The “Intellectual Dark Web” Is Nothing New

Jacob Hamburger:

THE FIRST DISTINCT intellectual movement to have emerged during the Trump presidency is not the alt-right, which rose to prominence during the 2016 campaign. Nor is it democratic socialism, the egalitarian platform that many young progressives have embraced since the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Instead, this movement may well be what some are calling the “intellectual dark web.” It is a heterogeneous group, bringing together neuroscientists, biologists, and psychologists with entrepreneurs, comedians, and sports commentators. Some claim to lean to the left, others to the right. There is nonetheless a common enemy that unites them. Despite their various differences, all members of the movement believe their ideas are being stifled by an epidemic of “political correctness.”

Unlike the actual “dark web” of hidden online networks, this one requires no specialized software to be made accessible. Its ideas can be found in best-selling books and media channels with millions of subscribers. Mathematician and financier Eric Weinstein coined the term intellectual dark web, and he meant to point out not that this group is obscure — it isn’t — but that its figures all pride themselves on upturning conventional beliefs.