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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Steven Pinker and Spiked and the Koch brothers

Steven Pinker is a right-winger in spite of his claiming otherwise, and his thinking this idiotic & transparent "parody" Twitter account Titania McGrath is hilarious pretty much closes the case.

Predictably Pinker's fan-boy Jerry Coyne also thought it was a laugh-riot.

I'm on the record as having issues with both New Atheists and "Social Justice Warriors" but as low as my opinion is of SJWs, I could see immediately that "Titania McGrath" was fake.

What's more interesting about the incident than Pinker's oafish sense of humor is that it reveals another connection between Steven Pinker and Spiked as well as a connection between Spiked and the Koch brothers.

Spiked columnist Andrew Doyle was behind the McGrath character. Pinker made his infamous alt-right comments at Spiked Magazine’s 'Unsafe Space Tour' panel discussion at Harvard University.

Doyle, who is deeply concerned about "political correctness" as shown by his Spiked output, thinks that Candace Owens, leading influencer of the New Zealand mass murderer was "smeared" by being described as a "far-right media personality." The rest of that article is a defense of members of the Intellectual Dark Web.

But while looking at the responses on Twitter to Pinker's Spiked-related tweet I found this article which says that Spiked has received support from the Koch brothers:
We found three payments over the past two years from the Charles Koch Foundation. They amount to $170,000, earmarked for “general operating support”. The payments were made to Spiked US Inc. On Spiked’s “Donate” page is a button that says “In the US? Donate here”. It takes you to the PayPal link for “Spiked US, Inc”. Spiked US, in other words, appears to be its American funding arm. Beyond a postal address is Hoboken, New Jersey, it is hard to see what presence it has in the US. It appears to have been established in 2016, the year in which the Koch donations began. 
When I asked Spiked what the money was for and whether there had been any other payments, its managing editor, Viv Regan, told me that the Charles Koch Foundation has now given Spiked US a total of $300,000, “to produce public debates in the US about free speech, as part of its charitable activities.” She claims the foundation supports projects “on both the left and the right”. The Koch Foundation has funded “a free-speech oriented programme of public debates on campus titled the Unsafe Space Tour” and four live events, the first of which is titled ‘Should we be free to hate?’. She told me “We’re very proud of our work on free speech and tolerance, and we are proud to be part of the programme.” 
But I have been unable to find any public acknowledgement of this funding. Neither on the videos of the debates, in the posters advertising them or in reports of the events in Spiked magazine is there any mention of the Charles Koch Foundation. From what I could see of the title slides in the videos, they acknowledged an organisation called the Institute for Humane Studies, but not the Foundation. Spiked has yet to reply to my questions on this matter. 
The Koch brothers are famously careful with their money. According to Jane Mayer, they exert “unusually tight personal control over their philanthropic endeavours”. David Koch told a sympathetic journalist, “If we’re going to give a lot of money, we’ll make darn sure they spend it in a way that goes along with our intent. And if they make a wrong turn and start doing things we don’t agree with, we withdraw funding.” So what might have attracted them to this obscure organisation? 
Spiked magazine, now edited by Brendan O’Neill, appears to hate left-wing politics. It inveighs against the welfare state, against regulation, the Occupy movement, anti-capitalists, Jeremy Corbyn, George Soros, #MeToo, “black privilege” and Black Lives Matter. It does so in the name of the “ordinary people”, whom, it claims, are oppressed by the “anti-Trump and anti-Brexit cultural elites”, “feministic elites”, “green elites” and “cosmopolitan politicians”.
So to recap: Steven Pinker blamed the left and the media for radicalizing the alt-right while speaking at a panel that was part of the "Unsafe Space Tour" which was funded by the Charles Koch Foundation.

I think that when all is said and done it will turn out that virtually all members of the Intellectual Dark Web received funding, directly or indirectly, from the Koch brothers.

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