The article titled “An Intellectual Terrorist’s Manifesto: A Guide To Non-Violent Conflict In The Age Of Social Media” (which will simply referred to as ‘the article’ in this analysis) written by Hunter Maats explains how he has adopted the label “Intellectual terrorist” and discusses how his obnoxiously objectified “knowledge bombs”. This article invites thought on the fundamentalism, meaninglessness, and alienation of populations in the proceeds of our everyday events and thought. Maats delves into the ideas of non-violence in fighting fundamentalism. He also discusses the limitations placed on the thinkers of today to transcribe and spread an idea to a world of constant distractions. He uses appeals to name such as Rosa Parks, Steve Jobs, and Theodore Roosevelt to propose that people must use non-violence tactics of discussion and civil and societal disobedience to inspire change. Another key point is his philosophy on using entertainment to fuse ideological discussion to an audience to try and derail the effects of innate disregard by those dictated by identity politics. The structure of this analysis will detail firstly the devices used in the article to persuade and captivate the audience. Then I shall divide two paragraphs into a positive then negative content review.
Matts’ main grab to attention is the use of authority in success, by citing people such as Steve Jobs and Rosa Parks it leads to the subconscious feeling by the audience to agree with the author and be on the ‘correct and successful’ side of history. This accompanied with him using phrases such as “They wanted to create millions of people who were willing to Think Different” which uses a well known saying to create a link between the success and innovation of Apple computer with his proposition. Later in the article, he cites experts on presidential history and associated literature (that being “The bully pulpit” by Doris Kearns Goodwin) to practices of Theodore Roosevelt and he chooses to mimic his actions “Like Teddy Roosevelt, I have decided to make my Pulpit a Bully Pulpit”. This appeal to authority makes the reader feel as though Maats is a great man or is proposing great ideas simply because he is citing great people. Maats also creates a dynamic of class that being the unenlightened and those who follow his ideology “I called out certain individuals as Western Fundamentalists who preach a simplistic doctrine”. This further applies to nearly every label on the political right and equated them to the ideological happenings of ISIS “To those without purpose, they give purpose. People don’t join ISIS or Al Qaeda because it offers them nothing. They join because it offers a quick fix to a spiritual emptiness”. He also uses repetition of certain phrases which give them validity over the course of the article such as “Knowledge bomb” or “intellectual terrorist”. A summary of his technique would be he is particularly fond of appealing to ego and pseudo-intellectualism using several appeals to that generally left-wing class and relevant language to make his points.
Maats’ pillars of intellectual terrorism can be broken up into three major pillars of principles. Those being, the attention principle the second being the ridicule principle and lastly the self-hate principle. The first principle proposes that in the Western world that is filled with such super-fluidities of entertainment, media and tasks to accomplish we have secluded ourselves to the intellectual bias of confirmation and that we must have people appeal to an audience rather than an audience appeal to a philosopher. The second principle is a method of aggression in an argument or a methodology to use ‘edgy’, ‘relevant’ or ‘light ad-hominem’ structure when appealing to an audience to captivate them to further listen to what the speaker has to say. This principle stems from the use of speaker excellence in presentation and the ability to enact the third principle. The third principle is the self-hate principle which follows from the second principle to help guide the knowledge of the argument further. A speaker must laugh at his own methodology and character to sympathize and discuss with the opposite ideology. These principles are a guideline to help debate with the echo-chambers of the twenty-first century and to ensure that information isn’t forgotten however related back to a captivating speaker and to ensure that rather than alienating an innate audience we promote further discussions with ‘knowledge bombs’. These principles are solid and I agree with them, however, as my introduction suggested I do take up credence with Maats on a many of issues.
Maats constantly champions the ideals of planned ridicule as a way to engage in open discussion with individuals of the opposite ideology. However, within the same article, he explains his disdain when he was ridiculed by Atheism is Unstoppable who was compiling his semantic and presentation failure which does not engage the audience. This further discredits his arguments when he discusses the use of entertainment and attention of students and listeners when trying to communicate his ideas and ideological thought, therefore he either has to not complain when he is suggested as being a bad presenter or he has to nullify his support for presentation ridicule. This seems like a case of knit-picking and to an extent it is. However, cognitive dissonance seems to be a constant theme in this article… Most presently the proposal of ridicule of the opposite ideology he called out many libertarians, members of the Alt-Right and anarcho-capitalists with petty insults such as his ‘feud’ with Richard B. Spencer, this would be fine as it follows his guidelines of discussion inciting. However, in the paragraph previous he took up issue with the pretentiousness and aggressiveness of the Vegan community. This follows a theme of him contradicting himself in practice of ideology regarding inciting of discussion through “edgy” and “graphic” behavior and in that of idolisation. He uses Theodore Roosevelt as an example of who he wants to be in debate using “bully pulpit” of attending meetings of the other ideology to discuss his failings however he has not inspired enough discussion or people to be afforded this luxury. Even if he had, he has already alienated a massive segment of the population who oppose him with petty insults. Does he mean to attend the meetings of his opponents discuss his ideas then go home and insult his opponents? He seems to follow an ideology that dichotomy is a construct that doesn’t exist, however, it simply does. In reality, I believe Mr.Matts does not practice the ideology he preaches, however, lives in a state of constant judgment on a pedestal. His ideas of non-violence and civic nationalism is that of hindsight which promotes civil disobedience as that of a constant and necessary role of the citizen. However civil disobedience shouldn’t be championed as an act that every self-proclaimed martyr must do. For the institutions of fundamentalism are based of civil disobedience and even the Arab Spring was started as an act of civil disobedience.
In finality, Maats’ ideas were formatted well, he acquired information and evidence to support his ideals. If this piece were a critique of technicalities of writing and persuasive format the article would be quite great. However, the cognitive dissonance and blatant lack of self-awareness in this obnoxious self-aggrandizing individual has lead me to the conclusion that Maats ideas are irrelevant, disregarded and negatively connoted within my mind. Not because his ideas were terrible or heavily refutable however because he presented his ideas in the way he claims his absence from that being dry, unreliable, self-refuting and akin to the eco-chamber he protests. I applaud Maats’ ability to detest pretentious behavior and promote social media flurry as a means to ideas, however will engage in the former and revile at the idea of the latter. Hunter Maats is an individual whom inspires rage within me, however, I must see past my own ego and prejudice to see that the ideas he presented were reasonable. Indeed we must use social media as a platform to present ideas and inspire discussion in all facets of poison labels in society to present ideas that are more idealistic and revolutionary than the ones of the current era. We must also use his philosophy of self-ridicule and intellectual expansionism to our ideological opponents and use cultural happenings and entertainment to captivate an audience without alienating a population resulting in innate rejection perhaps Mr.Matts can learn a lesson from his own philosophy and not have a fluctuating mentality of the dichotomy of rationalism and emotion.