The Left will eat itself into oblivion. The Right will purge itself in a circular firing squad. Guess what? It turns out that classical liberals and the “Intellectual Dark Web” (IDW) can also skin themselves alive, much like the other cannibals in the animal kingdom of the human race. To the bottom.
It all started with an article posted to “radical centrist” hub Quillette, titled “Is the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ Politically Diverse?” What happened next may shock you, fellow kids. The article spurred an all-out war between intellectual diversity YouTube host Dave Rubin (he has his own report) and so-very-respectable Quillette founder Claire Lehmann, formerly of Rebel Media and HBD-mommy-blogger fame.
Breaking the Rules for Stoics handbook, Dave Rubin decided to express a bout of anger that he was lumped in with the high-IQ faction of new right deplorables in the Quillette article penned by Uri Harris. He did not want to be dragged down into that cesspit, and was ready to take a stand in the name of his classical values. He felt that he was unfairly categorised as a part of the ominous right, and had built his entire brand on being the friendly leftist next door. My image! My reputation! Rubin sent out an urgent PR message to anyone-who-was-anyone in the Intellectual Dark Web-sphere to make sure his rational leftist position could be clarified across the enlightenment liberal plantation.
Lehmann, most likely bored with her role as the respectable lady in the IDW-sphere, decided to take a shot at Dave in return. “Drag him!” her orbiters replied enthusiastically. It seemed as if they were interested in Dave finally cutting the PR game and embracing the Intellectual Dark Web, thus by greater extension the (ominous!) right. Yet, Dave Rubin was having none of that funny business, as he viewed himself as a leftist from the start. Just a very open-minded leftist.
Both Dave’s interest in making this distinction known to the entire universe and Lehmann’s try-hard desire to put him in his place seem a bit absurd, considering that neither of them hold views that are remotely extreme or controversial, unless you think that speaking out against university culture in university-speak and discretely acknowledging human biodiversity at cocktail parties is somehow heretical (#basicwitches, right?). Yet, both Claire and Dave seem to worry, quite deeply, about distinguishing themselves from those non-classy rightists (shudder!) and tread an acceptable line of discourse for enlightenment 2.0.
The crowd roared, cheered, and hissed as the classical liberals and IDW flung one insult after another at their very own. They threw themselves into a self-referential irony loop in which their entire operation was revealed to be a bunch of academic rejects and extremely bored nerds fighting with one another over absolutely nothing. Those of us on the outside wondered how these people could be self-absorbed enough to believe that anyone beyond their circle found their optics larping of any importance, as none of these people were heterodox, to begin with, despite them throwing the term “heterodox” around ad nauseam. The Intellectual Dark Web was not so calm and centred after all, but at least they were finally beginning to entertain us. Fuck yeah! There is a first time for everything.
Since both #TeamQuillette and #RubinsReporters were coming off as childish and immature, it was soon time for some interventionism. Bret Weinstein — brother of managing director at Thiel Capital Eric Weinstein— stepped in to let everybody know that Quillette had become a total embarrassment. The first rule of the IDW is that you do not act sloppy. The second rule of the IDW is that you do not act sloppily.
When the enlightened and rational fight, the only fights will be rational and enlightened. We are living in the society of the milquetoast spectacle, so it is now more important to understand facts and reason than ever. We can laugh at these pretentious liberals who try to out-classical one another, feeling grateful we don’t have these sorts of expectations inside our out-groups. Perhaps it is the centre that needs to stop being so extreme this time around. As Dave Rubin states in his Twitter bio, “Twitter is not real life.”