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  • Norman Young

The Intellectual Dark Web Rises


Facts don’t care about your feelings. So says one of America’s most popular conservative pundits who has recently been declared, by the New York Times, to be a member of the “Intellectual Dark Web”. For those who have never heard the term “dark web” before, it refers to internet activity that cannot easily be publicly accessed or information that is sent privately, person-to-person. Ben Shapiro and other conservatives aren’t really part of the “dark web”. Their websites have public URLs and get plenty of public traffic. However, the ideas put forward by conservatives do constitute something of an intellectual underground.

The kinds of things that get discussed behind conservative paywalls and in obscure online locations are studiously kept out of mainstream public discourse by gatekeepers. The idea that some religions might be preferable to others (or, worse, might be true!), that culture and family structure play a role in crime, that IQ may be unevenly distributed in populations, that modern feminism might not be an unqualified social good – these kinds of things are discussed openly in the “Intellectual Dark Web”. By contrast, these ideas are completely shunned by mainstream media. A few misplaced words that even hint in these directions could cause major outlets to cut the cord.

A strict taboo regarding certain sensitive subjects arises from the fact that America is a post-Protestant culture. Citizens feel a heavy dose of guilt regarding America’s past which manifests itself in a tendency toward self-criticism. When addressing social problems, Americans exhaust every possible self-critical explanation before