Some days, I feel like the only neoreactionary who isn’t gifted in tech. I can barely code with HTML or java, god forbid I take on anything more daunting than that. Even bbcode is a hassle. I might be good at assembling computers, but I’m certainly no programmer, nor will I ever pretend to be. So as far as I know, Urbit is just Moldbug’s grandiose tech project that isn’t related to video games. As far as I know, it’s all magic. Despite my periodic insights on the culture and such (which doesn’t require understanding the nuance of code) I really don’t follow tech. For me, “Strangeloop” just makes me think of how I accidentally figured out how to break a computer in high school with infinite dialogue boxes when I just wanted to make a basic arithmetic calculator. Much to my surprise, it’s actually one of the bigger tech conferences in the US. Shows how much I know.
So when Curtis Yarvin, AKA, Mencius Moldbug, commonly recognized grandfather of neoreaction was listed as a speaker at Strangeloop, suddenly I decided I had to pay attention. After all, Moldbug is, in my opinion, the best politicial writer of the 21st century. Maybe he’d offer some new nuggets of wisdom for us. Maybe he’d explain Urbit in a way someone as primitive as me could understand. But beyond that, there was also the political ramification of Moldbug speaking. It’s not easy being a reactionary- all the white cis male privilige in the world doesn’t make up for the unwashed hordes of progressive lunatics who would gladly see you dead if it meant no one would ever think the way you do. That Moldbug could openly present his work at Strangeloop and participate in the tech community as an open reactionary is a glimmer of hope that we can’t be so easily excluded.
Or at least it was. As of now, Moldbug is no longer invited to speak about Urbit at Strangeloop. As always, militant communists and leftists raised quite the stink about a reactionary. In their mind, the most damning post possible was this one, a long defense of Thomas Carlyle where where he makes references to the idea that hey, maybe slavery isn’t that bad all things considered. Moldbug dresses up the point as politely and nicely as he can, and the progs still lost their mind. From the prog responses, you’d think that weev had snuck back in the US to give a talk. People were actually saying that Curtis Yarvin, a thirty-something computer nerd, was somehow a safety threat because of his political unorthodoxy. It’s mindblowing. Of all the figures in the alt-right, Moldbug is probably the least threatening person possible.
So what did Strangeloop’s organizers do? Probably the most morally and ethically deficent option possible. They quietly removed Yarvin’s page on his talk and sent him an e-mail rescinding his invitation due to the sheer number of complaints filed. Presumably, their goal was hoping that this would all go away, and they could have their conference in peace. However, they seem to have been missing what’s been going on for the past nine months with #GamerGate. We live in the era of the Streisand effect. Nothing just “goes away” anymore. Within hours, the story blew up. Prolific neoreactionary figureheads Nick B. Steves and Duck Enlightenment were tweeting up a storm, and AnCap loose cannon Clarkhat was going even further in upping the pressure on Strangeloop. In what has to be a first, Moldbug’s work was noticed outside of the liberal hate brigade, as even Breitbart had picked up the story. This is Web 2.0. Stories don’t just “go away”. And if you want to try to make them go away? I suggest talking to Zoe Quinn to see how well that’s turned out for her.
And now, with everyone demanding answers, Strangeloop organizer Alex Miller finally publishes a brief explanation of what’s going on:
“Curtis Yarvin submitted a talk in the Strange Loop 2015 Call for Presentations. The talk went through the review process and was one of about 60 talks selected for the conference out of about 360. The subject of the talk was urbit (attached below). While we use a multi-stage review process, ultimately all final decisions are made by me.
Earlier this week we published the bulk of the 2015 Strange Loop session list, including Curtis’s talk. I quickly received feedback that Curtis also has an online persona under the name “Mencius Moldbug” where he has posted extensive political writings.
A large number of current and former speakers and attendees contacted me to say that they found Curtis’s writings objectionable.I have not personally read them.
I am trying to create a conference where the focus is on the technology and the topics being presented. Ultimately, I decided that if Curtis was part of the program, his mere inclusion and/or presence would overshadow the content of his talk and become the focus. This would not serve the conference, the other speakers, the attendees, or even Curtis.
Thus, I chose to rescind Curtis’s invitation and remove him from the program. The email I sent to Curtis is included below for reference.”
Hilariously enough, said e-mail had already been leaked, so this hardly helps the case. But I want to highlight one particular part of that statement: “Ultimately, I decided that if Curtis was part of the program, his mere inclusion and/or presence would overshadow the content of his talk and become the focus.” So in other words, it’s not that he personally found Moldbug’s words objectionable, or that he’s even taking a side. Rather, he’s simply trying to avoid trouble at his conference. It seems innocent, until you realize what he’s saying: it doesn’t matter who Curtis Yarvin is- the feelings of the angry progressive lynch mob is more important than letting an independent software developer speak. It’s flat-out cowardice. It’s a refusal to take a stand and define your own values.
But all in all, I’m okay with this. Because while I might not understand tech, I DO understand SJW holy wars. And once again, we come back to the broken windows. I’ve blogged about broken windows so much that I’m expecting Paul Krugman will throw a brick through my own window with a note on how it’ll save the economy. But in essence, the SJWs here are working right out of the broken window playbook. In their case, they call it “no platform”, and it’s rooted in British student unions. The idea is that if anyone deemed racist or fascist can be allowed to speak at the university or hold office in a student body, then it means those viewpoints are acceptable. Thus, it is in the interest of the greater good that these individuals are totally excluded from university life, as to prevent the students from thinking that racism or fascism is acceptable. What we’re seeing here is no platform in action. The SJWs know that if Moldbug can present Urbit freely, then it shows that being a reactionary is acceptable. Thus, in order to suppress reaction, Curtis Yarvin must not have a platform to speak on.
And yes, no platform is extended to the rest of the west as well. Why do you think that feminists are up in arms every time Christina Hoff Sommers gets to speak at a university? Why do SJWs of the SF/F community go berserk when they see that Vox Day is on a Hugo ballet? Why are gaming SJWs raining fire down on the Society of Professional Journalists for even trying to host a #GamerGate debate? Because in their mind, anything allowing these people, from the mild-mannered C.H. Sommers to someone as radical as Vox Day to participate grants those people and their views legitimacy. And they know that once a dangerous person gets their foot in the door, they’re VERY hard to get rid of.
The kicker here is that Moldbug knows all of this. It’s all a part of what he calls The Cathedral. (For more on that, I have a handy explanation here) It proves him right- that the progressive powers that be want to make sure that all information on tech and the development of technology is in the hands of progressives. Thus, progressive politics can continue their march to oblivion.Did Mencius Moldbug expect Curtis Yarvin to be shut down? Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. But either way, by working to exclude Curtis Yarvin from tech, Strangeloop has vindicated the work of Mencius Moldbug. Everything he’s said about progressives needing to control information is validated by them shutting him down.
That’s why, despite condemning the cowardice and moral failings of Alex Miller and Strangeloop, I’m still celebrating this as a victory. Another key component of neoreactionary thought has been proven right in practice. It’s often said that the comments section for any article on feminism proves the need for feminism. I could spend ages debunking that myth, but let me simply pose a theorem of my own- the responses taken to neoreaction only proves neoreaction to be right.