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Bari Weiss created a short, simple label for the worst people in media: “IDW”

It’s been six years since Bari Weiss published that silly New York Times article conjuring the Intellectual Dark Web into existence. I think a lot of us here, at least, instantly recognized that it was PR for a gang of grifters and that Weiss was trying to be the Queen Bee of an imaginary movement. It’s about time we got a retrospective on Weiss’s propaganda flop. Where is the IDW now? How are its heroes doing? The short answer is that they’re thriving, cruising along with growing audiences, because they’ve become the clowns in the circus.

So let’s take a look at the IDW today. Eric Weinstein:

Eric Weinstein, a mathematician who spent years working for right-wing billionaire Peter Thiel, gave the IDW its name—which he has described variously as a “half-joke” and also a brilliantly calibrated troll designed to get maximum attention. He’s considered one of the least extreme of the original IDW members.

But both in 2018 and now, Weinstein decries what he calls the “gated institutional narrative” and the irredeemable systemic corruption he believes has infected a vast array of institutions, from academia to the media. He’s convinced that many of these institutions are conspiring to silence himself and his friends (and prevent them from winning Nobel Prizes).

Jordan Peterson:

While Peterson was always prone to hyperbole, he has become increasingly unhinged.

He now says climate activists want to “sacrifice the poor,” compares them to Nazis, and suggests that global elites are using climate change as an excuse to depopulate the planet. He compares this effort to “genocidal societies” with a “utopian vision” which leads to the “mass destruction of millions of people.” He believes Vladimir Putin may well be on the right side of a civilizational battle against wokeness. He describes COVID-19 as a “so-called pandemic” and claims it’s “highly probable” that the vaccines (which he refuses to call “vaccines”) were more dangerous than the disease.

Dave Rubin:

Rubin’s North Star was “civility.” But these days he tweets things like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) is a “dishonest communist cunt,” and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is a “vile jihadist cunt.” Tweeting recently about United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Samantha Power, Rubin said, “this bitch can fuck off.”

Ben Shapiro:

Another member of this tribe devoted to civility and rational discourse is the popular conservative podcaster and writer Ben Shapiro. As the right-wing’s angry motormouth one-time wunderkind, he’s remained somewhat consistent—having gone from saying things like, “Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage. This is not a difficult issue” to things like, “Hamas is running Columbia University.”

Bret Weinstein:

Here are a few of Weinstein’s fascinating insights today: He suspects that the United States is involved in a plot with China and the WHO to create a “turnkey totalitarian planet.” He claims that a “credible estimate” of the number of deaths caused by mRNA vaccines is 17 million. He suggests that China is financing infrastructure in Central America to launch an “undeclared invasion” with a covert army of “military age” men. He’s a big fan of RFK, Jr., who compared public health measures during the pandemic to Nazism and the Holocaust.

Joe Rogan:

To cite just one example, when Weinstein recently suggested on The Joe Rogan Experience that vaccine mandates in the US military were meant to purge ethical and freethinking soldiers and replace them with disloyal and compliant immigrants—a force that would be “capable of acting on behalf of tyranny against Americans”—Rogan didn’t offer any critical comment.

Instead, he said: “Holy shit. Then you have a real coup.”

Candace Owens:

In a 2017 interview with Rubin, Owens said, “I think abortion is really just about population control.” Rubin replied with a characteristically uncritical and incurious follow-up: “That’s some serious red-pill right there.” In 2018, Owens claimed that liberals want to “exterminate blacks via Planned Parenthood, which she would later describe as a “silent genocide.” She said Black conservative politicians are “all called coons” by the media. She declared that “the word ‘racism’ is repeated obsessively by people who wish to enslave black people to the Democratic Party.”

Five months before Weiss published her piece, Owens called for the imprisonment of journalists and political opponents—something that probably should have pricked the ears of a movement which claimed to be unwavering in its defense of free speech and civil discourse.

There are others mentioned, including Christina Hoff Summers, Majid Nawaz, Douglas Murray, etc., but you get the idea. The IDW was a tarnished brand from the outset, and it’s only gotten worse as its members descend into greater madness.

Bari Weiss has an awesome legacy. Let’s hope it catches up to her someday.