Dr. Jordan B. Peterson. Ben Shapiro. Stephen Pinker. Bret Weinstein. Eric Weinstein. Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Dave Rubin. Some of these names (or maybe none of them) may sound familiar to you. All of them are part of a movement called the "Intellectual Dark Web."
This term, coined by mathematician Eric Weinstein, describes a group of individuals of all political stripes who have come together to have the conversations that the rest of the culture is afraid to have, or which is too angry to have. These folks often disagree: you couldn't get any more diametrically opposed than Ben Shapiro, a die-hard Republican, and Bret Weinstein, a lifelong far-left liberal. The key is, that these guys can talk to each other and even disagree with each other and not resort to calling each other Nazis or HItler or evil. They just disagree. That's it! No one is called a racist, sexist, transphobe. No one is sent to the naughty stair. No one is pilloried or mocked. They just talk.
In recent weeks, I've become a huge fan of the Rubin Report, as seen on YouTube - Dave Rubin, formally of the very liberal show The Young Turks, has since handed in his Progressive Card in exchange for the self-imposed label, a "classical liberal." For the record, he is also married to his husband, yet he is able to have an extremely civilized and productive conversation with Bishop Robert Barron - they even talked about homosexuality, but in a way that was interesting, challenging, and enlightening. Rubin's show has been an incredibly important vehicle for the IDW to gather and talk - really talk things through.
Another huge figure in this movement is Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a Canadian professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. Peterson found himself in trouble with his university and with the wider culture when he refused to comply with Canada's C-16 Bill, which criminalized the act of "misgendering" a trans person. His objection was based, not on transphobia, but on the basis of freedom of speech. Peterson said that he didn't want to be compelled by law to use specific words. For this, he found himself targeted by LGBT allies, and subjected to extremely harsh public scrutiny.
Here's a moment from his interview with British TV presenter, Cathy Newman. Take note of how often she says, "So you're saying..."
What is really shocking about the interview wasn't necessarily Newman's own point of view about political or cultural issues, but rather, her incessant drive to try to prove him to be what she thinks he is, rather than to let him be himself.
In fact, if you get a chance to watch the full interview, it should be plain as to why we need this Intellectual Dark Web. We've devolved into an increasingly shrill society driven by social media pathos to the extreme. Things have gotten so toxic that even a leftist can no longer express him/herself freely, for fear of accidentally saying something remotely positive about President Trump. Take the leftist backlash against Kanye West, for example. Kanye isn't exactly a paragon of wisdom by any stretch, and nor does he have a record of being conservative. But one nice thing to say about conservative activist Candace Owens, and suddenly he's Trump's lap dog and an Uncle Tom.
The only way we can expect to progress as a society and as a culture is for us to listen to each other, with our agendas left at the door. It's not about giving up what you think or believe, but rather, opening your mind to the other person's opinion. It's not even about agreement - it's about listening and building ideas together, or at least exploring them together, even if we come to different conclusions. But as long as we continue in these schoolyard, Mean Girls tactics where we say, "You can't sit with us," then nothing will happen. Dave Rubin recently commented to one of his guests that he was taking a risk with his career even for appearing on the Rubin Report - and he's right about that. The Intellectual Dark Web is the secular antidote to this toxic mindset.
Link to the Rubin Report on YouTube
Witty; cunning; crafty
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