Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Thinking In The Dark

I live over 70 miles from the DFW International Airport. There are multiple ways to get from there to here and depending on the time of day, traffic, road construction and my attitude; I’ve taken most all of them at one time or the other. On occasion, when I’ve been deep in thought or listening to sports talk radio or talking on the phone; I’ve found myself on a route I didn’t plan on taking. Sometimes I didn’t even realize I was on that route until I came upon a major interchange. Not exactly safe driving protocol, but it is what it is and I confess that I was not paying attention to anything other than the traffic and whatever was occupying my thoughts.

The same thing happens sometimes to me on the internet, especially with You Tube. One thing leads to another and, before you know it, you find yourself watching and listening to people who are somehow part of something called the Intellectual Dark Web. I stumbled across Jordan Peterson when looking at debates on religion. And Jordan Peterson led me to Dave Rubin. Rubin to Ben Shapiro and Eric Weinstein. Eventually I stumbled across Joe Rogan and Douglas Murray. I also found people I already knew, such as Sam Harris, out there on the same channels.

And then I discovered that I was caught up in The Intellectual Dark Web. The Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) is a relatively new term that was coined by Eric Weinstein. It has been used to describe a loosely defined group of intellectuals, academics and political commentators who espouse controversial ideas and beliefs surrounding subjects related to free speech, identity politics and biology. Critics on the left have accused it of being ultra-conservative, alt-right, homophobic, racist, sexist, fascist, and just about anything else they can think of that might discredit what’s being said there. Unfortunately, there are some extremists being linked to the IDW. However, the fact of the matter is that those I’ve noted above tend to be center right or center left. Most hold both progressive and conservative positions depending on the issue. I suppose that’s why I am paying attention to what they have to say as I tend to be much the same way.

Those who have been identified as part of the IDW are also attracting millions (literally millions) of viewers and supporters. It’s become “a thing” and as always happens, becoming “a thing” is not always “a good thing”. Becoming a thing attracts the lunatic fringe and controversial characters like Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones. Becoming “a thing” puts you under the microscope. Eventually something you say will be edited or taken out of context and used to prove that you are indeed homophobic, racist, sexist, fascist, alt-right or just another tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist.

I truly hope this doesn’t happen to people like Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro. What they have to say is worth listening to and considering. In a world where political correctness and feelings are more important than truth and values, we need these other voices. Now if we would just call it something other than the Intellectual Dark Web.

"Whatever differences we have, tolerating others' opinions is a prerequisite to a functioning and free society." - Dave Rubin

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