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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Bari Weiss and her allies

Although James Lindsay, Christian nationalist ally/business partner and Trump-lover and shameless hypocrite, was not mentioned in Bari Weiss' article about the Intellectual Dark Web, I was not kidding when I said that he is what passes for an intellectual in the IDW world.

Today we see Bari Weiss retweeting James Lindsay, who then retweeted her retweet.


The "liberals aren't liberal, right-wingers are the new liberals" line that Weiss is promoting in this tweet is a leading strategy for those associated with the Intellectual Dark Web, a strategy which Claire Lehmann admitted in her reference to the "Overton Window."

A stooge like James Lindsay, who claims to be a leftist while voting for Trump is a prime example of that IDW rat-fucking strategy.

Currently Bari Weiss' pinned Tweet is promoting a variation on the same IDW strategy, suggesting that American liberalism is a dangerous ideology now.

She's worried about the Jews, but she doesn't seem to be at all worried about the fact that leading IDW intellectual James Lindsay has a business partnership with a Christian nationalist kook like Michael O'Fallon, nor that he is cozy with neo-Nazi Richard Spencer.

It's striking how supportive these IDW-connected people are of each other, refusing to criticize each other for anything. It's almost as if they are all working for the same bosses and the bosses wouldn't like to see signs of disharmony among the employees. 

The possibility that the IDW gang are getting paid by a group of rightwing plutocrats would go a long way towards explaining the disconnect between what they say they care about and what they actually care about, well-illustrated by this Twitter thread.

As Jamison Foser points out, the people who signed onto the Harpers letter seem far more concerned about the well-known and well-paid being criticized for their right-wing opinions than the Trump administration's abuses of power. Bari Weiss seems perfectly comfortable that her pal James Lindsay is an outspoken Trump supporter.

It seems that anything goes in the IDW world as long as someone hates the 1619 project and "critical race theory" as James Lindsay does. 

Here he is demonstrating once again how to have difficult conversations through civility.

The IDW gang, although dominated by white conservatives, does have Black associates, whose primary focus is to attack the work of other Black people. Coleman Hughes, Quillette author who also works for the Koch-funded City Journal is a leading example

Here is a City Journal piece from yesterday, promoting Charles Koch's thoughts on "solving America's social problems."

Fourteen percent of the people who signed the Harpers letter had Koch connections and the initiator of the Harpers letter, Bari Weiss' friend Thomas Chatterton Williams, (the "self-expelled guy,") was given a job at the Koch-funded American Enterprise Institute some months after the Harpers letter was published.

Thanks to Bari Weiss retweeting James Lindsay, I discovered another Black Quillette author,  Chloe Valdry, being promoted by Weiss as providing an alternative antiracism to DiAngeloism.

I'm a long-time critic of Robin DiAngelo & White Fragility, but I doubt that an antiracism campaign created by someone aligned with the race science-promoting Quillette is a significantly better alternative. Valdary's IDW connections indicate she is unlikely to have any problems with "racial essentialism" - or at least not enough to cut her connections to the IDW & Quillette.

Valdary runs a project called Theory of Enchantment and there is no information on its site as to where Valdary gets her funding. I have a few theories about that.

So why doesn't Bari Weiss criticize James Lindsay for supporting Trump, or for being friendly with Richard Spencer or for going into business with Michael O'Fallon? Why are Coleman Hughes and Chloe S. Valdary unconcerned that Quillette and the IDW promote race science

The answer as always is likely wingnut welfare. As Krugman said:

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.

The plutocrats who fund wingnut welfare are keenly interested in swaying pubic opinion, as we see with Charles Koch sharing his thoughts on "solving America's social problems." And they have access to incredible amounts of money. Why wouldn't they use it to buy people to support their right-wing causes? And they don't even care if the people they buy are smart - James Lindsay is a manifestly stupid oaf. But he had a success in the conservative world with his laughable hoax grift - for which he was paid although he refuses to say who paid him. Plutocrats don't care if Lindsay is a fool - he is willing to spend hours online promoting their interests which are then retweeted by the higher-profile Bari Weiss or praised by Steven Pinker.

And if we look at the things James Lindsay says online, when he isn't insulting those who question him or disagree with him, it's clear that one of the things his bosses care about most is erasing Black history in order to promote the notion that Black people are innately less intelligent and their failure to thrive, post-Emancipation is the fault of their own bad genes.

Bari Weiss' pal Andrew Sullivan is well-known for that very thing, from promoting the Bell Curve to his attacks on the 1619 project.

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