Mod­ern Life: What is the in­tel­lec­tual dark web? Richard God­win

The Oldie - - CONTENTS -

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).

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