Dark Concepts is a term coined by DMSG that refers to the fact that many aspects of political philosophies have glaring holes in them, that are filled in by theoretical and whimsical concepts to make sure the overall framework works – on paper. Similar to physics terms like Dark Matter, which seek to fill in the holes left by physics theories, Dark Concepts are concepts used to fill in holes of philosophies beliefs that, were they properly addressed, would be inconvenient for the political movements and philosophies that promote them. We can see this in classical liberalism’s ideas about the invisible hand, where firms supposedly regulate themselves in order to not destroy the market or the environment. As we’ve seen with the market failures like 1982’s game E.T., where the quality of the arcade game was so bad that it collapsed the nascent video game industry for a short period, the invisible hand is sometimes idle. As we’ve seen with environmental failures like Global Warming, where the best answers to it that capitalism has come up with are to throw money at wonky green energy startups that mostly fail to show any results, the invisible hand is once again idle. In capitalism, more often than not any critical failures of industry are addressed by non-market actors, simply because oftentimes the solutions to things aren’t profitable at all. This isn’t a condemnation of just capitalism either, because almost every philosophy to date has the problem of generalization, in that broad statements are made that don’t hold up in every situation, and when pointed out by critics, it’s often more convenient to create these Dark Concepts and leave the issues essentially unaddressed, rather than revise the original theory.
‘The reason for this is more structural than spiritual, primarily because once ideologies reach the phase at which they have enough of a following to influence things in the material world, revising core concepts to allow for a more nuanced approach to things threatens to divide up the movement’s followers. This could be an existential threat to a movement’s ability to do things, when discussion about core concepts threatens to factionalize its members. The way that Lenin countered this problem through Democratic Centralism, by making any majority decision binding on all of a bodies’ members going forward, fixes that but in return gives rise to a whole host of other problems, as decisions can’t be critiqued or revised, essentially forcing everyone to “play on the mistakes made previously.” This willful ignorance to the problems that your own political party creates will naturally lead to Dark Concepts, like the idea of a socialist transitional state with no defined limits or end. Trotsky, who pointed out the problems in terms of class interests that would arise from creating a system only defined by those in power, was killed for doing so because these Dark Concepts, once the philosophies grow large enough, become necessary evils for their supporters to embrace. It’s part of the reason why any person who subscribes wholly to one political philosophy, with unflinching stubbornness in the face of changes and facts, is usually crazy, because they’ve ceased to use their rational abilities.
Robert Heinlein once said that man was not a rational animal, but rather a rationalizing animal, and he was right. Across the world, people rationalize strange things because it’s more convenient than looking at the truth of the matter. Oftentimes, this rationalizing causes people to default on their core principles that they held originally, because what they value in adhering to the cause in the moment outweighs what they valued originally. This can be seen in dysfunctional but steady marriages, where a wife finds her husband to be inadequate but does not divorce him because it’d cause them to lose the comfier living situation that their dual incomes can afford. This can be seen in politically charged circles, from progressive groups to academia and so on, where the penalties for critiquing things are far more severe in the moment than compromising on your values and going along with it. All across the world, institutions and systems rely on Dark Concepts to flourish and, beyond some people in the libertarian community, dissent is almost always punished because thrusting a Dark Concept into the limelight of the discussion poses an existential threat to these institutions and systems. An example of this could be found in the official numbers regarding deaths in the Holocaust, because Germany’s laws regarding this subject support an official number that their own government has invalidated in the years since the laws were written, revising the official death tolls back and forth. Using different government sources in Germany to formulate different numbers could have you arrested by the German government, which is a good example of how states protect their Dark Concepts. In states that have laws that challenge dissent in this way, the more light you shed on their Dark Concepts, the closer you tread near damnation.
Another dark concept we can look at can be found in the new documentary, “What is a woman?” Matt Walsh interviews professionals in the pharmaceutical industry who sell puberty blockers, asking why the same drug Lupron that’s used to chemically castrate sex offenders is being used on children. It’s a complete non-issue for the salespeople that sell Lupron, because at the end of the day the truth runs counter to their own class interests. Similarly, when Mr. Walsh asks transwomen about what it means to be a woman, we again see the obvious biological truth run up against the constructed identities of people, challenging their identity in the process. When Mr. Walsh asks feminists at a feminist rally about what a woman actually is, they profess ignorance or continue walking along on their march, because these people don’t want to actually engage in the discussion. Dark Concepts run cover for inconvenient truths, that challenge institutionally-backed narratives, that challenge identities, that run parallel to the class interests of people in this movements, institutions, and governments. It’s not that no one there knows what a woman is or that these people don’t consider the ethical ramifications of what they’re selling, but that the truth is simply more damaging to them than convenient. The children who have their bodies altered, perhaps irreparably, by moneyed interests are the victims, but again, it doesn’t matter when they’re completely powerless. The reason why Dark Concepts are scary is not because they make people believe in falsehoods and perform immoral actions, which is par for the course in human history, but because people who both question the Dark Concepts and the people victimized by them are at the disposal of a system that would happily snub them out of existence without the proper restraints. At the end of the day, the truth is not always convenient, and this extends into the realm of science, when politicians get involved in disrupting the objectivity of science in order to back up their own assertions about the reality around them.
Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union gives another look at Dark Concepts, where when totalitarian politics enters the realm of science, objective truths and their supporters are often disposed of so political parties can make a point on subjects they shouldn’t be touching. Unlike liberal democracies, where Dark Concepts can be confronted, albeit by niche proletarian groups affected by them, in totalitarian regimes challenging these Dark Concepts does end in bloodshed. While there may not have been a hole in the science of the subject beforehand, politically-backed pseudoscience often transforms the subject into a Dark Concept where objectivity is dangerous. While I could bother to explain Lysenkoism in a few paragraphs, the idea behind a Soviet scientist called Lysenko’s theories were that genetics had no bearing on the forms that organisms developed from and into, and that the species of a creature could be changed via external conditions. This flew directly in the face of what biologists had already known and worked with for almost a century, and in persecuting these dissident scientists, Lysenko’s theories were implemented across the Soviet Union and led to always embarrassing and sometimes tragic results. Similar alterations of science could be seen with China’s refusal to admit that Wuhan was the vector of COVID-19, where saying such a thing with briefcases full of evidence to support your narrative could get you disappeared in that country. Similarly, we’ve seen Dark Concepts in the west surrounding the safety of rushed vaccines emerge during the pandemic, as countries tried to immunize their populations against a disease that, while pretty rough, wasn’t worth the troubles that vaccines gave younger individuals in the long run most likely.
Usually, the best way to find out what you’re looking at is a Dark Concept is to bring up any critiques you can think of in the communities that support the Dark Concept. I don’t recommend doing this if you’re dealing with China on most issues, North Korea on every issue, or Democratic Socialist countries on some issues, but in places where it’s safe to discuss things without being thrown in jail, bring up your critiques. There’s a reason why governments treat Flat Earthers differently than they treat anti-vaxxers and Holocaust deniers, and as someone that’s taken the vaccine and is descended from European Jews, I don’t see it as bad for people to question what they aren’t allowed to question. Go ahead! It won’t mean anything in the present moment however, beyond doing the equivalent of “red pilling” people, because the Dark Concepts are still useful to the official narrative until those in power are incentivized to change it. Despite all the evidence against COVID-19 originating in Wuhan, it wasn’t acknowledged by the US government until it was deemed fined by the decision-makers to do so. Despite all the evidence against mask mandates and against vaccine efficacy, these topics weren’t acknowledged by the US government until it was deemed fine by the decision-makers to do so. Dark Concepts aren’t necessarily even believed by the people that espouse them, but for people that promote Dark Concepts, the truth has already taken a backseat anyways in the discussion. You’re not likely to ever change a fanatic or authority’s opinion on anything for that reason, no matter your arguments and evidence, but by spreading the truth, you can help to sow the seeds that can overthrow the official narratives and their accompanying Dark Concepts. This is part of the reason why academic dissent and free speech are so vital to a society is that, if these Dark Concepts are allowed to accumulate and never be addressed, it can lead to serious declines in living standards, persecution of intellectuals, and other tragedies. The truth is the holiest value to uphold in Judaism, and I don’t shy away from that assertion, because it allows for healthy worldviews and an honest interpretation of dialectical materialism.
When we ban free speech and academic dissent, we’re doing a genuine disservice to discourse and in the process of doing that, we empower the institutions of our communities to make increasingly less informed decisions as a result. While Buzzfeed and Flat Earthers aren’t the best symbols of freedom in our society, they’re a necessary burden on any society that can call itself free. When people say that freedom isn’t free, they scarcely consider that part of being free is putting up with other people that you disagree with occasionally. Karl Marx once remarked that free speech was essential in any socialist society, and in every socialist society that has more restrictions on what you can and can’t say, it’s usually much more unequal and unpleasant to live in. Lenin once said that allowing free speech in the Soviet Union would be the same as committing suicide, and it’s important to ask, “well, why is that?” The idea of there being a fair and reasonable marketplace of ideas is wobbly, but the idea that any valid authority can’t make any convincing justifications for its actions and existence is downright hilarious. Dark Concepts, to sum it up, are just convenient bullshit for people who can’t handle the truth because it runs contrary to their interests. By confronting Dark Concepts, you inevitably confront the people that subscribe to their nature as untouchable and sacred topics, and you should be prepared to deal with the ramifications of that. The beauty of what’s been termed the “Red Pill” is that it’s vastly expanded the amount of uncomfortable knowledge that proletarians have at their disposal, and due to the use of memes in spreading these inconvenient truths, you can shift the base of any population’s worldviews more than you ever could previously. With every new person exposed to these truths, the narrative gradually has to change to accommodate these people. and in doing that, you can eventually defeat the Dark Concepts. We can’t undo the damage of Dark Concepts, but in exposing people to knowledge counter to these Dark Concepts, you can eventually help make sure that future generations aren’t plagued by them, aren’t hurt by them, and aren’t forced into silence by the reigning institutions of their society. Dark Concepts are a bourgeois pathology, promoted by people at the top of society who can only benefit from them, and the rejection of them is inherently a proletarian struggle.