An Intellectual Dark Web Christmas
It’s an early Christmas morning, and several “members” of the Intellectual Dark Web are sitting in a large, elegant parlor, complete with a cozy fireplace and a glamorous tree. They include Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, Eric Weinstein, Dave Rubin, Douglas Murray, David Pakman, Andrew Yang, Bret Weinstein, and Heather Heying. They are hosted by none other than Peter Thiel and Elon Musk.
Elon: Glad you’re all here. This clubhouse wasn’t cheap, so it’s nice to see it in use, especially with the newest energy plan that I have in place to heat it.
Douglas: eyeing all the gifts And it seems Father Christmas was most generous last night.
Jordan: Yes, I like to think Santa has acknowledged our “niceness,” by having civil conversations throughout the year. I’m not surprised we’ve been so heavily rewarded.
Sam: I hope you’re joking, Jordan. You don’t actually believe in Santa, right?
Jordan: Well, I’ve got about fifty hours of lectures about Santa Claus on YouTube, Sam, but if you must know…I’d say it depends on what you mean by “believe.” I certainly act as if Santa exists.
Sam: Yes, but…you know what? I’m gonna let this one slide. It’s Christmas.
Eric: That’s the spirit, Sam. Now, let’s start opening stuff. Look, we’ve got a card from Ben here. Should be neat.
He reaches for the card and opens it.
Eric: “Dear IDW Friends. I want to wish to you all a Merry Christmas this year. That’s right, I’ll say it again: Merry Christmas. Not Happy Holidays. Not even Happy Hanukkah. MERRY CHRISTMAS. How sad is it that I, an Orthodox Jew, feel more comfortable about saying ‘Merry Christmas’ than liberal Christians? Even if it’s noontime in the dead center of Christmas day, they won’t say it, because liberals don’t care about facts. They care about feelings. Luckily for you guys, I’ve got plenty of facts to give you some Yuletide cheer, because you’ll certainly never get cheer from feelings like liberals think you will. Happy New Year too. Love, Ben Shapiro, My Wife (a doctor), and our kids.”
David: Yeah, that about sounds like Ben. eye roll
Douglas: Come now, David. He has a point. Even Heathrow on my way here was plastered with Happy Ramadan posters. That ended in June. I wouldn’t be surprised if I came home to the United Emirate of Great Britain.
Eric: Okay, guys, let’s get back to the presents. Andrew, you seem pretty eager to give yours out.
Andrew: That’s right, Eric. Here’s yours first. I had you specifically in mind when I got this.
With a big grin, he hands a box to Eric. Eric unwraps and opens the box to find a large sack with a dollar sign. Inside are several wads of cash.
Andrew: It’s a thousand dollars, just for you. Bret, I got you a gift too. When I saw this, I thought it just screamed, “Bret.”
He hands Bret another box, who unwraps and opens it. It also contains a large sack with a dollar sign. Insides are several wads of cash.
Andrew: Hope you enjoy that, Bret. And David, I also have a gift for you. I had to search far and wide for this, so be very careful with it.
He hands a box to David. Like the others, David unwraps and opens it. Again, it contains a sack with cash.
David: A thousand dollars?
Sam: Did you get us all a thousand dollars?
Andrew: Isn’t it thoughtful? With a human-centered gift-giving of a thousand dollars a Christmas, we can get whatever we want for ourselves every year.
Heather: Yes, but I think we won’t miss out if we just open other presents for the time being. Dave, I see that you got me something.
Dave: That’s right.
Heather opens it, revealing a new tennis racket.
Heather: Thanks, I’ve been wanting one of these ever since my last one broke. Now Annaka and I can play some more.
Sam: You and Annaka hang out?
Heather: Well, yeah.
Sam: I don’t believe it.
Heather: You and Bret hang out.
Sam: Yeah, but we just talk about Free Will. I don’t even play tennis with my wife.
Bret: Maybe you should find some Free Will and choose to do so.
Sam: If I’m being honest, and you know that even white lies are truly nefarious: shut up.
Jordan: I guess we know who our Grinch is.
Sam sighs. Peter Thiel suddenly returns to the room with a platter of Christmas cake.
Peter: Don’t get down, Sam. Here, I’ll let you have some of my holiday cake, freshly baked.
Sam: That’s fine.
David: Could I get some? I’m starving.
Peter cuts a minuscule piece and hands it to David on a plate. He stares at it and blinks.
David: Okay, Peter, the slice of the cake that this represents is very small but extremely problematic.
Dave: But it’s more than you’d ever get from the government!
Peter: Burn! Oh, on that note, let me get you your present too, Dave.
Peter hands Dave a flat gift. He unwraps it, to find a book, titled: “The Big Book of Big Ideas.” He eagerly opens it up and starts to read.
Dave: Wow, the first page is a real hook. It says, “Markets.” I think this is gonna be good. Can’t wait for the second page…oh no! It says, “Socialism.” Peter, this book is really scary.
Peter: But you’re gonna love how it ends.
Dave: Okay, I’ll try. Page three says, “Markets anyway.” Wow, what a great book.
Peter: That’s just the first chapter.
Dave: Just the first? I’ll have to get to the rest later. That’s too much excitement in one sitting for me. By the way, is someone going to do something about the fire going out?
David sighs. Sam and he share a look of commiseration. Meanwhile, Elon tends to the fireplace, nearly out.
Bret: So explain to me how this is a new energy plan. Looks like a normal fire.
Elon: You see these stockings here?
He points to the stockings above the fireplace, several of them are full of other presents, one for everyone in the room. He reaches for the ones to the farthest left and the farthest right, removes them, and dumps their contents into a bucket: just a bunch of coal. With a heave, he lobs it all onto the fire, and the flames return.
Bret: That was your energy plan? Burning coal? I expect a bit better from you of all people. Also, whose stockings were those?
Elon holds the stockings before the room to show the names written upon them: Sam Seder and Candace Owens.
Bret: They were invited?
Elon: No, but Santa didn’t know that.
Bret: Okay, that’s actually genius.
Sam: We’re not back on Santa, are we?
Eric: Sam, you’ve got gift from James and Garry right here under the tree.
Sam: Really? It looks small.
Sam picks it up and opens the tiny box. Inside is an iPhone, apparently already on.
Sam: There’s a note too. It reads: “Merry Christmas, Sam. Garry and I teamed up to make an app that uses the AlphaZero engine to repeatedly play Jordan’s lectures and interviews against each other in thousands of conversations. It has now learned how to interpret anything he says by brute force. We call it LobsterNada. Just open the app and speak to Jordan, and it will translate anything he says. Love, James Damore and Garry Kasparov.”
Sam activates the app.
Sam: Okay, Jordan, do you believe in Santa?
Jordan: Well, it’s like I said before, it depends on what you mean by “believe.” I act as if Santa exists. There was a Saint Nicholas in history, but he’s long been deceased. The essential manifestation of this saintly being lives on, however, in the idea that “Santa is watching you.” That’s because he is. When you’re alone and you’re tempted to do something naughty like eat the last doughnut, something stops you. You hesitate. What is that? Well, that’s Santa. You’re feeling his gaze in those moments. Because who wants coal? Nobody. If you spend all your Christmases getting coal from Santa, you can probably imagine that you’re going to burn in Hell pretty easily with all that fuel on your fire. That’s what the coal is, the warning of Hell. Santa is telling us that we will burn, unless we get our acts together. That’s why even poor children in cold homes feared the coal. We’d rather have numb toes and a toy airplane than burn for all eternity. So, yeah, that’s what I think about Santa.
LobsterNada: Rendering translation of answer: “No.”
Sam: Oh my God. It…it actually works. This…this is…this is the best gift I’ve ever received.
Sam, overcome with emotion, begins to weeps silently.
Heather: Is Sam actually crying?
Sam: It’s just, I always wanted this gift and never realized it until now. It’s so wonderful.
Dave: Guys, Sam is finally in touch with his feelings. Do you know what this means?
Dave: It’s a Christmas miracle!
Eric: You’re right. I think this calls for a little extra celebration.
Eric whips out his harmonica and begins playing O Christmas Tree. David joins him by laying a beat on drums, while the others sing along. After the song, they return to gifts.
Douglas got a trans-dar from Jordan. Andrew got the Democratic nomination from David. Peter got Bret and Heather the deed to Evergreen. Elon gave Eric the designs for a portal to Mars. Many other great gifts were exchanged, while Stefan Molyneux built a snowman outside, waiting to be let inside, but this would never come to be.
So remember, kids, on this Christmas day,
Don’t worry or censor the things that you say.
Give hard conversations the old college try,
’Cause anything’s possible, like making Sam cry!