#1257 Debunking the reactionary intellectuals of the dark web

Air Date: 3–19-2019
Today we take a look at the likes of Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson as a window into the world of their followers and as an inoculation against thinking they're people worth taking seriously just because they make sense one-third of the time.


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Ch. 1: The New Atheists, Celebrity Crusaders For Empire - Citations Needed (@CitationsPod) - Air Date 10-10-17

While "New Atheism" is hardly a monolith, it has at its core features of liberal chauvinism, anti-"political correctness", “science”, secularism, and general deference to U.S. foreign policy consensus.

Ch. 2: Questioning Sam Harris and New Atheism - Revolutionary Left Radio - Airdate 10-1-17

Dan Arel, award-winning journalist and best-selling author, discusses Sam Harris' confusion about having right-wing supporters even though his atheism is just as fundamentalist as traditional Christian religion. 

Ch. 3: Deconstructing Liberal Intellectuals - Part 1 - Revolutionary Left Radio - Airdate 4-22-18

New Atheists have a deep ignorance of history and are very eurocentric in their science. They intend to depoliticize young people and de-engage the populace.

Ch. 4: Breakdown of the Reactionary Right - Benjamin Dixon Show - Airdate 5-23-18

Straight White Men are the status quo and the new media moguls and reactionary right will fight to maintain it.

Ch. 5: Sam Seder RIPS APART Jordan Peterson's Real Time Appearance - The Majority Report - Airdate 4-23-18

In this Majority Report clip, we watch Jordan Peterson's appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher and totally rip it apart.

Ch. 6: ContraPoints on Ben Shapiro's Followers and How to Help Them Out - Chapo Trap House - Airdate 11-18-18

Chapo and Natalie Wynn (ContraPoints) discusses Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro and their influence on the internet towards lonely white guys.

Ch. 7: Deconstructing Liberal Intellectuals - Part 2 - Revolutionary Left Radio - Airdate 4-22-18

Classical Liberals and New Atheists follow the idea that science exists in a moral and cultural vacuum. They construct their arguments to be impenetrable and misunderstood.


Ch. 8: Candidate diversity and harm mitigation - Whitney from Redmond, WA

Ch. 9: 10-15% deviation allowance for identity diversity - Ariel from Seattle

Ch. 10: Twenty Percent - Alan from Connecticut

Ch. 11: Race should be considered first rather than last - Grant from Nashville


Ch. 12: Final comments on weighing the value of voting based on non-dominant identity of politicians

MUSIC (Blue Dot Sessions):

  • Opening Theme: Loving Acoustic Instrumental by John Douglas Orr 
  • Contrarian - Sketchbook
  • Gullwing Sailor - Migration
  • Rapids - Grey River
  • The Envelope - Aeronaut
  • Our Fingers Cold - K2
  • Astrisx - Bodytonic
  • Voicemail Music: Low Key Lost Feeling Electro by Alex Stinnent
  • Closing Music: Upbeat Laid Back Indie Rock by Alex Stinnent


Produced by Jay! Tomlinson

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Showing 4 reactions

  • Jason Knowles
    commented 2019-05-05 17:02:06 -0400
    Marylyn – You don’t have to stop listening to Sam Harris’ podcast just because you disagree with some of his ideas. Its this perspective that if someone doesn’t check all the progressive ideological boxes (or conservative ideological boxes) that you have to automatically condemn everything they say that has created such a polarization in society lately. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Which is a good segue for me to my second comment: This is the first episode of the podcast I have listened to, though I plan to listen to others because though I am a conservative I like to hear and (try) to understand the perspectives of people I disagree with. Since I enjoy listening to all of the subjects of this podcast I thought this would be a good episode to start with in order to understand “the best” arguments that “the left” can bring to bear against these gentlemen. I was very disappointed to find that there was no substantive “debunking” of their ideas whatsoever. Instead the entire podcast was simply an unconvincing attack on their character and motives and all important (to progressives) “identity”.

    If this is “the best of the left’s” argument against several of the most popular leaders of the center right (maybe even center left?) then they have nothing to worry about. Until you can tell people what these men are saying, why that is wrong, and what are some alternative ideas you believe to be better nobody with a shred of independence in the way they think will be convinced by your arguments.
  • Marylyn Coffey
    commented 2019-03-21 17:41:58 -0400
    Up until now, I hadn’t thought of Sam Harris as being reactionary or even Islamophobic. I wasn’t looking far enough. I was interested in his ideas about meditation and the nature of consciousness. I really don’t want to stop listening to his podcast when he’s interviewing someone I am interested in, usually a philosopher. I missed the one with Charles Murray. Now that I think about it, Sam does seem to use “reason” as a crutch to avoid really considering people’s feelings about life. Also, he rarely has a woman on his podcast, and never a person of color that I know of (please correct me if I’m wrong). My attraction to him was his atheism, his voice, and his calm demeanor. Also that he’s an “intellectual.” Which is perhaps where I make a mistake. I had no idea he was part of the “dark web.” I’m not sure what to do now. I listen to Best of the Left, Intercepted, Moderate Rebels, all that. I had no clue that Harris was not part of that world.
  • Brian Smith
    commented 2019-03-20 22:03:13 -0400
    Darnit. I found a typo. There are probably several. Drat.
  • Brian Smith
    commented 2019-03-20 22:01:39 -0400
    Hey Jay! (do you still use the exclamation point?)

    Grant has a very solid point. He didn’t explain it the way you absorb information, probably because he didn’t get to it that way. So it could be hard to see where he is coming from. But his point is VERY solid. Not that you’re a racist. But that your approach systematically supports racism.

    Let me start by giving you some background on me. I’m a liberal (not ideologically progressive although I often agree with them), cis-gendered, gay male, raised in suburban Oklahoma City, born to a white working-class father and a Native American stay-at-home mother, living in Austin, TX—one of the most racist places in the US if you think about systemic racism, gentrification, and black flight. If you don’t know me, you might think I’m a straight white guy. And that’s pretty much where and how I was raised. But those two differences in my IDENTITY gave me the ability to root myself in a different perspective. Having three sisters also helped. Once you know me, you know how I identify.

    Your comment about knowing nobody who approaches the identity politics situation from Grant’s perspective, that it was previously unthinkable to you, is a sign of your privilege. You DO know people with “purist” approaches to identity politics, but they are on the other side. They are the white supremacists, who will vote for any white person before they vote for a person off color. They are the misogynists, who will vote for any cis-gendered male before they vote for a woman. Bigots are very strongly represented in this approach, so you do know people who think that way. This is an example of one extreme. Reason suggests that if one extreme exists, then the other is probably expressed somewhere.

    Grant is re-appropriating the bigoted approach, a lot like gays and blacks reclaimed language, but as a methodology to express his political power. He knows, because he feels it, that he can never isolate his privilege. So, instead, he uses the Democratic party as the initial condition for who he could potentially ever vote for, and then picks the person of color. If both candidates are white, then maybe he picks the one who is not cis-gendered. And this is valid because of IDENTITY is more than just what color you are. It’s very much tied to your experience getting to where you are.

    If two candidates were, as you say, equal in all other ways, I too would vote for the person of color. Like Grant says, that’s a no-brainer. In fact, although it is impossible to quantify in any meaningful way (talk about a fool’s errand!), I’d forgive several sins against my own very liberal ideology in favor of their experience not being in the mainstream. Just consider how much harder they had it just to get to where they are, that they have the opportunity to learn grow still, and that they still want to serve.

    This is why, as a Bernie supporter by my ideology, I was glad to pull the lever for Clinton. Although I think all that corporatist neo-liberalism iscompletely insane, I am confident that her IDENTITY would have led the country in some progressive directions that I could have cheered for. It is also why, as a leftist who thinks incarceration, national boarders, and capitalism are ridiculous relics of ancient feudalism that should be thrown out entirely, I was still glad to pull the lever for Obama. Who we knew was no progressive, very early on.

    Remember that movie with Michael Douglass, “The American President”? It’s all about character. The trials and tribulations of a person of color are going to be greater than those who experienced their lives with that security blanket of privilege. They’ve demonstrated more CHARACTER by getting to the race with their IDENTITY.

    Oh yes, it matters a lot. It can’t be the last thing you look at. If it is, you’re a racist. Because you will be able to find something about them, about ANYONE, that will color your reasoning. Ultimately, we can’t be impartial. Eventually, our own bias will enter into the calculus, usually in a way we don’t recognize.

    Grant has found a way out of this. And it’s pretty easy to implement. If you are a white guy and you are trying to fight for justice and racial empowerment, you could do much worse by looking at policy first.

    Brian in Austin
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