General Insights From: "The Intellectual Dark-Web"

A Case Study of Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro


  • Francesco Mannella Student


There reaches a point when tradition and antiquated ideology is relied on too heavily in crafting opinions, so as to obfuscate intellectual progression. This has historically been the result of authoritative governance and infallible religious maxim — along with less acute reasons — and although in modernity, the marketplace of ideas is much broader than it once was, this problem is still quite prevalent today, just for less apparent reasons. Such is the case when examining the current movement known colloquially as “The Intellectual Dark-Web” — a virtual network of self-proclaimed cultural critics, who host a variety of media within the realm of online pseudo-academia (Weiss & Winter, 2018). This group has become ubiquitous within the modern zeitgeist on platforms such as YouTube and Twitter, on which they can be watched for hours espousing conservative doctrine to their predominantly male, adolescent audience in hopes of maintaining the status quo, and eschewing activism (Weiss & Winter, 2018). There are quite a number of figures in this group; however, this paper will be focusing primarily on the two most notable members: Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro. What this paper will be attempting to uncover are some of the underlying reasons why such a group had the ability to attain such scholarly prominence in the West, and further, how this ultimately reflects ominous traits of our culture. The three correlates explicated to illuminate the scope of this issue are as follows: The creation of political binaries assisted by technology, the predilection for sensationalized media, and the West's cultural aversion to change. Moreover, after elucidating the transparent agendas of those of whom delivery and filtrate information to us, one may then be better equipped in understanding the conventions of Western politics critically rather than reflexively, and moreover, approach figures like Peterson and Shapiro openly, without the exogenous pressures of our milieu.






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