My Twitter feed is full of blather about “the Bari Weiss” article this morning, so I figured it was my duty to check it out:
Here are some things that you will hear when you sit down to dinner with the vanguard of the Intellectual Dark Web: There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart. And we’re in a dangerous place if these ideas are considered “dark.”…It’s a pattern that has become common in our new era of That Which Cannot Be Said. And it is the reason the Intellectual Dark Web, a term coined half-jokingly by Mr. Weinstein, came to exist.
What is the I.D.W. and who is a member of it? It’s hard to explain, which is both its beauty and its danger….The closest thing to a phone book for the I.D.W. is a sleek website that lists the dramatis personae of the network….But in typical dark web fashion, no one knows who put the website up.
Wait. The intellectual dark web has its own website? And over here is an article about how to join the IDW. And here are the “five big moments” that led to the rise of the IDW. These are just a few among hundreds of articles written about the IDW lately. As Green Arrow once said to Batman, “that’s a loud kind of mysterious, man.” They could hardly be any less dark if they had a full-time PR shop.
I wonder if I qualify for the IDW? I certainly agree that there are biological differences between men and women—although I have a feeling Weiss toned that down a wee bit to protect the guilty.¹ On the other hand, I’d say that free speech generally seems to be in OK shape, as you might guess from the vast amount of speech these dark intellectuals seem to engage in.² And identity politics—well, it’s on a bit of a bender right now, and I won’t pretend it’s an entirely healthy bender. However, it sure seems to me that what’s really tearing American society apart right now is white backlash against any threat to white interests. Identity politics may have its problems, but it doesn’t control both houses of Congress and the presidency.
I dunno. For an allegedly repressed minority, the names in Weiss’s article sure seem to show up on the op-ed pages I read pretty frequently. They also get attacked a lot, but that comes with the territory. If you’re in the arena, you’re in the arena. Stop whining, and stop pretending like everyone who attacks you is just a shill for conventional wisdom.
Also, they need more charts. I would accept the “intellectual” part of IDW if they had more charts. This is the mark of a true thinking person.
¹The “biological differences” in question are those of personality and intelligence, but Weiss didn’t want to say that for some reason. But here: I’ll say it, because that’s the brave kind of guy I am. Evolution works on the brain just as much as it does on the rest of the body, and it’s entirely possible that there are biologically-based cognitive differences between men and women.³ In fact, we know there are. Just for starters, testosterone ain’t nothing.
²Yeah, some campus kids go overboard on this stuff. Back in the day, we just ignored this stuff and allowed college administrators to deal with it. Today, every single dumb thing that hyped-up college kids do is splashed all over social media by conservatives, primarily for the purpose of disparaging American universities, which they hate. I very much doubt that the actual rate of stupid stuff being done by college kids is any higher than it was 20 years ago.
³Just for the hell of it, I’ll put in a plug here for my favorite amateur candidate for gender-based brain differences: obsession. Men of all ages just seem more prone to develop obsessions. Little boys will shoot hoops for hours on end or collect things with a passion. Grownups become nerds who spend 18 hours a day on subjects that appeal to them. The psychotic ones become serial killers. And whatever causes this, I suspect it’s somehow linked to the greater tendency of men to be autistic. Please note, however, that as far as I know, there is zero scientific evidence to back up my theory. Ignore it at your pleasure.