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Anonymous professors’ new ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ website aims to publish controversial work

A new website called the “The Magazine of the Intellectual Dark Web” recently started up.

Who is behind it? That’s a very closely guarded secret.

But its creators, in an email to The College Fix, said they are a group of professors from various fields who seek to give academicians and intellectuals a platform to publish research or commentary for a lay audience dealing with controversial topics.

Contributors can publish using their name or anonymously. There are three pieces on the site so far. Its editors said they are hoping for more, specifically papers that critique subjects off limits by the radical left.

“Ultimately, we are liberal but have concluded that universities and the media have taken away counter viewpoints and narratives,” the editors said in their email.

The website’s creators know each other, but would not say how they know each other or prove their identities to The College Fix.

“To give you that information would undermine our ability to remain anonymous, avoid pressure from the outside, and potentially threaten our careers,” they said.

Asked why they chose the title of “Intellectual Dark Web,” a well-known moniker which has very public figures associated with it, the editors wrote in their email to The Fix “we do not represent any specific individuals or ideas.”

“We simply offer a platform for the publication of academically sound ideas and hypotheses in a time when diversity of thought is quashed in favor of skin color, sexual orientation, and/or gender,” they said.

“We believe that the term intellectual dark web represents an idea — the sharing of potentially contentious ideas free from censorship — rather than a philosophy or political position. We are definitely not ‘taking on the mantle of the IDW’ if there ever was such a thing in the first place.”

For those willing to submits papers, they will not learn the identity of the editors. But it goes both ways: “They do not have to trust us because we have shown authors how to submit anonymously by using the Tor browser and a secure anonymous email.”

So far the website has three posts. Its first, from July 30, is a republish of the letter purportedly written by a professor at UC Berkeley that went viral over the summer.

“We use the letter as an example of the kinds of articles IDW wants to publish – giving voice to those that are sequestered,” the website states.

The second post from August 21 is also a republish, “An open letter to Duke President Price about anti-racism,” first posted by the Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

It was written by Duke University emeritus Professor John Staddon, who told The College Fix in an email he did not have much interaction with the editors other than to approve their repost.

He said he is not a fan of “all this cloak and dagger,” but added, “people are very afraid for their livelihoods.”

The third piece on the IDW website is an original. It was penned by DePaul University Professor Jason Hill, who is no stranger to controversy. It was published Sept. 2 and headlined “How Much do Black Lives Matter to Black Lives Matter?”

Hill did not respond to a request from The College Fix seeking comment. In his piece, Hill took on the Black Lives Matter narrative and several other topics.

“Compared with the recent spate of police killings of unarmed black men, black-on-black crime is tantamount to a national-security disaster. The moral hysteria raised by a few incidents of police brutality in the face of this larger national tragedy is reckless hyperbole. It hides from the nation a deep malaise at work in the psyche of some in the black community: a form of self-hatred that manifests itself in a homicidal rage not fundamentally against white people, but against other black people,” Hill wrote.

The editors of the website said they hope for more submissions, and more are in the works.

“We have reached out to many academics and some well-known journalist and have had enthusiastic support,” they said. “It appears that many of our colleagues share our opinion that academic freedom is passé and that some instrument needs to be augmented to open up freedom of thought.”

They added there’s a lot of work to be done.

“We all believe that academia has killed academic freedom,” the editors said.

“It exists in name only. The most obvious example is the way the universities have set up diversity programs to investigate any professor that steps out of line. They say we are free to express our opinions, but they have a host of diversity administrators to make sure we toe the line. It is our experience that professors walk a pretty careful line to avoid the cancel culture. When you can get investigated for saying the ‘Wuhan flu,’ you know academic freedom is in jeopardy.”

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.