recent, Science / Tech, Social Media, Tech

Culture War Churn and the YouTube Rabbit-Hole

The New York Times recently profiled a man named Caleb Cain who had been radicalized by far-Right videos on YouTube. It’s easy to dramatize this familiar story with statements like, “I fell down the alt-right rabbit-hole” and “I just kept falling deeper and deeper into this…” and ultimately, “I was brainwashed.”

But the brainwashing didn’t stick. Cain was eventually de-radicalized. The NYT, and most other commentators besides, painted Cain’s journey as a redemption story and a cautionary tale about the dangerous influence of YouTube algorithms. However, it’s worth lingering on the fact that Cain is not the only person who was radicalized and then de-radicalized in relatively quick succession. In reality, Cain’s story is simply one case study in the context of an overlooked phenomenon: churn in the culture wars.

Churn is the business concept that some percentage of service subscribers will fall away after a certain period of time. In order for a business to grow its clientele, it must have a higher client acquisition rate than a client loss rate. This concept maps perfectly onto the culture wars, and yet it’s invariably ignored. People are referred to as belonging to the far-Left or the alt-right as though membership in these cohorts is a static reality. And when someone does switch teams, it’s treated like breaking news.

Caleb Cain’s story is not unique, however. People switch teams all the time, and it happens on both sides. If you ask Dave Rubin, everyone is running toward his YouTube channel because “the Left has lost its mind.” If you ask progressive YouTuber David Pakman, he’ll tell stories of people escaping the Right because the Republican party has become toxic. Both stories are simultaneously true and individual cases are easy to come by—especially on YouTube.

The important metric that needs to be addressed is the churn rate. As people (mostly impressionable young people, presumably) cycle through the YouTube churn machine, which side stands to benefit in the long term? And is the YouTube rabbit-hole phenomenon even a relevant factor for political shifts on the large scale?

YouTube, Engine of Churn

I don’t doubt the NYT’s thesis that YouTube algorithms are perfectly designed to pull people further into an extremist rabbit-hole. But this is nothing new. When I was an early teen, I was radicalized to fundamentalist Christian beliefs by propaganda VHS tapes I found in my church library. Even before VHS, people were radicalized by the Dewey Decimal system. Radicalization algorithms might be more aggressively malicious in the internet age, but they’re old news. Radical ideas lead to more extreme radical ideas ad infinitum whether you’re on YouTube or browsing the dusty shelves of your small-town library.

People who are radicalized through YouTube, however, very often don’t stay radicalized. Caleb is an example of this, as are the many callers who routinely share their stories on David Pakman’s show. Consider James from Long Island, who called into Pakman’s show on June 21:

After the 2016 election…I went down the YouTube rabbit-hole. I started listening to people like Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder and I thought their arguments really clicked with me. But over time they kind of fell flat when I started looking at other viewpoints. And then I found [the David Pakman] channel, I found other liberal outlets, and again I found myself as a social democrat.

Justin from Brooklyn, who called in on July 3, and Joseph from Michigan, who called in on July 11, repeated slight variations on this same story.

Dave Rubin would likely be aghast and confused to hear these accounts. In his slice of YouTube, the Left has “lost its mind” (he says that a lot) and the Right has become the common-sense side of the political divide that defends free speech and free market capitalism. And those of his viewers who switched from Left to Right would probably agree.

The point is: YouTube serves as a rabbit-hole for knee-jerk radicalization that is short-lived in many cases. Every time someone shifts Right from the YouTube rabbit-hole, someone else follows the lead of James from Long Island and shifts Left. And chances are, many of these team-switchers will be switching back, or switching somewhere else altogether, as they gain life experience beyond time spent alone watching YouTube videos.

General Trends in Party-Switching

The country is, we are often reminded, starkly polarized. The fringes on the political spectrum are becoming more extreme. There is increased radicalization among young people. Nuance in conversations is increasingly lacking…

All of these things are true, or certainly felt to be true. And yet, these observations only make it more impressive that anyone would be compelled to switch political teams at this extremely partisan moment. In a sense, party-switchers like Caleb Cain, James from Long Island, Justin from Brooklyn, and Joseph from Michigan shouldn’t even exist. But there they are, broadcasting their stories using virtually identical language to describe their experiences.

If party-switching strikes you as something incredibly rare, consider a few of the key findings quoted directly from a 2017 study by the Voter Study Group:

  • While the aggregate number of Democrats and Republicans looks stable, the reality is that 13 percent of partisans have switched their affiliation in the last five years.
  • People of color and those under 45 were among the likeliest to switch out of the Republican Party, while Democrats have lost non-college white voters and those over 45.
  • Leaving the Republican Party was most strongly associated with positive attitudes about immigration, self-identification as more ideologically liberal, and more liberal economic views.
  • Leaving the Democratic Party was most strongly associated with negative attitudes about immigration, unfavorable attitudes toward Muslims, self-identification as more ideologically conservative, more conservative economic views, and lower levels of economic anxiety.

What about the YouTube rabbit-hole? Shouldn’t we see a swath of young people falling blindly into die hard alt-rightism, never to be reasoned with again? That doesn’t seem to be the case. According to the Pew Research Center, from December 2015 to 2017, young Republicans were more likely to switch political affiliation to the Democrats than vice versa. In fact, “nearly a quarter of young Republicans left the GOP.”

Beyond Algorithms: Forces That Account for Long-Term Political Shifts

This general trend left among young Americans shouldn’t be surprising if you look beyond YouTube algorithms and instead focus on forces that account for long-term political shifts. For example, we’ve recently seen a worldwide migration of people from rural to urban areas, with an estimated three million people moving to cities every week. New research suggests migration to cities isn’t a passing fad and that young Americans will continue to seek out urban lifestyles. Given that cities are invariably less conservative than rural areas, this migration will naturally lead to the general population becoming more liberal.

People are also becoming more educated, and while it hasn’t always been the case, recent studies have found that college graduates are more likely to vote Democrat. This is even more true for people with graduate degrees, and the “more education, more liberal” effect is only increasing. So, as more people attend college and graduate school, we’ll presumably continue to see more people shifting leftwards.

Finally, a major factor in the general trend left in this country is the so-called “rise of the nones”—the nones being those people who select “none” for religious affiliation. This ascent of the irreligious will increasingly eat away at the conservative base. As constitutional attorney Andrew Seidel observed, “nothing did more to elect Donald Trump than the belief in America as a ‘Christian nation.’” Widespread belief in the Christian nation myth is presumably not long for this world. Meanwhile, it should come as a surprise to no one that atheists lean heavily Democrat.

These three trends (urbanization, education, rise of the nones) are far more significant than the YouTube rabbit-hole in terms of the long-term political churn rate. I grew up in a small, rural town and attended church regularly with my parents. By the time I turned 22, I had moved to a city, fallen away from my parents’ religion, graduated college, and switched party affiliations from Republican to Democrat. My story is echoed among many of the popular YouTube pundits themselves. Whether you consider pundits who moved Right to Left (Michael Shermer, Seth Andrews, and David Smalley) or Left to Right (Dave Rubin and Bridget Phetasy), they all have one thing in common: None of them changed sides due to a YouTube rabbit hole. Instead, their stories speak to particular moments of change in their lives

The YouTube-rabbit-hole phenomenon will undoubtedly continue to radicalize certain individuals. But give it time, let the churn machine keep churning. Every new rabbit-hole victim is potentially another Caleb Cain—brainwashed today, de-programmed tomorrow, next year part of an optimistic statistic for Pew to publish.


Peter Clarke is a writer in San Francisco with a BA in psychology and a JD in intellectual property law. Follow him on Twitter @HeyPeterClarke


  1. Leaving the Democratic Party is strongly associated with self-identification as more ideologically conservative, and leaving the Republican Party is strongly associated with self-identification as more ideologically liberal? Who would have thought? This (and related) information only explains how people sort themselves out into what we already consider to be their logical political homes. If there is such a thing as churn, it would be much more interesting to know how things work in reverse.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Mataratones

      Good comment. But I find the article more interesting because of what is doesn’t say, rather than for stating the obvious. Because unless you have a strong left-leaning ideological bias to begin with, there is virtually no way you are going to believe the oppressor/oppression narrative of intersectional feminism that has become the dominant theme within the Democratic party- unless of course you are young, impressionable, gullible and inherently susceptible to indoctrination. The reason is quite simple, your own life experiences will contradict this narrative.

      The demography of whichever town or suburban neighbourhood that you will have grown up in, although not representative of the make up of cities, or the country as a whole, will have had some minority populations within it. You will have seen firsthand, that the overwhelming majority of white people in your community, treat all people with courtesy, dignity and respect, regardless of race, and a good deal more of each of these social traits, than anyone in cities tends to treat each other. You will know the lie of racism, homophobia and sexism for what it is. And the reason young people seem to fall for it all hook, line and sinker? Because, now they finally get to be the ones correcting their grandparents over family dinners, even though this is a direct usurpation of the way the world is supposed to work, with those with greater experience and knowledge conferring it on others.

      So moving to cities might polarise people towards liberalism, because if you are psychologically liberal, you are going to be drawn to the opportunity to experience different foods, diverse cultural experiences and immersing yourself in social contact with people from divergent backgrounds. But, by and large, the polarisation should be towards moderate or cosmopolitan liberalism, rather than the far left ideology on the ascendant. Some of it must be false reporting, the Brexit effect in evidence, as people are too embarrassed to disclose their true political leaning. Another part, the desire to deliver a rebuke to the incumbent party so typical of mid-terms, combined with loose loyalty to your adoptive political tribe.

      But a far greater portion of the blame should be reserved for your parents, teachers and, above all, the media. Because they will have convinced you that the world is a far scarier, more dangerous and dark place than it is, and that it is getting worse, rather than better- as all the empirical evidence would tend to suggest. You probably won’t have been given the basic facts of life, about how to survive in a market economy, showing enthusiasm and diligence for every task, grasping every opportunity to raise your value as it arises and learning the judicious use of elbows, without appearing mean or unfair. And in a system that values your labour less than most others, with debts from education, it’s easy to equate your disenfranchisement with the illusory deep unfairness of the world.

      My view is that of the centrist or the heterodox. I believe deeply in the need for rational debate, the weighing of empirical evidence and the Millsian clash of ideas necessary to determine whether our government’s policies really are fit for the modern age. Above all, we need to start thinking of government resources, public sector workers and the public goods that they can accomplish as a finite resources that needs to be conserved and spent in a manner that creates the maximum amount of good, for the maximum amount of people. Most particularly, government needs to be far better at allocating publicly funded workers to jobs that society needs, rather than the rent-seeking bureaucracies and unnecessary regulatory burdens that damage businesses and citizens resent.

      Unfortunately, the level of our discourse, and the pandering of all media to specific political tribes, invariably makes this all but impossible. You can change the medium all you want, but first you need to create the type of impartially informed voter that the Founding Fathers envisaged- something that was every bit as naive, in it’s own more limited way, as the assumptions that socialism makes about the way people work.

      • Photondancer says

        “your own life experiences will contradict this narrative”

        Most people have no trouble ignoring their own life experiences if they contradict the narrative. Meeting plenty of intelligent, hardworking blacks didn’t stop people from believing they were all inferior, lazy brutes. Knowing plenty of intelligent women didn’t stop people from believing they too were inferior. Etc for numerous other myths. The closest people will come to bucking the narrative, generally, is to grant that there are some exceptions.

        This is by no means restricted to young people. We’re all subject to such behaviour to some degree.

        • Kauf Buch says

          “Most #NPCs (brain-dead Leftists) have no trouble ignoring their own life experiences if they contradict the Leftist narrative. Meeting plenty of intelligent, decent, hardworking Whites didn’t stop #NPCs from believing they were all racist Nazis. Knowing plenty of intelligent, Conservative Blacks didn’t stop #NPCs from believing they too were inferior, “inauthentic” but worthy of racist epithets like ‘Porch Monkey’ or ‘House N!gger.’


        • BrainFireBob says

          @Photodancer: You’re shifting senses and frames of references, possibly erroneously.

          Example: Please prove that most people who did meet many intelligent, hardworking blacks believed they were all inferior.


          1) This was a minority view
          2) Was this view held in areas with a large, educated African American population
          3) Would the people holding this view have been in a social sphere to meet them?

          I’d venture a guess that it was mainly lower class white people, who don’t associate with the educated in general, and white people who only knew most black people through stereotypes, that held such views. They could comfortably associate the odd individual as “exceptional” or “outside the norm”; it would take a large sample size to overturn that ability.

          Same with women. I’ve typically found it was feminists who claimed that they were seen as lesser; I rarely have encountered men espousing such a view and every one I have met, was clearly an extreme misogynist independent of this particular opinion.

        • As Geary stated – “But a far greater portion of the blame should be reserved for your parents, teachers and, above all, the media.” Ask your parents why you had such bigoted views. And then ask yourself why as an adult you didn’t come to your own conclusions. Then ask yourself what other beliefs were forced upon you that you don’t accept any longer. At the end of the say, when you turned 18, it was all on your shoulders.

    • Ryan says

      The problem is the narrowness of the survey. First, of all, how is liberal defined? I imagine those behind the survey created, or used a series of questions that scores peoples position on a right-left line. So it isn’t clear if the people leaving are Republicans that have moved left, or feel that the party has moved right, or people have converted their position entirely. I am not sure if it counts the movement of centrist independents.

      We have here at least three scenarios. One, people leaving because a small change in their belief. Two, people leaving because of a change in the party. Three, people leave because of radical change.

      I am pretty sure I can find examples of all of them, and probably all them occur. However, it is not clear if the survey took into account previously held opinions. This is relevant to the thesis of radicalization. Did the former party members leave because they were more moderate, or because they were flipped. If they are flipped, it could be, youtube was involved.

  2. E. Olson says

    “Given that cities are invariably less conservative than rural areas, this migration will naturally lead to the general population becoming more liberal.”

    The author confuses “liberal” with “Leftist”, but I’ve often wondered why city living turns so many people’s brains to mush when it comes to politics. After all, if they lived in a more rural area that has been run by Republicans or old school conservative Democrats they probably paid relatively low taxes and received relatively good public services as the schools, streets, parks, police, etc. were generally of decent to high quality. Regulations were generally not onerous and were fairly enforced, and crime is generally low and non-violent. Cost of living is also low, decent affordable housing is widely available and it doesn’t matter that much where you live in terms of crime rate or public school quality, and traffic congestion is non-existent.

    Then this person moves to the big city that has been run by Democrats for decades for better opportunity or because they just “don’t fit in” at home, and they are immediately hit with sky high taxes and very poor public services – police don’t even bother investigating crimes that don’t involve murder and don’t enforce laws against illegals and other deviant (aka “victim”) groups with the mayor’s blessing. Everything is regulated to death and fines are sky high to raise revenues for those fine public services, but only collected against the middle class or higher. Crime is high and the new resident has probably seen drug deals, assaults, car jacking, armed robberies, and gang shootings if they haven’t experienced them first hand, and most of the crime seems to be committed by the “diverse” parts of the populations (and I don’t mean Asians). The cost of living is extremely high, housing is unaffordable unless you qualify for public housing, which they don’t because they aren’t illegal and aren’t part of a “victim” group. Neighborhood matters greatly because crime and schools vary widely, and traffic congestion is a 24/7/365 phenomenon. Sure the restaurant choices are great, and the cultural events numerous, but the new resident doesn’t experience them as much as he thought he would because his paycheck is taxed so heavily, his rent is high, and he spends a large part of his day sitting in traffic.

    Now a sane individual might start to think that perhaps the Democrats who have been in charge of this large city for 50+ years haven’t done a very good job in making the city a pleasant place to live and perhaps raise a family, and that it is time to throw the bums out and try some Republican medicine of lower taxes, smarter regulation, better infrastructure, and actual law enforcement against the real criminals, which worked so well in the small home town they came from. But it seems sanity is not very popular, because this article and others suggest that our new urban resident is more likely to say – hey 50 years of Democrat rule haven’t fixed any problems, but I’m going to start voting for higher taxes and higher regulations by voting Democrat.

    • Simon Johnson says

      This is the type of response that I’ve come to expect underneath quillette articles. Someone always manages to fashion their interpretation of the piece into a tool to skewer all leftists as naive simpletons, whilst at the same time accusing them of living in an uncritical echo chamber. All without a hint of irony.

      • E. Olson says

        Simon – “naive simpletons” is a nice way to put widespread public support for high taxes, inefficient and poor quality unionized public services, heavy regulation in conjunction with high corruption, and open door policies (i.e. sanctuary cities and high welfare) to attract illegals, criminals, the insane, and addicted. But if you have a logical explanation for why such Leftist policies are rational to pursue in large cities I would love to hear about it.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          I’d have more faith that the Republicrats are really conservatives if they didn’t tend to increase the deficit even faster than the Democans. You have very few genuine socialists, liberals or conservatives in either party, or at least few who have any visibility. What I like about Bernie is that he is a socialist from conviction and was so even when it was hugely unsellable. John Kasich and Jeff Flake are real conservatives. Most in Washington are whores and opportunists.

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Castro were also “socialists with conviction” – do you really want to go in that direction? But you are correct that even Republicans tend to get spend crazy when they get to DC – nobody votes for austerity unless it is for austerity for the opposition.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            “do you really want to go in that direction”

            Bernie isn’t Mao and as for ‘direction’ one is always going in some direction or other and any direction traveled far enough leads to a bad place. All I’m saying is that at least Bernie is honest whereas most politicians craft their statements for effect. They say that AOC has no idea what her position is until her handlers tell her. Nope, in a sane world I’d probably not want to go Bernie but that’s because there would be better alternatives. Given the situation as it is tho, I’d be interested to see what Bernie could do. There’s not much left to loose.

            “even Republicans tend to get spend crazy”

            So what’s the solution?

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          He made no comment on SJW leftism he merely pointed out that Quillette is becoming an echo chamber and he’s correct. Claire should do a poll. I’d say that 90% of us are fundamentalist righties, a very few are leftie wingnuts (NP, Princess, etc.), and less than 10% are moderates like myself. K has given up. On the other thread there one or two guys were trying to be reasonable and they got piled on. I’ll hang around until the last of the moderates are gone then I’m gone. Meanwhile, even sane righties can be worth talking to, and you are a candidate, but then you go and say that Hitler would make a fine and well accepted Demican candidate? Jesus!

          The horrors you mention are real, but most lefties don’t support that kind of thing. Alas, sane lefties have no voice at the moment and their end of the stick is held up by the wingnuts. Your end of the stick is held up by Trump and one could make an equally long list of horrors due to his agenda. Mostly that he’s not a real conservative. (BTW, he was right to tell the Gang of Four to move somewhere else if they don’t like it in the USA ; – )

          • MMS says

            @Ray – I for one am a Moderate, really a Classic Liberal socially / Libertarian leaning economically… I really hope Quillette stays in this sweet spot and is not brought down by extremists on either side…

          • Ray Andrews says


            “I for one am a Moderate”

            Make more noise ; -)

          • Stephanie says

            Ray, Bernie isn’t Mao, but neither was Mao (the man) before he became Mao (the dictator). The American system, I believe, is too resilient for an all-out dictatorship to take root, and I’m not sure Bernie would want that anyway. But during the recent Democratic debates, when the moderator pointed out that Obama was only able to get one major policy initiative through in his first term, and asked the candidates how they would get around Republican “obstruction,” Bernie said he’d start a revolution. To me, that’s a pretty unhinged thing to say. Maybe he just had a senior moment, but his tenor throughout strikes me as dogmatic and uncompromising. His support for communist dictatorships and the loose way “revolution” falls from his lips should give pause.

            If you want someone with the same ideas but a little less unhinged, go for Warren.

          • K. Dershem says

            Ray: in case you’re curious, I still read the comments — but I no longer contribute because it seems like the same talking points get regurgitated over and over. I’d probably be more active if there was some degree of ideological balance and a greater number of open-minded commenters (like yourself) who are genuinely interested in an exchange of ideas.

          • Ray Andrews says


            “but neither was Mao (the man) before he became Mao (the dictator)”

            Fine, but neither was Attilla Attilla. What of it? Certain folks start out as cute kids and end up as butchers. Some cock their berets to the left, others to the right. The dead are dead. Interesting how they can sound like they support diametrically opposite ideas yet behave exactly the same.

            “The American system, I believe, is too resilient for an all-out dictatorship to take root, and I’m not sure Bernie would want that anyway.”

            Agree. When he speaks of revolution I don’t think he means like the Russian or the French, he means ordinary folks taking back their government — which of course is what Trumpeters also like to advocate. I’m a Deplorable who likes Bernie.

            “his tenor throughout strikes me as dogmatic and uncompromising.”

            Yeah, so it does. Dunno if he’d make a good prez, I just like his sincerity — you’d not accuse Hillary of sincerity.

            “His support for communist dictatorships and the loose way “revolution” falls from his lips should give pause.”


            “If you want someone with the same ideas but a little less unhinged, go for Warren.”

            Yup. Pocahontas makes sense. I still like Yang. Poor old Joe, a bit too worn out. All of them tho tripping over each other to sound like the wokest. Gimme a Dem who says: “I oppose Social Justice and Victimhood, but I stand for working folks of all colors. I’m a white male (maybe) and I don’t apologize for it. Some of my ancestors survived the Holocaust — that’s not ‘privilege’. I believe in the government and in social programs, but I also believe they can get out of hand. Oh, and the reason so many young black males are shot is that so many of them get into altercations with the cops.”

      • Kauf Buch says

        TO Simon J
        Look up #NPC … it’s hard to further caricature the Left…but still all too true.

        As E Olson suggests in his response to you (but in my words): the Leftist sheep in their urban bubble are self-perpetuating slaughter machine. Healthy people don’t think/react/vote like that.

        The irony of YOUR generalization, however, was quite delicious. Thanks!

        • Ray Andrews says

          @K. Dershem

          Good to hear from you.

          “I’d probably be more active if there was some degree of ideological balance”

          Yabut you have to make that happen which is why we needya. There seem to be a few new moderates, tho you can never be sure, what with any name being usable. And a small handful of thinking lefties. How do we get the zeitgeist such that we are in a valley, with folks tending to fall together in the center, rather than a mountain, with folks pushing each other off the cliffs on both sides?

          • K. Dershem says

            Ray: I agree with you in principle, but in practice thoughtful and nuanced comments get drowned out by ideological rants. I tried ignoring some of the more extremist commenters, but since they respond to virtually every post it becomes impossible to avoid getting sucked into pointless and frustrating exchanges.

      • Closed Range says


        Your reply is the type of response I’ve come to expect on Quillette. Somebody raises valid data points about the left’s failings, and then someone like you comes along on their high horse and simply condemns all of Quillette as just another right wing echo chamber without engaging with the actual ideas or arguments that were made.

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO E Olson
      Living in a city = living in a bubble = who controls the narrative controls the people.
      I’m originally from Washington, D.C. … it doesn’t get any bubble-ier than that!

      • Stephanie says

        Great point, EO. I think what it is about cities that makes people behave irrationally politically is that frustration makes you want to control other people. As conservative as I’m sure I’m perceived here, when a group of motorcyclists do the rounds up and down the main stretch while I’m having dinner on a terrace, I have this urge to ban them altogether or at least severely diminish the amount of noise they can make. I imagine the same instinct applies to innumerable things: when you see something not working properly, which will happen much more often when people are jam-packed together, you want to do something to fix it. It is counterintuitive to think that it is things you are already doing that are the problem.

        • Ray Andrews says


          Yup. Wide open spaces not only attract the independent type, but they make independence and freedom possible. Folks just have to have more order imposed on them in Hong Kong than is Boise. So the rural states are Rep, the cities are Dem.

        • Steph12 says

          I think your explanation is really good, I hadn’t thought of that, plus great name ?.

    • David of Kirkland says

      That bias is called the backfire affect, part of confirmation bias. Just like you can’t de-religion a person by pointing out logical fallacies, inconsistencies an often even pointing out how they hold diametrically opposed opinions to the religious texts/dogmas.
      Leftists tell you that corporations are too big, too rich, too powerful and hold monopolies because customers choose/prefer them over others. Yet they then think that government is too small, too poor, with little power and no control over you when they are in fact huge, rich, powerful and force you to pay regardless of whether you want it. Government is a true monopoly, and most corrupted monopolies today (like never ending patent and copyright protections) are enforced by government.
      Corporations are bad because they use their money to promote their cause, yet the law only changes because their government “representatives” are corrupt and sell out their citizens/voters for a buck to keep them on the government dole.
      Leftists tell you that restricting speech of “bad actors” is a path forwards liberty. That they want more and better paying jobs, but disparage business. Or that men and women are the same, but trans-women and trans-men somehow can’t stand to live as they were born (which implies male/female aren’t the same in the mind).

      • Jonny Sclerotic says

        “Government is a true monopoly.”

        True, a monopoly on a mass market of people who acquiesce to the terms by i) voting for the nearest politician with a pleasing jib, especially if it’s socially and financially convenient for them; and ii) by not joining another market at the first opportunity.


Voting in elections is like signing user agreements. You sort of have to do it but you definitely can’t be arsed reading the Ts & Cs. The competing software has just as many – eerily similar – Ts & Cs. You could emigrate, but how sure are you the alternative will be an improvement? You could abstain altogether, as many do.

        Meanwhile, both companies are merrily rinsing their core users, some of whom remain fanatical devotees no matter what, while others are compelled to go back and check what the hell they signed up for.

        Reminds me of Todd Rundgren advising XTC against multiple takes: “It won’t sound better, it’ll just sound different.”

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ David of Kirkland

        Much is made of corruption in the political process, but a far more prevalent means of maintaining influence is vanity. If you’re a successful politician, you’re suddenly one of the cool kids. This is because all people inherently want to think of themselves as good people. If you have lobbyists and business people constantly buddying up to you, pouring carefully selected and targeted information in your ear and appealing to your vanity as someone in-the-know, then your opinions and beliefs are naturally going to become more slanted towards special interests over time. I once spent an afternoon when I was much younger, placing stickers on over 200 employees files saying ‘pending training allocation’, just to appease an inspector from a non-regulatory voluntary association- so the conjurer’s art works at every level.

    • asdf says

      Most people that move to the city only move there from age 22-30. Then they buy a house in the suburbs and become a swing voter. People erroneously call them “urban” because they are part of an MSA but they aren’t living in the urban core.

      • BrainFireBob says

        The issue with urban living is the same as with young voters in general- no “skin in the game.” They’re typically young and unattached.

        If you have nothing, then you lose nothing if the marginal tax rates spike.

        Living in an apartment with 5 other young adults pocketing about $200/month in a good month? A change from an effective 40% tax rate to a 70% tax rate to pay for Medicare-for-all and free tuition sounds great.

        Me, I live within my means in a house with my wife and child. I can afford my house, but a spike in effective tax rate from 40% to 70% puts myself, my wife, and my child in the street. Being on the street would make it near impossible to switch jobs, so I also become a “company store” wage slave living in terror of termination. I worked my way from the five roomies to owning a home; I went without new cars, smartphones, wore clothes until they fell apart and ate on a strict $5/day food budget with my wife for years. I have paid for what I have, and I really don’t favor just handing it to someone that has not paid such a price, especially when it puts my child on the street.

        So cities are awesome for them because: No car? Take the bus! You can’t afford groceries anyway, and you aren’t concerned about an unbalanced diet for your children, so your inability to do more than 1-2 grocery bags at a time doesn’t matter. Etc.

        I have a vague tinfoil hat conspiracy that the leaders on the left don’t care about women’s careers and education, or even abortion, but instead want people starting families as late as possible, because it’s when you are the one losing that most people start doing things like questioning how their taxes are spent, and is the real reason people tend to get conservative as they get older.

        • Steph12 says

          I just heard this nugget the other day. Mortgage, marriage, and munchkins are the 3 M’s that tend to make you conservative… I completely agree that when you have no skin in the game you might as well vote for your self-interests at the expense of others. Philosophically I have never agreed with that, but shit, maybe that makes me the stupid one. Oh and I love the tinfoil hat, I only take mine off when swimming in the ocean!

  3. Geary Johansen says

    My YouTube profile threw out a video very similar to Caleb Cain, about a month after the New Zealand shooting- it might have been Caleb Cain, it might not. I think the thing that the algo was picking up was my deliberate attempts to find a balance of news sources- something that the algo seems to deliberately resist. I watch the Young Turks as well as Dave Rubin, Tim Pool as well as David Pakman and the Jimmy Dore Show, I even used to watch Fox, CNN and MSNBC. In the UK, I record Channel 4 news, read the Times and watch Triggernometry on YouTube.

    But something about the young man I watched shortly after the New Zealand shooting didn’t ring true. He knew all the right names, mentioned Ben Shapiro and Stefan Molyneux, but it was as if his knowledge of them was just some caricature, as though his viewpoint was that of someone on the Left doing opposition research. And Caleb Cain’s experience, although different, points towards a radicalisation by the Left, as his YouTube profile suggests that he moved from the right to left, in terms of viewing, over time. Above all, it is worth remembering that the New Zealand shooter saw American Conservatism as a roadblock to far right radicalisation, and one that he intended to remove by smearing figures like Candace Owens.

    In the meantime, we are likely to see an increase in the numbers of sad young men and women, desperate for attention and to gain cultural relevance in search of the only goal that really seems to matter to them, that of being a social media influencer. I’ m not saying that’s what has happened with him, but it might be.

    • Jonny Sclerotic says

      @ Geary

      Great comment as always. Just wanted to thank you for alerting me to Triggernometry – you just got them a new subscriber.

      Completely agree that there is a desperation about so-called influencers. Fortunately, there is finally some pushback from people in the real world doing real jobs. The soft serve ice cream vendor in this article might be my new hero:

      • Henri says

        Triggernometry is I’ve of the best channels on YouTube. Excellent choice!

        • Geary Johansen says

          @ Henri

          The Eric Kaufman interview is particularly illuminating. It’s about white cultural identitarianism and shows that the preference for your own culture/group is hereditary and like a taste- it also correlates with being in favour of the death penalty and wanting to give your kids a strick upbringing. The interviewee also elucidates that ingroup preference does not correlate with outgroup hostility. So all those people who thought that white people were racist if they wanted to self-segregate were wrong.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Jonny Sclerotic

        Great article link. My brother retrained as a chef, after getting degree qualified and working in insurance, as an actuarial technician, so your point is well-taken. It only takes a couple of bad reviews out of hundreds to drop your scores on Google and Trip Adviser precipitously. Will send him the link- he’ll love it.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Geary Johansen

      Here’s a guy who always tries to be reasonable. Good morning Geary.

    • OleK says

      Can these authors STOP referring to Dave Rubin as Conservative or “right-wing”? He’s NOT! He’s a moderate. The author forgets Dave’s last line of his PragerU video where he says “I didn’t leave the Left; the Left left me.”

  4. Cedric says

    First: I’m very tired of the term “radicalize” in all its forms being thrown around so flippantly. What constitutes being radicalized by right wing influences? Being pro-life? Being against high taxes? Being anti open borders? Where do we draw that line and WHO draws it?

    Second: I disagree that the rise of the “nones” will increase the leftist/liberal/democrat base in the end. This base is increasingly trying to force its adherents to behave and think a certain way without questioning authority. This is what the “nones” are escaping by leaving religion – they’re not looking for a new one. I would think they’d lean closer to the libertarian base in the end, even if they currently identify as leftist.

    As usual, just my two cents.

    • E. Olson says

      Good comment Cedric, but you forgot other radical Right wing preferences such as support for the originalism interpretation of the US Constitution, a patriotic belief in American exceptionalism, pride and gratefulness for Western culture, support for the military and law enforcement, belief in color blind meritocracy, and a desire for personal freedom and personal responsibility.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Indeed, as a “none” and “libertarian” (but not a party affiliate as parties limit thought and choice), both the leftists and rightists are absurd.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Right-wing Radicalization to a True Believer Leftist is not keeping up with proper gender pronoun usage and pronounciation. Ask the ex-president of Planned Parenthood.

    • dmm says

      And to your first point:

      “Nuance in conversations is increasingly lacking”

      The author doesn’t notice the irony.

  5. Everyone moving to cities? So much for the long-predicted “Electronic Cottage”! I suspect better rural broadband alone would go a long way to keeping people in the countryside and smaller towns, throughout the world but not least in the USA, where broadband is coverage is still poor in many country areas.

  6. Etiamsi omnes says

    “Nuance in conversations is increasingly lacking…”

    No, Knackatommy Pizza, no one is alluding to anyone in particular. Keep on, we’ve grown attached…

  7. staticnoise says

    Curiosity and cleverly titled videos have skewed what Youtube presents to me as suggestions. You’d think I’m a right-wing conspiracy nut that believes the world is flat among other things. While I do tend to swing right I’m not a fringe nut case. I wonder if the algorithm can be reset? Does anyone know?

    I agree with Cedric – what constitutes right-wing??? Anyone who expresses concern about raising a kid gender-neutral or allowing a man dressed as a woman using the ‘girls’ bathroom is type-cast as a right-wing nut. If you are a self admitted conservative then you automatically hate homosexuals and want to destroy the planet. However, a leftist can spew any number of vile epithets about white males and Christians and ho hum, nothing to see here. The algorithm is poorly written – or- intentional.

  8. Bob says

    Rubin is on right? Really? I don’t think he would describe himself as that. Just because he left the left does not mean he went to the right. The center is the largest political group in the country.

    • E. Olson says

      Bob – well the Left also says Hitler was far Right even though he hated capitalism and religion, enacted high taxes and heavy regulation, supported single payer health care, abortion, and free education, and strongly disliked Jews. Funny thing is, Hitler’s public policies would put him right in the thick of the campaign promises of the 57 Democrats running for President.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @E. Olson

        Hitler and AOC holding hands? I doubt it. Hitler’s solution to under performing groups was not affirmative action, it was extermination. He was not known for his love of Diversity and open door immigration. Really sir, you usually make sense but a comment like that is embarrassing.

        • Kauf Buch says

          TO RayA
          Learn what a “Strawman Argument” is
          before YOU embarrass yourself further in front of all of us.

          E OLson didn’t mention AOC, but YOU did…and SINCE you did…
          …little Evita-Wannabe has called us all “fascists” and asked why we aren’t eliminated.

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – one further similarity with modern day Democrats. Hitler was also a fan of gun control, he confiscated private guns so that only his state controlled (Gestapo) police and military would be armed. Perhaps if the Jews had been well armed, Hitler would have been less enthusiastic and successful in his final solution.

        • E. Olson says

          Ray – nothing I wrote is incorrect. Like modern day Democrats (but with somewhat different targets) Hitler practiced identity politics as he favored Aryans and hated Jews, blaming them for all of Germany’s problems. Hitler didn’t start with extermination, but merely progressed from discriminating against Jews to encourage them to leave, to sending them to concentration camps (for re-education), to finally the final solution.

          In slight contrast, modern Democrats favor people of color, Muslims, and sexual deviants, and blame all the US problems on white Christian heterosexual males (and whites more generally) and all Middle-East problems on Jews in Israel. Democrat policy is to discriminate against white males in college admissions and corporate hiring, send funding to Palestinian terrorists, and constant verbal/written attacks in education (aka “re-education”) and the campaign trail (i.e. toxic masculinity, patriarchy, gun and religion clingers, checking privilege, etc.) that are eagerly parroted by the Leftist media. I’d like to think that AOC and her ilk wouldn’t go full extermination if they ever got large majorities in government, but I expect few Germans who voted for Hitler ever expected he would set up extermination camps.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            So Joe B will be setting up extermination camps for whitey? He, being a white, heterosexual WASP male? Yes, the woke left and Hitler both practice(d) identity politics and that makes wokeness very dangerous. But you seem fixated on the idea that all badness is to the left all the time and all goodness is to the right all the time. I see the potential for evil at the end of every road if one travels too far down it because all extremes are fundamentalist and all fundamentalists are dangerous in the same way. Thus Hitler and the Demicans are ‘opposite’ but increasingly similar. Hitler and Stalin would view each other as absolute opposites, yet dying in the gulag and dying in a concentration camp are different only in the details. The cure for wokeness is not Trumpism, the cure for all extremes is moderation.

            BTW it is interesting to compare Nazi Identity vs. woke Identity. The former posits the one true, superior master race exterminating the multitude of inferiors. The latter posits a rainbow of Victims forming an alliance against the One Patriarchy. The former is a call to unity against diversity, the latter is exactly the opposite. The former came close to conquering the planet, the latter is already starting to fracture and it cannot survive it’s internal contradictions — not that it can’t reek havoc in the mean time.

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – the Left is uniquely dangerous because they desire and promote the big government that has legal authority to do what its masters desire. You may hate billionaire corporations, but if Bill Gates set up crematoriums to mass murder anyone not using Windows he would be in jail so fast your head would spin. On the other hand, if someone such as AOC got in charge she might very well open the borders and set up concentration camps for anyone who objects because she would have the authority of the government including a lot of Leftist judges that would back her up.

            When leading candidates for the US presidency run on shutting down ICE and opening the borders, giving free health care to illegals, free college to everyone, 70+% tax rates, packing the Supreme Court, and overturning the Electoral College, I would hardly call them moderate positions.

            On the other hand, you may think some of the common policy preferences of the Right are “extreme”, but since the Right tends to believe in small government, and the permanent bureaucracy and most judges tend to be highly Leftist, it is virtually impossible on both a theoretical and practical level for the Right to create a police state. So any danger that comes from “extreme” positions can only come from the Left.

          • Philip Maldonado says

            “Hitler didn’t start with extermination, but merely progressed from discriminating against Jews to encourage them to leave, to sending them to concentration camps (for re-education), to finally the final solution.”

            Kind of like what is beginning with the United States Dear Leader?

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            ” the Left is uniquely dangerous”

            That may very well be. You know what I think of AOC and Social Justice. But the cure for one fundamentalism isn’t the other fundamentalism, it’s moderation.

            “You may hate billionaire corporations”

            Not really, I just think they should pay as much taxes as their workers and that they need an eye kept on them. And they shouldn’t be allowed to purchase politicians. I think you agree with me on that.

            “I would hardly call them moderate positions”

            I quite agree. I say we need moderates not that we have moderates. The Dems have gone right off their rockers. Mind, I do think the EC should go. It’s a bit of an anachronism — you no longer need to ride a horse to Washington to cast a vote.

            “but since the Right tends to believe in small government”

            Quite right in the case of the moderate Right.

            “So any danger that comes from “extreme” positions can only come from the Left.”

            Fransisco Franco would weep to hear you say that as would any number of other right wing military juntas — small government, but just big enough to run death squads. You’re a fan of Pinochet as I recall — yes, the number of people tortured to death was only a few thousand, a small price to pay for a return to capitalism. Roughly the same logic in the Banana Republics.

          • Stephanie says

  , a left-leaning organisation if anything, places Hitler in the Authoritarian-Centre – to the left of Obama. Particularly for his time, he was extremely progressive: government-guaranteed jobs, government-controlled health care and education, ect.

            Like the modern left, his was a grievance-based movement. Despite not being the aggressors in WWI, Germany was made to pay exhorbant and humiliating fines to the victors. Jews were not vilified for being unproductive or a drain on society: they were considered too powerful, too rich, with too much influence on society. This grievance-centric approach is mirrored in modern progressivism. Today’s left is motivated by resentment over historical wrongs and the desire to punish the groups of people they deem too powerful or who have wronged them.

            Really the only difference is the identity of the preferred and unfavoured races. Being a coalition of minorities father than the majority means the propaganda is different, “diversity” instead of “purity,” and this coalition may ultimately turn out to be more fragile, but for now the left is uniting the worst of the two worst political philosophies of the 20th century: the economic stupidity of communism and the identity and grievance politics of the Nazis.

            If only we had humanities departments capable of inoculating students against this poison, instead of spreading it through society!

        • northernobserver says

          @Ray Andrews. You are just not analyzing the phenomena from the right angle. You are starting at the bottom of the crematoria pit and working backwards. You need to start in the beer hall and work out what was going on between the politician and his followers.
          You see Hitlers solution to under performing groups was indeed affirmative action, it is just that he identified Germans as the under performing group and his affirmative action demanded the space that the outgroup occupied. How is this any different from what AOC wants to do for American Hispanics or PoC in general? So called “whites” are the outgroup here and although they may not end up in crematoria pit, they may very well lose income and property as “racial justice” is implemented. Un-ironic Racial Justice being thrown out by politicians these days. It unnerving how so many leftist think they can measure and judge race and oppression in order to implement ‘justice’. It is scary.

          Hitler was in love with diversity and open immigration as well, just for certain groups; other Germans, other Aryans. Likewise with AOC. Or do we honestly believe that if there was say an indigenous uprising in Peru and Chilie, say something like Shining Path, and millions of Euro decendent South Americans were showing up illegally at America’s Souther Border that the gang of 4 would be down there clamouring for their rights? Hell no, this is all about racial tribalism; it is masquerading as justice and those most perceptive on the left see it. (old school marxists, certain cranky journalists)

          • Ray Andrews says


            Interesting comment!

            “It is scary.”

            Yes. I think you go too far trying to make the similarity tho. Opposite ideologies can produce identical misery. But there are niceties: Mao wants to reeducate, Hitler didn’t bother pretending, he just kills you. I’ll say it again, tho I’m wasting my time: the real enemy is extremism. The solution to the far left is not the far right, the solution is moderation.

            “they may very well lose income and property as “racial justice” is implemented”

            Exactly. The thing is to grab a free ride on whitey’s bus. Let whitey build the house, then evict him and move in.

            “Hitler was in love with diversity”

            Sorry, no. He was in love with the one, true, pure, master race. The less diverse the better. “Ein Volk, ein reich, ein fuhrer.” It is really hard to imagine Elizabeth W. saying anything like that, surely?

            “Hell no, this is all about racial tribalism”

            Sure, yet from the opposite end — instead of the one true, pure, master race, we have the one truly corrupt, evil race. An opposite yet equally evil doctrine.

            “it is masquerading as justice and those most perceptive on the left see it”

            Yes. I see it. Most here say the solution is to go as far in the opposite direction as possible — Ayn Rand capitalism. I say that a better idea is to resurrect the sane left and the sane right — the moderate center where we politely discuss whether the government should be slightly bigger or slightly smaller. Moderates understand that TFM does many things very well but that regulation is often prudent. The government also does some things well, but it tends toward bloat and waste. We do not look for ideological solutions because there are none, we rather tend our garden. We plant, we water, but not to excess, we fertilize while remembering that too much fertilizer does more harm than good. We weed constantly — there is no end to weeding because weeds are an eternal reality. We harvest when the crop is ready, not too soon tho. We most surely do not leave the garden to itself tho, because then it produces almost nothing but weeds.

            The solution to our ideological excesses would be for everyone to have to learn to garden and to actually produce something in it. Today I’ve got to replant peas and weed the garlic. Really.

      • Jonny Sclerotic says


        Hitler supported abortion like he supported gas chambers: a fierce advocate on behalf of 2% of Europe; a vehement opponent on behalf of the rest. Marie-Louise Giraud lost her head downstage of a guillotine thanks to Nazi abortion laws, which stipulated abortion could either be a capital crime against the state, or a eugenics program sanctioned and enforced by the state, but nothing in between.

        His attitude towards contraception was much the same as any other 19th century European catholic. At the very least, he courted his religion’s leaders, who were only too happy to collaborate.

In 1930, Germany’s last free election, the SPD had more than twice as many votes as the Nazis. Are you seriously saying the Marxists weren’t leftwing enough so people turned to Hitler?

        Good one though, you do make me laugh sometimes.

        • Nakatomi Plaza says

          Yea, E. Olson is hilarious. In his bizarre political catalogue Hitler is somewhere to the left of a typical hippie or public school teacher.

          Godwins’ law doesn’t stand a chance around here, though still applies as much as ever.

        • E. Olson says

          Jonny – yes Hitler used abortion as part of a eugenics program, but that is where legal/medical abortion and sterilization started everywhere including the US. Certainly there is modern day Leftist support for aborting Down syndrome fetuses (official policy in Iceland), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg has expressed the importance of abortion in keep undesirable (aka black) populations under control.

          Hitler used the Communist inspired violence and chaos in Germany to gain popular support as the “law and order” party, but any rational analysis of his actual policies shows very little light between them and Communist dogma. Hitler didn’t nationalize all industry (like the Soviets), but he did take control of the medical, education, and media and heavily regulated and taxed the remaining private sector. In other words, the public sector grew rapidly, and personal freedoms decreased drastically under Hitler. Does that sound like a Republican or Libertarian platform?

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            Communist dogma is that the state must wither way and that all workers everywhere are brothers. Nazi dogma is that the state must become everything (since it embodies the will of dem volk) and that the duty of the master race is to exterminate all inferiors. You can correctly point out that Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany are equally nasty places to live, but the dogmas are entirely different.

          • Jonny Sclerotic says

            EO, is there ‘modern day Leftist support for aborting Down syndrome fetuses’ AND support for state execution of those who conduct abortions? You’re deliberately missing the wider point because you’re desperate to argue that Hitler was left wing. It’s a non starter man.

      • @Olson:

        “the Left also says Hitler was far Right even though he hated capitalism and religion, …”

        No, Hitler did not hate religion. Third Reich Germany was highly religious (95% of the population identified as Christian according to a 1939 census). And Hitler regularly espoused his faith. E.g.:

        “Hence this song [The German anthem] also constitutes a pledge to the Almighty, to His will and to His work: for man has not created this Volk, but God, that God who stands above us all. He formed this Volk, and it has become what it should according to God’s will, and according to our will, it shall remain, nevermore to fade!” (Speech, July 31, 1937)

        “I believe that it was also God’s will that from here a boy was to be sent into the Reich, allowed to mature, and elevated to become the nation’s Fuhrer, thus enabling him to reintegrate his homeland into the Reich. There is a divine will, and all we are is its instruments.” (Speech, April 9, 1938)

  9. Jonny Sclerotic says

    ‘The rise of the nones’ could just as easily refer to voters. I’m not so sure the country is as starkly polarized as those vocal representatives of each pole would have us believe.

    In 2016, only 58% of the electorate turned out to vote. We know a substantial number of those voted, reluctantly, along their traditional party lines. They were only interested in keeping Him or Her out. Enthusiastic, engaged, informed voters are in the minority.

    I’ve long advocated for an official ‘none of the above’ option on the ballot. This would give voice to the millions who are disgusted by the body politic in its entirety. Right now, Dems and Reps are pandering to nutcases, leaving the rest of us politically homeless. Identifying as a centrist is a feeble compromise. I’ve said this before, but here goes again: let’s just junk the Left/Right spectrum and debate the merits of individual policies. Maybe then the campaigns will follow suit. Pie in the sky, obviously.

    • E. Olson says

      Jonny – such low turnout must be why Democrats go all out to encourage illegals, children, the dead, and any other members of the Democrat coalition to vote early and vote often, and oppose any efforts to require ID for voting or up-to-date registered voter lists.

      • Jonny Sclerotic says

        They’re missing a trick – here I am, a live, adult, tax-paying legal immigrant with ID who would probably hold my nose and vote Dem, yet I’m disenfranchised. I still get plenty of requests for campaign donations. Irritating.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Jonny Sclerotic

      “I’ve long advocated for an official ‘none of the above’ option”

      That’s a hell of a good idea, especially for Oz, where they have to vote.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Seems that the real exception is Australia which has preferential voting in the lower house.This means that every successful candidate has to get a majority of the valid votes cast in his or her constituency. Voting is compulsory for all people over 18, which means turn out is over 90% in most elections. There is also the opportunity to write ”none of the above” on your ballot paper, as quite a few people do.
      And, even better, the cities are just as much conservative as they are socialist, because local governments have very few responsibilities other than arranging rubbish removal, and giving building permits.
      Why would you live in a nasty Democrat-controlled city in the US when you could live in Oz?

  10. Kauf Buch says

    Rubin…on the Right?!? Well, I guess for a brain-dead Leftist…or a writer who discredits himself in the opening 10 seconds.

    How queer that the author didn’t cite the now-dead I.C.E. bomber in Washington State, an admitted Antifa member, who was influenced by Alexandria Occasional-Cortex and used quotes from her in his Manifesto.

    Oh, but that would be a bit too “radical” for the narrative, eh?

    • codadmin says

      Bombing is a moderate activity, just ask ISIS…or Antifa and their apologists.

    • David of Kirkland says

      It sure generated much less news/interest in The Seattle Times, despite it occurring just down the road.

    • E. Olson says

      Funny how Bernie Sanders supporter and Congressional shooter James T. Hodgkinson has also been completely forgotten by the mainstream media when they bring up examples of partisan violence and extremism. Wonder why that is?

  11. Steve Bowden says

    Bravo Jonny! Looking at each issue on its own merits is a lot harder than letting your polititical party tell you how to think, but at least you can go to sleep at night taking comfort in the knowledge that you have not been indoctrinated.

    • Jonny Sclerotic says

      “…at least you can go to sleep at night taking comfort in the knowledge that you have not been indoctrinated.”

      Unfortunately, diehard Party Faithfuls do the same. Young Turks and Sultans sleep soundly.

  12. Farris says

    Young urbanites are more likely to benefit from the policies of Democrats. If the city council wants to build a dog park or bicycle trail, chances are young residents will benefit the most without having to pay the lion’s share.
    Conversely as voters age they tend to flip from democrats to republicans after experiencing having to shoulder more of the burden. This trend likewise causes older voters to seek less urban venues.
    In the U.S. these trends should heavily favor Democrats except for two things: 1. Younger citizens tend to be less committed voters and 2. the President is not elected by the popular vote. For these reasons the House of Representatives is more likely to be Democrat as the heavily concentrated urban areas are allocated more seats and the Senate more likely to be Republican as each state is only allocated 2 senators.

  13. Asenath Waite says

    Caleb was never “radicalized.” He just adopted mainstream right-wing views. Unless there’s evidence he was planning mass shootings or bombings of abortion clinics that I’m not aware of?

    • David of Kirkland says

      Yes, radicalization cannot just mean adopted a viewpoint. It presumes radical actions.

  14. codadmin says

    The fascist left ( which includes the NYT, aka ‘the Toilet Paper of Record’ ) are always trying to move moderate non-leftists onto the fringe.

    How can anybody be radicalised by Ben Shapiro and Stephen Crowder? It’s laughably transparent what the ‘Toilet Paper’ is trying to do.

    Does anyone have any examples of their ‘extremist’ views?…thought not.

    The ‘article’ is a projection, as always. The ‘Toilet Paper’ is one of the major sources of brainwashing in American society.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Your examples of the NYTimes lying to you? And please don’t point to a columnist, as they are entertainment, opinion, etc., not the news.

      • codadmin says

        Trump was elected because of Russia…..lie of the century by a country mile. ( the ‘Toilet Paper’ was particularly insistent about that particular lie )

        But no, you can’t discount columnists. Columnists are an intrinsic part of the narrative a newspaper projects.

        • Jack B. Nimble says


          How do you then explain the NYT cover story of Nov. 1, 2016 that was headlined: “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.”…?

          • E. Olson says

            JBN – that story was before the election that they were certain Trump was going to lose in a landslide. Once he won, it became Russia, Russia, Russia as the NYTs joined the “resistance”.

      • Closed Range says


        The convington affair is a pretty clear cut example of the news section at NYT lying/conveniently omitting key facts/not wanting to investigate inconvenient truths.

        Generally there’s no lack of examples of media sources everywhere getting things (deliberately wrong).

        Another way the media lies is by finding some random so called expert that is willing to make opinions public despite the facts being against them, so the media can quote them under their news section. They’re not technically lying themselves, but their choice of which opinions to carry as news is part of

        In the UK we have the BBC and the guardian which have been bludgeoning the population with apocalyptic predictions for the last three years, yet when invariably many of these predictions turn out false, they never correct the score, and will just get their experts to make new false predictions. Its a form of propagandising and lying through convenient intermediaries.

  15. mitchellporter says

    The story of Caleb Cain’s ideological evolution is about as organic as a plastic dog dropping. First of all, he never actually became radical, except perhaps by engaging in thoughtcrime. He bills himself as “former alt-right”, but when you ask him what he actually espoused during his radical phase, he says “alt-lite civic nationalism”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe civic nationalism is a nationalism of values rather than of race, so what on earth is radical about it? Isn’t it just a way to say “I’m against open borders, but I’m not a white nationalist”? According to the New York Times article, his radicalism manifested itself in the form of disagreements with liberal friends, and dating a traditional Catholic. What they actually object to, is that he even watched or knew about the videos and the views of people like Molyneux and Southern.

    Second, his 15 minutes of fame coincided with a long-planned policy change by Youtube, as a result of which thousands of videos were delisted or demonetized. Vox journalist @gaywonk accused “Louder with Crowder” of picking on him, Youtube changed its community guidelines… and meanwhile Cain’s “story” was on the Times front page, conveniently providing a rationale for the purge that didn’t involve protecting the dignity of a Twitter bluecheck. Ben Shapiro (episode 798) argued that the whole thing was a setup, with the real intent being to prevent a repeat of 2016 in 2020, by suppressing potentially pro-Trump voices long before the general election.

    A month before all this, Buzzfeed ran a story entitled, “A Former Alt-Right Member’s Message: Get Out while You Still Can”, about Breitbart journalist Katie McHugh. Breitbart fired her two years before, when in response to an Islamist terror attack on London Bridge (the same one that is currently the subject of British legal hearings), she said such things wouldn’t happen if there were no Muslims in the UK. At other times, she tweeted that slaves didn’t build America and that European immigrants assimilate better. I’m not sure if that is alt-lite or alt-right… In any case, back in the current year, Buzzfeed readers noticed from her photo that she was wearing fake eyebrows, and the interview mentioned that she was going broke due to medical expenses. In other words, in order to find a prominent alt-right defector, Buzzfeed had to settle for a woman so stressed or ill that her hair was falling out. That does not exactly sound like someone who has changed their mind for intellectual reasons.

    My thesis is just that Cain, like McHugh, is not an organic example of “culture war churn”. Both of them were placed in the public eye, by the generals leading one side of the culture war. They are like the reformed jihadis featured in state-backed deradicalization programs in Muslim countries, who say, brothers, while in prison I have discovered that terrorism is not a quranically correct way to wage war.

    • codadmin says

      “At other times, she tweeted that slaves didn’t build America and that European immigrants assimilate better. I’m not sure if that’s alt-lite or alt-right…”

      I think those statements are called facts. Because of human nature, Europeans will assimilate better into a majority European derived society, and slaves didn’t build America, not even remotely.

      I agree with your post though. The tsunami of people waking up to the fascist left has them worried.

      • Stephanie says

        Is it controversial to say there would be no Muslim terrorist attacks in the UK if there were no Muslims in the UK? How does Breitbart of all places not approve of such a plain statement of fact?

        It seems even our right-wing news outlets fear defying the PC beast.

    • X. Citoyen says

      This article is the first I’d heard of this Caleb Cain and his road to Damascus, but I didn’t buy it when I read it here. No chance of proving it, but only a fool would believe it.

  16. David of Kirkland says

    The whole rabbit hole algorithm issue is lame. The algorithm simply points to you to similar material to the ones you watch/LIKE. You choose whether to click and see more or less. All of the WWW is like this, with links from one to another. It’s like saying that Netflix “binge watching” is some sort of mental trick or scam against the poor victim who is just trying to be entertained.
    If you see something disturbing, like child porn or snuff films or white supremacy or whatever else, but then watch it all, perhaps LIKE it, then follow “related” links, it’s not YouTube/WWW that is brainwashing you, but that you are following your prurient/disturbing interests. In fact, some may watch all of these out of research fascination more than pleasure/agreement. But the fact remains, you choose what to watch/read. You choose whether you want more or not. You choose whether to look for contrary items. You are not forced. You are choosing.
    The web/youtube didn’t make you do it.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      No, you don’t understand how it works. It draws you deeper on. It plays on your emotions in ways that are profoundly manipulative. It’s all precisely engineered to keep you watching and clicking. It isn’t 2005 anymore; you can’t get away with pretending like the internet is just a neutral tool that does what we want it to do.

      Sure, we can just turn it all off. We probably should, but that is a very naive and ultimately useless argument that sidesteps the serious questions we should be asking.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Nakatomi

        Will wonders never cease- I actually agree with your point of view, with all sincerity. 🙂 The worst thing about all the Tech giants, is they they know full well that continued engagement is best achieved by riding negative emotions- and as far as I am aware, they have no plans to change this policy.

  17. Jonny Sclerotic says

    There was a time when the web had no idea who we all were. Then we started telling it about every last humiliating detail of our lives. We told it everything and then got mad when it remembered everything.

    • It only took ~20 years for people to realize that they were the product being sold online. And in the main, they still don’t care, so long as they get their Stranger Things and free shipping.

    • Andras Kovacs says

      There was a time when […] it remembered everything.

      That’s, like, poetic, man.

  18. Klaus C. says

    Ta Peter, a sensible article. A breath of fresh in these pages, where the Culture Wars tend to be fairly feverish.

  19. Nakatomi Plaza says

    I’ve got to give credit to Quillette for publishing something fair-minded and representative of something other than the typical right-wing talking points. Thank you.

    And, of course, most of the commenters go apoplectic when they have to confront anything outside their beautiful little bubbles. Very amusing.

  20. Closed Range says

    Overall, I find the article has a big disconnect between its main argument and then its examples. It purports to talk about radicalisation, but then uses examples of people like Dave Rubin, who I watch because he invites people of all political leanings over to his show. He’s had Steven pinker, Brett Weinstein, and many others that you could call the reasonable enlightened left, as opposed to the Identity politics left. Hardly the hallmark of a radical?

    I think the author should be more careful about words like radicalisation. It is usually meant to mean material that spur people on to violence, like the material that is used to recruit jihadists, or communist / anarchist propaganda that was used by far left terrorists in the 1970s. The Hitler youth program was radicalisation. Maoist China had radicalisation programs for students in the cultural Revolution. That’s what radicalisation is.

    In its current form the article makes it seem like the author is implying that Dave Rubin is radicalising people. That makes no sense. Sure, he talks about the madness of the intersectional left maybe more than the far right, but then that is quite sensible given that it is highly astonishing to most of us that a pre-enlightenement tribal and vindictive ideology should come to such prominence among institutions of great power, which the far right does not have.

  21. Deraj Nosnews says

    I think it’s also importent to point out people being “de-radicalized” and still staying relatively to their side of the political spectrum. NYT villains like Crowder and Shapiro talk of people who were far-right before and left that to just be center-right or basic conservative. That seems to be as often talked of by them as people leaving leftism for conservatism. Jordan Peterson has talked of this as a lot of people leaving the alt-right because of him. I can imagine even David pakman having experience with someone saying they left radical leftism for a more rational position.

  22. Kauf Buch says

    This article is emblematic of the horsebllinded Left
    (and its limpwristed handwringing Right counterpart)…
    …a sad, telltale sign of the writer’s need to wash his conscience
    of the evil the writer knows the Left does, by digging up
    strange/isolated incidents on the Right.

    HERE’S White Collar Left abuse (i.e. those who keep their hands clean of Antifa violence) :
    (2 minute video)

  23. asdf says

    What did this Christian VHS tapes do to radicalize you?

    I think this article would have some more heft if you discussed your own experience.

  24. Kevin Herman says

    I still watch videos of the so called unbiased mainstream media losing it over Trump’s victory on election night its still as funny as ever to watch biased political hacks get there comeuppance. Also, I do still enjoy the videos of the Clinton supporter’s over-wrought reactions on election night because its funny to watch people make politics there entire life. When Obama won twice I was annoyed for a little and then went to bed I must be a radical someone report me to the FBI stat!

  25. Gentsu Gen says

    Please: “negative attitudes about immigration” and “positive attitudes about immigration.” Individuals who are concerned about illegal immigration are almost never against legal immigration within reasonable limits. The issue in this country is not “immigration,” it is illegal immigration and enforcement. Also, I can only assume that this author is completely ignorant about Dave Rubin. Dave is pro abortion, pro health care, pro gay marriage, pro 90% of the 2008 Democratic platform. Not a leftist, but a liberal. Since when did support of free speech and anti-racism (supporting “the content of our character…) become conservative?

    • jimhaz says

      No, it is about the accumulated effects of all migration in a world that seeks more and more equality of outcome. It is about all the various negatives that come from high migration.

      Although this is not born out in surveys that is because the media as a representative of business endlessly promote only the positive benefits, because the well-off or most skilled young obtain most of such benefits. If the true net outcomes were promoted by the media, support for medium to high migration would drop dramatically. A happy community is better than a rapidly growing community.

  26. This article is a great example of what I call “anti-thought.” Anti-thought is, you guessed it! — the opposite of thinking. It is the concerted attempt to formulate meaningless strings of words to insure that one will indeed never have to experience the discomfort of thinking.

    Such discomfort is avoided by the author by beginning with the anti-thought that the meaning and definition of a ‘radical’ or ‘extreme’ political view is self-evident. The author begins with these anti-thoughts because he presumably understands that the remainder of what he has to say would be gibberish otherwise.

    What EXACTLY are the extremist political views we are talking about here? That a person, has a right to crush the skull of an unwanted newborn because it had the audacity to survive multiple attempts to murder it in the womb?

    Do you want the antidote to anti-thought? Start by reading Euclid’s Elements, a book prepared over 2,000 years ago by a ‘dead white male’ that lays out the fundamentals of reasoning and logic. The more I teach college kids the more I am convinced that education has failed in an epic fashion to pass on the most fundamental rudiments needed to function as a civilized being.

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO AA
      Well stated!
      As far as, “…education has failed in an epic fashion to pass on the most fundamental rudiments needed to function as a civilized being,” though an absolute cultural tragedy, it’s not a FAILURE when it was the INTENTIONAL OBJECTIVE of the corrupt Leftist “anti-educators” who infiltrated the educational system over the past 6-8 decades.

  27. Andre says

    “Every time someone shifts Right from the YouTube rabbit-hole, someone else follows the lead of James from Long Island and shifts Left.”

    How does this follow? How can one honestly craft such an evidence free, begging the question sentence?

    • Kauf Buch says

      TO Andre
      It’s WISHFUL (though delusional) THINKING from a Leftist who has an inkling of the oncoming train and still can’t do a thing about it…and he knows his articulate, verbose manner just can’t stop those wheels ‘a’ turnin’….

  28. Etiamsi omnes says

    Perhaps out of order, but I wholeheartedly agree with President Trump that, regardless of race, anyone under 30 ought to be sent back where they came from.

  29. This “YouTube Rabbit-Hole” of controversial YouTube news commentators is a lot more useful than the “be afraid!”, “punch Nazis” and “if you see something, say something” kind of world the legacy media seems to be pushing us towards.

    Sargon of Akkad, Karen Straughan, ShortFatOtaku, Styxhexenhammer, Tim Pool, Jordan Peterson they all helped me realize why suddenly people were losing their jobs and their social standing. Why people won’t change their minds in the face of evidence. Why joining a group that is violent is sometimes preferable to the human psyche than feeling abandoned by your regular family and friends.

    It’s important to acknowledge our own biases (and everyone has them). Mass media is smearing YouTube because they are at least more interesting than tuning in to MSNBC, CNN and other legacy media orgs. It doesn’t hurt that a YouTuber requires significantly less up-front money than these other news orgs to actually report on a story. Admittedly, that is also because of the biased reporting (or lack of reporting) that these “News commentators” have any material to begin with, but that’s the rub.

    Do you trust a well-meaning amateur who is going to admit to their biases (more) and mistakes (sometimes) to give you the news, or a group that’s obviously interested in only pushing certain stories that only reaffirm the political bias of the organization?

  30. You say the more educated you are the more you lean left, don’t you mean if you have advanced education in the USA you will probably be radicalised by academia much more than any YouTube rabbit hole? At least on Youtube you can press top or go for a walk. Those poor kids in your schools are being brainwashed before they have to worry about Youtube.

    Also, this narrative about Youtube and brainwashing seems like the lefts mantra, that we can’t think for ourselves.

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