Recently whilst out hunting the snark, or next subject for a post, I came across this crew of smartypants out there in the wild, having these long, intellectual conversations – kind of ala My Dinner With Andre-esque, ‘cept without the restaurant as a backdrop.
“ANDRÉ: Okay. Yes. We’re bored now. We’re all bored. But has it ever occurred to you, Wally, that the process which creates this boredom that we see in the world now may very well be a self-perpetuating unconscious form of brainwashing created by a world totalitarian government based on money? And that all of this is much more dangerous, really, than one thinks? And that it’s not just a question of individual survival, Wally, but that somebody who’s bored is asleep? And somebody who’s asleep will not say no?”Wallace Shawn, My Dinner With André
For me that long-winded engagement is very tantalizing in this soundbite universe, of limited characters and limited patience, it is rather difficult to find these out of the box minds, those who don’t conform to the unnuanced popular perspective du jour.
Now, not to question the significance of movements towards diversity, equality and so forth, but in terms of shutting people down, trolling, bullying and this trend of forcing dissenters of all stripes underground, and knowingly or otherwise, there are on the left those who are just as authoritarian-minded as those on the right; I am gobsmacked.
It was that subject that intrigued me, of the authoritarian nature of the far-left and what was interesting is that I just had not gone far enough outside of my own bubble to encounter this self-titled Intellectual Dark Web of thinkers who’d been out there in the wild all along.
I’ve always been a proponent of, or maybe more accurate to say a seeker of all sides of an issue and not just the one fed to me by mainstream media; which has always been limited to, well, um, mainstream thinking- I mean, that is the mandate, you know, kinda why we call it mainstream media.
Now, this group of thinkers all have one thing in common, and that is that they have points of view that do not fit the politically correct box, and so their views have been turned away at universities across North America for inciting riots on campus, some of them have been forced to resign or were fired from their positions due to their vocalizing certain aspects of equality, diversity, and the women’s movement issues that don’t meet with this radicalized far left, and bring up all sorts of issues and debates around what freedom of speech is, and what it means, and in this galvanized society we find ourselves in today I have to admit in some aspects they most definitely have a point.
I good example of that, and fairly benign, was the CBC’s decision recently to ban the song “Baby it’s cold outside” from the airwaves. Now, it wasn’t for long cause, well, Canadians all sort of did a collective….reallly? That’s the song ya pick? Like….reallly?!! Don’t get out much, eh?
Well, more or less.
Bret Weinstein, one of the IDW members of this loose association of thinkers, was run out of his 14 year tenured job at Evergreen University in 2017 I believe, because of statements or something he made asserting that, well, from what I can pull from the news bites I found cause I was like completely unaware of this, but he is asserting that the Black Lives Matter movement is Black Supremacy and therefore no better than White Supremacy.
“We’re just going around all day like unconscious machines, and meanwhile there’s all this rage and worry and uneasiness just building up and building up inside us”IBID
To give you a very, very rough sketch of the membership of this dark web of intellectuals, other members of this group include Bret’s brother, Eric a mathematician who coined the moniker they now bill themselves under, Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and the hero of all the maligned sexually frustrated men, Candace Owen, YouTuber who touts how black people too can be Republican and how that will benefit them (though I think it actually benefits her more than it may them, just my opinion), also Sam Harris, an atheist neuroscientist whose critique of Islam has fostered much hoorah from the far right who of course embrace all that whole-heartedly.
They are a mixed bag of thinkers but they have garnered quite a bit of traction on the right; no doubt due to the fact there are few intellectuals on the right to choose from. The one aligning principal is that each of them in some way has voiced opinions that have had them censured in some fashion, and in fact, very few of them began on the right, but rather from the left, and some even still considering themselves progressive, such as Sam Harris.
While I have some serious issues with some of their, um, opinions, they have made me aware of something I admit to being blind too, and that is the authoritarian aspect of the far left; I mean, that they were a bit strident for my taste, but not that there is real cause for concern.
I mean, the giant gulf now that exists between the right and left, to be honest, had me looking for these alternate points of view, as that is the place where more complex ideas are hacked out, outside the norm, the mainstream; but it seemed an echo chamber, nary peep, or so I had thought.
“Hell is paved with good intentions.”Samuel Johnson
Ok, let me clarify, I mean outside the alt-right media outlets of Fox News or Breitbart, InfoWars and that ilk, I mean the genuine thinkers with their out of the box ideas exploring the difficult nuances of particular current issues.
And, rightly so, this nuanced discussion is being shut down all over, and that is concerning and there seems to be no dialogue on the gray, everything is black or white, you are for or against, and there is a real danger in that.
Here is one of these opinions, or maybe thoughts is more correct, but one thought I had in regards the Democratic Virginia Governor blackface issue.
First off, the governor shot himself in the foot by walking back his original apology, I mean, own up or shut up. However, the one thing that bothers me about these kinds of issues over the last couple years is that with social media giving everyone their own soapbox things get so blown right out of proportion that everyone ignores whatever disagrees with their tightly held conceptions, and everyone is cemented in and stops listening.
Many are pointing out that this kind of dress-up was not uncommon back in the day, as race-related sensitivity was still shut out of the mainstream.
Now, the real issue is, should someone be forced to resign because of our current way of understanding a particular issue? Is this comparable to someone with a long history of denigrating racial minorities, such as Republican congressman Steve King? I’m really asking, cause, there is a slippery slope, and when do we draw that line?
Certainly, in the current climate, I think he’s probably going to have to resign or should resign. Quite frankly he, as I said, I feel he kind of did it to himself, you know if you put shoe polish on your face and had your picture taken with someone in a KKK outfit, right? I’m 51 years old and a teenager of the ’80s, I’d remember that.
Another important point too is that far from silencing these voices of dissent, banning them wholesale only serves to push them back underground to fester and grow, creating a sort of incestuous feedback loop that doesn’t allow for any new ideas, isn’t allowed to evolve or learn.
As well, when everyone is just screaming at one another no one is listening.
In the current divisive climate, the divide between the left and the right is growing larger and larger, and there is a real and present danger of losing sight of the underlying principles that the United States was founded under, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That every citizen deserves a piece of those things there is no question, but the ends do not ever justify the means, regardless of what side you are on.
The original founding fathers agreed on very little, they argued quite a bit over all sorts of issues, but they at the same time respected their opponent enough to actually listen to what they were saying.
Today, more often than not, if you are not saying what some watchdog doesn’t like you are shut down, and hate speech has widened out to such a degree that one wonders what thing they said, did, or otherwise publically exposed, what mistaken idea or thing they did that decades later will destroy everything they’ve worked for.
I mean, it’s all well and good until it happens to you, eh?
I have no interest in an authoritarian dictator regardless of what their opinion is on global warming or immigration or equity or a woman’s right to choose, I am not interested in living in my way or the highway society, period, full stop.