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Kyle Edward Kulinski (1988–), is the host of atheist, progressive and social democratic news commentary and talk show Secular Talk, which was created in 2008 and formerly affiliated with the progressive YouTube network The Young Turks (TYT). As of May 2023, his channel has 1,000,000 subscribers. When he was TYT-affiliated, Kulinski had almost complete autonomy on his show and distinguished his beliefs from other hosts in the network, even having a debate with TYT founder Cenk Uygur. As of 2021, he hosts a podcast with political commentator and Breaking Points co-host Krystal Ball entitled Krystal Kyle & Friends, and as of February 2022, the two are in a relationship.
Despite the channel's name, he's more focused on US Politics than Religion or Atheism. When he does talk about Religion he's highly critical of fundamentalism, and an outspoken New Atheist. Kulinski considers himself somewhere between New Atheism and more traditional progressive camps on the subject of religion: he argues that geopolitics and foreign policy will force populations to radicalize, but adds that the dogma is responsible for violence and chaos as well; he goes on a case by case basis. He dislikes some of the tactics used by New Atheists if only for strategic reasons, believing they could turn people against atheism. He most often finds himself disagreeing with Christopher Hitchens, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Sam Harris, particularly on foreign policy, but most especially on American and Israeli foreign policy or military actions. He often notes that Harris is either incredibly naive on foreign policy, or an outright apologist for the Israeli and American states, and has consistently called him out on it. True to form, he is critical of Islam while also being highly critical of anti-Muslim bigotry and those who dismiss it. He pushes back against the "Regressive" label used by certain liberals and atheists towards the progressive left, arguing that the progressives focus more about the effects and consequences of foreign policy and are not "Islamic apologists." However, at the same time he has acknowledged that whilst the term is often misused, genuine regressive leftists do exist.
On foreign policy, he is non-interventionist and is highly critical of Israeli foreign policy whilst also denouncing Hamas.
Considering himself a social democrat and left libertarian, Kulinski spends most of his time debunking right-wing bullshit (usually from Fox News and Alex Jones) and covering the recent radicalization of the US Republican Party, with whom he disagrees on virtually everything. However, despite previously being a card-carrying Democrat, Kulinski despises the party's leadership and announced that he would not vote in the 2020 presidential election after Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic primary.
He is a civil libertarian on social issues, especially regarding drug laws: he thinks all drugs should be decriminalized and marijuana and psychedelics should be legalized, taxed, and regulated. He also opposes the NSA's domestic surveillance and police having too much power. However, he supports the death penalty in theory, saying it should be used for the most heinous of crimes where no help is possible, but opposes it in practice due to the high false-positive rate.
He voted for Jill Stein in the 2016 presidential election. He lives in New York, which is a solid Democratic state, though he despises Hillary. Even though he considers Jill Stein and the Green Party in general as being to the left of him, he supported them as a protest vote. However, he encouraged viewers living in swing states to vote Hillary in order to keep Trump out of the White House. He was also one of the co-founders of Justice Democrats, until he stepped down. Justice Democrats is a coalition of anti-establishment Democrats who are left leaning and agree with a lot of Kulinski's opinions.
Free speech and feminism
He positions himself as a free speech absolutist and exhibits a deep dislike for political correctness, especially trigger warnings, safe spaces, and the concept of microagressions, all of which he considers authoritarian. Some argue that this displays his misunderstandings of some topics, because safe spaces aren't echo chambers as he claims; trigger warnings and safe spaces are a way for a person to avoid trauma and discuss bad experiences safely.
However, he's more irate about right-wing political correctness because no one talks about it (despite countless examples). and the fact right-wingers vocally denounce left-wing political correctness only to further vocally push their own political correctness. In particular, he despises the notion that Donald Trump is politically incorrect, especially since he uses "politically incorrect" as a cover for his bigotry, along with the fact he likes to file libel suits against people who badmouth him and wants to diminish the First Amendment once in power. As a result, he refers to Trump as a "Politically Correct Bitch" and a "Right Wing Social Justice Warrior". He has also described the alt-right as a "loathsome group of ignorant assholes".
Unlike a lot of New Atheist vloggers, Kulinski considers himself to generally be a feminist and has called the men's rights movement "stupid" and "whiny", and maintains this stance despite it pissing off a good chunk of his audience. However, he is sharply critical of some aspects of third-wave feminists, though some of the terms he uses to describe them are incorrect and arguably overly general.[note 1] In addition, he deeply dislikes social justice warriors. He does prove that one can question more radical versions of feminism without being a reactionary asshole though.
Kulinski has admitted to using pharmaceutical drugs such as Adderall, Vicodin, Percocet, Xanax, and Klonopin, although to what extent is unclear. He has expressed that he is wary of hallucinogens such as LSD, magic mushrooms, and DMT, and as such has never tried them. He also dislikes cannabis because it gives him paranoia and anxiety most of the time. He uses the plant drug Kratom to help him focus for his job, so he was understandably outraged when the DEA wanted to ban it. Kratom mainly exerts its effects via the mu-opioid and to a lesser extent k-opioid receptors, producing dose-dependent effects that range from analgesia and mild stimulation to deep relaxation and euphoria. He loves Kratom, so much so he started stockpiling it when the ban was announced. Kulinski also believes drug dealing should be legalized and that that non-violent drug offenders should be pardoned, receive an apology and paid restitution.
Trump and the Russian question
Michael Flynn, a former RT guest who often peddles propaganda, was the National Security Advisor under Donald Trump, who got in trouble for his ties to Russia and resigned. Kulinski, on Twitter, argued Flynn was actually a preferable choice to his replacement because "A lot of people in the admin want to escalate w/ Russia. His hesitance (admittedly for corrupt reasons) was preferable to a pure hawk." He acknowledges that Trump stacked his administration with too many people with financial ties with the Russians, and he opposes that just as how he opposed the Clintons' financial ties with the Saudis via Clinton Foundation. Therefore, he doesn't really see Trump as a Siberian Candidate or a Russian stooge, and just another Wall Street style corruption scandal; he sees the Democrats as far too hawkish on Russia who peddle too much anti-Putin hysteria. He thinks the anti-Russia hysteria only makes the Democratic Party look worse.
Kulinski is in favour of GMOs. Though he does agree with the scientific consensus that genetically modified food is safe, he still supports GMO labeling. This is, however, a common anti-GMO sentiment and is still considered against science and consumer choice. However, he's definitely anti-Monsanto. He's described Monsanto as a "very evil" company and according to Kulinski, Monsanto curries favour with the EPA and "buy[s] the science that fits [their] economic agenda". He cited the World Health Organization to support the claim that glyphosate causes cancer. This study has been proven to be extremely flawed as they don't reference their claims and uses the correlation equals causation fallacy. This suggests he reads the headlines of news, instead of the papers which they reference.
Prisons and the death penalty
“”I think there are fair critiques of the Norwegian system, like...who was the guy; Anders Breivik who killed all these kids? And then he was complaining because he's like "I only have a PS2 and you guys need to get me, like, a newer video game system". So you could look at that and go: "Listen man, you guys are being too fuckin' liberal. Fuck that guy. He had like two rooms that were his cell, and he could walk in a fuckin' courtyard and shit". So I think there are genuine criticisms of that. But at the same time what's fascinating is they have a significantly lower recidivism rate than we do. So here if you go to prison, it's very likely that you will end up back in prison. In those places if you go to prison, especially if it's a lower level crime, they rehabilitate you and you're a functioning member of society.
|—Kyle Kulinski on Joe Rogan's podcast.|
Kulinski supports most aspects of the Norwegian style of prisons over the American system. In a discussion with Joe Rogan he agreed that it's wrong to coddle remorseless criminals such as Anders Behring Breivik, Ed Gein, and Ted Bundy. However he points out that executing criminals sometimes leads to innocents being executed. Joe Rogan asks if it's really better to imprison such people for life instead of just killing them, to which he answers that it would be no different except without the death penalty, there is a lower likelihood that the government will execute an innocent person before the case is concluded or if it's later revealed that there was a wrong conviction. However, he admitted that if convicted domestic terrorist Dylann Roof was executed, he wouldn't care because Roof has admitted he has no remorse.
War and foreign policy
Kulinski often comes off as non-interventionist but mostly that's just as a reaction to the constant warmongering in DC. He claims he supports military offense but only with international support and cooperation and that he despises the typical unilateral military interventions supported by established politicians in Washington.
Kulinski also has a very literal interpretation of the War Powers Clause of the United States Constitution. If a military intervention does not include a declaration of war by Congress, then that war, as far as he is concerned, is illegal, such as in the case of the Iraq War and the various military interventions done by the Obama Administration.
Kulinski often praises state ballot initiatives and has come recently in favor of a more direct democratic system. He believes that every federal election, there should be a federal referendum on five important issues (to be decided by a non-partisan group) and voted on by universal suffrage.
Kulinski has come to this conclusion because often times, left-wing policies win in the ballot in the exact same state that Democrats lose elections to Republicans, and losses are always the result of lots of corporate money being spent to defeat the ballot initiative. He also acknowledges that the right can also benefit from this federal referendum, but that it would be a price that's worth it to pay to push for progressive policies.
On 27 May 2017, Kulinski released a 10 minute video denouncing the New York Times for a headline that said "Is it wrong to body slam a reporter? These days, opinions vary." Kulinski, having not read the article, went on an extended rant, denouncing the Times for a supposed "neutrality bias" that can't bring itself to point out that assaulting a reporter is wrong.
Except here's a catch. If you actually read the article, under its new title "A Journalist was Body Slammed, but some Conservatives want the media to apologize," the article was condemning that exact neutrality bias. It pointed out that America as a country stooped so low that Americans can't even come together on the fact that body slamming a reporter is wrong. A cursory look at Kulinski's comment section shows that even his fans are calling him out on his sloppiness.
The Conservapedia affair
Conservapedia editor Conservative wrote an article in which he accused Kulinski of being an immigrant and another nasty liberal. Kulinski immediately debunked this which resulted in User:Conservative issuing a challenge to Kulinski to debunk their article on atheists. He mocked the site and then tore apart their atheist article. To the surprise of no one, User:Conservative claimed victory nonetheless.
Fallacious, controversial or just plain wrong beliefs
He has claimed that former President George W. Bush and former Vice-President Dick Cheney had arrest warrants against them due to their actions while in power. This is, sadly, an untrue claim; nobody has even put them on trial in absentia yet with the exception of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, a Malaysian "court" that has twice convicted Bush but with no actual legal authority or legitimacy. Reality does not always line up with our expectations, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.
He has also claimed that al-Qaeda only has 100 members left in Afghanistan. This is based on outdated information. In October 2015, the U.S. destroyed two al-Qaeda training camps, killing 160 al-Qaeda members.
A common refrain of his is that the US is "bombing eight different countries". The eight he is referring to are Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, and most recently Niger. Niger is the latest country he added to his list, denouncing the action in multiple segments. The problem is, Niger's government only authorized armed US drone flights, and no US strikes have yet taken place. The move was intended to allow the US the ability to kill ISIS and al-Qaeda should the need ever arise in the future.
Recently he has also turned towards protectionism and claims that it's a "left-wing policy" when historically, both in the US[note 2] and the UK,[note 3] protectionism was a right-wing policy pushed by free-market hyper-capitalist political parties. In fact Donald Trump, rather than an aberration, is a restoration of the alliance between free-market capitalism and protectionism as many of his policies are an extreme form of neoliberalism with nationalistic flavor.
This also reflects a general problem of basing politics overly on individual policies and ideas rather than social context (as Kulinski and TYT-influenced liberals often do), as individual policies referred to as “left-wing” or “right-wing” could achieve different results if the governments that implement them have different political goals. For example, free trade between nations with strong labor unions and low unemployment (e.g. as exists in Nordic social democracies) could be thought of as a somewhat left-wing project, as any economic benefits will likely be funneled to workers due to union density, while free trade between the US and a developing nation is very much based on the neoliberal model.
He also confuses Corporatism, a political and economic philosophy that defines and promotes the role in society of collectives whose members have similar needs and purposes, with corporatocracy, "rule by corporations." For instance, he accuses "corporate Democrats" such as Hillary Clinton of being "corporatists," when the correct word would be "corporacrats."
Another fallacious belief of his that's been appearing recently is his belief that the business cycle only happens if there's large scale deregulation of the economy, when in fact the business cycle is a natural consequence of a market economy, regardless of the levels of regulation present. What economic regulations do is minimize the negative impact of recessions has on workers, by increasing labor rights[note 4] and minimizing the capacity of corporations to engage in risky investments.
He has seemed to question the validity of non-binary genders in some of his older videos, but it has yet to be seen whether or not he has changed his opinion on the issue since. It would not be surprising in the case that he has, given that he is an associate of non-binary YouTuber Peter Coffin and gives credit to ContraPoints for deradicalizing against alt-right beliefs, bigotry against non-binary people being one of them. Additional examples of Kyle potentially having changed his opinion can be seen in a livestream discussion with Vaush in which he expressed open-mindedness in talking about and learning more about subjects such as xenogenders.
Generally, Kulinski is good natured and is highly trusting towards people he views as close friends and acquaintances. This is not bad in itself, but fans have often criticized him for being overly-charitable to those who probably don't deserve it, such as Joe Rogan, whom Kulinski sees as a friend. This mindset massively backfired for Kulinski in mid-2021, where his responses to a political/sexual harassment controversy regarding Jimmy Dore vs Ana Kasparian/Cenk Uygur caused all three to sever their friendships with him. Kulinski would later state in his conversation with Vaush that given Dore's reactionary tendencies and his incorrect takes on the COVID vaccines, it was probably for the best that he broke things off with him.
Kulinski has jokingly described himself as a sellout to the "big seltzer corporation". Their political motivations for buying him would as of yet be unknown but it would be widely accepted that his Ted Cruz impersonation would be at the behest of Big Seltzer.
Due to the fact of the layout of his Secular Talk studio, where most of his videos are shot, it is a common joke in the comment section that Kyle has no legs. In videos posted prior to his appearances at Politicon, he is shown exiting a rental car and his legs are in fact seen as he walks around the car. Fans joke this is simply CGI, of course.
- For instance, he calls it neo-feminism despite that being the exact opposite of what he opposes (Neofeminism is a movement emerging from third-wave feminism that believes women can be empowered if they want to embrace more traditional gender roles.)
- From the end of the Civil War until the Great Depression, when Herbert Hoover's free-market fundamentalism lead to the rise of the New Deal Consensus
- The first Labour Party government was formed after the 1923 election in coalition with the Liberals who ran on free trade while the Tories ran on protectionism
- Such as the right to join a union, collective bargaining and industrial action
- SocialBlade Stats Via SocialBlade, Accessed 5th of April 2019.
- Kyle v Cenk Debate Via YouTube,7th of February 2018.
- Secular Talk Videos Via YouTube, Accessed 5th of April 2019.
- Should Atheists Criticize All Religions Equally? Via YouTube, 31st of December 2014.
- Sam Harris On The Israel/ Palestine Conflict Via YouTube,11th of September 2015.
- Sam Harris: It's 'Delusional' To Say U.S. Policy Created ISIS Via YouTube, 11th of September 2015.
- Sam Harris: I'd Vote For 'Imbecile' Ben Carson Over Noam Chomsky Via YouTube, 24th of November 2015.
- Leftist UK Politician Wants To Bring Back Blasphemy Laws Via YouTube, 17th of November 2015.
- Leftgasm w/ Hasan Piker, Destiny & Trihex | Debating TPP & Trade!
- China Shuts Down Media For 'Independent Reporting' Via Youtube, 6th of August 2016.
- Jury Sentences Dylann Roof To Death Via YouTube, 12th of January 2017.
- JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: Taking Back The Broken & Corrupt Democratic Party Via YouTube,23 January 2017.
- I'm Stepping Down Via Secular Talk on Twitter, 23rd of December 2017.
- Jon Stewart On Political Correctness Via YouTube, 10th of May 2016.
- Colin Kaepernick On Why He Sat During The National AnthemVia YouTube, 29th of August 2016,
- Trump: 'I'm All For Free Speech, But...' Via YouTube, 1st of August 2016.
- Donald Trump Isn't Politically Incorrect, He's the OppositeVia YouTube, 8th of June 2016.
- Twitter Is Suspending Alt-Right Accounts Via YouTube, 17th of November 2016.
- Kyle's A Bad, Bad Sexist Via YouTube, 3rd of January 2015.
- When Walmart Banned Feminist Shirts For 'Offending Family Values' in 1995Via YouTube,28th of July 2016.
- Researchers: Psychedelics Hold Medical PromiseVia YouTube,28th of August 2014.
- DEA Bans Lifesaving, Benign Substance Kratom Via YouTube,1st of September 2016.
- Kyle Breaking Down His Fox News AppearanceVia YouTube, 2nd of April 2019.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson, Are GMOs Safe? Secular Talk on YouTube, 31 July 2014.
- Taking The 'I Side With' Political Quiz For The 2016 Election. Secular Talk on YouTube, 4 November 2014.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson, Are GMOs Safe? Secular Talk on YouTube, 31 July 2014.
- Kyle Kulinski: Another Lazy YouTuber. Myles Power on YouTube, 23 August 2017.
- Is Glyphosate "Probably Carcinogenic to Humans" ? Myles Power on YouTube, 3 December 2015.
- Guyton,K.Z.,et al. Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate. The Lancet, Oncology, 2015.
- Joe Rogan Experience #1085 - Kyle Kulinski. PowerfulJRE on YouTube, 27 February 2018.
- Jury Sentences Dylann Roof To Death. Secular Talk on YouTube, 12 January 2017.
- What's A Comprehensive Left-Wing Approach To Foreign Policy? Secular Talk on YouTube, 12 December 2018.
- It's Time For A More Direct Democratic System In America. Secular Talk on YouTube, 10 November 2018.
- New York Times: Is It Wrong To Body Slam A Journalist? Secular Talk on YouTube, 27 May 2017.
- An archived reddit post showing the original headline before the title changed.
- Michael M. Grynbaum, A Journalist Was Body Slammed, but Some Conservatives Want the News Media to Apologize. The New York Times, 25 May 2017.
- Fact Checking Conservapedia's 'Secular Talk' Entry
- No really
- Conservapedia, Stop Embarrassing Yourself
- He doesn't seem to understand what the word "defeated" means
- Are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney war criminals? Malaysian court says 'yes'
- Bush and Cheney on Trial
- Breivik mener Jesus er «patetisk» (Breivik thinks Jesus is "pathetic")
- "Secular Talk Sells Out To Big Seltzer]" 16 November 2016.