The Intellectual Dark Web has developed into an academic counterculture, with an enormous and rapidly growing fan base. While it’s wonderful that there are sites where taken-for-granted orthodoxies can be challenged in accessible ways, I have grave concerns about the way that this movement is unfolding.
The popular imagination typically pits feminism and free speech advocacy against each other. But in reality, they often align. The new SESTA-FOSTA bill is a case in point. Both feminists and free speech advocates should strongly oppose this law, and for closely related reasons.
A new intellectual counterculture has been coalescing in virtual space. The intellectual dark web is billed as island of free speech in a sea of dogma: a place where bold, creative thinkers can discuss their ideas at length and without censure by the mainstream media or suppression by a hidebound academic establishment.
“Can Speech Kill?” The obvious answer, it seems, should be: yes, but not directly. However, if one person engages in hate speech against another—using racial slurs or de-humanizing language such as “cockroaches” or “rats”—can that language be counted as killing or contributing to killing other people?