Last week, Sam Harris hosted Ben Shapiro and Eric Weinstein at a live event. All three of them are always interesting, have something of value to say, and I listen to all of them regularly. Towards the end of the evening, Weinstein cleverly coined the term “intellectual dark web,” which I expect is going to really take off this year. He was referring to the alternative media, the media that is actually having a conversation about issues that people care about, and is doing so in a way that is so interesting and thought-provoking that it can’t help but draw in any rational ears thirsting for a return to times when we can sit down and have an honest conversation again.
I was heartened this morning when a liberal friend of mine posted the single most rational thing a leftist known to me personally has ever said. She acknowledged that she felt Trump was ignorant and offensive, but that we should not be letting that dominate the conversation. She asked politely who would really like to discuss immigration reform. I applauded her for her clear-cut thinking and sensible words and stated that I believe there is a growing mass of people that want exactly the same thing and that there are people rising to meet that demand. My response went over quite well.
First of all, I still see libertarian purists being divisive. I am an anarcho-capitalist at bottom. I will always be a radical, and I will always be working towards that end, but I have no interest in alienating everyone that doesn’t believe the exact same things that I do. I actually do not know if there is another person alive that thinks exactly like I do. I have not met that person. Even my cousin – the Bro-Co, I call him, because he’s more like a brother to me than a cousin – who is also an anarcho-capitalist, does not share my exact interpretation of the world. We have incredibly similar worldviews and interests, but we are not the same person. That would be boring, anyway.
This is a time to take heart. We have all felt despair, wondering if the message of liberty was dying, if the movement was irretrievably fractured, and if we would ever see any progress at all. I am not in despair at all. There are voices – so many voices! – that are now rising up for liberty. They want free speech, limited government, lasting peace with other nations, tolerance, and sound money. And the most fantastic part of this entire revelation is that they are coming from everywhere.
They are left, right, centrist, and libertarian, but they all have one thing in common, and that is that they want the best possible outcomes for the largest number of people. We are talking about leftists who acknowledge that socialism is terrible and that capitalism has done phenomenal good and will continue to do so. We are talking about people on the right who are tolerant and friendly towards all people. Best of all, we are talking about people that sincerely want to talk about ideas – real ideas, such as how to solve the issues that are going to come along with AI and AGI, true immigration reform, US intervention, racism, monetary problems, education, and how to give the most power back to the people with the least amount of pain. My God, these are real conversations!
I have seen quite a large number of libertarians dismiss some of these thinkers because they are too much of this and too little of that. The truth is that we are never going to have a consensus. Given this truth, we must start talking to people, and we must start talking to them intelligently and rationally while giving their opinions our ear.
What I am not doing here is advocating giving SJW types an ear. They should be ignored. In point of fact, they have already lost control of the narrative. The snake is eating itself on their end. There is a groundswell of sentiment coming to those on all sides that want a sincere, honest discussion about the problems we are currently facing. It is also time that libertarians allow that sometimes, when people state their grievances, especially if they are able to do so in a kind, intelligible way that holds water and makes sense, that there is perhaps an issue that needs its day in the light.
I think the great news in all of this is that the intellectual dark web is providing us forums for discussion where we can hear others’ ideas. We can expose them to the rigors of debate and public inquiry, and we can decide for ourselves based on the evidence which ones are worth pursuing. Do you want to know what the great news is in all of this? Liberty and freedom are themes that keep coming up. They are not just coming up from conservatives and libertarians; the left is joining in the chorus.
Bret Weinstein was on Joe Rogan back in December, and he talked a bit about “Game B,” which is defunct as a group, but its implications are utterly fascinating. The scenario comes from game theory, which you might expect, but the overarching idea that he was talking about reminded me strongly of agorism. He might debate that, but I would say that the notion of a game B, a market that rises up alongside the mainstream and functions in it and yet outside of it, is going to be key to the future. We are already seeing it. The intellectual dark web has arrived at the speed of an internet connection.
Not everyone is going to be able to see Game B. Game B exists on a different TV screen, to apply Scott Adams’s analogy about there being two different movies playing in this country. There are two different movies. There is the movie that everyone, including sleepers, can see, and there is the movie that the remnant can see. The remnant is growing, and it is quietly asserting itself. It is coming from all corners, and it is creating a web, a series of intricate but powerful links between different groups. These groups share small and large goals in common, and they will work together to realize them. The people who can see Game B and who are actively participating in it will be able to pivot, and that is something that Game A cannot do. Game A is a leviathan, and although the leviathan can crush, it cannot squeeze into corners, and cannot turn on a dime the way that Game B can.
So take heart, Liberland. You are not alone. If you are lamenting the fact that you cannot find anyone that thinks the way you do, you are thinking about the world the wrong way. There are plenty of people that think like you do. They may disagree to some extent on the means, but they are out there, and they want to talk. Now is not the time for divisiveness. Now is the time to present our beliefs clearly, articulately, and peaceably.
Now that the meat of the article is over, I would like to hear from readers. Eric Weinstein Tweeted out a request this morning, asking people to reply with lists of their top 10 intellectual dark web participants.
Here is my current list, in no particular order:
1. Tom Woods
2. Dave Rubin
3. Eric & Bret Weinstein (They’re brothers, so twofer!)
4. Joe Rogan
5. Thaddeus Russell
6. Sam Harris
7. Scott Adams
8. Jordan B. Peterson
9. Michael Malice
10. Christina Hoff Sommers
Honorable mentions to:
- Camille Paglia (She only lost to Hoff Sommers because Dr. Sommers has more public reach.)
- Ben Shapiro
- Ayan Hirsi Ali
- Scott Horton