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Monday, June 12, 2023

"An antiwoke organization implodes" - buh-bye FAIR!

“You have a lot of people with an extreme amount of wealth driving an extremist agenda.”

I was going to write about Jerry Coyne whining about the criticism of his little IDW grift perpetrated in cahoots with Quillette author and crackpot Anna Krylov. Best part, Coyne uses the phrase "Lee Jussim is an antiwoke social psychologist at Rutgers." Pinkerite has often noted the right-wing reactionary, vicious, race pseudoscience-loving loserosity of Lee Jussim

The second best part was when Coyne unironically describes race pseudoscience-promoting reactionaries Steven Pinker and Jonathan Haidt and Koch employee and reactionary Quillette author John McWhorter as "of the left."

Jerry Coyne and his right-wing allies live in a hermetically-sealed bubble.

Coyne was especially mad at P. Z. Myers, because Myers had this excellent response to the Krylov/Coyne grift. One of the best parts: "screw you McWhorter."

UPDATE: Myers responds to Coyne's complaints. Will Coyne ever stop embarrassing himself with his pathetic right-wing stoogery?

But there is much MUCH bigger news, which I found by looking at Coyne's website - the far-right reactionary FAIR grift "implodes!"

I had already noted how many members of the FAIR board of advisors were right-wingers, Trump supporters and Republicans.

The news comes from the New Yorker:

Professionally, Bartning had never worked on issues related to race or civil rights; he was an entrepreneur and investor who had helped American Express launch its online travel business and later helped lead the personal-care company E.O.S. One of his most recent ventures was a failed startup that sought to connect local farms with chefs. But he resolved to do something about what he was seeing at Riverdale—maybe even start an organization to counter it. He read an article in the Jewish magazine Tablet, about the rise of a new ideology on the left—a “mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality”—and another parent offered to connect him with Tablet’s editor and with the author of the article, Bari Weiss.

I had always assumed that Christopher Rufo was the real founder of FAIR, although Bartning had been given the credit, as I noted in September 2021

But as with so many horrible right-wing reactionary projects, this one is the work of Peter Thiel's leading courtier, Bari Weiss.

The New Yorker article demonstrates what professional journalists should be doing: getting past the lies. Although the article's description of right-wing extremist Peter Boghossian was unfortunately extremely flattering.

The article, written by Emma Green, mentions so many people I've discussed on this site for their connection to race pseudoscience and/or the Intellectual Dark Web: creepy Melissa Chen; Substack's Lulu Cheng Meservey, the awful former Quillette editor Colin Wright; Hoover ghoul Niall Ferguson; Angel Eduardo; Quillette author Glenn Loury; Koch employee/Randroid Kmele Foster.

The article is long but the gist is that Bion Bartning, who is basically a normie, although "independently wealthy," decided to wade into a culture war campaign dear to the American Right and the Republican Party - preventing discussions of systemic racism. 


“I’d say that, in the first few months of starting FAIR, I didn’t realize the degree to which this was being politicized,” he told me. “Getting this issue tied up in a culture war between two political parties is dangerous and could end up pushing things toward a more dehumanizing approach, because people get locked into their position.” 

Bartning's tragedy was that someone connected him to Bari Weiss - Madam Culture War herself.

Eventually Bartning achieves this insight:

“There are too few in the donor class who want to bolster moderation,” he said. “That’s part of what’s happening in our culture. You have a lot of people with an extreme amount of wealth driving an extremist agenda.”

Probably the biggest get of the article is the revelation of Weiss' coziness with Supreme Court corrupter Harlan Crow:

But it was Weiss, more than anyone else, who was clearly the group’s big draw. She brought in a half-million-dollar donation from Harlan Crow, a Texas real-estate developer who, ProPublica recently reported, paid for years of undisclosed vacations and private-jet travel for the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. 

Bari Weiss is, through and through, a right-wing political operative taking money from some of the most evil and crackpot plutocrats in the world to help the anti-democracy Republican Party make the United States a worse place, through the promotion of culture wars.

For me one of the best aspects of the article is that it provides a window into the Intellectual Dark Web Culture War issues factory:

Weiss had already been talking with a few of her friends about creating a new anti-woke organization. One was Melissa Chen, a writer and the managing director at Ideas Beyond Borders, a nonprofit that takes books about concepts such as liberty and reason and translates them into Arabic, to make them more accessible; she later described herself as a conservative who was forming her trajectory in “the anti-woke space.” Another was Peter Boghossian, a former professor best known for getting absurd papers about subjects such as dogs perpetuating rape culture at dog parks published in feminist and postmodern academic journals to expose what he saw as corruption in scholarship, and who has earned some prominence as a public intellectual defending free speech and opposing illiberalism. Chen and Boghossian had workshopped a pitch to the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, for a project to create “a modern-day Death Star” to wage “ideological warfare” on the “enemies of modernity”; their plan involved writing coördinated op-eds and promoting anti-woke content, but it was rejected. Weiss and her friends also sought advice from Niall Ferguson, a historian at the Hoover Institution, about the best way forward.

Bari Weiss is truly a conscience-deficient individual. 

UPDATE: P. Z. Myers comments:

It does me good to see one of those hateful anti-woke organizations falling apart, but it’s also dismaying to see how easily radical conservative groups can suck money out of the pockets of the obscenely rich. I guess if you’re extremely wealthy you can easily throw a million dollars here, a half million there, as long as the recipient panders to the bigotry that comes naturally to bloated capitalist nepo babies.

UPDATE: Charles Murray is such a good buddy of Harlan Crow, he dedicated one of his more recent sociobiology books to him.

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