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Intellectual Dark Web

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It's basically a contemporary medicine show.
Full size version.
Art by Chelsea Saunders, originally published in Current Affairs, used by permission.[1]
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Is there anything they've done? 'Cause all they do is talk. Is there anything they've built? Is there one appliance that they have anything to do with? Have they came up with something even like the Rotato? Which peels and slices potatoes as you cook? Is there one thing anything they've done except whack off Elon Musk and talk?...You've got all these people that are all geniuses and you can't find the thing they do? What is any of THEIR JOBS? Research? They're just talking about trans people. And these are the best minds of our time?!
—Tim Dillon describing the group.[2]

The Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) is a neologism coined by economist Eric Weinstein to refer to an informal group of (mostly right-wing, libertarian and centrist) pundits, media producers, academics, and so on.[3] The term itself functions as a general meme. There is no actual organization, or movement which it represents. In other words, anyone can say they are a member, and no one has the authority to deny it.

Individuals associated with the term[edit]

Newer non-core additions to the network include:[7]


After Sargon of Akkad was banned from Patreon, Rubin, Peterson and Harris left Patreon in protest.[8] Since then, Rubin and Peterson have suggested creating a Patreon equivalent.[9]

A gateway to alt-right radicalization[edit]

In 2019 a study from the Federal University of Minas GeraisWikipedia by Manoel Horta Ribeiro et al. found the Intellectual Dark Web's YouTube channels were a gateway from the "alt-lite" to alt-right radicalization.[10] The study looked at 331,000 videos that an algorithm had classified as right-wing, and analyzed 72 million YouTube comments.[10]:4 A large number of those users who had posted comments on IDW channels later migrated to leaving comments on more radical YouTube channels.[10]:7-8 As Ribeiro puts it, "there is migration among users from the Alt-lite and the I.D.W. to the Alt-right," confirming that less extreme right-wing content did indeed serve as a gateway of sorts for radicalization.[11]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Intellectual Dark Web by Chelsea Saunders.
  2. Comedian Tim Dillon on Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and The Intellectual Dark Web.
  3. Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web: An alliance of heretics is making an end run around the mainstream conversation. Should we be listening? by Bari Weiss (May 8, 2018) The New York Times.
  4. Why capitalism won’t survive without socialism Vox. July 25th, 2017.
  8. Patreon Bars Anti-Feminist for Racist Speech, Inciting Revolt The New York Times. December 24th, 2018.
  9. Top Patreon creators, of the 'Intellectual Dark Web,' say they're launching an alternate crowdfunding platform not 'susceptible to arbitrary censorship' Business Insider. December 17th, 2018.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Auditing Radicalization Pathways on YouTube by Manoel Horta Ribeiro et al. (2019) arXiv 1908.08313v3.
  11. Dickson, EJ (August 28, 2019). "Study Shows How the 'Intellectual Dark Web' Is a Gateway to the Far Right". Rolling Stones Magazine. 
  12. The “Intellectual Dark Web” is a Billionaire-Funded Echo Chamber Medium. August 13th, 2018.
  13. "What Is Intersectionality?" (Jun 18, 2018)
  14. Hollywood Wants Your Money...and Your Mind" (Dec 18, 2017)
  15. "Facts Don't Care About Your Feelings" (May 11, 2017)
  16. "So, You Think You're Tolerant?" (Jul 9, 2018)
  17. "Why I Left the Left" (Feb 6, 2017)
  18. "Dangerous People Are Teaching Your Kids" (Jun 11, 2018)
  19. "Fix Yourself" (Jan 29, 2018)
  20. "The Myth of the Gender Wage Gap" (Sep 22, 2014)
  21. "War on Boys" (May 19, 2014)
  22. "There Is No Gender Wage Gap" (Mar 16, 2017)