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 allowing themselves to implicate victims in any way. When plausible explanations fail, they invent fanciful ones. Ghost-hunting soothes the American conscience; facing facts can be too uncomfortable.
The “Intellectual Dark Web” is an army of people, mostly men, who are ready and willing to look facts in the face. Many of them use the term “red pill” to describe the feeling of intellectual freedom that comes from throwing off the fetters of political correctness. The “red pill” phenomenon is so intriguing and has become so popular that even intellectual freeloaders like Kanye West are beginning to take an interest. Meanwhile, the establishment is scrambling to pull people back inside and shut the gate.
It is well known that most mainstream media outlets anathematize certain conservative opinions. But far-Left ideas are not immune to this phenomenon, either. Discussions about philosophical positions which, if widely espoused on the Left, might embarrass the Center-Left establishment are also heavily restricted. Full-on communism and anarchism fall into this category, along with ideas like eugenic abortion and infanticide. On nearly every college campus in America, far-Left ideas are treated with great seriousness. But media gatekeepers do their best to keep these views from seeing the light of day.
The “Intellectual Dark Web” cannot be stopped. Gates will no longer hold them. Facebook and Google, who recently attempted to influence an Irish election on the issue of abortion by banning pro-Life advertisements, face an unstable future. An enormous groundswell of interest for new, competing media platforms threatens the foundation of their monopolies. People are growing tired of the conscience-soothing media minstrel show, where the same ideas dance in circles, over and over, ad infinitum. Americans are hungry for the facts and are longing for a deeper discussion of the issues. Many are unaware that deep conversations are already happening all across the internet. If you seek them, you will find them.
Or, you can take the blue pill – and wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.