Mark Metcalfe / Politico
One evening this fall at a house in West Hollywood, the Australian editor and writer Claire Lehmann had dinner with the neuroscientist Sam Harris and Eric Weinstein, the managing director of tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel’s investment firm. Joe Rogan, the podcast host, joined later on, when the group decamped to a comedy club.
You could think of the gathering as a board meeting of sorts for the “intellectual dark web,” or IDW, a loose cadre of academics, journalists and tech entrepreneurs who view themselves as standing up to the knee-jerk left-leaning politics of academia and the media. Over the past year, the IDW has arisen as a puzzling political force, made up of thinkers who support “Enlightenment values” and accuse the left of setting dangerously illiberal limits on acceptable thought. The IDW has defined itself mainly by diving into third-rail topics like the genetics of gender and racial difference—territory that seems even more fraught in the era of #MeToo and the Trump resistance. But part of the attraction of the IDW is the sense that many more people agree with its principles than can come forward publicly: The dinner host on this night, Lehmann says, was a famous person she would prefer not to name.
Louis O’Neill / Independent Australia
Shifts in the way consumers access media means podcasting is becoming an increasingly popular information source, writes Louis O’Neill.
RECENTLY, THERE HAS been a rise in the popularity of controversial Intellectual Dark Web — a name given to a motley crew of online political commentators who find themselves at odds with the mainstream media.
The term Intellectual Dark Web was invented by Eric Weinstein – economist, writer and director of Thiel Capital – who designed the name for those who had been shunned from university campuses or maligned by the mainstream media. The term encapsulates a wide net of public online intellectuals, with Dave Rubin on one hand – a self-defined gay, classical liberal – while Ben Shapiro, on the other hand, is a vocal Jewish conservative. Then there’s Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson, who initially seem similar, but, when the two joined for a podcast, they found themselves in an argument over the definition of truth for almost two hours. And lastly, Joe Rogan: martial artist, hunter, and UFC commentator.