Dave Rubin’s lazy new book

Didn’t mean to rate Dave Rubin’s Don’t burn this land. One book by Dave Rubin seemed like enough—perhaps too many—for a lifetime. But like a burglar retreating from his criminal life to pass a mansion with the doors wide open and the glint of jewels behind the hallway, I was drawn back inside. Just one more job.

In case anyone has never heard of Mr Rubin, he is an interviewer and commentator who started out as a slightly left-wing contributor to the Young Turks and then drifted into the “anti-wake” realms of the “intellectual dark web,” where his talk show became a hub of the phenomenon as he interviewed anyone who didn’t like “safe spaces” and blue-haired transsexuals. When Donald Trump became president, Rubin became a more partisan pro-MAGA commentator.

What makes Rubin such a funny public figure is that he built his reputation on his passion for “ideas,” but he treats them like a cat treats a fragile ornament. He’s no more able to understand complex ideas than I could deadlift 500 pounds. For example, in this new polemic he writes:

Simply put, the left favors collectivism and judgment based on group identity; the right is for individual thought, individual expression and personal freedom.

crush. oh dear. Let’s admit this has more true in the United States than in Europe. But where would the conservatisms of Russell Kirk and Brent Bozell and Pat Buchanan fit? Does Rubin’s? accurate have room for the modern “new right”? That ‘ordinary’ must be ‘simple in mind’.

Rubin is constantly, endlessly inciting right-wing people without showing much understanding for their beliefs. He says:

I find the law exponentially more tolerant, much more respectful of individuals, much more supportive of individual thoughts, much more interested in diversity, much more progressive, much more inclusive, and frankly, just a much nicer side. The Right is a toga party with a bunch of people drinking and smoking sharing different and often competing ideas.

Oh, yes, it’s just a regular stuffed toy box here. That’s why William F. Buckley and Ayn Rand got along so famously, and why Sohrab Ahmari and David French are such good friends.

When in doubt — whether it’s related to what he believes or what his readers want to hear — Rubin is comfortably vague. A passage on religion extolled “the eternal truths told through historical and biblical narratives for thousands of years.” But what truths? Um, “the ideals of liberty and equality.” I don’t blame Rubin for being agnostic. Me, too. I blame him for pretending he has said something.

This book is in one word: lazy† It reads as if Rubin sat down and wrote down whatever came into his head over the course of a few rainy afternoons. A few sources informed itThe section on progressives is a sloppy account of the ideas of James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose. The section on economics is a weak rendition of Thomas Sowell’s work (thank goodness that obscure, fringe thinker is now exposed to a wider audience). This would be forgivable if Rubin wrote in clear, entertaining prose, but he doesn’t. For example, when summarizing Lindsay and Pluckrose on critical theory, Rubin writes:

When these principles are applied, consequences often set in: boundaries blur, specialized language becomes a resource, truth becomes subjective, and the individual disintegrates.

What kind of consequences? When is specialized language? not a tool? What does it mean for the individual to “disintegrate”? Knowing the context gives us an idea of ​​where Rubin is headed, but his prose is a hindrance rather than a help.

I could pick examples all day long. Rubin rejects ideas about universal health care, writing, “The assumption that an institution is meant to solve everything is the reason nothing ever gets solved.” A few sentences later, he makes another disdainful reference to “man-made institutions.” Dave, I hate to tell you, but insurance companies? They are institutions!

You are never quite sure as you struggle to convince yourself to turn the pages of this book what is bad writing and what is bad thinking. In his very, all In a vague passage about God, Rubin says, “I was always one who preferred knowledge to faith.” Faith is not an antonym of knowledge. We to believein many cases, because of what we know.

What about Rubin’s stories? He has met some interesting people and has been at the center of some interesting events. He lazily repurposes an uninteresting story about a time he and his husband met Donald Trump, who loudly told them there was nothing wrong with being gay. For Rubin, “his progressiveness was probably because he thought we thought he was a homophobe.” It’s quintessentially different from Donald Trump to be progressive, so I’m sure it would have taken the self-awareness he’s so famous for to inspire such a comment.

Rubin writes of how his talk show developed and ended with a triumphant bloom:

Having sincere, open, and honest conversations with people who thought similar, albeit unpopular thoughts, made me feel a little less crazy—a little less alone. Thus, the “Intellectual Dark Web” was born in my 24 x 22-foot garage.

What do you think contributed more to the development of the Intellectual Dark Web? The Rubin Report or The Joe Rogan Experience† It’s interesting, now that I think about it, that a book about “wakeful” nonsense, alternative media, and self-reliance doesn’t even mention Rogan once. Maybe it’s because Joe stopped inviting him

But when Rubin talked about creating his show and his social media platform Locals, I realized what I find interesting about him. Rubin accomplished something that I should find admirable. He has built a gloriously successful career from very, very little. I’m sure it took a lot of hard work, ingenuity and risk. That is impressive. But he did it with depressingly little regard for the quality of his work. This is an objectively lazy book, both in style and content. No amount of hard work that brought him to the point where he could get away with writing such a book can change that fact. Such indifference to stylistic and intellectual quality makes his professional virtues hard to admire. Would you admire someone who built a restaurant from scratch if their food tasted like crap?

Rubin is too rich and famous to care about what I think. (That wealth and fame means I don’t feel bad about being a little mean.) But if you want to achieve something through the many alternative avenues available to us, I implore you to value both quality and success. Do I always comply? Heaven No. But I should. Mr. Rubin’s book is a case study on what not to do.

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