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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:23 am 
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So, there's the belief that one is being rational and scientific whilst being hyper-tribalistic.

I don't think I've witnessed someone trying so hard to seem like they understand things, and fail so completely, so consistently. You appear to misinterpret almost everything, despite at least claiming to have gone to the effort of investigating whatever is the topic at hand. Molyneux I don't know much about, since I find him creepy, and you may be partially right there, but both Sargon and Jordan Peterson are anti-identitarian universalist liberals making a stand against the hyper-tribalism of an age in which identiarianism pervades everything. Sargon's made enough mistakes to warrant legitimate criticism, but your interpretation of what he represents is entirely backwards.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:40 am 
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The irony of all this is that while the identitarianism of the age is manufacturing white identitarianism as a logical response, people like Sargon and Peterson are providing a bulwark against white identitarianism. I mean, identity politics has essentially created a production line of disgruntled people who feel cornered and are being tempted towards white identity politics, and Sargon, and especially Peterson, are fighting against it more effectively than just about anyone else. Meanwhile, it seems there are people on the other side who need - and feed - the boogeyman to justify their own aims.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:35 am 
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pontifex wrote:
Quote:
So, there's the belief that one is being rational and scientific whilst being hyper-tribalistic.


I don't think I've witnessed someone trying so hard to seem like they understand things, and fail so completely, so consistently. You appear to misinterpret almost everything, despite at least claiming to have gone to the effort of investigating whatever is the topic at hand. Molyneux I don't know much about, since I find him creepy, and you may be partially right there, but both Sargon and Jordan Peterson are anti-identitarian universalist liberals making a stand against the hyper-tribalism of an age in which identiarianism pervades everything. Sargon's made enough mistakes to warrant legitimate criticism, but your interpretation of what he represents is entirely backwards.


Sigh. The irony.

Once again, here you are making accusations of misinterpretation and misunderstanding whilst simultaneously engaging in both charges yourself. I'm starting to think this is your stock-in-trade.

I was referring to one - seemingly sizeable - part of the following/fanbois of these youtubers. Not the youtubers themselves. Their devotees.

The other poster who responded to my post got it. You evidently did not. Then again, I'm not sure if you even read my posts, not properly anyway.


Quote:
The irony of all this is that while the identitarianism of the age is manufacturing white identitarianism as a logical response, people like Sargon and Peterson are providing a bulwark against white identitarianism. I mean, identity politics has essentially created a production line of disgruntled people who feel cornered and are being tempted towards white identity politics, and Sargon, and especially Peterson, are fighting against it more effectively than just about anyone else. Meanwhile, it seems there are people on the other side who need - and feed - the boogeyman to justify their own aims.


Here we go again. The poor little lambs are pushed into becoming racists and neo-nazis. Young white men are the victims and isn't it only to be expected that they might find Richard Spencer et al an attractive proposition. (That's sarcasm by the way).

As I said before, this has the twin effect of both infantilizing young white men and in turn, shifting some of the moral responsibility that they bear onto others - the "others" being feminists and leftist academics and "cultural marxist-post-modernists" - their enemies basically. Isn't it curious that after the Charlottesville episode, our friend Sargon of Akkad posts a video on youtube where he launches into a rant - not a rant that condemns the tiki-torch bearers for their anti-semitism or any of their other vile views, no, a rant about leftist academics and others. This is on them apparently. They're the ones responsible. And amidst all of this odious bullshit, one of these weak-willed and impressionable young-white-males drives a car into a crowd of counter demonstrators. A feminist loses her life. Then again, she wasn't completely blameless was she?

It isn't in the least bit surprising that Richard Spencer considers Sargon and other youtubers of his ilk as gateways to the alt-right. They're your first joint or pill before you move onto the hard stuff.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:43 am 
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I was referring to one - seemingly sizeable - part of the following/fanbois of these youtubers. Not the youtubers themselves. Their devotees.


Well you mentioned the comments from one of them.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:50 am 
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Conservative Eddie wrote:
pontifex wrote:
Quote:
So, there's the belief that one is being rational and scientific whilst being hyper-tribalistic.


I don't think I've witnessed someone trying so hard to seem like they understand things, and fail so completely, so consistently. You appear to misinterpret almost everything, despite at least claiming to have gone to the effort of investigating whatever is the topic at hand. Molyneux I don't know much about, since I find him creepy, and you may be partially right there, but both Sargon and Jordan Peterson are anti-identitarian universalist liberals making a stand against the hyper-tribalism of an age in which identiarianism pervades everything. Sargon's made enough mistakes to warrant legitimate criticism, but your interpretation of what he represents is entirely backwards.


Sigh. The irony.

Once again, here you are making accusations of misinterpretation and misunderstanding whlist simultaneously engaging in both charges yourself. I'm starting to think this is your stock-in-trade.

I was referring to one - seemingly sizeable - part of the following/fanbois of these youtubers. Not the youtubers themselves. Their devotees.

The other poster who responded to my post got it. You evidently did not. Then again, I'm not sure if you even read my posts, not properly anyway.

Sigh indeed. Again, you fail to express yourself adequately, if that's what you were claiming. You claimed that Sargon, Peterson et al were the bastard children of the four horsemen, and that they were all about science and reason, and yet were hyper-tribalistic. They are not. They are anti-tribalistic. I don't have a comprehensive view of what their devotees believe, but I wouldn't trust you to interpret... well... anything. Sorry.

You don't understand Sargon of Akkad, or Peterson, if you think that they are attempting to foster tribalism in people, they are doing the opposite. And if, in your weird view of individual agency as isolated from everything, you refuse to understand the emergence of political movements as a relation of cause and effect, and insist only on focusing on (one, very specific) action, then you're a bigger fool than I thought.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:00 am 
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Incidentally, the real white supremacists have expressed gratitude for identity politics and have claimed that they are seeing a massive upswell in their numbers as a result of it. It facilitates them, largely because it's precisely what they themselves believe, just for their own group. There's a reason that Sargon of Akkad, and increasingly Peterson, are coming under attack from the actual Alt-Right, and it's because they offer a credible alternative to white identity politics. Other identity politics merely drive the cycle. And it appears that the purveyors of identity politics are less interested in shutting down right-wing identity politics than they are in shutting down people proposing alternatives to identity politics at large.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:12 am 
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pontifex wrote:
Conservative Eddie wrote:
pontifex wrote:
Quote:
So, there's the belief that one is being rational and scientific whilst being hyper-tribalistic.


I don't think I've witnessed someone trying so hard to seem like they understand things, and fail so completely, so consistently. You appear to misinterpret almost everything, despite at least claiming to have gone to the effort of investigating whatever is the topic at hand. Molyneux I don't know much about, since I find him creepy, and you may be partially right there, but both Sargon and Jordan Peterson are anti-identitarian universalist liberals making a stand against the hyper-tribalism of an age in which identiarianism pervades everything. Sargon's made enough mistakes to warrant legitimate criticism, but your interpretation of what he represents is entirely backwards.


Sigh. The irony.

Once again, here you are making accusations of misinterpretation and misunderstanding whlist simultaneously engaging in both charges yourself. I'm starting to think this is your stock-in-trade.

I was referring to one - seemingly sizeable - part of the following/fanbois of these youtubers. Not the youtubers themselves. Their devotees.

The other poster who responded to my post got it. You evidently did not. Then again, I'm not sure if you even read my posts, not properly anyway.

Sigh indeed. Again, you fail to express yourself adequately, if that's what you were claiming. You claimed that Sargon, Peterson et al were the bastard children of the four horsemen, and that they were all about science and reason, and yet were hyper-tribalistic. They are not. They are anti-tribalistic. I don't have a comprehensive view of what their devotees believe, but I wouldn't trust you to interpret... well... anything. Sorry.

You don't understand Sargon of Akkad, or Peterson, if you think that they are attempting to foster tribalism in people, they are doing the opposite. And if, in your weird view of individual agency as isolated from everything, you refuse to understand the emergence of political movements as a relation of cause and effect, and insist only on focusing on (one, very specific) action, then you're a bigger fool than I thought.


I made no such claims in that post. I expressed myself just fine. Learn to read.

Quote:
Incidentally, the real white supremacists have expressed gratitude for identity politics and have claimed that they are seeing a massive upswell in their numbers as a result of it. It facilitates them, largely because it's precisely what they themselves believe, just for their own group. There's a reason that Sargon of Akkad, and increasingly Peterson, are coming under attack from the actual Alt-Right, and it's because they offer a credible alternative to white identity politics. Other identity politics merely drive the cycle. And it appears that the purveyors of identity politics are less interested in shutting down right-wing identity politics than they are in shutting down people proposing alternatives to identity politics at large.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:37 am 
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Conservative Eddie wrote:
pontifex wrote:
Conservative Eddie wrote:
pontifex wrote:
Quote:
So, there's the belief that one is being rational and scientific whilst being hyper-tribalistic.


I don't think I've witnessed someone trying so hard to seem like they understand things, and fail so completely, so consistently. You appear to misinterpret almost everything, despite at least claiming to have gone to the effort of investigating whatever is the topic at hand. Molyneux I don't know much about, since I find him creepy, and you may be partially right there, but both Sargon and Jordan Peterson are anti-identitarian universalist liberals making a stand against the hyper-tribalism of an age in which identiarianism pervades everything. Sargon's made enough mistakes to warrant legitimate criticism, but your interpretation of what he represents is entirely backwards.


Sigh. The irony.

Once again, here you are making accusations of misinterpretation and misunderstanding whlist simultaneously engaging in both charges yourself. I'm starting to think this is your stock-in-trade.

I was referring to one - seemingly sizeable - part of the following/fanbois of these youtubers. Not the youtubers themselves. Their devotees.

The other poster who responded to my post got it. You evidently did not. Then again, I'm not sure if you even read my posts, not properly anyway.

Sigh indeed. Again, you fail to express yourself adequately, if that's what you were claiming. You claimed that Sargon, Peterson et al were the bastard children of the four horsemen, and that they were all about science and reason, and yet were hyper-tribalistic. They are not. They are anti-tribalistic. I don't have a comprehensive view of what their devotees believe, but I wouldn't trust you to interpret... well... anything. Sorry.

You don't understand Sargon of Akkad, or Peterson, if you think that they are attempting to foster tribalism in people, they are doing the opposite. And if, in your weird view of individual agency as isolated from everything, you refuse to understand the emergence of political movements as a relation of cause and effect, and insist only on focusing on (one, very specific) action, then you're a bigger fool than I thought.


I made no such claims in that post. I expressed myself just fine. Learn to read.

Quote:
Incidentally, the real white supremacists have expressed gratitude for identity politics and have claimed that they are seeing a massive upswell in their numbers as a result of it. It facilitates them, largely because it's precisely what they themselves believe, just for their own group. There's a reason that Sargon of Akkad, and increasingly Peterson, are coming under attack from the actual Alt-Right, and it's because they offer a credible alternative to white identity politics. Other identity politics merely drive the cycle. And it appears that the purveyors of identity politics are less interested in shutting down right-wing identity politics than they are in shutting down people proposing alternatives to identity politics at large.


Image

I read better than you write, mate. Sorry. You don't express yourself clearly, you just use lots of words and a weird tone of self regard. Your post implied that the people you named were hyper-tribalistic, and then shifted to a single (unrelated) comment by some random on a Jordan Peterson video. That's nonsense.

I'm well aware of Richard Spencer's comment. I'm also aware of Jared Taylor's. I don't take either as authorities. You want to deny that identity politics is driving a reaction, and propose instead that a random youtuber is feeding people to white identity politics, despite arguing against identity politics as a whole? You think that white identity politics is a unique, isolated evil which exists in a vacuum? Great, I guess Sargon of Akkad led to the fall of the left across the western world. Powerful dude. Better shut him down, I guess. Or is he himself perhaps a product of the radical idenity politics which he rails against? Nah, he's just a spontaneous expression of evil.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:54 am 
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Spencer could also suggest Furries & Bronies are a great entry point, it doesn't make it correct


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:04 am 
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Conservative Eddie wrote:
pontifex wrote:
Conservative Eddie wrote:
pontifex wrote:


Sigh. The irony.

Once again, here you are making accusations of misinterpretation and misunderstanding whlist simultaneously engaging in both charges yourself. I'm starting to think this is your stock-in-trade.

I was referring to one - seemingly sizeable - part of the following/fanbois of these youtubers. Not the youtubers themselves. Their devotees.

The other poster who responded to my post got it. You evidently did not. Then again, I'm not sure if you even read my posts, not properly anyway.

Sigh indeed. Again, you fail to express yourself adequately, if that's what you were claiming. You claimed that Sargon, Peterson et al were the bastard children of the four horsemen, and that they were all about science and reason, and yet were hyper-tribalistic. They are not. They are anti-tribalistic. I don't have a comprehensive view of what their devotees believe, but I wouldn't trust you to interpret... well... anything. Sorry.

You don't understand Sargon of Akkad, or Peterson, if you think that they are attempting to foster tribalism in people, they are doing the opposite. And if, in your weird view of individual agency as isolated from everything, you refuse to understand the emergence of political movements as a relation of cause and effect, and insist only on focusing on (one, very specific) action, then you're a bigger fool than I thought.


I made no such claims in that post. I expressed myself just fine. Learn to read.

Quote:
Incidentally, the real white supremacists have expressed gratitude for identity politics and have claimed that they are seeing a massive upswell in their numbers as a result of it. It facilitates them, largely because it's precisely what they themselves believe, just for their own group. There's a reason that Sargon of Akkad, and increasingly Peterson, are coming under attack from the actual Alt-Right, and it's because they offer a credible alternative to white identity politics. Other identity politics merely drive the cycle. And it appears that the purveyors of identity politics are less interested in shutting down right-wing identity politics than they are in shutting down people proposing alternatives to identity politics at large.


Image

I read better than you write, mate. Sorry. You don't express yourself clearly, you just use lots of words and a weird tone of self regard. Your post implied that the people you named were hyper-tribalistic, and then shifted to a single (unrelated) comment by some random on a Jordan Peterson video. That's nonsense.

I'm well aware of Richard Spencer's comment. I'm also aware of Jared Taylor's. I don't take either as authorities. You want to deny that identity politics is driving a reaction, and propose instead that a random youtuber is feeding people to white identity politics, despite arguing against identity politics as a whole? You think that white identity politics is a unique, isolated evil which exists in a vacuum? Great, I guess Sargon of Akkad led to the fall of the left across the western world. Powerful dude. Better shut him down, I guess. Or is he himself perhaps a product of the radical idenity politics which he rails against? Nah, he's just a spontaneous expression of evil.


In all the years I've posted on here, I've never had any poster express this kind of difficulty in understanding my posts. Only you.

I think you read into my posts what you wish I had written. I think you have a penchant for putting words in my mouth (or in my posts).

As for your questions for which you presume to know my responses - my actual answers would be 1) No. Not exactly. Sargon is more a useful idiot in this respect. 2) No, I don't think that. 3) Possibly, in part.

As for Spencer and Taylor. Well, they are authorities. It doesn't frankly matter if you don't consider them as such, though it is awfully convenient.

That's it. Snooze time.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:15 am 
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Conservative Eddie wrote:
Conservative Eddie wrote:
pontifex wrote:
Conservative Eddie wrote:
pontifex wrote:


Sigh. The irony.

Once again, here you are making accusations of misinterpretation and misunderstanding whlist simultaneously engaging in both charges yourself. I'm starting to think this is your stock-in-trade.

I was referring to one - seemingly sizeable - part of the following/fanbois of these youtubers. Not the youtubers themselves. Their devotees.

The other poster who responded to my post got it. You evidently did not. Then again, I'm not sure if you even read my posts, not properly anyway.

Sigh indeed. Again, you fail to express yourself adequately, if that's what you were claiming. You claimed that Sargon, Peterson et al were the bastard children of the four horsemen, and that they were all about science and reason, and yet were hyper-tribalistic. They are not. They are anti-tribalistic. I don't have a comprehensive view of what their devotees believe, but I wouldn't trust you to interpret... well... anything. Sorry.

You don't understand Sargon of Akkad, or Peterson, if you think that they are attempting to foster tribalism in people, they are doing the opposite. And if, in your weird view of individual agency as isolated from everything, you refuse to understand the emergence of political movements as a relation of cause and effect, and insist only on focusing on (one, very specific) action, then you're a bigger fool than I thought.


I made no such claims in that post. I expressed myself just fine. Learn to read.

Quote:
Incidentally, the real white supremacists have expressed gratitude for identity politics and have claimed that they are seeing a massive upswell in their numbers as a result of it. It facilitates them, largely because it's precisely what they themselves believe, just for their own group. There's a reason that Sargon of Akkad, and increasingly Peterson, are coming under attack from the actual Alt-Right, and it's because they offer a credible alternative to white identity politics. Other identity politics merely drive the cycle. And it appears that the purveyors of identity politics are less interested in shutting down right-wing identity politics than they are in shutting down people proposing alternatives to identity politics at large.


Image

I read better than you write, mate. Sorry. You don't express yourself clearly, you just use lots of words and a weird tone of self regard. Your post implied that the people you named were hyper-tribalistic, and then shifted to a single (unrelated) comment by some random on a Jordan Peterson video. That's nonsense.

I'm well aware of Richard Spencer's comment. I'm also aware of Jared Taylor's. I don't take either as authorities. You want to deny that identity politics is driving a reaction, and propose instead that a random youtuber is feeding people to white identity politics, despite arguing against identity politics as a whole? You think that white identity politics is a unique, isolated evil which exists in a vacuum? Great, I guess Sargon of Akkad led to the fall of the left across the western world. Powerful dude. Better shut him down, I guess. Or is he himself perhaps a product of the radical idenity politics which he rails against? Nah, he's just a spontaneous expression of evil.


In all the years I've posted on here, I've never had any poster express this kind of difficulty in understanding my posts. Only you.

I think you read into my posts what you wish I had written. I think you have a penchant for putting words in my mouth (or in my posts).

As for your questions for which you presume to know my responses - my actual answers would be 1) No. Not exactly. Sargon is more a useful idiot in this respect. 2) No, I don't think that. 3) Possibly, in part.

As for Spencer and Taylor. Well, they are authorities. It doesn't frankly matter if you don't consider them as such, though it is awfully convenient.

That's it. Snooze time.

Nah. It's probably not always your language (although that's certainly a limitation), it's also that you're incoherent and don't seem to understand what you yourself are claiming, let alone anything else. Cognitive dissonance might be the appropriate term. Your idea of agency is incoherent, especially as you seem to exclusively interpret influence as positive (the influence of the spontaneous evil of people like Sargon of Akkad and Jordan Peterson), while denying negative influences. I just find you a little remarkable - someone so set on expressing their superior understanding of everything, without understanding very much at all. You are very, very special. Congratulations.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:04 pm 
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Conservative Eddie wrote:
hermes-trismegistus wrote:
I think speakers in Unis can often become proxies for people who - for whatever reason - feel a need to act out their group memberships as ostentatiously as possible. What a speaker like Sargon of Akkad has to say isn't really that important. It's more about signalling disapproval of the group which wants to hear him: I do not belong to them; I belong to those who are different to them. So, while the content of Sargon's conversation with an objectivist will generally be a low-res riff on Burke and Locke of no actual interest to most progressives, the thing that really matters is that he offers a totem pole around which a species of war dance can be carried out, loyalties can be advertised, territories claimed.

A great deal of this, I think, is intended not so much as a signal to the speaker - although that's a happy corollary - but as a throwing down of the gauntlet to the perceived rival group who invited him/her. I notice, for example, that when a stage is stormed and a microphone grabbed, it's often the case that the subsequent messages are directed at the audience more so than the invitee. It has the quality of a territorial grab from the neighbours with whom the university space/public square is shared. Stripping an audience of their right to listen makes coherent sense when it's the gathering you have an issue with as much as the speaker.

I can't help thinking that a portion of whatever it is inside us that's geared for religion tends to get activated in these scenarios for both sides. If not religious, something similarly ancient and parallel. We see chanting. On the left, we often see activists repeating recitations made by a leader as if it were catechism. There are sacred words like diversity, safe space and free speech. There's a vocabulary reminiscent of exorcism around demons such as fascists, Nazis and the like. I think the biggest sign perhaps that there's a faith based impulse in play is the response to apostates. They're turned on more savagely than anyone else. That shouldn't be the case - or at least, not quite so much - if this was a rational process.

All in all, it points to an exercise in self demarcation through opposition to others running alongside the overt politics. I think this indicates something's profoundly lacking in how some of these people self appraise. Something they should have learned by now, hasn't been taught to them. Again though, I do think, the best way to haul us out of these atavistic pits is to insist - over and over again - on debate.


Yeah, I'd tend to agree with most of that.

I think you might be right on the religion point. A lot of this reminds me of conversations or debates with those who are true believers. Antifa are quite clearly in a quasi-religious post-debate state - i.e. the contentions and questions being discussed have been resolved in their minds and in that scenario all that's left is violence - the resort to physical force is obvious if the non-contestables - which can't be up-for-debate as they've been resolved - are threatened.

One of the really interesting aspects of all of this concerns those who are expressly non-religious - some of whom were raised in strict religious households but rebelled - yet engage in this sort of tribalism. I'm not sure of the numbers and maybe they're an outspoken minority, but the online/youtube fraternity (they're mostly male) who, circa 10-12 years ago, made up the base of "new-atheism" - these were the supporters and acolytes of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Dan Dennett - now appear to constitute a noticeable proportion of the following of the Sargons, Molyneuxs and Jordan Petersons of this world. On the one hand, there's the constant reference to being "rational" and "the science", on the other hand there's the instantly reflexive dimiunition of the "other". There's a heck of a lot of crossover amongst the followers of these youtube "personalities" and those who were probably reading The End of Faith and The Selfish Gene a couple of years ago.

So, there's the belief that one is being rational and scientific whilst being hyper-tribalistic. I naively expected, many years ago now, that the charge of "What do you replace religion with?" was something of a false dilemma - the absence or "loss" of religous faith didn't need to be replaced. One wasn't losing anything. Well, for many that clearly isn't the case. There's a void in need of filling. The Harris/Hitchens' movement led to the wayward male teen going from Christianity to hard atheism (and very often Libertarianism) and on to a fixation with evolutionary theory (Dawkins' influence) as hyper-adaptationism (see the way how so much of these sex/gender debates are framed through the lens of sexual selection), social darwinism...and back to a woolly form of Petersonian theism.

I actually read one comment after listening to a Sam Harris podcast with Peterson, which went along the lines as follows: "I used to be a big Sam Harris fan, always listening to his podcast, but I no longer feel he identifies what matters like Prof Peterson does. I now believe in God and think Sam is being repetitive and rude to Jordan and is being pedantic by arguing over Jordan's definition of truth".

I don't think for many of this cohort that anything substantive changed in their years of atheism - they simply latched on to a group they felt they identified with, and what's more a group that ran counter to those they disliked. The hatred of the "other" is far more unifying and motivational an impulse than any tendency towards reason and rationality. All of which is rather sad to be honest. They've learned nothing.


I'd agree with your observation that a chunk of the relevant vloggers' audience started out following the new atheists and has migrated over time. However, Youtube was a much smaller entity back then with significantly lower traffic. So I'm not sure we can apply that path to all of the followers these people have now. In fact, I doubt we can even apply it to most. From what I can gather, the bulk of the audience with an appetite for these vloggers arose much more recently. Check the view counts for many of these guys and it's clear their growth - with one or two exceptions - really started to rocket at a point after three years ago. Three and a half, at a pinch. I'm happy to be corrected, but in my opinion this was the moment in time when identity politics went quasi mainstream. That being so, I think the message that most of these people have been interested in - although it can include the scientific rationalism popularised by the four horseman - is more often about the enlightenment individualism which the content creators we're discussing tend to focus on more.

On the mostly male observation. Peterson made the point in his interview with Newman that the bulk of his audience being male could either be because there's something about his message that appeals more so to men than women, or because Youtube - where his output is almost exclusively hosted - has so far tended to be a more male frequented platform. Since then, his publishers have provided him with the sales metrics for his book. I can't recall the exact stat, so I won't go out on a limb. But it's much closer to normal. In other words, it is not clear that the male skew on Youtube for this material is entirely down to the subject matter.

I think the broader point of a religious impulse being here to stay in one form or another is spot on. I think it was mistaken to imagine it was ever going to leave us. I don't think we're evolved to the point where we can weed out every thought or desire that requires a leap of faith. I think if we self examine a little, most of us will find we do it far more than we might suppose in rather mundane, everyday affairs. If we can hardly rid ourselves of it in the realm of the trivial, what chance realistically is there that we'll do away with it when we come to the King-Kong issues centred on meaning and the big why.

I think the last point you touch on is the most interesting. I have always thought that we tend to underplay the role hatred can play in our lives. I suspect it's far more ingrained than we're prepared to admit. It's a very easily accessed emotion for most of us; I suspect for quite straightforward evolutionary reasons. Who knows. But I remember thinking as a teenager that the famous Christian requirement that you love your neighbour was a much more challenging and profound injunction for self improvement than the hippy dippy frippery it appeared to be on the surface.

In an online age it's even harder to manage. Truly unpleasant and emotive exchanges tend to take place with people who we've never once seen in the flesh. It's a riff on the Milgram experiment. It's too easy to give in to the worst impulses when you can't see your opponent's face. Our imagination turns them into monsters with none of the checks that some kind of personal connection would offer. But this, as you know, is a failing across the board. It is by no means confined to the members of one group. I think the best chance we have of mitigating the worst effects of it in our personal lives is to remember as often as possible that the people we differ with outside of our physical life ought to be understood and treated as individuals not totems, symbols, signifiers, or abstractions. We're most prone to the latter, in my view, when we see individuals as nothing more than the extension of an ideology or a group. This is one of the reasons, as you'll probably have gathered from me before, why I think identity politics are so dangerous and inhuman.


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