Reactionary figures, after all, have projected a narrative of cultural victimhood going back to the earliest days of William F. Buckley Jr and the National Review. The Los Angeles Review of Books is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.
When the university asked him to stop talking about it, including sending two warning letters, he refused. Before I heard those such as Ben Shapiro and Rubin speak about problems of the modern, progressive left, I knew of no other ideas about how the world was , apart from those presented to me by any and every source that a passive participation in our dominate culture naturally exposes one to. (I had only had a vague sense that “political correctness” and its corresponding demands did not rest well with my conscience.) Prior to listening to Weinstein and Peterson converse, I was unaware such careful and intellectually sound discussion was even possible—that such things even occurred. I should think to blame this at least partly on the failure of my education, but the IDW, for all its faults, provided me with a springboard into not only leading social and political discussions but, also, to exploring the entire world of ideas.
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My basic line on the left is that it is a Great Reaction, a lurch back to the primitive, where socialism is a return to slavery. Lefties have faith in politics in an era that has shown that politics and political power do not deliver human flourishing. As for the contention that bringing an understanding of human nature into discussions about social structure and inequalities is tantamount to a kind of resigned acceptance of all our social ills is utter nonsense. Only a fool would jump to such a conclusion and it’s certainly not an argument I’ve heard Peterson or anyone else make. The point is that trying to effect change without first understanding the underlying evolutionary and biological drivers that shape society can be at best ineffective and at worst full of disastrous unintended consequences. The fundamental mistake most critics make is to frame the IDW as “right” or “anti-left.
Oh, and stand up straight and make your damn bed. We can’t search for truth through any other principle because that means we would have to afford special protections to those claiming offense. As soon as we do that, we elect authorities who decide what is offensive and what isn’t, and that is where the danger lies. How many times have we seen professors, student groups, and individuals punished for perceived offense determined by institutional authorities? It is for this very reason why our institutions are failing us.
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Peterson is not entirely wrong when he compares the campus activist who vibrates with rage at some minor rhetorical transgression to the Cheka officer whose gloved-hand raps on the door in the middle of the night. The difference is one has political power while the other does not. But self-actualisation has its obvious limitations.
- Those without a calling other than to social and cultural conflict itself inevitably become uninteresting.
- As for whether YouTube’s recommendation algorithm played a role in introducing such content to viewers, the researchers did note that the algorithm did not recommend more extremist white supremacist content (i.e. those in the “alt-right” bucket).
- But many on the left would rather take up a cugel to beat Patterson, deliberately misconstruing his point, rather than admit that human beings, like every other organism on the planet, are subject to our evolutionary history.
Nor are Charlie Kirk and Coleman Hughes, or Donald Trump Jr. and Douglas Murray. Some are obviously more interested in the true free exchange of ideas and the unwavering pursuit of truth than others. The divide goes beyond mere personal opinion or conviction and extends to motive, self-awareness , and, of course, depth of thought. Even more offensive than labeling these people intellectual (Rogan and Rubin are intellectual? Be serious) is to claim that 61% of them are liberal by self-identification. Harris is the worst offender of this by far; he can’t stop talking about how he’s a classical liberal.
The 1980s–1990s political correctness debates were in many respects debates over the legacy of the radical politics and counterculture of the 1960s. Allan Bloom kicked things off with his 1987 best seller The Closing of the American Mind, which argued that the influence of ’60s-era student, feminist, and Black Power movements led college students to reject traditional liberal arts curricula. Roger Kimball later upped the ante, alleging that the professors of the 1980s were former student protesters. Authored a piece in The New York Times recognizing for the first time in any mainstream publication a certain group of loosely affiliated thinkers. Indeed, in many ways, the original members of this informal alliance against the dogmatic arrogance, general corruption, and cleverly-veiled coerciveness of the legacy media have been unable to escape the very forces they had sought to oppose. One need not doubt that some of the dark web’s critiques are made in good faith and based on valid interpretations of social science data.
Your library or institution may give you access to the complete full text for this document in ProQuest. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work . With humor, analytical rigor, and careful attention to the sources of the IDW’s appeal, Brooks offers us a model blueprint for countering the reactionary narratives ascendant in the smoldering ruins of the neoliberal order. Activists and thinkers across the Left would be wise to follow his example. As Michael Brooks observes in the opening chapter of his new book Against the Web, the contradiction is hardly a new one.
Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve, whose work is frequently cited by members of the IDW, made the astonishing claim during a2007 debate that “most of the juice” had gone out of environmental explanations for racial inequality “by the 1970s”. As Brooks notes with incredulity, this was “a single decade after the ‘Whites Only’ signs came out of the restaurant windows and black people started to be allowed to vote”. I have always thought that the IDW was a strange group of bedfellows. Their commonality seemed to be more about what they didn’t like as opposed to any important shared ideology.