On this episode of Unsupervised Learning Razib talks to his friend Claire Lehmann, founder and editor-in-chief of Quillette magazine, and columnist for The Australian. Though Lehmann’s initial public prominence involved her key role in the “intellectual dark web,” publishing thinkers critical of identity politics like Coleman Hughes, John Wood Jr. and John McWhorter, Razib was especially interested in the fact that over the last few years she has gotten involved in various online discussions centered around cultural differences between her home nation of Australia, and the US, where the majority of Quillette’s readers live. Razib draws Lehmann out about the fact that few Americans grasp what different views Australians usually hold about the balance between values of liberty and equality. This gap has resulted in several clashes online fueled more by ignorance than disagreement.
Lehmann also discusses the disintegration of the intellectual dark web itself, and the future directions that Quillette will take. She notes that one of the major fissures between her own views and those of many intellectual dark web luminaries is that many of them, like Bret Weinstein, are more reflexive dissenters. Outside of a few topics, like racial essentialism, Lehmann observes that the intellectual dark web was never a coherent movement. Finally, she reflects on the positives and negatives of social media, and how it has changed over the last five years of her editorship of Quillette.