Curtis Yarvin

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Curtis Yarvin
Born
Curtis Guy Yarvin

(1973-06-25) June 25, 1973 (age 46)[1]
ResidenceSan Francisco, California, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Other namesMencius Moldbug
Education
EraContemporary philosophy

Curtis Guy Yarvin (born June 25, 1973), also known by the pen name Mencius Moldbug, is an American far-right political theorist, blogger, and computer scientist.[1][6] He is known, along with fellow "neo-reactionary" thinker Nick Land, for developing the anti-egalitarian and anti-democratic ideas behind the Dark Enlightenment. Yarvin and his ideas are often associated with the alt-right.[7]

Views[edit]

Journalist Mike Wendling has called Yarvin "the Alt right's favorite philosophy instructor", saying that "Yarvin's key contribution to the development of alt-right thought was a searing critique of democracy based on supposed genetic 'facts' combined with a dash of intellectual snobbery."[8]

Yarvin believes that the real seat of political power in the United States is an amalgam of established universities and the mainstream press, an entity he calls "the Cathedral."[9] He argues for a "neo-cameralist" philosophy based on Frederick the Great of Prussia's "cameralist" administrative mode.[7] In Yarvin's view, inefficient, wasteful democratic governments should be replaced by sovereign joint-stock corporations whose shareholders, all property owners, elect an executive with plenary authority. The executive, unencumbered by liberal-democratic procedures, could rule efficiently much like a CEO.[10]

Yarvin originally called his idea to align property rights with political power "formalism"[11][12] (a concept based on legal formalism). The label "neo-reactionary" was applied to Yarvin's ideas by Arnold Kling in 2010 and adopted by Yarvin's followers;[11] Yarvin has said he prefers the label "restorationist."[13]

Under his Moldbug pseudonym, Yarvin gave a talk about "rebooting" the American government at the 2012 BIL Conference. He used it to advocate the acronym "RAGE", which he defined as "Retire All Government Employees." Acting as a provocateur, he highlighted discrepancies in the popular attitudes toward fascism and communism, identifying flaws in the accepted "World War II mythology" and alluding to the idea that Hitler's invasions were acts of self-defense. He argued these discrepancies were pushed by America's "ruling communists", who invented political correctness as an "extremely elaborate mechanism for persecuting racists and fascists." "If Americans want to change their government," he said, "they're going to have to get over their dictator phobia."[14]

Yarvin largely stopped updating his blog in 2013, when he pivoted to focus on his tech startup Urbit.[6] Six years later, he returned to political writing with a series of five essays published by the Claremont Institute's online publication The American Mind.[15]

Controversy[edit]

Yarvin's opinions have been described as racist, with his writings interpreted as supportive of slavery, including the belief that whites have higher IQs than blacks for genetic reasons. Yarvin himself maintains that he is not a racist because, while he doubts that "all races are equally smart", the notion "that people who score higher on IQ tests are in some sense superior human beings" is "creepy". He also disputes being an "outspoken advocate for slavery",[16][17] though he has argued that some races are more suited to slavery than others. "It should be obvious that, although I am not a white nationalist, I am not exactly allergic to the stuff," Yarvin wrote.[7]

In 2015, his invitation to speak at the Strange Loop programming conference about Urbit was rescinded following complaints made by other attendees.[18][17] In 2016, his invitation to the LambdaConf functional programming conference resulted in the withdrawal of five speakers, two subconferences, and several sponsors.[16][19]

Yarvin came to public attention in February 2017 when Politico magazine reported that Steve Bannon, who served as White House Chief Strategist under U.S. President Donald Trump, read Yarvin's blog and that Yarvin "has reportedly opened up a line to the White House, communicating with Bannon and his aides through an intermediary".[20] The story was picked up by other magazines and newspapers, including The Atlantic, The Independent, and Mother Jones.[7][21][22] Yarvin jokingly told The Atlantic that his White House contact was the Twitter user Bronze Age Pervert,[7] though to Vox he denied being in contact with Bannon in any way.[6] Yarvin later gave a copy of Bronze Age Pervert's book Bronze Age Mindset to Michael Anton, a former senior national security official in the Trump administration.[23][24]

Personal life[edit]

Yarvin's parents and stepfather were career officers in United States Foreign Service.[25] At age 12 he returned from abroad to attend public high school in Columbia, Maryland.[26] Yarvin attended college at Johns Hopkins and Brown University (undergrad) and UC Berkeley (graduate student).[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kirchick, James (16 May 2016). "Trump's Terrifying Online Brigades". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ Stanley; et al. (1 September 1988). "SMPY College Freshmen". Precollege Newsletter. Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth at Johns Hopkins University (10): 2.
  3. ^ a b Yarvin, Curtis; Bukowski, Richard; Anderson, Thomas (June 1993). "Anonymous RPC: Low-Latency Protection in a 64-Bit Address Space" (PDF). Proceedings of the USENIX Summer 1993 Technical Conference. USENIX: 175–186.
  4. ^ Yarvin, Curtis. "Chapter 2: The American Rebellion | A Gentle Introduction to Unqualified Reservations | Unqualified Reservations by Mencius Moldbug". www.unqualified-reservations.org. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  5. ^ Burrows, Roger (28 March 2019). "On Neoreaction". The Sociological Review. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Matthews, Dylan (7 February 2017). "Neo-monarchist blogger denies he's chatting with Steve Bannon". Vox. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e Gray, Rosie (10 February 2017). "Behind the Internet's Anti-Democracy Movement". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  8. ^ Wendling, Mike (2018) Alt Right: From 4chan to the White House. London: Pluto Press. Page 28–29.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Andrew (April 2017) "The Reactionary Temptation." New York Magazine. (Retrieved November 29, 2018.)
  10. ^ Steorts, Jason Lee (June 5, 2017) "Against Mencius Moldbug's 'Neoreaction.'" The New Republic. (Retrieved November 29, 2018.)
  11. ^ a b Finley, Klint (22 November 2013). "Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries". TechCrunch.
  12. ^ Mencius Moldbug (23 April 2007). "A formalist manifesto". Unqualified Reservations. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  13. ^ Mencius Moldbug (28 November 2013). "Mr. Jones is rather concerned". Unqualified Reservations. Retrieved 11 April 2016. If I had to choose one word and stick with it, I'd pick "restorationist." If I have to concede one pejorative which fair writers can fairly apply, I'll go with "reactionary." I'll even answer to any compound of the latter – "neoreactionary," "postreactionary," "ultrareactionary," etc.
  14. ^ Pein, Corey (2017) Live Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley. Metropolitan Books: Henry Holt and Co: New York. Page 216-217.
  15. ^ Yarvin, Curtis (27 September 2019). "The Clear Pill, Part 1 of 5: The Four-Stroke Regime". The American Mind. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  16. ^ a b Townsend, Tess (31 March 2016). "Why It Matters That An Obscure Programming Conference Is Hosting 'Mencius Moldbug'". Inc.com.
  17. ^ a b Byars, Mitchell (6 April 2016). "Speaker Curtis Yarvin's racial views bring controversy to Boulder conference". Daily Camera: Boulder News. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  18. ^ Auerbach, David (10 June 2015). "The Curious Case of Mencius Moldbug". Slate.
  19. ^ Townsend, Tess (5 April 2016). "Citing 'Open Society,' Racist Programmer's Allies Raise $20K on Indiegogo". Inc.com.
  20. ^ Johnson, Eliana and Eli Stokols (February, 2017) "What Steve Bannon Wants You to Read." Politico. (Retrieved April 17, 2017.)
  21. ^ Revesz, Rachael (February 27, 2017) "Steve Bannon 'connects network of white nationalists' at the White House." The Independent. (Retrieved April 17, 2017.)
  22. ^ Levy, Pema (March 26, 2017) "Stephen Bannon Is a Fan of a French Philosopher...Who Was an Anti-Semite and a Nazi Supporter." Mother Jones. (Retrieved April 17, 2017.)
  23. ^ Anton, Michael (14 August 2019) "Are the Kids Al(t)right?" Claremont Review of Books. (Retrieved August 26, 2019.)
  24. ^ Schreckinger, Ben (23 August 2019) "The alt-right manifesto that has Trumpworld talking." Politico.com. (Retrieved August 26, 2019.)
  25. ^ Yarvin, Curtis (February 12, 2009) "A gentle introduction to Unqualified Reservations, part 5." Unqualified Reservations (blog).
  26. ^ Yarvin, Curtis (January 31, 2008) "How I stopped believing in democracy." Unqualified Reservations (blog).

External links[edit]