In today’s video I made brief reference to Ilhan Omar and her supposed antisemitism. The most interesting thing about this is that most of the people pushing that story have no idea what she’s actually been accused of. The tweet from 2012, which she has apologized for, mentioned in the video, wouldn’t strike most of the world as antisemitic, but it definitely is according to US standards that I agree with. The controversies over the past few months aren’t antisemitic by any fair definition. She has simply called attention to the fact that US politicians are paid a great deal of money by organizations like AIPAC to privilege Israeli interests over US interests.
A year ago I probably would have been more skeptical of Omar, but the sad fact is that the US congress has proved their allegiance to Israel, over and over. The Omar controversy itself makes this clear, but there are much more concrete actions to point to. I don’t know much about the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanction” or “BDS” campaign against Israel. What I do know is that multiple state legislatures have imposed flagrantly unconstitutional laws that penalize US citizens that refuse to sign anti-BDS pledges. Regardless of the worth or evil of BDS as a program, that’s a straightforward limitation of the first amendment rights of US citizens in a foreign country’s favor. Before this year, I was content to chalk the anti-BDS excesses up to Evangelical Christians in red states who support Israel because they want it to die in the end times that they believe an Israeli state will bring about. The US courts have already ruled versions of these law unconstitutional, and I thought that that slow progress would deal with the issue. Unfortunately not. A bi-partisan group of legislators has mounted an anti-BDS crusade, and is trying to pass national law that allows States to discriminate on the basis of speech and association. That’s outrageous. That’s a clear example of US legislators being bought to put allegiance to Israel over the rights of US citizens. You can read more about this horror here.
Very few of the people who attack Omar have reckoned with this insanity. What’s more, they make assumptions about who she is, and what she believes. Many supposedly serious journalists attempted to pull the “Oh yeah, well why doesn’t she attack Saudi Arabia!?!?!” card. This is ridiculous because she is one of the most consistent voices in Congress against the US-Saudi destruction of Yemen. She is also a supporter of LGBT rights, something else that is ignored in the absurd attacks on her. Our government and media is trying to turn one of the most consistent and heroic opponents of US foreign policy into a racist caricature. It’s pretty awful.
Video Transcript after the jump…
Ladies and Gentlemen, the intellectual dark web is for baby boomers. Over the past year or so, a diverse group of internet enabled intellectuals has made a name for itself. Many have their own strong, independent platforms, some of which have been going for years.
They go on each others shows and collaborate. They pitch themselves as a group of brave truth tellers waging an insurgent war against the politically correct establishment. They come from diverse places politically, but they are supposedly united in providing facts over feelings.
The fact that their insurgent movement got a glowing review in the pages of The New York Times should probably indicate that all is not exactly what it seems here. Now I don’t want to deny the real accomplishments of some of these figures.
Jordan Peterson apparently serves as a father figure for a lot of lost young men, and there’s nothing wrong with self-reliance as a philosophy. I only know Sam Harris from his deeply historically ignorant coverage of Islam, but intelligent friends of mine assure me that his podcast has value outside of its bigotry. Joe Rogan is a charming guy, and the fact that he can get millions of people to watch 3 hour interviews is impressive. Honestly I’ve never found anything Ben Shapiro or Dave Rubin has done to be anything other than irritating, but I’ll confess what I’ve heard hasn’t convinced me to do the necessary research. Maybe they’re great.
So some of these folks do interesting, worthwhile stuff individually, but what puzzles me is their recent notoriety. They are being celebrated as an insurgent new anti-establishment force in the culture. But the celebration is coming from places like the New York Times opinion page and Bill Maher’s immortal talk show.
Less prominently they have become darlings of billionaire supported media, from the hyper establishment Atlantic, to traditional right wing donor money sinks like the National Review. I’d argue that this very wide appeal comes from a pretty simple source. Baby Boomers.
Our most selfish generation loves to seem transgressive. When they were young, they grew their hair long, flirted with Marxism, and delighted in telling their parents and grandparents how stupid they were. Now that they are old, they delight in telling their children and grandchildren how stupid they are. If the Intellectual Dark Web has a signature issue, it’s making fun of academia, and the left wing professors and students that can’t handle the brave truths that the Intellectual Dark Web is pushing. This is not a new issue. William F. Buckley, widely seen as the
Father of the US conservative movement, first came to prominence with his academia bashing book God and Man at Yale. Bashing academia was one of Ronald Reagan’s biggest issues as Governor of California in the late 60s and early 70s.
Now I’m not saying there’s nothing to this critique. Academic snowflakery is sometimes worth pushing back on, and I’m not against that in all instances. But there’s a long-established pool of money and influence available for this kind of activism. Members of the IDW have diverse areas of study, but the stuff they get famous for is always the sort of thing that flatters old white men.
Feminists, College Students, and Muslims are the targets of their most famous arguments. Sam Harris gets invited on Bill Maher to rag on Muslims, not to talk about consciousness or whatever.
Despite it’s insurgent reputation, the Intellectual Dark Web never punches up, they always punch down towards people that irritate the true sources of power and wealth in our society.
This has been illustrated by their reaction to the most politically incorrect figure of 2019 so far, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Now Omar did have a tweet from 2012 that is antisemitic by US standards of political correctness I agree with, but she has apologized for that. What she’s done since coming to Washington is mount an unrelenting assault on our politically correct ways of talking about US foreign policy. It’s been extraordinarily brave, and she continues to pay a massive price. The courageous, insurgent Intellectual Dark Web is nowhere to be seen on this. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s not right, Ben Shapiro and Dave Rubin have been providing a master class in putting feelings over facts in his relentless attacks on Ms. Omar. It turns out they have no problem with identity politics when they imagine it’s their identity that is being criticized.
The Intellectual Dark Web is about making baby boomer men feel transgressive, one last time, without actually challenging anything they believe. Now you could say that this video is about jealousy, and you’d be absolutely right. Every single figure I’ve talked about in this video is massively more successful than I am. They’ve found the special sauce to success in the arena of ideas that has eluded me for like five years now. But I get the sense that they’ve done that by flattering power rather than pursuing truth. In that, if nothing else, I like to think I’ve been a bit more successful.
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