But as [Caitlin] Flanagan of the Atlantic suggests, leftists who see everything as political know what Peterson is doing has a political dimension. The Intellectual Dark Web types reach people where they live, both in their earbuds and in their sense of enriching their lives outside “politics,” which paradoxically is the essence of successful politics. But the left fears the Intellectual Dark Web because they have no game plan (yet) for someone who isn’t a traditional political figure doing politics that isn’t “politics.”
This paradox has implications for Peterson and the Intellectual Dark Web. The recent New York Times profile of the Intellectual Dark Web — and Rubin’s appearance on the Federalist Radio Hour — raised the question of whether the Intellectual Dark Web becomes a political movement.
Becoming a political movement in the sense the question is asked would probably be the Intellectual Dark Web’s downfall at this juncture. The only political idea that should be central to the Intellectual Dark Web is the rejection of identity politics and its implicit totalitarianism. Simply re-popularizing the idea that not everything is “politics” is political enough for them for now. They will be far more effective making “politics” only one topic of conversation, thereby demonstrating that not everything is “politics.”
Read the whole thing. I remember reading interviews of Tom Wolfe from the 1970s and ‘80s in which he noted how surprised and disappointed he was that Hunter S. Thompson, whom Wolfe had championed as the star of the “New Journalism” movement of the mid-‘60s through the mid-‘70s, started writing about politics. By not tackling the minutia of Republican and Democrat day to day politics himself, Wolfe avoided being completely being dispatched to the culture war’s Siberia, which surely would have occurred if he was self-declared political conservative. Yet he was able to get plenty of conservative ideas, from pointing out the absurdity of radical chic, the anti-human characteristics of modern architecture, and the formulaic nature of modern art, to the identity politics obsessions of New Yorkers on both the top and bottom of the rungs of power into exceedingly wide circulation.