Four Quadrant Model (Eric Weinstein)

The Four Quadrant Model is a tool used to examine how the media upholds the status quo by stigmatizing people who hold views that challenge it and portray them as prejudiced or intolerant. [3] The model was created by Eric Weinstein as a way to expand on describing political discourse as "left vs. right" or "Good vs. Evil." [1]


The Four Quadrant Model was first proposed on Sam Harris ' "Waking Up" podcast which was released on YouTube and was subsequently was discussed on Sam Harris' forum. [5] [4] The model has since come to popularity in 2018 after Jordan B. Peterson 's interview with Cathy Newman. [3]


The Four Quadrant Model is an x, y axis in which the x axis is the support or opposition to a certain policy initiative and the y axis measures moral vice and whether support or opposition to the initiative makes one good or evil. [1]

Youtube Video
Eric Weinstein - 4 Quadrants

In the bottom right quadrant are the group who are the elite rent seekers, shadowy powerful people who do not have a public face and support a policy for their own benefit no matter the cost. These people often propose a policy and use the organs and institutions at their disposal (media, academia, etc.) to push that policy and demonize anyone who opposes it. The rent-seeking elite are skilled actors in the way the system and society is currently structured. [1]

The top right quadrant are the dupes, the people who publicly support the media narrative. These people are political commentators, celebrities, academics, public figures, people who have attended Ivy League schools, and other people who "think" they are the elite; they push a narrative that one is moral only if one supports their position. Furthermore, if a person disagrees with that position then you must be immoral regardless of what other positions that person may hold. [1]

The top left quadrant are people who are first principle thinkers and contrarians; people who are fiercely independent. [1]

The bottom left quadrant are people who oppose the elite rent-seeking policy position, but also have the same moral failings as the rent-seeking elite. [1]

If you draw a line from southwest to northeast, that line would be the media narrative line and says that there is an absolute correlation between agreeing with the rent seeking policy and moral virtue. [1] People in the top left "first principle" quadrant who attempt to state their position on a single will get grouped into the troglodyte quadrant category because of it, regardless of any other positions they hold. [1]


Example of the Four Quadrant Model from Sam Harris ' argument with Ben Affleck . Affleck would be in the top right "dupe" quadrant. He attempted to categorize Harris in the bottom left "troglodyte" quadrant over his nuanced position on Islam .

Jordan Peterson vs. Cathy Newman

In January 2018, Jordan Peterson was interviewed by Cathy Newman on Channel 4. During the exchange, Newman pressed Peterson on a number of issues including the gender pay gap, campus protests, gender pronouns, etc. A clear indicator of Newman trying to box Peterson into the troglodyte quadrant was when she said "So you're saying that..." followed by the position she perceived Peterson would have. Peterson would defend himself by correcting Newman and stating his actual position on the issue, rather than the strawman she set out to make him. [9]

Sam Harris vs. Ben Affleck

In October 2014, Sam Harris and Ben Affleck had an exchange on Real Time with Bill Maher. Harris gave his position people should be allowed to criticize Islam and its faults and not be branded as Islamophobic. Affleck attacked Harris for his position and called him racist. In response, Harris supported his argument with statistics about the the number of extremist and conservative Muslims who hold beliefs about Jihad, which was tens of millions of people. [10]


Weinstein's goal is to have people realize that one can oppose rent seeking policies and still be virtious, without the need of getting grouped together with troglodytes. [1]

Summarizing his Four Quadrant Model concept, Eric Weinstein said:

“The Four Quadrant Model of media narrative control has been the crown jewel in the toolbox I’ve personally used for unspinning the central Gated Institutional Narrative (or GIN) for years, but it was somehow too complicated to give to others until the Cathy Newman/Jordan Peterson and Ben Affleck/Sam Harris interactions resulted in a mass awakening... Once the pattern is seen, however, it cannot be unseen, and realizing that you have been repeatedly controlled by a single trick tying your virtue to a thwarting of your own interests , is what is likely causing the model to spread more rapidly now” [6]

From that, Weinstein would conclude:

"When people realize how they can oppose misstructured free trade without being protectionist, totalitarian Islam without being anti-Muslim, or oppose mass-immigration without being in any way xenophobic, the news media will no longer be able to play the role of Iago, playing its audience like unwitting pawns against each other in a deadly game of political chess for the quiet financial interests of a powerful few" [6]

Broad Overview of the Four Quadrant Model
Eric Weinstein
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Created 02/11/2018 06:51:42 AM UTC
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