The Dark Enlightenment

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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:13 am

Make America "Great" Again? ... verything/

Eugenics: Policing Everything

JUNE 15, 2017


By Joy L. Rankin

During the Progressive Era, when massive immigration, urbanization, and industrialization transformed the nation and left many of the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (WASP) middle-to-upper class reeling, eugenics promised a path to fitter families, so-called racial purity, and renewed national strength. Eugenicists sought to curtail the expansion of American democracy embodied by the enfranchisement of former slaves, women, and new citizens from eastern and southern Europe, Asia, and Mexico. They deployed their science for politically anti-democratic and authoritarian ends.

In both the United States and Great Britain, Eugenics flourished as a science alongside the growth of classical genetics during the opening decades of the 20th century. Indeed, many of the scientists now credited with putting genetics on modern footing embraced eugenics as part of their research programs. Francis Galton, a British scientist and cousin of Charles Darwin’s, developed the term to mean “well born” or even “better breeding.” Around 1900, renewed attention to the research of Gregor Mendel added steam to the eugenic cause. Mendel’s theories of heredity, in which dominant and recessive traits passed along from generation to generation, offered eugenicists and geneticists (many scientists were both) the scientific framework to advocate for the “improvement” of the human species. They aimed to increase “desirable” traits in the population and to decrease “undesirable” traits.

Scientists who studied both genetics and eugenics included Charles Davenport and his Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory, Raymond Pearl and Herbert Jennings of Johns Hopkins, Clarence C. Little, then the president of the University of Michigan, and Edward East and William Castle at Harvard. Many American universities offered eugenics courses, or genetics courses with significant coverage of eugenics. The cereal titan John Harvey Kellogg established the sizable Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1906. Nearly a decade later, advocates for race betterment from across the country gathered at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

The American Eugenics Society erected displays at state fairs and national celebrations, such as the national Sesquicentennial Celebration in Philadelphia in 1926, using representations of Mendelian inheritance to promote better breeding and fitter families. One eugenics poster declared, “Unfit Human Traits Such As Feeblemindedness, Epilepsy, Criminality, Insanity, Alcoholism, Pauperism and Many Others, Run In Families And Are Inherited In Exactly The Same Way As Color In Guinea-Pigs. If All Marriages Were Eugenic We Could Breed Out Most Of This Unfitness In Three Generations.” The American Eugenics Society exhibit at the 1929 Kansas State Fair presented the ubiquitous “Color Inheritance in Guinea Pigs,” a not-so-subtle nod to the social construction and elevation of whiteness in the United States. The “Eugenic and Health Exhibit” also differentiated between “positive” eugenics (encouraging individuals who were deemed fit and desirable to breed more) and “negative” eugenics (encouraging individuals who were deemed unfit to breed less, or not at all). These public spectacles brokered the marriage of eugenic science with American civic authority. State fairs and sesquicentennial exhibitions performed American federalism and nationalism, and eugenic goals—fundamentally aimed to curtail participation in American democracy—were embedded in these communal celebrations.

Not surprisingly, one of the main thrusts of the eugenics movement was immigration reform, leading to the 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act. The 1924 Act greatly curtailed immigration from southern and eastern European nations, whose immigrants were viewed in the United States as non-white. The Act yielded increased policing along the Mexican-American border. Immigration from Asia had already been greatly restricted, with similar nativist impulse, prior to 1910.

Policing gender and sexuality were at the heart of eugenics, advancing the authoritarian impulse over individual freedom. Historians including Alexandra Minna Stern, Wendy Kline, and Johanna Schoen have convincingly argued that attention to gender and sexuality recasts eugenic segregation, sterilization, and family counseling as circumscribing the boundaries of heteronormative white womanhood. Eugenics placed the responsibility for racial and family fitness firmly on women, predominantly affluent, married WASP women. They were encouraged to reproduce and provide a nurturing home and family environment, and working women (white or nonwhite) were discouraged from childbearing at all. The former were the “mothers of tomorrow,” while the latter, labeled “morons,” “symbolized the danger of female sexuality unleashed”

In Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom, Wendy Kline analyzes the history of the Sonoma California State Home for the Feebleminded in California to trace the eugenic-inspired shift from segregating “morons” to sterilizing them. She explains, “Initially, eugenicists believed that quarantining the female ‘high-grade moron’ would prevent sexually promiscuous women from infecting the race. But by the 1910s, promiscuous sexual behavior had spread into the middle classes…sterilization gained popularity as an efficient way to prevent the spread of mental and moral deficiency to future generations.” Ultimately, the state of California performed 20,000 sterilizations, one-third of the 60,000 performed in the nation during the 20th century. (Indiana had passed the first sterilization law in 1907, and many other states rushed to jump on the eugenics bandwagon.)

The preferences of the privileged intersected with a powerful state sterilization program in Virginia in the case Buck v. Bell, decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1927. The Court upheld the constitutionality of Virginia’s compulsory sterilization laws. The state of Virginia wanted to sterilize Carrie Buck on its declared evidence that she was feeble-minded, and that feeble-mindedness was hereditary in the Buck line. Carrie Buck birthed a child (Vivian) out of wedlock because she was raped by a member of her foster family, and the state falsely claimed that Carrie’s mother had also birthed Carrie as a single mother. The state labeled Carrie feeble-minded and socially immoral, and sought to sterilize her to further limit the spread of her “undesirable” traits. In his decision, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes conveyed that individual rights had to be sacrificed for the greater public good. He wrote:

It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

Holmes invoked a common good that was a patriarchal, paternalistic, racist and sexist privilege. In other words, eugenics elevated the authority of a select few, who were WASP men, over individual rights.

And herein lies perhaps one of the great ironies of the eugenics movement and its legacy. As the historian Daniel J. Kevles articulates, “An unabashed distrust, even contempt, for democracy characterized a part of eugenic thinking in both Britain and America.” The priests and proselytizers of eugenics distrusted the democracy that had been slowly expanding to include former slaves, women voters and working women, and immigrants. In their zeal for better breeding, the eugenicists turned their science into a tool of domination. And ultimately, for a time, they turned liberalism to hateful, exclusionary ends.

Further Reading

Daniel J. Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics, paperback ed. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998).

Wendy Kline, Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom, paperback ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005).

Johanna Schoen, Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005).

Alexandra Minna Stern, Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America, paperback ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015).
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:44 am

Yuk Hui
On the Unhappy Consciousness of Neoreactionaries


Fundamentally, the neoreactionary movement and the “alt-right” are expressions of an anxiety over the fact that the West is incapable of overcoming the current phase of globalization and maintaining the privilege it has enjoyed for the past few hundred years. Nick Land already admitted as much twenty years ago, in a text entitled “Meltdown”:

The sino-pacific boom and automatized global economic integration crashes the neocolonial world system … resulting in Euro-American neo-mercantilist panic reactions, welfare state deterioration, cancerizing enclaves of domestic underdevelopment, political collapse, and the release of cultural toxins that speed-up the process of disintegration in a vicious circle.17

The neoreactionary critique exposes the limit of the Enlightenment and its project, but surprisingly, it may only show that the Enlightenment has never really been implemented, or rather that its history is one of compromise and distortion.18 Clarifying the emergence of neofascist politics on a global scale demands admitting at least this much: in the same way that Hitler’s love for the master race in no way imperiled his alliance with the Empire of Japan—indeed, it was the British commander of Singapore who left the landward side of the island undefended because he did not think the Japanese could see out of their slanty eyes well enough to attack from land—so too does contemporary ultranationalism constitute a truly international phenomenon. The neofascist movement extends far beyond Europe and America, with different ways of orienting the “global” and the “local.” Take, for example, the Russian political theorist and self-proclaimed Heideggerian Aleksandr Dugin and his “fourth political theory.” Like Land, Dugin is not someone easily discredited or denounced. Yes he has to be understood as a true reactionary. His fourth political theory claims to go beyond the failure of the three previous political theories: liberalism, communism, and fascism.19 If the subjects of the previous three political theories were, respectively, the individual, the class, and the nation-state or race, then the subject of the fourth political theory is the Heideggerian Dasein.20 Dasein resists the deracination of the postmodern, the midnight “when Nothingness (nihilism) begins to seep from all the cracks.”21 The fourth political theory is indeed a reactionary theory, which finds its roots in the conservative revolution and fascist movements (Arthur Moeller van den Bruck in Germany, Julius Evola in Italy), traditionalism (René Guénon), and the new right (Alain de Benoist). For Dugin, the global is the modern world and the local is Russian tradition. ... tionaries/
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:16 am


1) Can we ‘split’ the fascist movement? One issue that was discussed arose from the argument that we should avoid excessive concern with the ideological differences between fascists, on the grounds that this tends to generate a prurient (or perhaps directly consumerist) ‘interest’ in fascist milieus; and that this interest is at best a waste of time and at worst a stimulus to personal sympathy. Against this it was argued that we should attend to differences between fascist and far-right groups because this may help us to drive a wedge between different elements or tendencies within the movement. In this connection particular mention was made of the ‘Unite the Right’ circus that led to the death or injury of a number of anti-racist protestors in August.

There are plainly several different issues here. One well-established line of thought holds that we ought to know about the position of the far right in order to ‘debate’ (and so convert) its members. On its own the position is unhelpfully vague. ‘An individual’ on the far right may or may not be susceptible to persuasion in the same way that a pain may or may not be susceptible to aspirin. The language is just too complacently general to tell us anything significant. It offers the same sage advice for ‘curing’ individuals, entire armed street patrols, the population of 4Chan forums, and the US Department of Justice.

The argument that knowledge of far-right ideology is politically important took a different slant. It was not a prompt either to ‘persuasion’ or ‘debate’. I think that what was primarily being invoked was the familiar idea that we might yet coax ‘traditional’ Republicans into cutting ties with ogres covered in Swastika tattoos, or twist Trump’s arm into cutting ties with Steve Bannon, or pressure the Conservative Party into expelling the Traditional Britain Group, or compel the Traditional Britain Group to denounce the EDL. In each case the idea would be to keep the right in a state of conflict with itself, and thus incapable of forming a unified political front. Knowledge of the right is vital to this project because without some fundamental recognition of the differences in outlook of (e.g.) a Republican senator with a hostile attitude to in-migration and (e.g.) a white ethno-nationalist with a commitment to large-scale deportation of people of colour, the chances of turning the former against the latter are nil.

For me this position still needs to confront several questions. The first of these is simple. Are the chances of turning the former against the latter ever significantly more than nil? Why did Trump fire Steve Bannon? Was it because of pressure by the (liberal) anti-fascist media? Or was it because of a fit of vanity pure and simple? In some sense it must obviously be true that we can gain from knowing our enemies. But one thing that we learn by studying fascist grouplets is that many of their ‘differences’ are in fact pseudo-differences, ideological refinements produced primarily for display purposes, and so fundamentally unimportant for anti-fascist activists whose role it is to demystify racism and to expose the social injustice at its root. Put differently, an informed anti-fascism needs to know when the things that fascists say about themselves are nothing more than a diversion.

Two final points on ‘splitting the right’. It is worth remembering that fascist movements also turn on themselves when they are demoralized (this was the experience of the anti-fascist movement in Britain in the period immediately after WW2). And a question follows from this. Why should knowledge of the differences within fascist milieus be regarded as essential to the effort to break them up, when the evidence indicates that far-right movements become most fissile, self-attacking and sectarian precisely at the moment when they encounter a general atmosphere of unflinching hostility?

A final point relates to the idea (which no one at the session brought up) that we should be careful not to ‘overuse’ the word fascism for fear of diluting its significance or emptying it of specific intellectual content. This idea is almost always wrong. It is vital not to flag in our hostility to racism, authoritarianism, or misogyny simply because some intellectual authority decrees that a particular instance of it does not fulfill all of the criteria of fascism ‘proper’, whatever that is, or that it is ‘only’ a form of right-wing populism: only a form of ethno-nationalism or esoteric nativism, or only a new form of white identity politics; and therefore nothing like the ‘real’ fascism that can never be diagnosed with absolutely certainty until the trains are already beginning to arrive at the camps. That game of designation is one that fucking Nazis have been playing themselves ever since Oswald Moseley renamed the British Union of Fascists the British Union Movement, legitimating the practice by recanting the title. It relies on a reactionary concept of fascism whose only purpose is to demonstrate that any kind of violent bigotry can be made to look relatively innocuous.

The more that we know about fascism, the clearer it becomes that it has no accurate non-polemical definition.

2) Fascism and the left.It is obvious that we cannot talk seriously about ‘splitting’ the right unless we know who we are. But in defining ‘the left’ we also return to the problem of the nature of contemporary fascism, which is parasitic on the left and mirrors its organizational forms and habits of cultural expression. Just as in the 1910s ‘movement fascism’ emerged out of the left wing of the socialist party and revolutionary syndicalism, in the 2010s fascism scavenges from the forms and vocabulary of the radical movements against oppression. Alain de Benoist, Identitaere Europa and Richard Spencer are all petty traders in the same species of rhetorical bullshit; each of them is engaged in the same listless refashioning of radical ideas into racist shibboleths. The formation of their ‘movements’ is a consequence of the same historical forces that have reshaped radical political movements in the global North and follows the same pattern of shifting emphasis. One of the ways in which this came up at the event was in the debate over whether the concept of ‘the left’ is useful for us. It was suggested that the term is not only vague but that its real force and pressure in our culture is itself a result of the decline of any social movement that might identify itself using a more direct and less metaphorical political vocabulary. The analytic vagueness and imprecision of the descriptive phrase, which is dominated in practice by the parties of social democracy and its voting blocs, but which is understood to include radical movements against oppression, the trade unions, and the remnants of revolutionary socialist and anarchist groups, also tends to support a non-specific kind of dissatisfaction. The more completely that the term is abstracted from any particular practice, programme, or analysis, the more suitable it becomes as a repository for undefined feelings of psychic dissatisfaction, which express themselves in the form of grandly irrefutable statements of rhetorical disgust: the left ‘has failed’, is the source of ‘the real fascists’, is altogether ‘regressive’ or ‘intolerant’. This language becomes more appealing as the historical circumstances in which we find ourselves become more self- evidently dangerous and cruel: the rise of racist nativism, the threat of nuclear war, the relentlessness of attacks on wages and welfare conditions, the escalating catastrophe of warplane diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa, the uprooting of entire populations and the gradual turn towards economic protectionism all combine to make postures of radical self-distinction newly irresistible. As world history comes to resemble more closely a gigantic car crash, who could resist the desire to draw a line under the radical politics that has failed to change its direction? How else can we anticipate a breakthrough into a new practice of social transformation more adequate to the circumstances in which we find ourselves?

The problem with this line of thought is that it feeds off an indifference to the historical movements that it sneers at. Its ‘clean break’ is wholly negative. It remains so even when it attempts to ground itself in some layperson’s account of the absolute distinctiveness of recent technological or scientific developments, which in practice are treated like the same body of hermetic knowledge to which anti-rationalist visionaries have granted themselves exclusive access since the early middle ages. By wallowing in revulsion for an abstraction (‘the left’) it denatures itself into a kind of boring self-gratification, a melodramatic and exhibitionist discourse in which fascists feel totally at home.

Fascists need stimulating generalities to hate or swear loyalty to because their tradition contains no other motivating reason for the insurrectionary politics that they nevertheless espouse. For us the opposite should be true.

3) Fascism and class/EDL vs. LD50.One issue that was raised was the difference between ‘bourgeois’ and intellectualist fascists like those present at the LD50 conference and ‘working-class’ far-right groups like the English Defence League. The difference relates to the different composition of different tendencies and raises urgent questions about different forms of anti-fascist organizing. One attendee argued that a reason for the increase in attendance at EDL demonstrations in post-industrial districts was a feeling among (overwhelmingly though not exclusively white) working- class men that they have been ‘abandoned’ by the left. The practical implication of this argument as I understood it was that anti-fascists should be doing more organizing in areas where there are large numbers of people who might be susceptible to the propaganda of the far right. So far as it goes this is surely correct. But it is worth picking away a little at the phrase itself. The vocabulary of ‘abandonment’ has a paternalistic connotation. It suggests (a) a working class on the model of a defenceless infant and (b) a grown-up left that is shirking its parental responsibilities (e.g. by eloping with a migrant). The patriarchal connotation explains its instinctive appeal to conservative pundits like Slavoj Zizek and the frisson of proscribed sex makes it irresistible to everyone to his right. It also participates once again in the identification of ‘the left’ with socially concerned liberals: an elision that works against the recognition (absolutely implicit in the argument of everyone discussing this issue on the day) that working-class communities in industrial towns were the left and did not ‘abandon’ themselves (it is hard to see how they could have done this) but were defeated, across several decades of intense and unremitting struggle. The idea that they might have been abandoned by metropolitan liberals during this process likewise represents an unearned compliment to that group who in fact were never ‘there’ in the first place, and who in their long history of hand-wringing never gave a fuck about the rights of the working class except when a complex calculus of electoral interests impelled them to grin and bear it. This is something that the history both of the New Deal and the Great Society programmes makes fairly evident.

This is not to say that that white working-class men in post-industrial towns do not feel abandoned. But it is nevertheless a task of those of us who wish to fight for an emancipatory politics against capital and racial and other oppressions to struggle against shorthand histories whose organizing terms are those for which the nationalist right is itself responsible. From the paternalistic idea that the working class has been abandoned by the ‘left’ it is only a short step to the outright fascist idea that they have been ‘betrayed’ by it, that the left are traitors, and that it is the role of the state to inflict punishment.

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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:59 pm


SEPTEMBER 29, 2017

By Jeff Shantz

It is important that fascism is openly being named and opposed in the present context. Yet the mechanisms of fascist flourishing and spread in current period require some further understanding. And on levels that are not often considered (beyond the visible manifestations of explicit fascist creeps mobilizing). There is too a soft ground of support and sustenance for the more overt manifestations of fascism.

French psychoanalyst Felix Guattari presented an article in 1973, when few were thinking actively about a present fascism entitled “Everybody Wants to be a Fascist.” Guattari recognized in 1973 that fascism was still very much “a real political problem” and not merely a pure theoretical matter (154). In any event as Guattari asks: “Besides, isn’t it a good idea to discuss it freely while we still can” (1973, 154). And we need to talk about it in ways that go beyond the standard or typical features to understand how fascism survives, reproduces, and recurs.

This was an early discussion of micropolitics and fascism. No one should feel that it is all over and the good guys won. For Guattari: “Through all kinds of means—in particular, movies and television—we are led to believe that Nazism was just a bad moment we had to go through, a sort of historical error, but also a beautiful page in history for the good heroes” (Guattari 1973, 166).

Elements of fascism leap transhistorically across generations. They proliferate in other forms. They adapt to new conditions. They move intergenerationally. There are different types of fascism. Italian, Spanish, German, etc., but there are also continuing threads. Fascism is not renewable like a complete artifact. Fascism is in constant evolution.

Guattari takes neither a historical nor sociological approach. He seeks a micropolitical examination of the molecule of fascism. Fascism is dangerous and molecular. This can be massified but not as a totalitarian organism.

Guattari makes a provocative move in his analysis. He suggests that fascism is an internal part of desire. It is immanent in desire, not something that comes from without, for Guattari. It emerges at a microphysical scale. It is not located in individuals but in sets of relationships. Whenever there is desire there is a microfascist potential.

We need to address the in/visibility of fascism that is (and has been) everywhere operative in the present. The Trump campaign was a lightning rod for tendencies that have been long in play. As Guattari warned at that time, we do indeed need to talk about fascism while we still can. And we need to talk about it more fully. ... f-fascism/
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:25 pm

The Moldbug Variations

Corey Pein

Moldbug was comfortably anonymous, with a modest but influential following in Silicon Valley circles, until TechCrunch revealed his identity as Curtis Yarvin, a San Francisco software engineer whose strange and quixotic startup, Tlön, had garnered some investment capital from Thiel. Moldbug’s moribund blog remains one of the ur-texts of the “neoreactionary” movement, a subset of what is now euphemistically termed the alt-right, but which I characterized at the time—more accurately, I think—as the mouthbreathing Machiavellis of the silicon reich.

Yarvin suffered some modest career setbacks and conference disinvitations once his identity as Moldbug became common knowledge, but Thiel stood fast. I did not outright accuse Thiel of plotting some kind of monarchist coup with Yarvin, but in 2014 Thiel was apparently quite sensitive to the suggestion he might be in cahoots with the alt-right underground.

Three years ago, Peter Thiel called me a conspiracy theorist at a Baffler-hosted debate.

“Actually, I found that vaguely flattering,” Thiel told the Times. “It was the full-on conspiracy theory. In truth, there’s nobody sitting around plotting the future, though sometimes I think it would be better if people were.”

Note that in his comment, Thiel denied nothing. Indeed, part of him seemed to enjoy the attention. I certainly delighted in the irony of being called a conspiracy theorist by a wealthy and well-connected serial conspirator—even though at the time, Thiel had yet to be exposed as the financier behind a covert legal campaign to defund and destroy his journalistic nemesis, Gawker Media, from existence.

Now let’s jump ahead to the first week of October 2017. BuzzFeed published a long expose based on leaked emails that revealed further coordination between alt-right personalities such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon, the heir to the late Andrew Breitbart’s online propaganda empire and, more important, a key adviser to Donald Trump.

The full story is worth your time. But a careful reader drew my attention to this exchange concerning Thiel and Yarvin, which took place some time after May 2016—the exact timing is unclear. In any case, BuzzFeed reported that Thiel and Yiannopoulos had “made plans to meet during the July Republican National Convention. But much of Yiannopoulos’s knowledge of Thiel seemed to come secondhand from other right-wing activists, as well as Curtis Yarvin, the blogger who advocates the return of feudalism.” The story then quotes this exchange:

Yarvin told Yiannopoulos that he had been “coaching Thiel.”

“Peter needs guidance on politics for sure,” Yiannopoulos responded.

“Less than you might think!” Yarvin wrote back. “I watched the election at his house, I think my hangover lasted into Tuesday. He’s fully enlightened, just plays it very carefully.”

There’s a lot going on here. For a start, it’s unclear whether Yarvin’s long hangover was emotionally or chemically induced. I assume he was high on victory.

More substantively, this is further confirmation that Thiel and Yarvin are not merely business associates—Thiel never bothered to claim as much and, if he had, who would have believed him?—but ideological comrades. Their relationship clearly pivots on observing and discussing politics—as friends do. It is, again, unclear exactly which election Yarvin watched at Thiel’s house, but given the rough timeline, we can take for granted that it featured Trump as a candidate for president of the United States.

In 2014, Thiel was apparently quite sensitive to the suggestion he might be in cahoots the alt-right underground.

In other words: a smoking gun, exposing the full-on conspiracy! I can’t say I’m surprised. After the Baffler event with Thiel in 2014, Yarvin emailed me to offer his congratulations on my new book deal. It was strange, because I hadn’t even signed a contract yet, much less told my friends about the possibility of publishing a book on the dark politics of Silicon Valley. I had, however, told some people at The Baffler, one of whom told Thiel at the event—who in turn, I figured, related the news to Yarvin. So I knew the two of them talked. Yarvin suggested getting lunch if I was ever in San Francisco. It never worked out.

Second, it’s noteworthy in the Milo correspondence that Yarvin considers himself a political adviser to Thiel. There was obviously a bit of boastfulness in that comment, and I’m skeptical that Thiel really calls on him for close-in tactical counsel in the sense that Trump relies on men like Bannon. However, I don’t doubt that Yarvin is a valued voice in Thiel’s circle of friends. And it’s a matter of record that Thiel is a valued voice in Trumpland—we’re talking about someone who was reportedly offered his choice of cabinet positions, and who the White House called upon to produce names for nominees and appointees to federal agencies.

Which leads us to the third, and probably most disturbing, point here: Yarvin considers Thiel “fully enlightened.” What does that mean, coming from a founder of the “Dark Enlightenment” movement?

Yarvin believes there is no such thing as democracy—and Thiel has said as much, as well. Yarvin’s stunted political imagination prizes strict hierarchies—despotisms, monarchies, and experimental new feudal via a “patchwork” of corporate fiefdoms managed by absolute dictators that might be appointed by a vote of property-owning “shareholders.” Unlike some advocates of Silicon Valley secessionism, Yarvin has never been shy in acknowledging that this amounts to a revolution and would require the forcible overthrow of the established order. He advised, for instance, that the new dictator of California should throw the old elected governor in Alcatraz, and then briskly proceed to pack the government with Google guys.

Yarvin’s Dark Enlightenment dogma also is steeped in pseudoscientific racism. Yarvin preaches that intelligence is determined in large part by the laws of “human biodiversity”—which hold, in his telling, that white people are congenitally smarter than black and brown people, and that Chinese people may be the smartest of all. It takes no great stretch of the imagination to see how a blood-and-soil white nationalist like Bannon and a racist bomb thrower like Donald “Good Genes” Trump would find a great deal of reassurance in this toxic philosophy.

Yarvin’s Dark Enlightenment dogma also is steeped in pseudoscientific racism.

Yarvin’s idea of enlightenment also means believing that history as we’ve come to know it is a lie. It means believing that the Soviet Union was the greater evil in the Second World War and that Nazi Germany acted in preemptive self-defense against the nefarious scheming of Stalin and FDR. It also means believing that ever since that war, upstanding American fascists have been unjustly persecuted by the state, and that the United States has been ruled by a conspiracy of wealthy establishment Communists and a “ruling underclass” of violent black mobs who are their eager pawns.

To be enlightened, in Yarvin’s world, means forming an uncomfortable alliance with street Nazis—the Stormfront set—and other déclassé white nationalists. The same goes for right-wing terrorists such as Anders Behring Breivik, whom Yarvin denounced, but only in the most limited and depraved terms possible. Yarvin wrote that Breivik should be condemned because his 2011 massacre in Oslo was ineffective as terrorism, which Yarvin considers a legitimate military tactic. Nazi terror was legitimate because it worked, Yarvin wrote. Breivik’s killing spree, which targeted young Norwegian leftists, was illegitimate because it was insufficient to “free Norway from Eurocommunism.” After all, he only killed ninety-two people! “We can note the only thing he didn’t screw up. At least he shot communists, not Muslims. He gored the matador and not the cape,” Yarvin wrote on July 23, 2011, one day after the terror in Oslo, and five years before going to Thiel’s house to hang out and watch their guy, Trump, get closer to power.

As Yarvin evidently sees Thiel as his project, Thiel presumably sees Trump as a useful vehicle to achieve his “enlightened” vision.

It’s worth considering that Thiel is not just another wealthy Trump adviser. He is a contractor for the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and the Homeland Security Department, through his Big Data surveillance startup, Palantir. (The name is a Lord of the Rings reference; like many big race theorists in Silicon Valley Thiel and Yarvin adore J.R.R. Tolkien, which can be read as an epic glorification of a winner-take-all race war. Tolkien’s trilogy also conveniently doubles as a regressive fantasy universe where heroic Nordic souls either gain power by force or come into it via birthright—in both scenarios, a lineage that leaves them untroubled by the irksome niceties of democratic procedure.)

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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:24 am

John Ganz, December 15

The Forgotten Man

On Murray Rothbard, philosophical harbinger of Trump and the alt-right

The other big idea that Rothbard cooked up during his years at the Volker Fund was to borrow from a particular tradition on the left, one that would’ve been very familiar from his Bronx boyhood. In a 1961 memo entitled “What Is To Be Done,” after Lenin’s 1901 pamphlet of the same name, Rothbard outlined a strategy for the movement:

Here we stand, then, a “hard core” of libertarian-individualist “revolutionaries,” anxiously not only to develop our own understanding of this wonderful system of thought, but also anxious to spread its principles—and its policies—to the rest of society. How do we go about it? I think that here we can learn a great deal from Lenin and the Leninists—not too much, of course—but particularly the idea that the Leninist part is the main, or indeed only, moral principle.

What Rothbard thought the libertarian movement needed to copy from Leninism were professional cadres of dedicated ideologues to organize cells and spread the faith. After an abortive attempt to woo the New Left in the late 1960s and early 1970s, this was almost certainly the vision Rothbard brought to Charles Koch, when he inspired him to found the Cato Institute at the Koch’s ski lodge in Vail. Justin Raimondo illustrates the scene vividly: “Over the course of a weekend, in the winter of 1976,” Raimondo writes, “Rothbard and the heir to one of the largest family held corporations in the nation talked into the night. As the roaring fire in the elaborate stone fireplace, burned down to flickering embers, Rothbard outlined the need to organize and systematize the burgeoning libertarian movement and bring order out of chaos.”

The name Cato itself was Rothbard’s idea: it was after John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon’s Cato Letters, pamphlets that inspired the American Revolution. They took the name from Cato the Younger, Julius Caesar’s republican foe, but as Raimondo points out, it was meant to invoke his grandfather, Cato the Elder, as well: “The old Roman senator, after all, had ended every speech with the famous imprecation against Rome’s ancient enemy: ‘Carthage must be destroyed!’ Insert the ‘the state’ in place of the Carthaginians, and the name conjures the Rothbardian spirit that imbued the founders of this new intellectual enterprise.”

Rothbard got quickly to work. In early 1977, he distributed a highly confidential 178-page memo, meant only for the inner circle of Cato, called Toward A Strategy for Libertarian Social Change. Within is a deeper elaboration and analysis of Leninist strategy and tactics, again calling for professionalized, hard-core libertarian cadres and “purity of principle, combined with entrepreneurial flexibility of tactics.” Following the course of Bolshevik revolution, he believed the best course of action was to follow the “centrist” path. That is, they were to stay radical, but also stay practical: don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal by getting mired in reformist coalitions, but don’t isolate the “party” of dedicated anti-statists by making hopeless quixotic stands either. To the example of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, Rothbard now adds Hitler and the Nazis, who had the tactical advantage, he wrote, of a “clear two-group, ‘good-guy vs. bad guy’ dichotomy.” He also discusses with interest the Italian Futurists’ corrosive contempt for the mores of old society as an avant-garde paving the way for the triumph of the fascist movement. He felt libertarians could benefit from the lesson of the fascists’ use of emotionally stirring propaganda and spectacles, as well as their enlistment of youth in the cause. He believed that supreme willpower was the quality most needed in a political leader. But he cautions, the movement has to be straight in its appearance, “radical in content, conservative in form”; not too much shocking of the bourgeoisie, and no shaggy hair cuts: libertarian cadres must appear “respectable.”

The memo briefly caused a storm in right-wing circles, and then was largely forgotten. It leaked to the National Review, which got particularly upset about the invocation of Lenin. But it did not shake Rothbard’s position at Cato, yet. For his part, Justin Raimondo, toward the close of his Rothbard biography, expresses his belief that the strategy memo is still more or less Cato policy. Brink Lindsey, who was at Cato for twenty years and is now at the Niskanen Center, said that while he never saw the memo during his time at Cato, Rothbard’s radical antipathy toward the state long outlived his tenure: “The ultimate goal of minarchy or anarchy was and is intellectual orthodoxy at Cato, always in the background, with consequentialist policy analysis in the foreground.” (At one point in the memo, Rothbard talks approvingly about the American Revolution, but regrets that it was ruined by the drafting of the constitution.)

Rothbard’s truculence, amid infighting in the tiny Libertarian party, and his insistence on ideological purity—he was upset when they brought in a Chicago School, rather than Austrian School, economist—eventually soured the other members of Cato’s inner sanctum against him. He was pushed out in 1981, but quickly found a new home at the more radical Ludwig von Mises Institute, founded by a firebrand named Lew Rockwell, who was also Ron Paul’s congressional chief-of-staff from 1978 to 1982. Joined with the conservative Catholic Rockwell, Rothbard returned firmly to his Old Right roots, and together they devised a synthesis they called “paleolibertarianism”—a position that was radically anti-state, but conservative in its cultural values. They would, in Rockwell’s term “de-louse” the movement, and end the association of libertarianism with shaggy, good-time counter-cultural libertinism. Although Rothbard got an academic appointment at the University of Nevada Las Vegas in 1985, he was still able to write prolifically for his political causes and to advocate strongly for Ron Paul’s bid as Libertarian candidate in 1988.

The writing Rockwell produced on behalf of Ron Paul in the 1980s and early 1990s is quite frank in its racism, homophobia, and paranoia about AIDS—part of what Rothbard described as an “Outreach to the Rednecks.” By 1990, the Ron Paul newsletters started discussing David Duke in favorable terms. But it was in 1992, after David Duke’s failed presidential run, that Rothbard in an article entitled “Right Wing Populism,” from the Rockwell-Rothbard Report, fully puts Duke’s politics in the context of his earlier articulated “populist short-circuit” strategy. There he encourages emulation of Duke:

It is fascinating that there was nothing in Duke’s current program or campaign that could not also be embraced by paleoconservatives or paleo-libertarians: lower taxes, dismantling the bureaucracy, slashing the welfare system, attacking affirmative action and racial set-asides, calling for equal rights for all Americans, including whites: what’s wrong with any of that?

Ultimately it was Pat Buchanan who was to be Rothbard’s man in 1992.

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American Dream » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:21 pm wrote:The Darkness at the End of the Tunnel: Artificial Intelligence and Neoreaction

Shuja Haider March 28, 2017

Siena Cathedral as seen through Google’s neural network
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:01 am



In 2004, Peter Thiel created a company, Palantir, that built on his PayPal cofounder Max Levchin’s algorithms for analyzing and making judgments based on an individual’s highly personal digital records. Named after magical stones in The Lord of the Rings, Palantir helps governments and private companies make judgments from online and offline records based on patterns recognized by algorithms. For example, the company produces software that in seconds can scan through hundreds of millions of pictures of license plates collected by the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, pieces of information that can be interpreted with the help of other large data sets. Palantir’s chief executive, Alex Karp, a law school friend recruited by Thiel, defends his company’s role in sifting through this material, which was collected by the government, after all. “If we as a democratic society believe that license plates in public trigger Fourth Amendment protections, our product can make sure you can’t cross that line,” Karp said, adding: “In the real world where we work—which is never perfect—you have to have trade-offs.”

For someone identified as a “libertarian,” Thiel has been comfortable operating businesses that relied on analyzing the personal information of its customers or the general public. Just as profiling by PayPal kept it afloat by excluding potential fraudsters, well-conceived government investigations, Thiel contends, keep America safe. After revelations by Edward Snowden about the government’s surveillance capabilities, Thiel was asked if he thought the National Security Agency collected too much information about United States citizens. Thiel didn’t object to those practices from a libertarian perspective but, rather, said he was offended by the agency’s stupidity. “The NSA has been hoovering up all the data in the world, because it has no clue what it is doing. ‘Big data’ really means ‘dumb data,’” he told readers of Reddit who asked him questions. “BTW, I don’t agree with the libertarian description of the NSA as ‘big brother.’ I think Snowden revealed something that looks more like the Keystone Kops and very little like James Bond.”

Similar to Andreessen, Peter Thiel lately has combined the roles of investor and public intellectual. Of Thiel’s many successful investments—LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook come to mind—perhaps his most far-sighted has been the decision to publicly back Donald Trump for president, which required Thiel to break ranks with his Silicon Valley peers. In return for his prime-time endorsement on the final night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, as well as $1.25 million in contributions to Trump’s campaign through affiliated super PACs and direct contributions, Thiel was rewarded with a place of privilege when president-elect Trump met with tech leaders during the transition, and an important advisory role in the next administration. Who knows what dividends are yet to be collected?

The Trump endorsement reestablished Thiel’s reputation as a uniquely polarizing Silicon Valley figure, a Trumpian character, you might say. Indeed, Thiel has become an almost toxic spokesman for the tech world, so much so that his close friends and business partners, like Zuckerberg and Hoffman, have felt obligated to defend their relationships publicly. During the presidential election, Zuckerberg was confronted by Facebook employees who objected to Thiel’s continued role on the company’s board of directors because of his support for Trump. In a fine example of rhetorical jujitsu, Zuckerberg referred to Facebook’s commitment to diversity to answer those who were appalled by Trump’s disparagement of Mexicans, Muslims, and women, among others, and the idea that a board member could be supporting his candidacy. “We care deeply about diversity,” Zuckerberg wrote in defense of Thiel. “That’s easy to say when it means standing up for ideas you agree with. It’s a lot harder when it means standing up for the rights of people with different viewpoints to say what they care about. That’s even more important.”

No doubt Thiel is an odd bird with a penchant for fringe ideas. In his pursuit of limited government, he has given substantial financial support to seasteading, which encourages political experimentation through the development of floating communities in international waters, presumably outside the reach of governments. He is unusually obsessed with his own death and sickness, a condition he traces back to the disturbing day when he was three and learned from his father that all things die, starting with the cow who gave his life for the family’s leather rug. Thiel supports a range of potential life-extending innovations, including cryogenics, which involves keeping a body alive by cooling it; genetic research to fight diseases; and, most resonantly, a treatment based on cycling through blood transfusions from young people in the belief that the vigor therein can be transferred to the older recipient. Thiel says he is surprised that his obsession with death is considered weird—for what it’s worth, he considers those complacent about death to be psychologically troubled. “We accept that we’re all going to die, and so we don’t do anything, and we think we’re not going to die anytime soon, so we don’t really need to worry about it,” he told an interviewer. “We have this sort of schizophrenic combination of acceptance and converges to doing nothing.”

Continues at: ... ter-thiel/
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:45 pm ... topia.html

The Techno-Libertarians Praying for Dystopia
Mark O’Connell

Peter Thiel.

If you believed that the necessary next step in our species’ evolution was to merge with artificial superintelligence, and to thereby transcend our animal condition and become immortal, what effect might that have on your politics?

This is not an entirely abstract question. There are people who believe that the future of our species involves shedding our humanity in a marriage with AI; this is known as transhumanism, and it has not unreasonably been called a new tech religion. Though the movement has no explicit political affiliations, it tends, for reasons that are probably self-explanatory, to draw a disproportionate number of Silicon Valley libertarians. And the cluster of ideas at its center — that the progress of technology will inevitably render good ol’ Homo sapiens obsolete; that intelligence, pure computational power, is to be pursued above all other values — has exerted a powerful attraction on a small group of futurists whose extreme investment in techno-libertarianism has pushed them over an event horizon into a form of right-wing authoritarianism it might be useful to regard as Dark Transhumanism.

The English critical theorist turned far-right cult thinker Nick Land is usefully representative of this intellectual tendency. Although he has never identified as a transhumanist, his ideas are infused with the movement’s delirious faith in the coming merger of humans and machines. His current political vision, which he has given the flamboyantly portentous title the Dark Enlightenment, is one in which the programmer elite and their ingenious technologies rule the world. “Increasingly,” he wrote in 2014, “there are only two basic human types populating this planet. There are autistic nerds, who alone are capable of participating effectively in the advanced technological processes that characterize the emerging economy, and there is everybody else.” Many transhumanists would be inclined to reject the political implications of Land’s futurism, but his vision is only really a darker, more explicitly fascistic rendering of the kind of thinking you find in the work of the futurist Ray Kurzweil, or for that matter Wired founder Kevin Kelly, who believes that we humans are “the reproductive organs of technology”.

For Dark Transhumanists, as for the neo-reactionaries from whom they take their cues, egalitarianism is inherently incompatible with any posthuman future. Take Peter Thiel, the Facebook investor who in a 2009 essay for the libertarian journal Cato Unbound announced, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” Asked in a 2011 New Yorker profile whether the kinds of life extension technologies he was investing in might exacerbate already grotesque levels of social inequality, Thiel’s response offered a glimpse into the ethical simple-mindedness of his techno-libertarianism: “Probably the most extreme form of inequality,” he said, “is between people who are alive and people who are dead.”

Or there’s Michael Anissimov, a former media director at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute — a think tank in Berkeley devoted to preventing superhuman AI from destroying humanity — who has in recent years basically cornered the white-supremacy–Singularity crossover market.

Anissimov, with his weird synthesis of 19th-century racist pseudoscience and fantastical futurism, is a Dark Transhumanist par excellence. In a 2013 interview, he outlined how the cultural ingraining of the notion that we’re all created equal left us unprepared for “a future of technologically enhanced beings.” There are, he insists, already significant disparities in intelligence between existing races. Transhuman technologies, he says, would mean situations in which “people could be lording over one another in a way that was never possible before in history.” It’s pretty clear that Anissimov sees nothing to fear in such a future, confident as he is that it will be people like him doing the lording. Despite being approvingly quoted in Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near, Anissimov is these days something of a pariah from the transhumanist movement. But it is worth asking whether his specific mutation of transhumanist thinking is troubling not just because of its extremist right-wing implications, but because it magnifies illiberal, radically elitist tendencies that are inherent in transhumanism itself. Although its intellectual and spiritual roots can be traced back as far as the gnostics, transhumanism is a fever dream of contemporary technocapitalism, and it is naïve to suppose that the technological enhancements it conjures would do anything but exacerbate already existing social inequalities.

There is, in transhumanism itself, a strain of old-timey historical romanticism: a sense of history as an inexorable progress toward a teleological vanishing point, where all human meaning is subsumed and obliterated by a godlike technology. This belief that flesh is a dead format, and that our future — or that, at least, of a technological elect — involves a final merger with machines is one that interlocks in sinister ways with the view of democracy as a failed and outmoded institution. Transhumanists view the human body as a system in need of technological disruption and ultimate transcendence, and neo-reaction views the state, the body politic, in much the same manner. Seen in a certain way, this is a mind-set — a reductionist understanding of the world as a hackable system — inherent in the culture of computer science. The flesh is weak, and democracy is entropic; both are subject to forces of decay, to human inefficiencies and failings. As eccentric and fringe a phenomenon as Dark Transhumanism may be, it’s usefully viewed in this sense as an extrapolation of tendencies inherent in the mainstream techno-capitalism of Silicon Valley.
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:03 am

Peter Thiel’s Unfortunate World: On “The Know-It-Alls” by Noam Cohen

By Bradley Babendir

FEBRUARY 11, 2018

THE PIT OF Peter Thiel’s ghoulishness may be bottomless, but scraping the sides for highlights is worthwhile. The vampiric impulses of Silicon Valley’s libertarian overlord combined with his endorsement of Donald Trump during the 2016 election make him look like a supervillain, but the really terrifying thing about Thiel is the reach of his tentacles and the number of people and companies his money and ideology have influenced.

Noam Cohen, a former columnist for The New York Times, traces that legacy in The Know-it-Alls, a history of Silicon Valley through the people who shaped it, from John McCarthy, a pioneering midcentury AI researcher, to Mark Zuckerberg. Each of the men (they’re all men) in his focus does something essential to change the culture and economics of the technology start-up world, but this book has a long shadow on its pages. It could just as well have been organized “before Thiel” and “after Thiel.” Once he arrives, there is nothing he does not touch.

Only at the beginning is the narrative Thiel-free. McCarthy, who lead the charge of “hackers,” as Cohen calls them, headed west to Stanford University when he left the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962. He’s an essential opening figure, but the book gets going with the story of Frederick Terman, a professor and eventual Stanford University provost who made connecting the university with the business community his life’s work. And work it did. Major successes like Yahoo!, Google, and Instagram came from Stanford, though they did so long after he died — he positioned the university to prepare for those idea-to-incorporation-to-funding tracks. Research, then, was not done for the sake of academic curiosity and public betterment but for the creation of successful corporations. It has no doubt worked out well for the students of Stanford. For everyone else, it’s hard to say.

Another foundational influence for Terman came from his father, Lewis Terman, who developed and popularized the IQ test. He conducted a study of children’s intelligence and then tracked their lives, comparing a group of gifted children to a control group of average intelligence. And, wouldn’t you know it, the high IQ group did better. Except, there’s a hitch:

[Lewis] Terman repeatedly intervened in the lives of his high-IQ subjects, often without their knowledge […] He wrote them recommendations for admission to Stanford, gave small sums of money during tough times, and, in one case, helped a fourteen-year-old be placed in a good foster home rather than returned to his abusive father. (To be clear, Terman didn’t intervene to help any in the control group.)

Eugenic overtones aside, it would be possible to forgive a researcher for fighting against the tide to prove their ideas correct. It is hard to be wrong, and if Terman believed beyond all doubt that those whom he deemed smarter were smarter and therefore more deserving of success, it would be frustrating to see the situation play out differently. Still, because, as Terman’s friend Edwin Boring said, he “thought of the intellectually elite as those who would save civilization for democracy,” he shouldn’t be forgiven for putting his foot on the scale when the stakes were so high. False objectivity is a canard offered to justify discrimination of all stripes, and Lewis Terman’s belief that a specific kind of intelligence is both testable and obviously superior is in line with, for example, recently fired Google employee James Damore’s noxious, sexist, scientifically bunk manifesto about the innate abilities of women.

More at: ... oam-cohen/
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:10 pm

Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand

How an extreme libertarian tract predicting the collapse of liberal democracies – written by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s father – inspired the likes of Peter Thiel to buy up property across the Pacific

by Mark O'Connell

Early last summer, just as my interests in the topics of civilisational collapse and Peter Thiel were beginning to converge into a single obsession, I received out of the blue an email from a New Zealand art critic named Anthony Byrt. If I wanted to understand the extreme ideology that underpinned Thiel’s attraction to New Zealand, he insisted, I needed to understand an obscure libertarian manifesto called The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State. It was published in 1997, and in recent years something of a minor cult has grown up around it in the tech world, largely as a result of Thiel’s citing it as the book he is most influenced by. (Other prominent boosters include Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, and Balaji Srinivasan, the entrepreneur best known for advocating Silicon Valley’s complete secession from the US to form its own corporate city-state.)

The Sovereign Individual’s co-authors are James Dale Davidson, a private investor who specialises in advising the rich on how to profit from economic catastrophe, and the late William Rees-Mogg, long-serving editor of the Times. (One other notable aspect of Lord Rees-Mogg’s varied legacy is his own son, the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg – a hastily sketched caricature of an Old Etonian, who is as beloved of Britain’s ultra-reactionary pro-Brexit right as he is loathed by the left.)


I was intrigued by Byrt’s description of the book as a kind of master key to the relationship between New Zealand and the techno-libertarians of Silicon Valley. Reluctant to enrich Davidson or the Rees-Mogg estate any further, I bought a used edition online, the musty pages of which were here and there smeared with the desiccated snot of whatever nose-picking libertarian preceded me.

It presents a bleak vista of a post-democratic future. Amid a thicket of analogies to the medieval collapse of feudal power structures, the book also managed, a decade before the invention of bitcoin, to make some impressively accurate predictions about the advent of online economies and cryptocurrencies.

The book’s 400-odd pages of near-hysterical orotundity can roughly be broken down into the following sequence of propositions:

1) The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools.

2) The rise of the internet, and the advent of cryptocurrencies, will make it impossible for governments to intervene in private transactions and to tax incomes, thereby liberating individuals from the political protection racket of democracy.

3) The state will consequently become obsolete as a political entity.

4) Out of this wreckage will emerge a new global dispensation, in which a “cognitive elite” will rise to power and influence, as a class of sovereign individuals “commanding vastly greater resources” who will no longer be subject to the power of nation-states and will redesign governments to suit their ends.

The Sovereign Individual is, in the most literal of senses, an apocalyptic text. Davidson and Rees-Mogg present an explicitly millenarian vision of the near future: the collapse of old orders, the rising of a new world. Liberal democracies will die out, and be replaced by loose confederations of corporate city-states. Western civilisation in its current form, they insist, will end with the millennium. “The new Sovereign Individual,” they write, “will operate like the gods of myth in the same physical environment as the ordinary, subject citizen, but in a separate realm politically.” It’s impossible to overstate the darkness and extremity of the book’s predictions of capitalism’s future; to read it is to be continually reminded that the dystopia of your darkest insomniac imaginings is almost always someone else’s dream of a new utopian dawn.

Davidson and Rees-Mogg identified New Zealand as an ideal location for this new class of sovereign individuals, as a “domicile of choice for wealth creation in the Information Age”. Byrt, who drew my attention to these passages, had even turned up evidence of a property deal in the mid-1990s in which a giant sheep station at the southern tip of the North Island was purchased by a conglomerate whose major shareholders included Davidson and Rees-Mogg. Also in on the deal was one Roger Douglas, the former Labour finance minister who had presided over a radical restructuring of New Zealand economy along neoliberal lines in the 1980s. (This period of so-called “Rogernomics”, Byrt told me – the selling off of state assets, slashing of welfare, deregulation of financial markets – created the political conditions that had made the country such an attractive prospect for wealthy Americans.)

Thiel’s interest in New Zealand was certainly fuelled by his JRR Tolkien obsession: this was a man who had named at least five of his companies in reference to The Lord of the Rings, and fantasised as a teenager about playing chess against a robot that could discuss the books. It was a matter, too, of the country’s abundance of clean water and the convenience of overnight flights from California. But it was also inseparable from a particular strand of apocalyptic techno-capitalism. To read The Sovereign Individual was to see this ideology laid bare: these people, the self-appointed “cognitive elite”, were content to see the unravelling of the world as long as they could carry on creating wealth in the end times.

New Zealand as Middle-earth in
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.

I was struck by how strange and disquieting it must have been for a New Zealander to see their own country refracted through this strange apocalyptic lens. There was certainly an ambient awareness that the tech world elite had developed an odd interest in the country as an ideal end-times bolthole; it would have been difficult, at any rate, to ignore the recent cascade of articles about Thiel acquiring citizenship, and the apocalyptic implications of same. But there seemed to have been basically zero discussion of the frankly alarming ideological dimension of it all.

It was just this ideological dimension, as it happened, that was the focus of a project Byrt himself had recently got involved in, a new exhibition by the artist Simon Denny. Denny, a significant figure in the international art scene, was originally from Auckland, but has lived for some years in Berlin. Byrt described him as both “kind of a genius” and “the poster-boy for post-internet art, whatever that is”; he characterised his own role in the project with Denny as an amalgamation of researcher, journalist and “investigative philosopher, following the trail of ideas and ideologies”.

The exhibition was called The Founder’s Paradox, a name that came from the title of one of the chapters in Thiel’s 2014 book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. Together with the long and intricately detailed catalogue essay Byrt was writing to accompany it, the show was a reckoning with the future that Silicon Valley techno-libertarians like Thiel wanted to build, and with New Zealand’s place in that future.

These were questions I too was eager to reckon with. Which is to say that I myself was interested – helplessly, morbidly – in the end of the world, and that I was therefore interested in New Zealand. And so I decided to go there, to see for myself the land that Thiel had apparently set aside for the collapse of civilisation: a place that would become for me a kind of labyrinth, and whose owner I was already beginning to mythologise as the monster at its centre.

Within about an hour of arriving in Auckland, I was as close to catatonic from fatigue as made no difference, and staring into the maw of a volcano. I was standing next to Byrt, who’d picked me up from the airport and, in a gesture I would come to understand as quintessentially Kiwi, dragged me directly up the side of a volcano. This particular volcano, Mount Eden, was a fairly domesticated specimen, around which was spread one of the more affluent suburbs of Auckland – the only city in the world, I learned, built on a technically still-active volcanic field.

I was a little out of breath from the climb and, having just emerged in the southern hemisphere from a Dublin November, sweating liberally in the relative heat of the early summer morning. I was also experiencing near-psychotropic levels of jetlag. I must have looked a bit off, because Byrt – a bearded, hoodied and baseball-capped man in his late 30s – offered a cheerful apology for playing the volcano card so early in the proceedings.

“I probably should have eased you into it, mate” he chuckled. “But I thought it’d be good to get a view of the city before breakfast.”

The view of Auckland and its surrounding islands was indeed ravishing – though in retrospect, it was no more ravishing than any of the countless other views I would wind up getting ravished by over the next 10 days. That, famously, is the whole point of New Zealand: if you don’t like getting ravished by views, you have no business in the place; to travel there is to give implicit consent to being hustled left, right and centre into states of aesthetic rapture.

A view of Auckland New Zealand from Mount Eden.

“Plus I’ve been in the country mere minutes,” I said, “and I’ve already got a perfect visual metaphor for the fragility of civilisation in the bag.”

I was referring here to the pleasingly surreal spectacle of a volcanic crater overlaid with a surface of neatly manicured grass. (I jotted this observation down in my notebook, feeling as I did so a smug infusion of virtue about getting some literary non-fiction squared away before even dropping my bags off at the hotel. “Volcano with lawn over it,” I scrawled. “Visual manifestation of thematic motif: Civ as thin membrane stretched over chaos.”)

I remarked on the strangeness of all these Silicon Valley geniuses supposedly apocalypse-proofing themselves by buying up land down here right on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the horseshoe curve of geological fault lines that stretches upward from the western flank of the Americas, back down along the eastern coasts of Russia and Japan and on into the South Pacific.

“Yeah,” said Byrt, “but some of them are buying farms and sheep stations pretty far inland. Tsunamis aren’t going to be a big issue there. And what they’re after is space, and clean water. Two things we’ve got a lot of down here.”

The following day, I went to the gallery in downtown Auckland to take a look at The Founder’s Paradox. Denny, a neat and droll man in his mid-30s, talked me through the conceptual framework. It was structured around games – in theory playable, but in practice encountered as sculptures – representing two different kinds of political vision for New Zealand’s future. The bright and airy ground floor space was filled with tactile, bodily game-sculptures, riffs on Jenga and Operation and Twister. These works, incorporating collaborative and spontaneous ideas of play, were informed by a recent book called The New Zealand Project by a young leftwing thinker named Max Harris, which explored a humane, collectivist politics influenced by Māori beliefs about society.

Down in the low-ceilinged, dungeon-like basement was a set of sculptures based around an entirely different understanding of play, more rule-bound and cerebral. These were based on the kind of strategy-based role-playing games particularly beloved of Silicon Valley tech types, and representing a Thielian vision of the country’s future. The psychological effect of this spatial dimension of the show was immediate: upstairs, you could breathe, you could see things clearly, whereas to walk downstairs was to feel oppressed by low ceilings, by an absence of natural light, by the darkness of the geek-apocalypticism captured in Denny’s elaborate sculptures.

This was a world Denny himself knew intimately. And what was strangest and most unnerving about his art was the sense that he was allowing us to see this world not from the outside in, but from the inside out. Over beers in Byrt’s kitchen the previous night, Denny had told me about a dinner party he had been to in San Francisco earlier that year, at the home of a techie acquaintance, where he had been seated next to Curtis Yarvin, founder of the Thiel-funded computing platform Urbit. As anyone who takes an unhealthy interest in the weirder recesses of the online far-right is aware, Yarvin is more widely known as the blogger Mencius Moldbug, the intellectual progenitor of Neoreaction, an antidemocratic movement that advocates for a kind of white-nationalist oligarchic neofeudalism – rule by and for a self-proclaimed cognitive elite – and which has found a small but influential constituency in Silicon Valley. It was clear that Denny was deeply unsettled by Yarvin’s brand of nerd autocracy, but equally clear that breaking bread with him was in itself no great discomfort. ... ew-zealand
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:18 pm ... -ends.html

Thiel and sticky ends



Billionaire Peter Thiel's purchasing of New Zealand citizenship has become global news. I've written for The Spinoff about the slavers, anarcho-capitalists, and island-builders who have shared Thiel's dream of making a dystopian utopia in the South Pacific, and who have tended to come to sticky ends.
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Fri May 11, 2018 4:01 pm

The “Intellectual Dark Web,” explained: what Jordan Peterson has in common with the alt-right

A controversial New York Times article describes several popular white intellectuals as marginalized “renegades.”

By Henry Farrell

Jordan Peterson, author of Twelve Rules for Life.

How great is the distance between the intellectual dark web and the hard alt-right?
Weiss is largely sympathetic to dark web intellectuals. Still, she is obviously troubled by the new movement’s tendency to embrace right-wing conspiracists such as Pizzagate rumormonger Mike Cernovich, lite-alt-righter Milo Yiannopoulos, and the frothing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Dave Rubin justifies this to her by saying that they don’t now want a statement of principles but are “just a crew of people trying to have the kind of important conversations that the mainstream won’t.” In Weiss’s description, dark web intellectuals are “committed to the belief that setting up no-go zones and no-go people is inherently corrupting to free thought.”

However, intellectual openness is not the only possible reason the dark web is flirting with the dark enlightenment. Recent political science research suggests that Trump’s popularity in the 2016 presidential election was based on “status threat.” Members of high-status groups that had lost prestige were more likely to be receptive to Trump’s rhetoric.

And it is less well appreciated is that the online alt-right orchestrated by Cernovich, Yiannopoulos, and others had origins quite similar to the somewhat more respectable dark web types that Weiss’s piece describes. Gamergate united men’s rights activists, white nationalists, and neoreactionaries around indignation over the inroads that women and minorities had made into video game culture, previously dominated by young white men.

Weiss lists some of the colorful metaphors that dark web intellectuals use to describe their conversion experience: “going through the phantom tollbooth; deviating from the narrative; falling into the rabbit hole.” They’ve had “a particular episode where they came in as one thing and emerged as something quite different.” However, they, and she, systematically avoid using one obvious and common metaphor for their experience: taking the red pill.

Gamergaters commonly talk about how they used to feel a vague sense of unease and oppression, until, like Neo in The Matrix, they took the red pill and could see the vast invisible structures of race and gender norms that imprisoned them. As Steve Bannon told Joshua Green of Bloomberg Businessweek, Gamergate was a potent gateway drug to the extreme right: “I realized Milo [Yiannopoulos] could connect with these kids right away. … You can activate that army. They come in through Gamergate or whatever and then get turned onto politics and Trump.”

Dark web intellectuals would probably resent any comparison to Gamergaters. They think they operate on an entirely different plane of thought. However, the political and social resemblances are obvious. Dark web intellectuals too have seen their culture invaded by women and minorities. They also have resentments to be capitalized on, and a commitment to rationality that can all too easily be transformed into a commitment to rationalizing their less salubrious political desires.

It would not be surprising to see many of the people discussed in Weiss’s piece defect to the forces of darkness over the next couple of years. Instead, it would be surprising if some did not. ... imes-weiss
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Wed May 16, 2018 11:11 am

The neo-fascist philosophy that underpins both the alt-right and Silicon Valley technophiles

Before the alt right, there was Dark Enlightenment.

Olivia Goldhill
June 18, 2017

From the outside, America’s alt right is a nebulous movement based on racism, nationalism, and white supremacy. In contrast, the tech elites in Silicon Valley look like a relatively worldly bunch, despite the calls from some quarters of the valley to break away from the plebeian masses of the US.

But despite their differences, strands of the two groups share strong links to “Dark Enlightenment,” an obscure neo-fascist philosophy started by a British academic in the 1990s.

The birth of a manifesto
The primary figure behind Dark Enlightenment is Nick Land, who was a philosophy professor at Warwick University until he quit academia in 1998. His work is a form of “accelerationism” (broadly speaking, a belief that the tools of capitalism and technology should be sped up and dramatically enhanced) and he was, for a time, something of a cult figure for his work on internet and cyber culture.

While at Warwick, Land was part of “Cybernetic Culture Research Unit,” which explored drugs, raves, and science fiction, and was affiliated with such notable figures as the philosopher Sadie Plant and the artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. Land has never been a typical academic, and that shows in his writing. His Dark Enlightenment manifesto, published online in 2012, is florid, contradictory, and opaque.

Land’s writings on in his blog and twitter can read like an alt-right rant, and comment sections on the far-right outlet Breitbart are apt to mention his work. Academic writers and former students of Land’s have expressed ideas that are vaguely influenced by Dark Enlightenment. Others are more outspoken: One philosopher with clearly Landian ideas, Jason Reza Jorjani, who lectures at New Jersey Institute of Technology, is co-founder of and spoke at a white nationalist meeting led by Richard Spencer.

What are the tenets of Dark Enlightenment theory? There are a few consistent themes, circling around technology, warfare, feudalism, corporate power, and racism. “It’s an acceleration of capitalism to a fascist point,” says Benjamin Noys, a critical theory professor at the University of Chichester and author of Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism.

Those who have studied Dark Enlightenment describe an almost cult-like vision of a dystopian future. “It is a worship of corporate power to the extent that corporate power becomes the only power in the world,” says David Golumbia, a new media professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. “It becomes militarized, and states break down. For some reason that’s difficult to understand, they seem to think these highly weaponized feudal enclaves would be more free than the society we currently have.”

Land believes that advances in computing will enable dominant humans to merge with machines and become cybernetic super beings. He advocates for racial separation under the belief that “elites” will enhance their IQs by associating only with each other.

Capitalism has not yet been fully unleashed, he argues, and corporate power should become the organizing force in society. Land is vehemently against democracy, believing it restricts accountability and freedom. The world should do away with political power, according to Dark Enlightenment, and instead, society should break into tiny states, each effectively governed by a CEO.

Fans in high places
Earlier this year, Politico reported that White House strategist Steve Bannon is a fan of Dark Enlightenment. Meanwhile, the major proponent of the movement other than Land is software engineer Curtis Yarvin, who blogs as “Mencius Moldbug.”

And while most Silicon Valley techies are unaware of and uninterested in Dark Enlightenment, there are notable figures and ideas that seem to share intellectual heritage and connections with the movement.

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel is a major backer of Yarvin’s start-ups and, as The Baffler reports, in 2012, Thiel gave a lecture at Stanford with distinct Dark Enlightenment themes. “A startup is basically structured as a monarchy,” he said at the time. “We don’t call it that, of course. That would seem weirdly outdated, and anything that’s not democracy makes people uncomfortable.”

Growing Silicon Valley interest in creating a small, separate state is straight out of Land’s writing. Meanwhile there are growing numbers of techies who identify with Yarvin and “neoreactionary” ideas.

And, of course, both Silicon Valley and Dark Enlightenment are products of and devotees to internet culture. Noys notes that certain values in Silicon Valley are vaguely sympathetic to Land’s thinking. “There’s this entrepreneurial belief that you’re the master of the universe,” he says. “They believe they’re the exception that proves the rule, that anyone can be successful.”

Land says that, though he expects Dark Enlightenment micro-states to first form on islands, Silicon Valley is “bound to be involved in the process” as these societies form.

The alt right and Silicon Valley are not the only two cliques with ties to Dark Enlightenment thinking. Avant-garde art artists have also dabbled in Dark Enlightenment. A London gallery, LD50, was shut down amid protests after Land was invited to talk at the gallery, providing a platform for Dark Enlightenment ideas.

“You could argue—though I wouldn’t—that the alt right and Dark Enlightenment are artistic works,” says Noys. “Twenty-first century art has been interested in transgression and shock, so there’s an interest in how these people have used their memes to achieve their goals.”

The philosophical masters of a popular movement
US president Donald Trump, Land says, is a “symptom of crisis” and sign that the West is broken. But Land views White House chief strategist Steve Bannon as, “an unusually interesting politician.”

Dark Enlightenment proponents see themselves as “the philosophical masters” of the alt-right movement, says Noys. “Land sees himself as above all that, as a Philosopher King of a movement that’s too populist and grubby for this liking,” says Noys. “He’s part of this continuum, that’s pretty clear. But he’s fighting to distinguish himself from the more populist end of things.”

Golumbia agrees that “He probably thinks he’s smarter than all of them [the alt right], or they haven’t gone far enough. But they are definitely fellow travellers.”

Land himself is dismissive of the alt right, which he calls “a predictable (and predicted) development of mass democracy, as it enters its collapse-phase” in an email to Quartz. Still, he says, “Insofar as it marks the end of global governance on the basis of evangelical egalitarian-universalism, it makes space for more realistic political conversations, which have notably begun to happen.”

Land also rejects the idea that Dark Enlightenment has fascist elements, writing that “Fascism is a mass anti-capitalist movement, when the word isn’t (more usually) simply a childish insult.” As for racial divides, he says the science is “an empirical question” but “that human population groups are significantly distinct, however, is a matter so self-evident to ordinary people that it makes for a natural default.”

Land’s theories sound easily dismissible, and Nick Land is still largely unknown, but his neo-fascist ideas are finding niches where they flourish.. “I think there’s this emergent fringe,” says Noys.

Golumbia notes that Land’s work attracted plenty of impressionable graduate students decades ago. It undoubtedly helps that offensive ideas are masked with references to respected writers and philosophers: Land has his own idiosyncratic reading of the German philosopher Nietzsche, for example, and the French 2oth century thinkers Deleuze, Guattari, and Bataille. And as far as accelerationism goes, Noys traces its intellectual heritage to the Italian futurists (who had their own ties with fascism).

Despite their long lineage, the ideas fall apart under scrutiny. “To those of us who were more skeptical, it looked like it had the seeds of a disturbing belief in a superman: This kind of digital hybrid cyber-being who was a lot better than the ordinary weak people,” says Golumbia. “His writing is more and more obsessed with race, Islam, echoing the things that people like Nigel Farage say. He sounds like a visionary but really he’s nothing but these reactionary clichés about how minority people are to blame for all of our problems.”

Land, who has long perceived himself as a visionary, firmly believes that society and government as we know it will break down and his vision for the future will come to pass. “The crack-up is obvious to everyone,” Land writes. “(That’s why you’re doing this story.)” ... hnophiles/
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby American Dream » Fri May 25, 2018 5:56 am

These are interesting:

Even if we hate them, Land’s ideas can be found lurking around within both contemporary left-accelerationism (via Mark Fisher and Nick Srnicek etc) as well as within the neoreaction/gamergate/alt-right continuum (which some even speculate runs straight up through Curtis Yarvin, to Peter Thiel and …beyond). That alone should make them worth reading up on. Consider it “opposition research” if you must.

I hesitate to say anyone should “embrace” these ideas, of course, unless they hope to follow Land’s lead in developing advanced amphetamine psychosis and reinventing themselves as two-bit racist bloggers. But no-platforming Land at this point does nothing to stop the viral spread of his ideas, especially among his more unseemly adherents. You know, “Keep your enemies close,” and all that. ... nes/6329/7

Nick Land is a smarter, poorer Martin Shkreli. A comic book villain with an over-inflated ego. He understands post-truth very well, and at this point, he’s just a versatile rhetorician. The Kellyanne Conway of the Marxist academia. His reactionary defection has been theatre and pure hyperstition. At one point, his “Dark Enlightenment” read as a prophetic dead canary to the Left: a prognosis of what type of program lies ahead.

Sometimes we suspect even he’s confused by his right wing hyperstition and oscillating between having no real politics and being a cryptofascist. Whatever the case, we believe refusing to engage with him or his work will not get to the crux of what is going on right now.

The rise right-wing populism in the 21st Century shows a significant portion of the population is open to postmodern, authoritarian demagogues like Trump or Le Pen. Until we confront the historical demons and pathological deterritorialization that brought us here, we will continue to see this problem evolve.

Land himself even remarked that the Alt Right is a mass political movement against capitalism incubating, unexpectedly, from the right. Don’t get the wrong impression, this is no apologia for Nick Land. He is, indeed, the enemy, politically and philosophically. He deserves to be indicted, but not in the court of public opinion. Attack him in the academy, then shit on him over Twitter when seminars end. That’s what we do every weekend.

Some of us, the members of Anon, have been attending Land’s seminars at The New Centre for Research & Practice. The virtue of taking his seminar on Accelerationism gives us a chance to engage with him directly and challenge him in a way that is rare and helpful. The seminars have a flexible structure, structure and accommodate multidirectional conversations. Thus, we seize every opportunity available to both learn what we can from him and others attending the seminar while protesting and pushing back on his ideas when necessary.

As leftists, we should learn to engage with materials that make us uncomfortable at times, if only to better learn how to effectively resist. The “shut it down,” no platforming culture has its own limits and is partially responsible for the emergence of the Alt-Right as a mobile online force.

The marriage of the memetic SJW to tactless AntiFa is a hurdle the Left needs to overcome. Our first document skewers the “woke” Left because, a). they are our cohort, for better or worse; and b). the Left should feel more culpable for the state of affairs than it does. Thank you, AntiFa and SJWs, for proving us right. Congrats, on shutting down the LD50 gallery! But when are you going to take on The Whitney for Dana Schutz’s crass painting? Does the spectacle of LD50 hide the fact that there are left wing galleries that are far more complicit in gentrification, worker exploitation, misogyny, and racism? ... -anon/6347
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Re: The Dark Enlightenment

Postby liminalOyster » Fri May 25, 2018 11:13 am

I have seen that anon piece previously. I like it more than some of the other public statements about Land. It appreciates the importance of engaging with him to understand an adversary and to some degree it (ironically) implies a certain anti-fascist value in the academy.

But it goes South for me the moment it points to the Dana Schulz painting. A new cultural revolution grounded largely IMO in the professional ascendance of 1990s college students unduly steeped in simplified Derridean principles and a disjointed moralistic critique of imperialism reduced to grating slogans is not much more of a way forward than now-Land's racialized filth. Perhaps in the feel good moments of the fallen statues and the utterance of long unspeakable moral truths, but not in the long run. Whether or not a painting like Schulz's should get made and/or shown and in what context is a very very important world-shaping question that speaks to what a futurist process of Truth/Reconcilation will actually look like. But this is simply not South Africa in the mid 1990s.

What about those of us on the "left" who now come to regret the popular diffusion of cultural studies for entirely diff reasons than Jordan Peterson and who see the war on symbols (charlottesville, monuments, the whitney) as millenarian grasping? Am I still on the Left? Do I become Pro-Fa for philosophical disagreement?

Take this:
there are left wing galleries that are far more complicit in gentrification, worker exploitation, misogyny, and racism?

I've been saying some variant of this line since I was like 15 years old, hopefully increasingly less pedantically as I mature. But wait, do I really agree with this as a succinct statement? Sure, yes, in some ways. But really? Do I really buy that, in general, the important critique of art galleries is how they become little nodes of systemic class exploitation, which are a dime a dozen-million? Rather than because of the perhaps unique way in which they appraise/invent value? The latter is really seriously worth taking on. The former? Not sure anymore. I don't think you can have universally agreed upon negatives like "Gentrification" because the forms of exploitation and subjugation named under that rubric then simply scurry away like rats to find new homes. Why is there little to no serious popular literature that challenges the vaguely unified strategy of removing symbols, exiling opponents and offenders, revivifying 50 year old cultural identity politics, etc? Or is that a weasely question that well conveys all my biases?

Just glanced at Land's twitter feed and vaguely chuckled at this line: "Marx is entrenched far less deeply in the Leftist mind than Lamarck" because Land (probably an abstruse troll at core at this point, but less so a two bit Milo variant than one who is, at least, exploring trolling as a political and philosophical possibility, maybe) is ribbing both the so called right and their absurdist Bolshevik fantasies and smears and the Left for it's relative intellectual laziness and magical thinking, as Land continues, "No one on today's left believes in the revolutionary destiny of the international proletariat, but they all hope the most recent piece of epigenetics bullshit promoted in approved media holds up."

It's a little bit funny. But do I appreciate coming into contact with this idea because I'm some sort of latent eugenicist who sees Land as a pol iconoclast speaking hard truth to a group that denies that Charles Murray was right because it hurts their feelings and sensibilities? Or because I am a fucking hard Darwinian?

Hell no.

The opposite.

Charles Murray is a shitbag. The Bell Curve is utter garbage. But I recognize in myself that I am indeed myself totally enamored with epigenetics and, while Marx (well, 2ndary source Marxists really) has had a huge impact on my meager intellectual life, he has next to nothing to do with any cogent political philosophy among most of those who would vote democrat, socialist, democratic socialist, etc. Land has a way better handle on me and the shortcomings of my political philosophy than Pat Buchanan, Fox News, Steve Bannon, etc He presents a challenge to the ascendancy of any politics that I could support. A practical challenge - for hearts and minds - not an intellectual one.

I really feel as if there is a cultural revolution underway that I deeply disagree with. For all that (on the surface) it aligns with some of my most deeply held ethical positions about colonialism, racialized violence, misoygny etc, so many of its tactics fall squarely into a kind of broader praxis I revile. Maybe it's a bit of a historical tragedy that I was born at a time when outrageous speech acts felt future-forward and iconoclasm felt revolutionary. Sincerely possible.

And maybe Land is a very dangerous fascist who interlocutes with those who would send me to a concentration camp and I am failing to take deadly serious the threat which anon here is looking squarely in the eye. My intuition says otherwise. I really dunno anymore.
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