance at politics of the day shows that one of the biggest issues separating Trump Republicans from Democrats is border security, and yet as the graphic shows, members of the IDW are relatively “pro immigration.” Just because several prominent Republicans have praised Dave Rubin or Jordan Peterson doesn’t mean that the latter’s views represent the right at large.

    Also, while it’s true that relatively all members of the IDW show disdain for intersectionalism, they’re also united by a desire for open and reasonable discussion. The author chastises IDW members for having relatively little dialogue with “far left” figures while failing to consider that maybe it’s the far left who’s shut down dialogue with the former. Left-leaning media seems relatively content with producing hit pieces, while attempts at conversation on college campuses often leads to riots and deplatforming.

  82. Solid article. I think when most people (ie. not SJWs) criticize Rubin (and occasionally some of the others mentioned but Rubin is IMO by far the worst for this) it’s not because they think that interacting with/attracting conservatives makes you some sort of stealth conservative. In this climate where the loudest voices on the left are unwilling to accept criticism or even enter discussion it makes sense that fans of the IDW and the people they interact with would skew conservative. And we are all committed to the principles of free speech and the importance of debating ideas that we disagree with. The key word though is to /debate/. As in have a real discussion, push back on points that lack evidence or you otherwise disagree with. That’s something that I personally have not seen Rubin do much of and where he does it seems almost more of a “let me play devil’s advocate” kind of way than genuine. Obviously I understand the practical incentives not to total skewer your interviewees lest they never want to come back on the show, you loose your core audience etc. And the importance of being a respectful host. But overall the combo of mostly right wing guests + lack of serious debate makes his podcast feel like more of a microphone for the right than something that can be honestly considered balanced. Which is fine of course. I just find it disingenuous of him and his supporters to be scandalized when people point this out and/or assume he skews right. It’s hard for people to take you at your word that you are a liberal when you rarely if ever stand up for those ideas.

  83. Andrew Scott says

    This is so meta – a discussion of a chart visualizing the political positions of people that other people on this site talk about a lot, and then some more about who they may or may not be aligned with. And some tweets.

    Then I stopped to Google “intellectual dark web” because maybe that might make it more interesting, but it was something about major thinkers who don’t find intellectual trends invitingzzzz

  84. I just gave a Powerpoint presentation on Monday to a class with girls with pink hair, girls with short hair-cuts, minorities, and whites alike. I covered the Sokal Squared Hoax by Peter Boghossian. I covered Harvard keeping Asians out, and real racism. I covered Postmodernism and I broke down Intersectionality. I broke down Derrida and Foucault and how their epistemology spread throughout academia in the 1970’s. I talked about Brett Weinstein at Evergreen. I talked about Yale in 2015 and the “Racism” claims against the humanitarian white professor that was actually a saint.

    I broke down the racism against whites and the actual academic studies coming out of the Humanities. I covered the number of growing Neo-Marxists in the University. I only had two people give me a little trouble, both young white progressives, and I had all the so-called “oppressed” people telling them to shut up and let me continue. Everyone gave me a huge round of applause at the end and came up to me afterwards and said that what I shared was important. They all thanked me for having the balls to share that.

    All is not lost, sir. Just proceed carefully and handle this thing the right way. Let people KNOW.

  85. IDW apologist says

    How does this author not see that the New Left Progressives have no interest in intellectually honest dialogue when they call those in the “IDW” alt-Right, Nazis and Racists.

    It’s this kind of spineless thinking for the last 40 years of letting these Ideological zealots getting away with pushing their ridiculous narratives of conservatives like Reagan and Bush as Hitler with no real push back.

    Regarding you writing:
    “When a prominent IDW figure dismisses white privilege as a “Marxist lie,” which Peterson did in a speech in late 2017, it’s really hard to have good faith discussions on such issues.”
    Jordan Peterson explains how the Inter-sectional Leftist flooding Universities have updated their Marxist worldview by changing from Class Warfare of Wealthy privilege to Race Warfare & creating White privilege.

    The fact that you don’t understand this simple explanation is quite shocking coming from someone at Quillette who I expected to understand nuance instead of taking ques from hyper partisan Ezra Klein who loathes those who don’t fall in line with his politics.

  86. Letter Davidman says

    Wow this one has generated a lot of comments. And it’s the first article I’ve felt like commenting on….

    I’m totally a lefty and, until quite recently, would have been happy to have been considered an SJW. I have been this for many years, have been a political activist around class and race and have been a relatively prominent member of my community for these beliefs. I was very much in the camp that was concerned with issues of identity and structural oppression. I’ve published on both of these extensively.

    Then a few things happened.

    I went to grad school and was surprised at how the instructor (a Marxist, which I generally have no problem with) controlled conversation in the class through verbal check marks (“right,” “good,” “okay” etc). The students seemed either incapable or very frightened to really engage with each other and the discussion was terrible.
    I, and a number of other colleagues in my sector were falsely accused of rape. This was a bizarre situation in which a small number of people went on a witch hunt to purge our small community of men deemed problematic. I’d love to share more details, but I’m still paranoid about the whole thing. The short version is that they basically went after any man who enjoyed having sex, but didn’t enjoy monogamy. Or something like that. I have no idea what the issue really is, but it felt an awful lot like slut shaming for men. This tiny group of people went to great efforts to derail my career – ultimately failing. I hope. I live in constant fear and have basically removed myself from what used to be my life: out of sight, out of mind.
    Jordan Peterson. The way so-called progressive people handled their objection to him was so stupid it make him a millionaire. I’m agnostic on JP, feeling that some things he says are fine, while others are childish and stupid. However, what I’m very certain about is that his opponents are more stupid. Their violent response to his concerns turned him into a superstar.
    Within my circles, the identitarian thing has gotten out of control, with everyone policing each other searching for the tiniest infraction, even if those infractions are not real. Best example: what is happening with the word niggardly. Or claims of appropriation with the word ‘chief,’ which in some PC culture is only to be used if a person is an original inhabitant of the Americas… And it’s not that people are politely being asked to stop using these words, they’re losing their jobs over this!

    There are many more examples from the lives of others, but I’ll just leave it with my direct experiences. The woke left has wandered well off the path of reason and, like many have observed, are flirting with totalitarian mob-think. I have drifted toward the IDW so that I might better understand all of this and to find others – like Brett W and Heather H – who have had similar beliefs and experiences.

    I’m here because I’m concerned about the same issues that ignite the SJWs, I’m just very much at odds with their tactics, which are regressive, stupid and are back-firing spectacularly but not before they may do serious damage. I’m an IDW apologist and sympathizer out of my concern for the SJW left, not in opposition to them.

    • K. Dershem says

      You’re not alone, LD. My encounters with the Regressive Left have not been nearly as traumatic as yours, but I completely agree that liberalism needs to be saved from SJWs.

  87. Paolo says

    Nice to see a clearly ‘liberal’ (in the political sense) take on Quillette, but this argument is poorly formulated. The chart shows where IDWers fall on ideas, not in the political fences/tribal game. Besides, the fact that X criticises liberals more than conservatives is not a proof that he/she’s conservative: there are so many great reasons to criticise what is supposed to be your political home, if you see that it’s breaking down. This is clearly the motivation of people like Rubin.

  88. scribblerg says

    Hint – those of us actually Red Pilled find the composition of the “intellectual dark web” absurd. We don’t consider Sam Harris or Dave Rubin our “leaders”, nor do we give a shit what they have to say. And they aren’t even dissenters. When Ben Shapiro is the only actual conservative on the list? They are confused Progressives and people who are soft socialists who haven’t reconciled their own confused political beliefs.

    Fyi, in the Red Pill world, the “thinkers” come and go. They comment on subjects like feminism, Islamism and the corruption of the left. We are much more interested in their content than their personalities. Those who do stand out are relentlessly attacked by the MSM and the Left and silenced. A great example of an actually conservative intellectual who takes on the Left’s Marxism and politics is David Horowitz. He’s getting a bit old now, unfortunately. But he came out of the “New Left” and has scathing, incisive commentary on the immorality of the Left. Or you could look at Robert Spencer, a man who has dedicated himself to serious intellectual criticism of Islamism and its adherents. If you want amazing insights on the current state of intersexual relations in our society, try out Rollo Tomasi at The Rational Male. You’ll find out right quick if you are actually “Red Pilled” or not by reading him

    Jordan Peterson is in a class by himself. He’s actually a “Pied Piper” type who leads people with conservative views into a confused place politically. He’s got an interesting take on personal development and psychology, and a meta-critique of SJWs run amok. But in the end, many of his political ideas align with Progressive, globalist ideas.

    Be clear. These IDW guys aren’t intellectual leaders to those of us who claim to be “Red Pilled”, in fact, they are the ones we snicker at. The Left finds it convenient to paint these guys as out of the mainstream because they are useful foils and stay in line and play nice. They mostly think there is some kind of “middle ground” on most issues, when in fact there is none. Example: Find me the middle ground on opposing the Islamization of Europe. What, are you into “a little Islamization”? Or feminism: Are you okay with small doses of gynocentric female supremacism?

    I think Quillette itself falls prey to this “we are the reasonable dissenters” pose. I’m quite reasonable actually, well read and thoughtful. And I’m ready for revolution. I don’t vote anymore as I believe our politics and governing institutions have been so overrun by Leftist morality and policies and people, and as a result our govt doesn’t function as a self-governing entity. It’s now peopled by an elite class of Progressive or Marxist globalists (90% of non-military govt employees ID as Dems), or better said, “self-anointed elitists” and they do “whatever it takes”, “by any means necessary” to advance their truly idiotic ideas about social and political order. The rule of law, the will of the people and our constitution are just obstacles for them to get around. Those people betray our nation at a fundamental level.

    According to the logic of our founders in the U.S., I long ago gained the moral right to use force to overthrow this corrupt and broken govt. I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to fight. As are many of us. The “IDW” could confuse you into thinking that those of us who are Red Pilled believe that “talk” is the solution to our dilemma. Lol – the Right has been talking for 100 years while the Left “changes the facts on the ground”.

    We are much more dangerous than Dave Rubin or Ben Shapiro. You should know that. We are much closer to armed conflict than most of you know. If you want to get a sense of what’s what, go to your local gun range, preferably one where they run “two gun shooting” competitions. There are literally millions of American conservative men training and organizing to fight. Legally, and not based on “White Supremacy”, but rather based on the constitutional order that we is guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence and our constitution.

    We are legion. Wake up. The IDW isn’t real. Some in the Red Pill world call them “controlled opposition”. And while I’m not that cynical, they do function as such.

    • K. Dershem says

      Sounds like your “Red Pill world” is occupied by deranged and aggrieved conspiracy mongers. Glad to hear you don’t vote, at least.

  89. Jeff says

    “This is misleading. Just take a look at @RubinReport’s timeline; he relentlessly attacks Democrats, retweets Trump Jr., and hangs out with Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk. Proof is in the pudding.”

    I don’t know much about Rubin’s thinking but I don’t buy that. You can’t simply judge someone’s political ideas uniquely based on the attacks they direct towards others; it’s a uni-variate reductionist argument. Camille Paglia is a good example; she criticizes feminist ideology all the time despite the fact that she calls herself a feminist. Should her attacks against feminists disqualifies her from the belief that women are to have equal rights and can be strong independent agents in the world (an arguably leftist position)?

    I could be wrong but I’d wager that most criticism directed towards the left by the IDW is not a critic of “the left” as such, but rather of the idea of collectivism which can go both far left and far right. When Jordan Peterson dismisses the idea of “white privilege” as “a Marxist lie”, it’s not an anti-leftist statement, it’s an anti-collectivist statement, which corroborates with his classic liberal beliefs on individualism. And maybe this is how the political landscape is changing; maybe it shouldn’t be delimited as left vs right but rather collectivism vs individualism. Yet nobody admits that the real political question that is being discussed in this culture war is really: “should the government takes care of such and such or should individuals be responsible for such and such?”

    Should the government write laws on not offending individuals, or should individuals learn how to defend themselves?
    Should the government decide how many people can study in a given field, or should individuals be free to decide what they want to study?
    Should the government tax everyone to provide healthcare for all, or should individuals be not taxed and learn how to save money in case something bad happens?
    Should the government compel speech or are individual free to speak?
    Should the government offset poverty with welfare programs or should they instead provide them with tools to help themselves?

    Left and right is the wrong terminology. Leftists can be collectivists, others can be individualists, same on the right. The real political spectrum is the balance between collective action and individual liberty, and in that respect, I think most of the IDW are situated in the center of that spectrum.

    • scribblerg says

      Ridiculous commentary. Both left and right have ideas that incorporate collectivist ideas and individualist ideas. The difference between classical liberalism and prog-marxism-postmodern-sjw ideas is the classically liberal collectivism is voluntary, not compulsory driven by the state.

      The best discussion of this ever is in the book, Democracy in America by de Tocqueville (mandatory reading for anyone who wants to understand the uniqueness of the U.S. What he marvels out is the innumerable civic organizations citizens organized for every cause. In fact, 19th century America was swimming with this form of collectivism. Of course, the Left sought to destroy those civic organizations and did so one by one, and replaced many of the services they offered to communities with state controlled programs.

      Socialism is a rejection of the classical liberal order that informed the founding of the U.S. It predates Marxisms and emanates from French philosophers who believed the socio-political order of classical liberalism was defective. They claimed it atomized us and set us into brutal competition with each other. Those who believed that went on to destroy France. Our ideas? Gave birth the most free, most dynamic nation in the history of human civilization.

      It’s not collectivism that’s the problem, it’s state compulsion. It’s about the failure of top down, rules driven approaches to ever issue versus bottoms up, self-organizing, flexible efforts that are tuned to local conditions and needs. The latter approach has proved to be orders of magnitude more effective than compulsory state driven approaches.

  90. xyz and such says

    the most under-recognized IDW member is Eric Weinstein. Listen to the few interviews available with him – he is incredibly good at pulling apart the issues and standing firmly in the healthy aspects of the Left, while pointing out the failings in the currently held dogmas. Super sharp. Wish we could get more of him. Somewhere – I think it is hosted by Dave Rubin – there is a group talking with JP, Eric and then maybe Ben S?

  91. I’m glad to see Quillette opening up a bit and being more self-critical about groups and ideas they’ve gotten behind. My criticisms of Q has long been that while it has some very fine pro-free speech sentiments, much of its content comes across as a right-of-center echo chamber, and too often a source of strawman arguments against left-wing ideas.

    I think Uri Harris is correct here in pointing out the ideological limitations of the IDW. It’s billed itself as a kind of open forum with only a shared interest in free speech, but I think that’s kind of a pretence, and in fact, the IDW folks have some pretty specific leanings, and generally run centrist to conservative, with a fairly libertarain streak on personal freedom issues. That’s all well and good, but they really need to acknowledge the limitations of the debates they see as right and legitimate and what they routinely treat as beyond the pale.

    For example, would the IDW embrace a died-in-the-wool libertarian socialist who was fully pro-free speech but was also super-critical of capitalism? Dave Rubin has said, rhetorically, that we should be able to discuss anything. So why not this? (And, yes, I realize there’s a Peterson vs Zizek debate coming up, so perhaps we’ll see something like this, though what I’d really like to see is a debate between far-left and free-market economists.)

    I’ll leave off with an example of where I’ve seen deceptive framing dressed up as debate before. Anybody remember CNN’s “Crossfire”? On the right, hard-right paleocon Pat Buchanan, and on the “left”, centrist-at-most CIA veteren Tom Braden. You can see where this places the ostensible poltical center, and why a lot of people might object to “debate” being framed that way.

    • Rendall says

      ” and too often a source of strawman arguments against left-wing ideas”

      Would you mind citing some articles that demonstrate that?

      “would the IDW embrace a died-in-the-wool libertarian socialist who was fully pro-free speech but was also super-critical of capitalism.?”

      I really do not see why not. IDW is, as I see it, a reaction to the shutting down of discussion. Actual stance is secondary to having principles, whatever they may be.

      “So why not this?”

      Pitch your idea, man. Write it! I would love to read a principled, well-articulated argument against capitalism.

      • scribblerg says

        Numerous alt-right types are fine with socialism. They of course, are just as delusional as the socialists themselves.

  92. Julia says

    I managed to read only a few paragraphs as I can’t disregard gaping problems with simple logic. I don’t comment on the IDW itself, I don’t watch their podcasts.

    First, it’s equating “having certain views” to partisanship and tribalism, such as agreeing with “your tribe” and speaking against “the other tribe”. But isn’t being a dissident mean you disagree with the mainstream, not necessarily on partisan issues? Who’s the holder of “liberalism” to say “to be a liberal you’re supposed to agree with me-me-me”? Why in order to prove that you hold certain views you need to criticize those who don’t? Insecurity? But, maybe, the 5% where I agree with somebody are more important to me than the 95% where I don’t.

    Second, being a dissident means lacking resources, you can’t pick and choose. If center left mainstream media will not publish you and the left will disinvite and boo you, you go to center right because they will host you, not because you hold the same views. Being hosted by the “enemy” isn’t a product of changing views, but a product of power trips and censorship by the mainstream. I don’t want to state the obvious, but learn something already about censorship and dissent in old communist countries.

    Third, drawing conclusions from retweets and likes is just ridiculous. Why can’t they say things to collect “likes” only from the “correct tribe” on Twitter? This is confusing free speech with politics and marketing.

    As a side note, why doesn’t the “political views” analysis include “free speech”? How many elephants are in this room?

  93. Phil says

    I don’t understand the point of this article. The IDW is not a political party or united front, nor is “IDW” a term that is scientifically defined. The IDW is an electic mix and a Motley Crue of individuals. What the IDW participations have in common -with some minor exceptions – is a willingness to debate current issues with anyone who wishes to talk about the facts. You don’t see Peterson agreeing with Sam Harris on everything (e.g.morality and religion). And unlike Shapiro for inistance, Peterson has tried to distance himself (and I believe correctly so in my view) from anyone trying to “claim him” as one of their own. “It’s not political, it’s psychological” he often says. Peteson is a classical liberal with a traditionalist leaning, which puts him broadly centre. Shapiro on the other hand is a staunch Replublican and very conservative. The two are not even comparable.

    The author is correct in that most of the people with whom the IDW personalities tend to sit down tend to either be “disaffected liberals” or Conservatives. But the reason for this is that people who are centre left, and of course peole who are on the hard left, whether media or academics, have more often than not accepted as fact the propaganda that IDW characters are either alt-right or far right. All you need to do is to google “Jordan Peterson + alt right” or “Jordan Peterson + far right” and you will find overwhelming evidence of this label having been widely disseminated (which is tantamount to defamation in my estimation). And anyone who has followed Peterson’s work and read his books can absolutely tell you that the guy could not be further from a right wing or fascist character. Or put differently, if the new definition of Fascist includes someone like Peterson, we truly are in a world of trouble. And herein lies the problem: anyone on the left of centre is currently trapped in a circular firing squad and are hostages of a virtue signalling illiberal mob and under duress to conform to EVERY SINGLE ISSUE that is consistent with the radical left totalitarian ideology. Failing to confirm in full means that you are automatically leaving room for doubt about your political allegiances and risk being attacked as being on the right, extreme right or even fascist. Anyone to the right of the radical left idealogues, no matter how center left you truly are, is at risk of being branded a right-wing fascist. And this is the best explanation that I have as to why the IDW personalities have very few Democrat / Left-wing partisans on their podcasts. The liberals on the left cannot afford to be in the same room smiling.

    All you need to do is to look at the Cathy Newman or GQ interviews with Jordan Peterson. Through no fault of his own, and not for a lack of trying, Peterson is incapable of having a reasonable convesation with anyone on the left, as any attempts by Peterson to do so immediately degenerate into ad-hominem attacks to perpetuate the myth that he is a far-right bogeyman. Just look at the article called “Jordan Peterson – reluctant darling of the radical right?” by Cathrine Thorleiffson who is a researcher at the “Center for Research on Extremism” at the University of Oslo. May I repeat: the Center for Extremism is looking at Jordan Peterson?

    People on the left cannot be seen as having a civil discussion with Peterson as they would themselves become accused of being alt-right, and would be faced with the choice of either (1) becoming disaffected liberals that fall into the IDW camp of discussion or (2) furiously and desperately back peddling to signal repentence for having even considered that Peterson might in fact be a reasonable man, and consequently by doubling down on the accusations that Peterson and Co are evil creatures of the far right.

    So yes, it’s absolutely understandable that the main common characteristic of the IDW personalities is that they are railing against the inability of anyone on the left to have a civil and rational conversation or debate. In fairness, Shapiro fails miserably on this latter account as he appears to be more interested in “destroying” people as opposed to having a civil conservation and is just too partisan to create the conditions necessary for such a talk to happen. He could definitely take a page from Peterson’s book in this regard. Destroying someone is not the way to bridge the gap between the aisles to unlock the crisis of polarisation.

    Uri Harris has failed to understand the reasons for the empirical observation and the observed behaviours of many of the so-called IDW characters. The IDW are the heretics who are not about to drink the totalitarian Kool Aid. Again, one point that concede is that some of the IDW folks could be more nuanced (Rubin, Owens, Shapiro) as the partisan nature of their positions is not helpful to bridging divide between the aisles. However, I’d argue that the Peterson example demonstrates that adopting even the most apolitical stance is not enough. The left needs to break free of the totalitarian grip in a first instance, as failing this, nobody on the left will be capable of sitting down with Peterson or others to have a civil & rational debate, and to walk away from it with their “I am on the left” T-Shirts intact on their backs unless they tried to smear Peterson in the process (to save face relative to their peer group), which means there is no scenario under which a completely civil debate can take place at present.

    Both right and left ideologues are to blame. But the left has proven that it is not able to distinguish between people who are genuinely concerned with having a conversation and those who don’t. The only way forward is for the moderate left to shine the light on, and shun the behaviours of the very low minority of radical left-wing ideologues and to renew their commitment to reason and intellectual debate. Obama is trying. Others need to join in.

  94. hans says

    You forgot about freedom. Where as the modern left is as progressive as it possibly could be in its values and growing more authoritarian by the minute. Members of the IDW have values that range a fair bit left to right, but are united by a respect for individual rights and freedoms. It is the shared respect for the individual that makes the IDW get along so well with the conservative right. Property rights are sacred, free speech and gun rights come from property rights.

  95. Gabriel says

    The real issue here is that Dave Rubin talks with people Uri Harris despises — Charlie Kirk, Candace Owens and Tucker Carlson; and, crucially, Rubin agrees with them wrt to some key issues. Perhaps worst of all, Dave Rubin retweets Trump and Trump Jr., which seems to be (for Uri Harris) a line no decent human being can cross. In other words, Uri Harris does see Dave Rubin as a “reactionary” (he actually called Rubin a “right-wing troll” recently on Twitter), but seems to be wary of using the term because this kind of thing can backfire — who knows, maybe one day he is the one being called a “reactionary”.

    And the notion that the IDW “organisation” should have quotas for the “New Left” … That is plain stupid. These are the folks that regularly hackle IDW speakers on public events; that openly call IDW people “crypto-nazis”, “white supremacists”, “islamophobes”, etc.; that believe de-platforming is a valid strategy; etc. There is no basis for a rational conversation when your interlocutor sees you as a moral abjection.

  96. Rev. Wazoo! says

    This piece is an amusing attempt to blackmail someone with pictures of them having dinner at a wedding reception or a witchdoctor trying to use a voodoo doll to threaten an opponent who doesn’t believe in voodoo. Trying to use accusations of a lack of diversity on the IDW hilariously illustrates the results of substituting the memorization of dogma for learning critical thinking: the subsequent inability to formulate any argument outside of quoting that dogma’s cant.

    The undercurrent of mystified frustration at such wiles falling on deaf ears is delightful and makes the piece read almost like satire worthy of Titania McGrath or the late lamented Godfrey Elfwick. One can imagine the author calling for these unreasonable people called the IDW be given a mandatory training in Diversity, Inclusion and Equity; then they’d be more amenable.

    There’s a wistfully palpable -and at times explicit – wish throughout for the IDW to somehow become a thing susceptible to SJW hijacking. Something with a Diversity Committee empowered to hire its cronies and eject wrongthinkers.


  97. biopower says

    a sophomoric shit take published because the editors knew it would drive massive traffic and cause a lot of flustered discussion – and we all fell for it.

  98. James T Dzembo says

    While I disagree with the pushback you’re getting from some of the IDW for this, I think that the diverse nature of the group putting aside their differences to deal with a larger threat is in no way partisan. It’s the same way we’ve ALWAYS responding to real threats. And yes, the extreme leftist are a VERY big threat. Being against them isn’t partisan. They do not participate in the system, they excommunicate their own for participating in discussions with wrongthinkers. The fact that there is bipartisan cooperation from reasonable and intelligent against them is yet another sign that they actually are a serious threat

  99. joseph shores says

    i agree with the piece mostly. I think it was a bad choice using data society and ezra klein examples. its kind of like if i was writing about palestine freedom and started quoted mein kamf. The one thing i disagree with is the notion that the idw members should have some sort of middle ground and not be right wing. for me dunking on the libs was the appeal never that they were “pure centrist observers”

  100. Philip says

    The IDW is a term coined by it’s enemies. Control the language and you control the argument. It’s ironic to call it the dark web when it is closer to the enlightenment than anything the left has. I think we should reject the term IDW and talk instead about the Intellectually Enlightened Web. IEW!

    • IIRC, it was coined by Eric Weinstein. For better or worse, it has stuck.

  101. Darryl R Taylor says

    Until this evening I had not heard of the concept of the “Intellectual Dark Web”, so this article and the comments following it represent yet another chunk knocked out of my blissful ignorance of just how silly my species has become without me having noticed.

    Darn that false consensus effect.

    A couple of years ago, a younger friend sent me a link to an interview between a Joe Eogan fellow and one Dr Jordan Peterson, talking about the concept of God and the role of Christan beliefs in the modern world. My reaction was somewhat along the lines of it being nice to hear someone being semi-rational on the subject and actually exercising some I troupe tive thought on the matter.

    It was disappointing later on to find that Rogan seems to agree with whoever he has on at any given time, but that has turned out to be part of his charm and actually is a positive quality, assuming that he continues to have a relatively diverse assortment of guests.

    Peterson’s close association with Ezra Levant and his media outlet the Rebel Media was, and remains, a less positive discovery.

    Freedom of Association is a needed thing in terms of protecting groups of people from legislated or arbitrary oppression by government or paramilitary law enforcement, but that does not mean that as a private citizen that I cannot find the dichotomy between one of Perterson’s “12 rules” involving truthfulness, and the tacit validation his position as an academic celebrè gives to a person against whom Truth personified would likely request a restraining order against out of self preservation.

    This is understandable in context, but still not a positive thing. While JP honestly does his best to be intellectually honest, as with all of us he has his mortal failings, and while some 90% of what he says is actually of great value to people who have not encountered it before, it comes through a filter of his own issues, ones that paradoxically due to his intellect and field of specialization he remains consciously unaware of even though his subconscious/semiconscious self is clearly aware of some of the cognitive dissonance.

    It is not my place nor is this the forum for detailing the observations behind that opinion, except as an example of my overall (somewhat nebulous) point, but it is remarkable that for someone in his field who reportedly suffers extremes of depression and anger, and is dead set against what he considers to be the hidden threat of Marxism behind so much that is wrong with the academic world (disallowing that academics often lean towards passive aggression naturally, as is predictable given the classic “quarterback vs nerd” conflicts, damn the U of T administration for wallowing in the “sinister” end of Leftism and pushing him further towards dogmatic conservativism than his background already would have), with all that he apparently decorates his home with Red Soviet propaganda materiel.

    And he doesn’t put that together, and apply his rule about being nice to oneself.

    “Facepalm” is the appropriate image for that.

    And that was just the beginning of a rabbithole of bilaterally symmetrical psychosis written out across Western society, one of the clearest examples of a phenomena that clearly underlies the larger portion of the comments that I see here.


    Has no one ever read Neitzche, or if they have do they give themselves the same special dispensation that most folks do concerning propaganda (the belief that because someone knows the word well enough to use it convincingly, that they are magically immune to what it describes)?

    Specifically I am referring to what I call the “Neitzchian Hall of Mirrors”, a reference to his classic caution about doing battle with monsters and getting into staring contests with the Abyss.

    Here are some search terms to make things clear, for anyone who doesn’t see where I am going with that:

    Perceptual control theory.

    Self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotype bias.

    Psychological projection.

    Blame shifting.

    Splitting (or the False Dilemma fallacy).

    Two examples for anyone who still hasn’t gotten the gist of my points, or who is already drawing a figurative deep breath to get self-righteous on “this pompous, condescending pseudo-intellectual” (honest advice: you DO NOT want to go down that path, seriously):

    1) The employer who is convinced that their employee is stupid, regardless of any evidence go the contrary. This can result in someone who is actually intelligent, or who knows/understands something better than the employer being LITERALLY INCAPABLE of being anything other than what their employer percieves them to be, even to the point of witnesses concurring that the individual can’t do anything right, doesn’t think, and generally is incapable.

    This is a case of someone’s perceptions of reality dominating another’s reality tunnel.

    2) The person in a mixed social setting (often including alcohol, or similar disinhibitory substance that does not have entactogenic properties to mitigate loss of judgement) who be ones convinced that someone wants to fight them, even though initially such is not the case.

    Because in the mind of the person they are already in the fight that they are projecting, their adrenal response is already engaged, with the attendant loss of blood flow to peripheral anatomy, including their head and the accompanying loss of cognitive ability.

    Their interpretation of anything that the subject of their psychosis (because by definition that is what they are sustaining) actually does is automatically construed so as to validate their perception, taking the person’s expression of concern for the “strange fellow who seems agitated about something” as mockery, etc, and inevitably unless circumstance or a third party intervenes there will be a fight, and afterwards both parties and likely their companions will insist that the other started it.

    And neither will be lying, from their subjective standpoint.

    At this point, I will state that I work as a security guard (voluntarily, as a best fit for “right livelihood”, and not because of lack of salable skills or any sort of authority complex that I am aware of).

    Politically I identify as a neo-ambidextarian sshole, and if anyone tries to pin that down to a simple category or definition that circumscribes my viewpoint or allows them to pretend that they can assert what I am stating, then I will tack on as many “neo”s as needed to convey the fact that they should go fck themselves.

    The fact that people sincerely adopt identities as “capitalist” or “communist” and proceed to demonize the other strikes me as ridiculous, and when either presumes to give their leaning the status of an ideology, they convince me of nothing other than the limitations of their capacity to evaluate reality.

    Fact: Marxist socialism/communism is a utopian philosophy that automatically cannot succeed for the simple reason that there are individualists by their innate nature who will chafe against any mandated restriction on their freedom of action that has any arbitrary component whatsoever, and a naturally self-oriented component to every human being.

    Attempting to impose such upon any sizable number of people only serves to open opportunities for super predators like Stalin, or to lend justification to self-entitled tw*ts like Ayn Rand who evidently suffered from some kind of reactionary hyposexuality due to the privations of a youth spent under communist rule, because why else would she espouse a philosophy geared towards maximizing the sheer number of inordinately swollen headed, puffed up pricks as Objectivism has engendered?

    The counterpoint is that with all of its faults and tendencies towards excess, Marxism was also a naturally emergent reaction to the growth of capitalism as a dominant system locked in a mutualistic feedback loop with the early Industrial Revolution.

    The use of humans as expendable resources without regard to their individual dignity or value outside of commodification is what created the need for unions to protect workers, and the rarely mentioned impetus that had multitudes of people accepting the risks of sailing across the ocean in wooden boats to carve out a life in a strange uninhabited land where wild savages kept on attacking them while they innocently cleared woods that didn’t belong to anyone so that they could farm the land that was lying uselessly under all that vegetation and that was infested with all those animals that selfishly were not sharing their fur with Europeans…

    Was that they were often desperate for any alternative to working in the factories in the stinking cities, after the new class of land owners had displaced the feudal system that despite it’s inherent flaws had been the only way of life that most of their families had known for generations, and generally had always guaranteed them habitation and adequate sustenance, plus inclusion in a steady community.

    They were refugees, make no mistake about it.

    The boom that followed for the next few centuries was fueled by the wholesale commodification of territories that had supported a relative homeostasis with their inhabitants for millennia and could likely have done so in perpetuity, and required the sheer expanse of habitable lands to allow for the exponential increase in population needed to provide the new consumers that were a requisite element of a system predicated on limitless growth.

    That growth has come at a very definite cost, and the majority of free market fundamentalists gloss over the identification or enumeration of such costs with practiced ridicule, dismissal, or assertions that require what are effectively deus ex machina, being predicated on future developments that have yet to manifest.

    When someone like Ben Shapiro smugly asserts the benefits of the free market economy by pointing to the sheer number of people who currently live a quality of life unprecedented in human history, it is a glaring example of crap rhetoric that outshines the fallacies that comprise much of his material (alongside admittedly intelligent and incontrovertable points that are firmly rooted in observation and are not lacking in humanistic sentiment).

    Whenever I witness him making such an argument, I immediately invision a single celled bacterium rendered in the style of Gary Lawson’s ‘Far Side’ comics with Shapiro’s iconic eyebrows addressing a mass of other bacteria and celebrating how they have never had it so good, and then the next panel showing the surgeons preparing to sever the neurotic limb that the bacteria have consumed, and that will then be incinerated.

    If anyone wishes to dispute that categorization, they should be able to first demonstrate a general familiarity with the life sciences, a working understanding of what biomass is, and be able to explain how the current rate of depletion of such is not a concern, and neither is the percentage of mammalian biomass that is presently human or domesticated either as pets or intended for consumption.

    Greed and callousness expressed as self-interest and a disregard for the well being of others has not been a traditional basis for a culture historically for a very good reason: the type of personality characteristics that it selects for do not make for stability if they become dominant, and the narrowing of focus towards immediacy is not only social but temporal as well.

    The outcome of such a model in application has been delayed only because of the surfeit of wealth from consuming the “low hanging fruit” resources of the Americas, and while it may turn out to be other than a total extinction level event the general vector of probabilities does not bode well for many, many millions of people.

    Global communism would not be much better, and possibly worse.

    Again, “pure” anything economically or socially is intrinsically unstable. Either it will stagnate, and not adapt to changing circumstances, or it will mutate into a caricature of itself.

    Communists, as stated, do not allow for human nature.

    Anti-socialists, well, the term speaks for itself. Anyone who is purely concerned for their own welfare and dogmatically insists that it MUST come at the expense of others is a parasite upon society.

    Laisez faire individualism only works if the is unclaimed territory or resources in significant quantity, enough to allow pioneers to better their situation by accepting a modicum of risk or burden of effort.

    Otherwise, we have the conditions by which Social Darwinism has it’s basis, and that entails both biological and cultural selection for sh*tty people.

    Seriously, while the “collective ownership of the means of production” concept of Marxism is somewhat dubious (if only because rule by committee tends to be inefficient), the concept of private ownership or absolute claim over natural resources is equally irrational (except generally to those profitting thereby).

    The instability and forthcoming consequences of allowing self-interested entities to achieve dominance over elements germane to sustenance without inception of personal investiture and a duty of stewardship for the sake of others is bringing the predictable, inevitable, and untenable consequences.

    Only the degree and specifics of such is in question, and to some degree or another, most people are aware of this.

    This brings us back to the beginning of what has turned out to be a rather lengthy essay (one which I am not inclined to edit closely, this is not my paying occupation).

    Some might be able suppress their awareness of the “party” coming to a close, or at the least a shift in tempo and style. This comes with varying levels of cognitive dissonance, depending on ability to self-decieve, anticipation of personal ability to weather the adversity, empathy for those who will fair less well, or simple obtuseness.

    Others resign themselves to it and react accordingly to their nature, while others resist it, with varying degrees of of sensibility.

    Some self-destruct, some disassociate, some embrace, and others seek retribution for the loss of hope.

    The effects are generally consistent, and feed into a larger pattern that has been nourished by our media technology, formed from the interface between our naturally selected for proclivity for focusing on the negative, and the changes to our neurological structure in response to sustained threat to our survival as independent beings and/or familial or tribal affiliates.

    Throughout the twentieth century, through the Cold War (Peterson’s formative era), and with a drastic upswing after 911 to the implacable progression of multiple societies along a similar pattern of development socially, epigenetically, and transgenerationally in utero, the collective human amygdala has been shifting in it’s mean level and pattern of development.

    The same media, fictional or documentary, that renders a Euroscendant in North America frightened of Middle Eastern terrorists, or angry at the threat posed to their world by them, likewise induces in those who identify with those cast in that capacity resent, bitterness, and often memories of helplessness at “death from above” without recourse to direct strife or redress.

    The dehumanization of anonymous death dealing works both ways, it is generally far easier to hate an abstraction than a human, and lacking direct contact of any significant sort and without cause to examine the viewpoint of the other, it is easy.

    The same holds across any polarized distinction, universally, yet as with the example of the person convinced of another’s ill intent, those participating in the dynamic are never at fault at the end of the day, it is ALWAYS the other side that is irrational, that is immoral, unethical, deluded, or malignant.

    Ironically, often the only one honest to themselves or others about the situation is the unrepentant psychopath who lacking any need for social respectability or estimation among peers can look at the situation dispassionately.

    This is how it stands, and it is unlikely to be rectified, as none have the moral courage to admit their own culpability in the fullness of its scope, and thereby commence the painful, and generally thankless process of rectification.

    Even aside from the inevitable hatred of those that they realize should never have been their enemies, or even the accusations of treason of those that they thought their kin, until they determined that there was fault in their shared mores, there is the horrifying specter of their own judgement.

    Having become accustomed to the protocols of judgement, of directing contempt, loathing, disgust and a desire for punitive a justly retributive suffering upon those deemed guilty of not only the original difference or transgression, but of all resentments or privations that consciously or otherwise could be assigned to the focus of their despite, they dread without even pervieving directly that that same standard should fall upon them, inescapable in it’s proximity.

    And the key to being able to make that tiny, momentous transition of perspective is encoded within the belief systems that serve in perverse fashion to perpetuate the Hall of Mirrors, the confusion of internal qualities as being intrinsic and the summation of others at the expense of recognition of the broader sameness, or the commonality of need, and worst of all the pandemic of this illness of mental constructs and misapplied reductionist thought forms at the expense of the comprehension of interlaced systems.

    Never yielding the need to believe in the perception of self above the other, locked in a death grip with the refusal to yield position in the dominance hierarchy of long dead primates whose sole aspiration was to fornicate, feed, and do so ideally at the expense of others in a way seen to be clever by all, always willingly failing to dare to attempt being more than a vehicle for some chemical sequencing and some few conceptions that pretend at being other than a synthesis of ideas served up from millions of years of blind trial and error subordinate to the immediacy of extinction.

    I hate you all.

    There is no other way to bear having to watch your delusional playacting out of identities crafted out of pathways of least resistance, consigning generations yet unconceived to endless repetition of the same interminable idiocy, else a future built upon the bones or the submission of people whose sole true crime was not being the Victor’s, or the fate of not being given a chance to exist at all.

    I wish that I could be dispassionate, and not care at all, dismissing you as irrelevant stories of dust and appetites.

    But you are all that I have.

    And with all of this, the best that I can expect is perhaps a few expressions of derision, or the thought termination “TLDR”.

    Enjoy your petty quasi-legalistic jockeying for interpretation of semantic superiority, it at least is something to hold on to even as your every breath denies the ideals and platitudes that you profess.

    Hell, if any one of you even understood the significance of the exact wording of your Goddamned 2nd amendment, you would not be quivering in fear or rage directed at approximately half of your neighbours and fellow citizens, you would celebrate the right of others to disagree with you as a paean to your own freedom, and you would readily lay down your dignity, your wealth, or life itself for the sake of any living human’s chance to be free of the game that you obstinately cling to at the hazard of everything that truly matters.

    If that makes you feel less than happy, congratulate yourself at having read this far, and feel free to go f*ck yourself.

    Hey, I did clearly state that I am an *sshole.

    Maybe if I make enough of a stink and offend enough people, the Left and the Right cheeks will draw together in unity to shut me up.

    I doubt it, you are not evolved enough to cooperate or admit to needing the other.

      • Darryl R Taylor says

        Would that be with:
        a) Ceasing to care?
        b) Choosing a position on a spectrum of political stances whose substance tends to evaporate once adopted by more than 5 individuals?
        d)) Accepting either the Far Leftist viewpoint, which aside from the occasional opportunist with high manipulative abilities tends to consist of passive aggressive who are not worth bothering with unless navigating their silly hierarchies of bland self indulgence, or the core Rightist stance which disposes of obfuscation of their fundamental self-indulgence?
        e) Learning how to pretend to believe the self fulfilling delusion complexes of one or more flavors of hyped up primates sprouting woodies or dripping watery hoisin about peer approval for mouthing the right buzz terminology?
        f) Enrolling in the Charles Atlas course of pretentious auto-erotic vernacular as a thin veneer over high school internet cliques?
        g) Being clever like you?

        Please, Jar Lon Kenobi, you are my only hope…

      • Darryl R Taylor says


        Led me to some fun tools, it should take a few months to get the hang of the ones I need but the concepts are already useful.

        So, thanks, I guess.


  102. will S. says

    I think trying to box the IDW members into a fixed political ideology is the exact tendency they’re fighting against. They want to be treated as largely independent thinkers. The constant push to see things beyond binary terms is what brought them together.

    Their opposition to the ‘left’ is its increasing tendency to criticize key tenets of liberal democracy: free expression, free association and individual liberty generally, though each of them to varying to degrees.

    They have no interest in being pigeonholed. Its purely an effort to explore meaningful ideas with people of differing points of view. That they have common ground at all should be no surprise, as they’ve been working for years to get there. And it just so happens that many leftist positions, when taken to their logical conclusion, represent significant threats to the individual rights they revere.

  103. Rev. Wazoo! says


    I like the. IEW moniker! Of course, the IDW one harkens to folk finding the forbidden on the Web be it cannabis for delivery on demand or the idea that hiring someone based on their race is racist.

    The I telkectual part refers to folk who are willing to get past tendentiously edited soundbites and publish a whole conversation based on ideas rather than smears. This used to be common, if still framed to match the journalist’s perspective but today one must seek out `’the underground” (the ‘dark’ Web) to find anything outside the hidebound Establishment view.

  104. phinehas68 says

    “Either [Miessler]’s wrong about their positions on the most important political issues, or he’s wrong about which issues truly divide liberals and conservatives.”

    I think the above is actually a legitimate point, which the author further elucidates here:

    “If … one accepts that the main point of contention between liberals and conservatives (or left and right, if one prefers) is not the particular political issues Miessler lists, but rather has now become acceptance or rejection of the new left and its focus on identity and structural oppression (i.e., modern “social justice”), then it’s pretty clear that this is not what the IDW is doing.”

    The problem is that the IDW’s rejection isn’t just of the identity politics of the “new left,” but of identity politics of every stripe, including that which can be found in the alt-right. It may be true that the focus of their concern is most often the radical left, but as they’ve often explained themselves, it is the radical left that has a strangle hold on many of the institutions they hold dear, especially in higher education.

    I believe that a reasonable and charitable interpretation of all of this is that the IDW sits in the middle of the extreme left and extreme right, attempting to form a core with reasonable perspectives and discourse. It may be true that what they perceive as a crisis of rampant extremism led them to set aside all of the other policy issues on which they might (and which Miessler points out they do) sharply disagree, but that this necessarily means they should all be labelled “right” simply doesn’t follow. Rather, it is likely a testament to the high degree of danger they perceive in the threat to society and culture. If some of the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s temporarily set aside their differences to work hand in hand in a bucket brigade, should we conclude that those Hatfield’s have secretly converted to McCoy’s? Or might we suspect they are still Hatfield’s who just don’t want to see their town burn down to ashes?

  105. What makes you think that “hanging out with” or “retweeting” = alignment? Didn’t you know that Scalia and The Notorious RBG were besties? I guess that makes Ruthie a Nazi.

  106. I’m a bit surprised that Uri Harris, who’s written in the past with such clarity on the dramatic lurch leftward in academia, here displays such muddled thought and arrives at such wrongheaded conclusions.

    Harris is at a loss to explain why putative liberals of the IDW spend so much time criticizing Democrats and other groups on the Left. The answer is simple, and has been vocalized repeatedly: at this point, the most imminent and serious threat to Liberty emanates from from the radical Left (and the Democrats are increasingly willing to parrot leftist rhetoric). It is a threat that has largely been ignored or, worse, its very existence denied as a possibility. As Jordan Peterson has noted, a consensus exists on when the Right has gone too far, but none has even been proposed for when the Left goes to far.

    Ultimately, Harris approaches this topic with blinkers on. He can only see the landscape as a Left-Right continuum, and expects us all to dutifully choose one of but two camps pitched across an arbitrary ideological dividing line. A better model is the so-called ‘political compass’, with four quadrants divided by two axes. The authoritarian Left (“Regressive Left”) is not the ally of the libertarian Left, rather its enemy.. As Bret Weinstein has noted, if the libertarian left and libertarian right make common cause — and we can, because we are able to agree to disagree — we can defeat the tyrannical threat posed by both extremes, as they, intolerant of all others, cannot ally.

    Finally, we must stop viewing — as Harris seems to — ‘membership’ in political Left or Right as contingent upon complete adherence to a credo or list of dogma, with anyone who rejects that by even one iota treated as heretics to be excommunicated.

    It is time for us in the vast center of the political spectrum to stop allowing ourselves to be conscripted into the total war of annihilation waged by the extremists on both the far Left and far Right.

    • George G says

      Agreed. The problem is that the SJW‘s are putting forward in a philosophy and belief system that will lead to the atrocities of Stalin and Mao at worst or Venezuela at best. The fact that so many main stream left people are going along with it is very disconcerting. I see no reason for IDW types to soften criticism of these believes o people in order to appear more in line with the left.

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  108. Love Liberty says

    They are liberals who oppose insanity. This doesn’t make them right wing.

  109. Don says

    I once met Dave Rubin at a charity do. He was surprisingly down to earth, and VERY funny.

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  111. “Klein is also right in claiming that YouTube is, “where tomorrow’s politics are emerging today.” We’ve already seen this in action the past few years, on both political sides. On the left, appeals to identity and structural oppression have become increasingly mainstream, while on the right, criticisms of these appeals have become similarly popular. Mainstream conservative outlets like National Review, The Spectator and Fox News increasingly express the kinds of arguments and phrases that a few years ago were mostly found on YouTube channels like Rubin’s.”

    This smacks of writing history backwards. The fact is, you can find just about any political position on YouTube if you look hard enough, and most of them haven’t become mainstream. So the fact that some political positions and arguments that are common today were previously present on YouTube seems like it could just as easily be a coincidence as an indication of the power of YouTube to predict and/or influence what political positions become popular in the future.

  112. james schwaber says

    A consistent theme here is the question of the power and durability of the SJW movement. I fear it is becoming institutionalized in a way that may give it great staying power as a kind of religion. At my university we have a Senior VP for Diversity and Inclusion with a very large and highly active staff. The result is programs, “days of…”, mandatory training exams to pass etc. Beyond the university the various scientific associations (cancer, Alzheimers, alcohol etc. etc.) and Federal funding agencies (NIH agencies) put diversity efforts as a front page priority without any link at all to how that enables the actual purpose of the organization. It has deeply penetrated our local public school system as to social programs and educational content in a way which is almost invisible to parents and residents of the school district. I imagine all those who were “XYZ studies” majors are able to find jobs doing this work. And if the gold standard here is “equality of outcome” but that is not yet achieved, then the SJW must march on indefinitely. In my experience the notion of bridge building to those with this commitment is unrealistic, they have their facts and their minds are closed. But how to imagine they will just go away?

  113. Jeremy Ashford says

    Perhaps the worst article I have read yet on Quillette.
    And the comments are largely a waste of time and space.
    This is easily summed up by the political compass meme that shows a small top corner identified as “love and hope”, representing the SJWs, and the rest as “far right”. Nothing new has bern added to the discussion here.
    I am a 60 year old leftist and have voted to the left of our national left-wing party in New Zealand all my adult life. I agree with most of what Peterson says, or more accurately it equates with my own conclusions from a lifetime of political activism, and some but not all of Ben Shapiro’s public opinions.
    One can be on the left and still vehemently disagree with intersectional feminism.

  114. Alain aka Trickster says

    I stooped reading until I came to this incisive quote:’I hate you all.’ You must include yourself to make it final. What is this logorrheal all about? Just another form of Manichean obsession…

  115. Geary Johansen says

    I see the IDW as the defenders of the arch of the horseshoe in an Omega Inflection (creative commons first draft copyright)- with both white nationalists and the alt right pulling from one side, the authoritarian left and social justice types from the other.

    The two main drivers of this Inflection are the dissolution of employment security for young people, and labour in general, and the technological transformation implicit to social media and automation.

    Whilst some might liken the current political and social situation to 1930’s Europe, I believe that Niall Ferguson is correct in drawing a closer parallel to the invention of the printing press.

    The burning at the stake that categorised this first historical period may, in the modern context, only be metaphorical, but the social death that accompanies the attentions of the twitter mob can be just as harmful in career terms.

    The main way in which the left has failed, is in the failure to at least acknowledge that whilst global capitalism has been a disaster for working people in the west and the developed world, it has been nothing short of an economic miracle for everyone else.

    The sane response to globalisation should have been to invest heavily in high value, high labour niche industries such as branded goods, heritage and hi tech manufacturing- it’s what China’s doing now that it’s exporting low skilled, low paid jobs to Africa.

    Their should have been national discussions about resurrecting the most neglected aspect of welfare capitalism- continuous education in the workplace- it’s what Germany does, and other than vocational schools, is the main reason why it’s citizens enjoy a middle class lifestyle with a substantial social safety net.

    But instead of acknowledging that they might have to spend 15 years in Reagan’s America without political power, advocating for a common humanity approach to restraining the worst aspects of capitalism whilst addressing their own tendency towards wasteful bureaucracy- they rebuilt a Democratic Party that combined the worst aspects of corporatism and a cynical intersectional numbers exercise. Then they exported it to the rest of the Anglosphere.

    And the really hilarious thing is that it won’t work! Political correctness and the feeling amongst average americans that they had woken up to suddenly find themselves in East Germany, was a far deeper driver of Trump’s success than leaked e-mails or any of the other issues they bemoaned post-election.

    Post-Trump, all the Republican Party has to do, is field a moderate Republican candidate who makes the point that America should focus its efforts on raising the living standards of its own hardworking Latino american population and the Latino demographic will shift.

  116. Joe says

    I can’t help but feel like the author has missed the very point of the referenced blog post. Yes these individuals appear and feel right-wing, but that doesn’t mean they are. I’m a bit discouraged as to how difficult it is for folks to understand the nuance many of the figures in question here are attempting to put forward. For example, if you are pro-immigration, you are aligned with the American “left” (perhaps the discussion to be had is really what the terms left and right really mean). Even if you are someone who is critical of open border policies in such a way that draws praise from the “right”, you are still ultimately left, you just insist on a more moderate approach to the policy. In that sense, there is nothing wrong or suspicious to me about purporting to be left wing while simultaneously attacking the “new left”, in fact I find it refreshing, not because I sympathize with the rights closed border policy, but because I favor a more moderate approach. What the IDW is doing, for the most part, is calling out the radical madness, of the “new left”, and rightfully so in my opinion. The left’s radical wings (and the right’s to slightly lesser extent) risk bringing down the entire cause. Harris often refers to this as the left “eating itself”. Why wouldn’t a liberal person express concern about this?

  117. Carlos Prallong says

    Congratulations for a fantastic piece. Still, I believe there is a lack of recognition to one fact: the conversations between Shapiro and Rubin or Peterson (who hold different positions on very delicate and important issues) show one of the DIW main characteristics: respect to those with different ideas. And that is basically the main difference between the DIW and the new left

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  119. Simon says

    “mainstream conservatives become more and more convinced that the new left represents an existential threat that supersedes all other political issues”

    Well obviously they are right about that, but the IDW are mostly classical liberal centrists, who would traditionally have been on the centre-right of the US Democrats. The reaction of both groups is to a New Left grown so vast, like The Blob from a ’50s atomic horror film, that it threatens to consume everything. Consequently they have formed a “bipartisan” joint opposition to the New Left. I don’t think they’d be foolish enough to accept it into their community, since that would defeat the whole purpose.

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