How do you like the IDW?


For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) is an interesting development in light of the rapid rise of YouTube and other (relatively) free and independent platforms and decay of older traditional media. They largely exist on the internet, on YouTube and/or on their own platforms. It’s a very loosely defined but tightly knit group of thinkers and speakers, the most notable being the likes of Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, Same Harris, and the Weinstein brothers Eric and Bret. They’re very diverse in their politics, even more so in their faiths: Shapiro is an Orthodox Jew (OJ) Peterson mostly follows American Protestantism (very vague term), Rubin was raised an OJ and now is only nominal, and the remainder are either atheist or agnostic. There is not, unfortunately, any Catholic representation, which is a perspective the group desperately needs. What binds this group is largely their affinity for conversation with and about the culture and society, each other, and their common sense of danger when it comes to the rise of the “radical Left.” Their conversations about culture and society is precisely why they need a Catholic, but I digress. (Before you think they’re biased against leftism, Shapiro is the only truly conservative member.)

For those already familiar, what do you think of the IDW? I think they bring a lot to the table in that they largely only meet with each other in long form interviews, always published for everyone to watch, and they are all honestly pursuing truth—with a lowercase ‘t’. Their format, the long form interview, is particularly notable because, outside of Catholic Answers live videos with Trent Horn on YouTube, it is so rare.

So what do you think?


In what sense is it Dark?


Well, the “Dark Web” is where one generally goes for that which is verboten. Not good stuff. This title, the IDW, is largely a play on words. Whereas the real Dark Web is truly a dark and legally forbidden place, the IDW is only colloquially forbidden, by established old form media. Both are stigmatized as dark. The original Dark Web is stigmatized tightly so, but the IDW is only because it represents a threat to media with currently larger market shares.

I’m not explaining this very well—I imagine the person who originally coined the term might do it better! Here’s Eric Weinstein explaining the name. Relevant section starts at about a minute. For your peace of mind, Dark in this use does not mean evil, but more in the sense of “Here be dragons” on an old map :slightly_smiling_face:


I figured dark in this context means secret or untraceable, but YouTube and blog platforms are not very dark. When you mentioned Sam Harris, I wondered, this guy is out in the open, I’m not aware that he went into hiding (though plausible, if true, because of the way he speaks out against Muslims). I used to follow his blog and found it rather interesting and only slightly controversial. I could see calling it counter-culture.

By the way, Harris’s book on Lying is excellent and I wish Catholics understood lying like that.


Jordan Peterson is the only name on your list that I’m familiar with. I’d like to follow this up, but I have a problem: I’m gradually losing my hearing and for anything that requires my concentrated attention, I now have to rely on the written word, not the spoken word. Do you know whether any of these IDW interviews are available online in transcript form?


I don’t know that there are transcripts, but I think you could find videos with captions! And if you don’t find those, most of the members have written books, if you want to engage with their ideas


Okay, thanks for ytour help.


No problem! Sorry I couldn’t be more :slightly_smiling_face:


It’s funny you should bring this up, I just began watching Peterson a couple of days ago and can’t seem to get enough of his insight on everything! Wow! I don’t have anything particularly insightful to say about the scope of what’s on the web and how this style of “IDW” information presented compares with other styles, otherwise. I’m familiar with Ted talk format, but it’s not exactly a personality cult. A lot of this IDW is coming from YouTube, and the suggested links below have a lot of sway in who’s being presented. YouTube… I don’t particularly trust them. As far as a popular Catholic personality, Jesus said we’d be rejected. His ideas were pretty extreme what with eating His flesh and crucifixes etc etc. :wink: But ironically, I think people who are surfing this “IDW” are most likely not happy with the status quo and lump the Catholic Church in with NBC etc.

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