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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Wingnut Welfare and the Intellectual Dark Web

One of the most important aspects of the Intellectual Dark Web is its reliance on wingnut welfare.

Paul Krugman wrote about "Wingnut Welfare and Work Incentives " on his NYTimes blog in 2015 and it's absolutely essential reading to understand the success of the careers of rightwing public intellectuals from Charles Murray to Quillette.

Krugman wrote:
Wingnut welfare is an important, underrated feature of the modern U.S. political scene. I don’t know who came up with the term, but anyone who follows right-wing careers knows whereof I speak: the lavishly-funded ecosystem of billionaire-financed think tanks, media outlets, and so on provides a comfortable cushion for politicians and pundits who tell such people what they want to hear. Lose an election, make economic forecasts that turn out laughably wrong, whatever — no matter, there’s always a fallback job available.
Several people associated with the Intellectual Dark Web have connections to rightwing plutocrats, but there are other funders that they refuse to name. James Lindsay, Major Grifter explains why in this tweet.

Of course it matters if you are being supported by the Koch foundation, and there is no "magic of moral pollution" - rather it's basic quotidian logic. It makes me wonder if James Lindsay has ever held a real job.

If you are being funded by the Koch Foundation you are not likely to criticize Koch. You are likely to publish what you think will increase the chances of future Koch funding.

But it seems like gas-lighting is how the IDW & friends decided to address the credibility-reducing fact of being on wingnut welfare, as we saw with Andrew Doyle of the Koch-funded Spiked Magazine. Spiked ran a piece claiming that George Monibot's piece about Spike's funding was "McCarthyism."

"Follow the money" as Mark Felt told Bob Woodward in "All the President's Men." It was a good policy then and it's a good policy now.

In the next post I will discuss how Charles Murray first got into wingnut welfare. Funnily enough, it was when he was funded to write a book about the work disincentives of welfare.

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