Let Me Subjugate You If You Want To Be Free
Curtis Yarvin does Monarchist Praxis
Curtis Yarvin is a very interesting figure because he loves saying the quiet part out loud, almost all the time (in many cases correctly). This is why it’s weird for people to think he isn’t doing exactly that when he has the slightest bit of metaphor. Hence the chaos of people reacting to his abortion article.
I think Yarvin’s new article is best read through the lens of a smart commentator making stuff up on a podcast. Why? Well for one because that’s how I experienced it when he came on my podcast and said the same thing two weeks ago. But also because I think it’s a medium that works much better for the tone of his message.
By the way, even if you’re angry at Yarvin now, you should still listen to the second half of the podcast, where I think he gives some beautiful, novel thoughts about talent.
In any case, this is the hobbit/dark elf answer the first time I heard it:
And what's the goal of this kind of emotional signaling? Who are we signaling to? Is it the bureaucrats? Is it the public? Who is this convincing?
Good question. You're convincing perhaps different people in different ways because different people have different kinds of roles in a transition. It's very very good, I was just thinking about speaking about Roe versus wade which maybe we'll talk about later. Speaking about Roe versus wade, I was just reminded of basically all the reasons that it is an L and one of the reasons why it is an L is that part of the most effective strategy for any new way of thinking is to subvert the ruling class the ruling class still has is dominated by these memes that feel empowering. But they're also typically the smartest, most selected people in a society and so if you basically think of the top two classes in a modern western society as elves and hobbits basically politics is the elves and their allies against the hobbits. We won't speak of the allies of elves. And so when you have cultural policies that either appeal to the hobbits or even worse, allow the hobbits to impose their hobbit lifestyles on elves as though the elves were just big pretty hobbits or something, I don't get it at all like this is wrong.
Enough context, what is Yarvin’s message, really? Here’s what I think it is:
If you are right wing, you should subjugate yourself to a leader until that leader takes over all the institutions and sets you free.
That’s it. That’s all. It sounds a bit Orwellian. It might even be true. Am I being too blunt? Here’s what he says a few minutes later in the interview, word for word (cleaned up a little bit):
Actually you know if there's sort of one thing that the american conservative voter needs to understand, it's the power of following rather than leading. The ability to simply add weight by following and in exchange is an opportunity that he should see and understand. You know, to give an example of that. Let's say you're a Trump voter. Here's the way to make yourself the most powerful as a Trump Voter. Is it to constantly read and be outraged about the latest Trump News? No. What you should do is you should download the Trump app. The Trump app, wherever you are in America, whatever your situation it will basically notify you of any and all elections that you should be voting in. When there is an election you'll be notified you'll go to the election station, you'll have a ballot to fill in, the app will show you a ballot. You'll simply enter it on paper the way it's shown and then leave you'll have no idea what you're voting on or why or who you're voting for. So basically what you're doing by doing this is delegating all of your power to Trump that makes you as powerful as possible unless there's some other motherfucker that you want to delegate your power to which I don't think there is.
Of course, this is something that’s quite hard to convince people of, particularly people who are very conservative themselves. Hence the thinnest veneer of an analogy, which didn’t really help at all and just gave another reason for people to dunk on him. If you strip away the veneer, the article is just telling conservatives to get in line. This is less absurd than it might sound. Here’s a follow up question, which I think lead to one of the funniest answers in the episode:
Yeah I mean I would say that the most similar thing is kind of Jim Clyburn in South Carolina right? He gave the endorsement and Joe Biden won South Carolina.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly yet another instance of black people being smarter than white people right? you know? and so it's just much more effective. It's just much more effective.
Even better analogies might be unions or the DSA. Voting as a bloc is a realistic and powerful strategy. So, you’re probably overthinking it if you think Yarvin’s article/answer is too subtle.
To be honest, I think the criticism is not really about the clarity, but about the message, which is exactly the message people didn’t want to hear. A question I wish I asked him is whether
“Hobbits” conservatives are just as much of a “people” or “tribe” as liberal strivers. To me, conservatism means having culture, rituals, habits, and ways of life even more than being a leftist does. And that way of life is not easily malleable. Yarvin’s critique is that this way of life and the political decisions it makes are exactly what has given liberals so much power. Refusing to control this culture is what leads to it being destroyed by liberals, who have subjugated conservatives far worse than a Yarvin-style king would.
“See the world as it is, not as you wish it to be” is my life motto. Yarvin believes in something similar, which he calls “the clear pill”. I think he’s missing something when he wants to subjugate or change the conservative will. It’s an admirable thing, aesthetically, for people to fight back and believe in their own human instinct. It’s what forms a people. It can be what forms a nation, from America to Ukraine. Perhaps, like Ukraine, the conservatives are doomed to lose. I believe that like America, they can win against the odds. To believe you can subjugate the spirit of a people is as unrealistic as hobbits or dark elves. It might not be what you wish it to be. It might be way easier to win if your allies weren’t like this. But it is how the world is.