The neoreactionaries may be few in number, but they are more than compensating for their numbers with their wealth of media attention.
In the latest attention/attack paid to the small movement of techgeek neo-monarchists, The Daily Beast investigated what happened to a prominent Occupy Wall Street activist now spouting off anti-democratic sentiments.
The writer, Arthur Chu, places the transsexual Google engineer/tech elitist Justine Tunney’s political transformation within the nebulous realm of the Dark Enlightenment:
But I didn’t really get hooked into this story until, in April, she tweeted “Read Mencius Moldbug.”
For the unenlightened, “Mencius Moldbug” is the pen name of Curtis Yarvin, an Internet denizen who created a faux-intellectual movement that stands against modernity in all its forms—based openly on the crankish writings of Julius Evola, 20th century Italian author of Revolt Against the Modern World who was too right-wing for Mussolini. Yarvin earnestly believed that the best thing for the human race was the abolition of democracy and egalitarianism and the reinstatement of social hierarchy.
He wrote about this at very great length, becoming a darling of various Internet personalities—mostly white, mostly male, mostly tech geeks—with a chip on their shoulder against one facet of the modern world or another. Bound together by a common understanding that the superior should rule over the inferior and the concept of equal rights is a mistake, these guys call themselves “neoreactionaries,” and the erstwhile “co-founder of Occupy Wall Street” has apparently found them a warmer home than the Left.
While Chu’s denunciation of neoreactionaries is nothing new, what is more unique in his case is how he sympathizes with them as a fellow “iconoclast”:
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…
Tunney does not just flirt with neoreactionary ideology, the way self-congratulatory “open-minded iconoclasts” like me did in high school and college. She goes full throttle in her embrace of it, doubles down on it, rejects every “politically correct” rejection of sexism or racism or classism that define the modern world…
And with their rejection of political correctness, Chu affirms how he is standing athwart his generation by adopting a more “radical” position than his fellow rebel nerds:
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.
Sure, electronic tools can be used to good ends. So can tools within the financial markets. It’s not any individual tool that’s a problem—it’s that the tools are all part of a deeply hierarchical system. And the people at the top of that system end up thinking they inherently deserve to be there, that they’re better than the rest of us…
[B]eing unpopular because you’re short, or not physically attractive, or a different gender or skin color than people expect—that’s bad. That’s something I agree we should fight against.
Thus, we come to his conclusion that it would better for nerds to follow his path and be iconoclasts for the establishment—“rebels” who push political correctness and wholeheartedly endorse society squashing dissident thought. How are people like Chu able to imagine themselves as radicals when they’re able to be published by outlets like The Daily Beast and promote everything the systems wants America to believe?
Because they feel they are fighting a power–the power of Tradition. The hierarchies they bemoan and the social standards they’re outraged by are all creations of Tradition, which they view as a force that they can always see as havin power. In reality, Tradition is on a far weaker state than it has ever been and is only embraced by the true radicals within society. But that inconvenient fact doesn’t need to come into Chu’s line of thinking.
Similar to how anti-fascists act as the dobermans of the system they think they’re fighting against, Chu can imagine himself as a true iconoclast when he rails against the “racism” and “sexism” of the Dark Englightenment. Even his adoption of the term “Old Left” is used to obfuscate his real status-quo politics by employing a term that makes his views seem anachronistic. But he’s not an Old Lefter, he’s a New Lefter through and through.
In the end, the 11-time Jeopardy winner still wants to feel like the iconoclast he once was–just without the radical ideas. Fortunately for him, the establishment is able to accomodate his cognitive dissonance and allow him to join the swelling ranks of “rebels” defending its interests.