PETERSON: Midwit Mire — The Lesson Conservatives Are Missing From The Twitter Files


Matthew Peterson Contributor
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Conservatives are learning the wrong lesson from the Twitter Files. They look at their record of government collusion and censorship—always helping the left and hurting the right—and conclude that the problem with the country’s tech giants, including Twitter before Elon Musk’s purchase, is that they exclusively employ ideologues committed to weaponizing the tools at their disposal for political gain. After all, people like former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth, who received a Ph.D. for writing a dissertation about the gay hook-up app Grindr, is obviously a lib.

Yes, Roth was and is a lib, but more importantly for Twitter and America, he is a midwit, or a middling (mis)educated sort of person who unquestioningly goes along with mainstream professional behavior and opinion. The Twitter Files reveal, and Roth typifies, what I call the Midwit Mire. People like Roth, with Roth’s credentials, run trust and safety programs and human resources, among other things, at corporations across the country. They might sympathize with progressive activists or Democratic officials personally, but many believe themselves to be moderates, making sure everyone plays by the rules to come to some kind of reasonable compromise. The real lesson of the Twitter Files is that such people — who inhabit the top of nearly all our elite institutions — are deeply committed to an empty proceduralism.

Conservatives need to recognize this reality. Twitter didn’t just roll over and do whatever the FBI wanted; Roth and others set up processes that included some discussion and some resistance to political interventions. Then they did some of what the FBI wanted. This was not just camouflage, a pretense for a watching public; no one was supposed to see these deliberations. Rather, this fetish for dialogue and procedure is the direct result of the training and dominant way of thinking of the American professional managerial elite, with their endless pseudo-academic credentials. And plenty of right-leaning CEOs and boards routinely hire and employ them—and they need to stop.

The problem is that these are people who talk a good and seemingly reasonable game that studiously, rigorously obscures or avoids underlying issues of principle and purpose. They have been trained to move up the ladder in polite company by means of this kind of “thought” and action. When conflict arises, they do not start from first principles to discover what is right, but go through the motions of seeing “both sides.” They have been trained to “dialogue” as they implement procedures to find and achieve “shared goals.”

You need to realize that, either by nature or training, the elite midwit actually believes in this objectivity — that process can be placed over principle. It just so happens that a “reasonable compromise” with leftist radicals and interfering feds means they will inevitably move left and do what the feds want, just a little more slowly than the authorities would like. Radical ideologues win over and over again in America, on tech platforms and in big corporations and educational institutions alike, because on principle nobody stops them.

Procedure and dialogue cannot be principles in themselves. This way of thinking, the lie of neutrality, cannot and will not stop the woke tyranny that—having consumed American higher education—now feeds on our biggest corporations. Instead, inevitably, proceduralism gives wokeness cover. Instead of just saying “No” to the insanity, fighting it because it is wrong and stupid and dangerous, the proceduralist midwit initiates endless internal dialogue that at best softens the language of radicalism and then stamps it, moderator approved. But all this does is obscure the consequences of woke insanity. Wokeness makes powerful moral claims; it is principled, in its own twisted way, and only principled responses will be able to counter its weight on the scales of judgment that bureaucrats like Roth preside over.

To avoid the woke mind virus‘ continued takeover of America, anyone in charge must avoid the Midwit Mire. Musk’s successes at Twitter — unbanning accounts, prompting open discussion of Twitter’s place in society, even speeding up the site itself — stem from this. Musk succeeds because he has clear objectives, stemming from principles he believes are right, and he has cleared out the middle and upper management that seeks process for process’ sake and dialogue for dialogue’s sake. Heads of major institutions should take note. It is not the personal politics of your employees that will cause your corporation to succumb to wokeness; it is your own failure to present clear goals and compelling moral standards. To avoid the muck, you must “just say ‘no’” and directly fight off the wokeness.

Right-leaning political organizations and intellectuals risk falling into the Midwit Mire, too. My critique of proceduralism and neutrality here may have sounded familiar to those paying attention to realignment on the right, echoing conversations in the political rather than corporate sphere. Dressing up the purest midwittery in the founder’s language of enumerated rights, separation of powers, and checks and balances, supposed social conservatives have defended the right to sexualize children, whether with easily accessible internet pornography or drag queen story hour and the like. They ignore John Adams, who wrote in a 1798 letter that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Law itself cannot ultimately remain neutral, in other words — and neither can corporations or the market. The war on wokeness requires that we first rid ourselves of the midwits in our midst.


Matthew Peterson is the Co-Founder of New Founding Org and President of the American Firebrand PAC.  He can be reached on Twitter @DocMPJ.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.