I’ve known about the “neoreactionaries” a lot longer, before they were given that name—back when they were just teenagers on the Internet, like me, furious that there were people less intelligent than us who dared tell us what to do.
I never bought into the ideology fully, but I understand its appeal. The vast majority of nerds don’t take it as far as neoreactionaries and decide every single thing about the pre-modern world—hereditary aristocracy, racism, sexism, the whole shebang—needs to come back.
Mostly what you get is people who vaguely identify as “libertarians” who dislike “political correctness” and being forced to pay taxes. And the vast majority of annoying Slashdot libertarians who campaigned for Ron Paul and against Obamacare have no idea who Moldbug is, and the ones who are aware of him tend to be decent enough to get turned off once the defenses of white supremacism begin.
But every social trend has its extremist leading edge. Most libertarians I know are not racists, but libertarian icon Ron Paul certainly had more than his fair share of pandering to racists when building his political base, and the pot-smoking free-love libertarians of Silicon Valley are often unaware how reactionary their political bedfellows are…
…the convergence of MRAs angry at feminism and [“human biodiversity”] advocates angry at immigration and diversity and libertarians angry at the undeserving poor leeching off of their wealth, the dark heart of the seedy underbelly of the Internet, now has a face and a name. They gleefully call themselves the Dark Enlightenment and give themselves names cribbed from Lovecraftian monsters and revel in adopting as doctrine everything the modern world calls evil…
Nerds tend to talk a big game about standing up for the underdog but, I’m sorry to say, don’t seem to really want a leveling of society, a removal of hierarchies. They bristle against hierarchies of physical strength, of inherited capital, and of “popularity”—but only because those get in the way of a hierarchy of book smarts and technical skill, which is the right and proper hierarchy. The creepy nerd fantasy that remains alive and well in today’s Age of the Nerd Triumphant is not of making peace with the popular kids but taking their throne…
Tunney was never against the one percent—she just thought that the one percent were the wrong people. The problem was they were tie-wearing investment banker fratboys and didn’t deserve to be on top. Just like in her view government fat cats and Hollywood celebrities and snooty academics don’t deserve to be on top. But tech geeks, with their superhuman ability to manipulate ones and zeroes, do.
This is why, as one of those young millennial whippersnappers who nonetheless identifies with the Old Left more than my own generation, I distrust the message we keep getting about the democratizing power of the Internet and New Media, about how progressive the Millennial Generation is.
I distrust my fellow young nerds. I distrust techies when they bear gifts.
What a phenomenal article. This is the trend of thought I identify in “Reddit progressivism”: the desire for an intellectual meritocracy.