It appears the marketplace of ideas™ is finally clearing out its worthless products. For a special time only, you’ll be able to see Dave Rubin, the controversial host of the Rubin Report, become ideologically homelessness as members of The Intellectual Dark Web begin to turn on the Koch-linked partisan-for-hire. To borrow a quote from The Daily Dot’s Claire Goforth, “Rubin is now starring in his very own self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Last week, an article was published by Quillette journalist Cathy Young who challenged the so-called “classical liberal” by offering a comprehensive critique of his show’s “tribalist pull”. The points of contention surrounded his slanted choice in partisan right-wing guests as “allies” against social justice, how his weak interviewing style enables their talking points to pass uncritically and how the IDW should avoid normalising these orthodoxies if it genuinely believes in good faith inquiry.
Young writes that “while Rubin holds liberal positions on a number of issues,” such as gay marriage and marijuana legalisation, she concludes “he is currently aligned with Republicans and with the pro-Donald Trump camp”. This is undeniable given that on Colin’s Last Stand, a libertarian podcast, Rubin admitted he would be voting for President Trump in the 2020 general election.
Whether the candidate is a social democrat like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) or even a neoliberal like Gov. Gavin Newsome (D-CA), Rubin has gone on the record to say “I won’t have a problem doing it”, nevermind the flirtations with using the term “Trump curious” and how “defending my liberal principles has become a conservative position” ever since he “left the left”. Rubin, ever the humble intellectual, went ballistic over such small criticisms by labelling the article a “hit piece” pushing “authoritarian drivel masked as more Lefty tolerance”, while at the same time calling for censorship at Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey here:
Aside from this notion that Quillette has suddenly become a leftist publication, which some of my online ‘comrades’ find a hilarious victory in the so-called ‘battle of ideas’, Young’s central basis is about how if the IDW is ideologically consistent, it must avoid the very authoritarianism within the identitarian/populist right, noting how several of Rubin’s guests were former libertarians turned ethno-nationalist sympathisers such as Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux. Controversial figures simply require more intellectual merit than someone like Rubin can muster… assuming the goal isn’t to normalise figures as allies against a social justice boogieman.
Southern, for example, was accused of piracy and terrorism during her association with Génération Identitare who repeatedly attacked NGO ships attempting to rescue migrants from the sea. Molyneux pushes notoriously pseudoscientific claims that “rapey” blacks are intellectually inferior to whites based on their average IQ scores. Other repeat figures, like Mike Cernovich, pushed the dangerous PizzaGate conspiracy theory which sought to smear, dox and harass a business on the off-chance there was a paedophile ring beneath their non-existent basement, along with his deplatforming of leftist figures such as director James Gunn and MSNBC contributor Sam Seder.
Instead of addressing the article, Rubin diverts to the needless drama of how Young “begged” him to introduce her to other IDW members and requested complete accommodation during her brief stay in Los Angelas before her interview. Ironic how Rubin’s attack echoes Trump, the man he swore to “hold feet to the fire”, which he denies any alignment with. Turns out I was correct that Rubin’s liberal thoughts don’t always translate into liberal action when criticised.
Nevertheless, Rubin counters Young by saying he has “no regrets” with interviewing his guests… which isn’t her actual argument. nTalking to people your political opponents is perfectly legitimate. Fundamentally, how these opponents are engaged is up for debate. Rubin’s weak attempt at Socratic questioning, which involves an unravelling of one’s world-view for thoughtful engagement, barely goes skin deep.
In a tired fashion, Rubin engages the ideas only with a thin touch of asking “what are your thoughts on this topic” and “do you still believe this” without actually assessing the validity of their claims outright if it’s not to serve opposition to social justice (Socrates used his method against partisan target). Just retaining the talking points, “treating them as allies against SJWs or the regressive left”, is different than an assessment of the subject. For Rubin, guests are more pundits than subjects. If not for the SJWs as his external subjects, it’d be an honesty surprise if Rubin’s show could even last more than an hour.
Ultimately, Young finds that while these are “egregious examples” of normalising the far-right within a closed framework of discourse, she’s correct that “the problem is certainly bigger than one YouTube talk show host,” which is why other members are trying to avoid that fate. Quillette, run by its editor Claire Lehmann, lead the recent charge. Others, such as the classical feminist Christina Hoff Sommers have debated with Trump supporter Helen Andrews on a recent podcast. Sam Harris, on the other hand, has debated Trumpism against sycophants like Scott Adams and fellow IDW member Ben Shapiro throughout the presidency along with his 2017 blog post condemning the Muslim ban with separated himself from the reactionary orthodoxy.
Where Rubin and Shapiro falter as conservative minds enabling right identity influence, only its true liberal side seem to carry the team to a semblance of ethics. Young later cites a 2006 article from Steven Pinker writing how “liberalism provides us with intellectual and moral tools to defuse the dangers” which is “used to deny the full humanity of some groups”. He writes how we must maintain “a commitment to universal human rights, and to policies that treat people as individuals rather than as representatives of groups.”
If this is what the IDW stands for, consider progressive minds as fellow travellers willing to offer introspect demonised as “social justice”. If it decides the right excess is too an ally, favouring the tactics of their supposed opposition, clearly one identitarian influx is being favoured over the other and the principles are out the window. “Just because the social justice left routinely labels people racists, bigots, haters and Nazis for dissenting from its orthodoxies does not mean actual white supremacist, misogynistic, homophobic or fascistic rhetoric should be excused as ‘wrongthink’ or as ‘edgy’ defiance of SJW nannyism,” Young concludes. To Rubin’s dismay, “the enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.”
Thanks for reading! This article was originally published for TrigTent.com, a bipartisan media platform for political and social commentary, truly diverse viewpoints and facts that don’t kowtow to political correctness.
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