I read with interest the article in the New York Times on the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW), a cyber-salon of commentators and intellectuals who are described as fearless opponents of the politically correct thought police. Two of their number are ex-colleagues of mine at Evergreen, Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying; I even co-taught a course a number of years ago with Heather.
Let’s just say the article is a bit thin in the area of critical judgment and leave it at that. I did resonate, however, with the plight of Sam Harris, one of the luminaries it profiles. Harris apparently got into trouble for the unspeakable claim that some cultures are inferior to others, which of course violates relativist orthodoxy. But what if he’s right? For instance, imagine a culture that routinely sends its missiles and planes to bomb innocent people in other countries to impose its political order, sets up secret torture chambers around the world, and persists in sabotaging any attempt to respond to urgent, civilization-impairing environmental threats. Why not just say—oh wait, wrong culture.