Modern Life: What is the intellectual dark web? Richard Godwin
The non-intellectual dark web is a shadowy part of the internet that you can’t access with a normal connection.
To reach it, you must journey beyond the kingdom of Google to the land East of the Moon and West of the Sun, where trolls and spambots play. Then, you must do some complicated things with proxy servers and encryption software before jumping down the digital rabbit hole into the dripping catacombs of the internet.
Here you’ll find all the cryptocurrency stockpiles, terrorist intranets, narcotics bazaars and animal pornography that your dark heart desires.
The intellectual dark web is something different – it isn’t on the actual dark web. You can access it quite freely on Youtube, various podcasts and even on the BBC iplayer. But the term leans on the occult glamour of the dark web to suggest that its ideas are so radical and dangerous that they have to be kept under lock and key.
It was coined by mathematician Eric Weinstein to describe a disparate group of thinkers and speakers whose ideas are supposedly too controversial for mainstream debate – ideas such as ‘men and women are different’. And ‘the West is worth saving’. And ‘free speech is great’.
The most famous member of the intellectual dark web is Jordan B Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor whose ideas are so out there, he has sold millions of books, generated millions of column inches, and played the O2 Arena this summer. He appeared alongside fellow intellectual dark webbers Sam Harris (the neuroscientist and atheist) and Douglas Murray (the British author of The Strange Death of Europe, in which he worries about the threat that Islamic migrants and leftist students pose to social cohesion).