The web has given many superbright, very logical people an outlet for their thoughts and observations, Paleo Retiree notes:
Until 2001 or so, nearly all of the people who were getting their thoughts about culture and politics into mainstream print were English, Arts and History types. But since 2001 we’ve seen a lot of engineers and scientists putting their ideas out there too. And god knows they’re just as bright, if not far more so, than the usual American Studies crowd. Plus: they’re organized, they can think logically, and they’ve got a lot more respect for facts than lib-arts people tend to have.
The arrival on the public-discussion scene of these people, mostly guys, has really shaken up the usual liberal-arts crowd, IMHO. It’s been hard on their collective ego, for one thing. To my mind, the beating that the egos of the traditional opinion-makers have taken helps explain the tone of hysteria that sometimes shows up in discussions of “the end of journalism” or “the end of movie reviewing.” Imagine being a pro movie reviewer, for example, and being forced to wake up to the fact that many people are just as happy to take part in informal online discussions as they are to read reviews. And now imagine waking up the additional fact that some of the people who are using blogs, comments, forums and Amazon viewer-reviews as outlets are in fact just as smart, informed, funny and perceptive as you are.
Plus I’m left wondering how much the arrival of so many engineer-scientist types on the public-discussion scene has driven the growth of the Dark Enlightenment / HBD / Game / Reactionary part of the online world. After all, they do tend to like systems, they aren’t afraid of blunt facts, and they do tend to have more politically conservative views than the usual LibArts crowd does.