Given the modern-day requirement of remaining politically correct at all costs, philosophers, free thinkers, and others are retreating to a little-known Internet fringe area to have politically incorrect debates.
By John Friend
A burgeoning political and intellectual dissident movement known as the Intellectual Dark Web is gaining traction and popularity as the thought police and enforcers of political correctness that are attempting to control the prevailing political, social, and cultural discourse continue their tyrannical overreach into the lives of not only public intellectuals, journalists, and other outspoken thinkers, but also average Americans holding views that challenge the prevailing political orthodoxy.
The Intellectual Dark Web, or IDW, is comprised of a number of popular, yet politically incorrect and controversial, thinkers, academics, journalists, and independent political and cultural commentators that have openly rebelled from “the establishment”—major academic institutions, mainstream media platforms and outlets, and other avenues and venues promoting politically correct narratives and ideas. Many of these individuals began their careers operating in established institutions before rebelling and venturing out on their own in order to pursue their unique intellectual passions and challenge many of the pillars of mainstream, politically correct narratives shaping our political discourse today.
At its heart, the IDW is a movement of independent thinkers who are determined to buck the shackles of political correctness and champion free speech, free thought, and free intellectual and political inquiry, at least on many topics. A recent profile of the IDW published by The New York Times describes the group as “a collection of iconoclastic thinkers, academic renegades, and media personalities who are having a rolling conversation—on podcasts, YouTube, and Twitter, and in sold-out auditoriums—that sounds unlike anything else happening, at least publicly, in the culture right now.”
Many of its members have either been forced out, shunned, or otherwise ostracized from establishment circles and organizations, and have developed and founded their own media platforms, using YouTube, social media outlets like Twitter, and personal websites and blogs to express themselves and gain an extraordinary following.
Notable names openly identifying with the IDW include, among others: Sam Harris, the popular podcaster, neuroscientist, and atheist; Ben Shapiro, a conservative pundit, writer, and podcaster who formerly worked at Breitbart News; Jordan Peterson, one of the most important—and controversial— public intellectuals in Canada; Dave Rubin, a popular comedian and commentator who has made his name on the Internet; and Joe Rogan, a podcaster and commentator in the martial arts world.
Members of the IDW often disagree politically and have a wide range of opinions and views on the political spectrum. But one thing they all agree on is that free speech and free intellectual inquiry are under direct assault in America and the wider Western world, where political correctness and intellectual tyranny prevail. Virtually all of them have been purged from major institutions and establishment-serving organizations, which are increasingly hostile to persons expressing politically incorrect opinions, for their intellectual and political pursuits.
“People are starved for controversial opinions,” Rogan, the popular podcast host and commentator, explained to the Times. “And they are starved for an actual conversation.” That’s where the IDW comes in. Rogan, like other members of the IDW, has seen a dramatic increase in this audience in recent years, and now his podcast reaches millions of listeners every month. Other members of the IDW draw enormous crowds for their public speeches and presentations, while others generate millions of views on their YouTube channels.
The rise of the IDW and other independent media outlets and venues is certainly a welcome development in the eyes of critical thinkers, free speech activists, and those of us concerned about the future of intellectual inquiry in the West.
As the controlled corporate mass media and other establishment-serving organizations continue to be exposed as the deceptive, manipulative, and freedom-crushing entities they truly are, the flourishing of the IDW and other independent thinkers brings hope and light to a potentially dark future of political correctness, censorship, and intellectual tyranny.
John Friend is a freelance writer who lives in California.