Back in February 2017 the Atlantic contacted Mencius Moldbug, having learned Steve Bannon had read him; he rick-rolled them with BAP. Mencius, quoted in the Atlantic, via Steve Sailer:
“Think you should speak directly to my WH cutout / cell leader,” Yarvin said in an email. “I’ve never met him and don’t know his identity, we just DM on Twitter. He’s said to be ‘very close’ to Bannon. There are several levels, but most people just start out with his public persona.” @BronzeAgePerv’s avatar is of a muscular, shirtless man and his account’s biography reads: “Steppe barbarian. Nationalist, Fascist, Nudist Bodybuilder! Purification of world. Revolt of the damned. Destruction of the cities!”
The self-help aspect suggested by the book’s title is more of an afterthought. As a Nietzschean elitist BAP acknowledges he’s not interested in self help for the helpless but for a would-be elite out there among the young, isolated and contained in the great gel of the Poz.
This is not book of philosophy. It is exhortation. I hardly have anything to say to most who aren’t like me, still less do I care about convincing. This is account of my reveries. I tried to put, as brief and simple as I could, the thought that motivates me and the problem faced by life in ascent and decline…
If you look around eyes of some people you see a kind of demented energy. It’s pure anger or lust for power with nothing more.
At times lapsing into a preposition-free speech to sell the Bronze Age aspect, he sees modernity as diseased and civilization as we imagine it a sham. He asserts at points the presence of a movement behind the scenes that he leaves vague
I wanted to expose the grim shadow of a movement that is hidden behind events of our time and from before. This is a great power that acts like a ghost. It hides in its own darkness and it has been absorbed by the lands and the peoples so that you can’t really see it anymore. There is just an eldritch quality embedded in things and on some faces. The same was said of Hades. Some said he would feel a great shame when some other god drew back the veil on the underworld so all the vile things that are there could be seen. Is this Hades of our time capable of shame? I heard also of such things being under the sea, the disgusting and frightful things revealed when the sea recedes before a great storm. I will draw back the curtain on this Iron Prison and show you where it is you really live…
The claim reminds me of something someone wrote of William Burroughs’ transgressive book Naked Lunch, banned for obscenity, that it sought to demonstrate what lies beneath everyday life, what’s “on the end of everybody’s fork.” Whether the book succeeded or not, it’s an apt description of the attempt there and here. Burroughs wanted to cure himself of his homosexual tendencies by writing the book he’s said, and its depiction of homosexuality is one of cruelty and sadism (that hasn’t stopped Gay Inc from incorporating him without a hiccup). BAP, on the other hand, wants to cure you of your gheyness. This is complicated by his ambiguous sexuality; he appears to be a homosexual masculinist, but (as far as I know) never says so directly.
The first chapter is devoted to assailing Darwin and “scientism”. He doesn’t reject Darwin; he cuts him down to size, seeing evolution as insufficient and pointing out “…you don’t need Darwin to believe in heredity and even evolution.” Origin and speciation are probably evolution’s weak points; they also are its least relevant. Genetic heredity is undeniable, so the adaptation of a group to its environment, its molding over time, is undeniable. The origins problem affronts religion; the heredity problem affronts power (as it stands now).
BAP sees an intelligence in the universe he’s careful to differentiate from “intelligent design”
The mechanism of heredity or the means by which a species is shaped, natural or unnatural selection, which is really Darwin’s only insight, is the least interesting part of all. … And the “design” is there, but it is by no means benevolent or intelligent, nor comprehensible. You see in the spider’s web a creature of rudimentary nervous system and little intelligence “design” something beautiful and complex, and this is key to understanding also all of nature. There is an inherent “intelligence” inside things, uncanny, silent and demonic…
The spider’s web analogy brings to mind the technician of non-exceptional intelligence at the command of some powerful system by which he effects the most complex and massive tasks. His training, the technology, the system, these are the things by which he accomplishes wonders. Where is the equivalent system, for one, in the spider? How is it he knows? BAP rejects random adaptation and sees some hidden hand behind adaptations
our own intelligence is only a crude deviation of it…And all “adaptations,” no matter how much natural or unnatural selection may have gone to spreading them within a population, occur not by random but by a spontaneous correspondence of some kind between the organism and the environment. Some day we may discover the material cause or manifestation of this correspondence, or the chain by which it travels from the rock-face and the elements of brute matter up the forms of life—there is some as-yet undiscovered “signaling” system. But the adaptation by no means takes place at random, nor even primarily by natural selection, which is just one of the means by which it spreads in a population.
His worldview is the same biological fascism found in Mein Kampf. He makes a distinction between higher and lower forms of life based on mastery of environment leading them, via a mysterious process of which evolution only describes a part, or a particular type of life–life not blessed with the anti-slave spirit of higher humans (Aryans, Comanche, Japanese, etc). “You must learn to see the secret language of nature and what it drives at: there is one path that drives for the production of a supreme specimen.” This despite recognizing evolution is not necessarily advancement to a higher form. But it isn’t necessarily not advancement to a higher form.
He makes a distinction between two kinds of life, one seeking fulfillment and expressing itself with beauty, and the other merely survival and replication, as exemplified by the mindless profusion of yeast. It isn’t that evolution only tells us part of the story of life, but that it only describes a type, the lower order obsessed only with survival. He notes the alleged ugliness and brutality of animals subjected to intense environmental pressures. It’s only in the absence of these that humanity can cultivate the higher type.
He opposes evolution less as a science than as a worldview, or “scientism”. Evolutionary pressures and the purpose suggested by evolution–species perpetuation at all costs–are inherently degrading, ugly
There can be no compromise between those who live under the pressure of need and of material increase, who are the walking shadows of the dead, and on the other side, those who are carefree, joyous, pleasure-loving and worship beauty. One seeks the preservation and expansion of mere life, the other seeks the exaltation of life.
Where the line of demarcation exists he doesn’t say; neither how one exists without the other. He sees this division all the way down to the level of hormones, the activity of which he suggests might prove his suppositions about an intelligence at work, dimly perceived and misunderstood by science and reason.
He laments the lack of a religious order and individualism as a value
But [Nietzsche] never forgot that the fundamental fact of nature is inequality, and this is something these people, the followers of Heidegger, and Heidegger himself to a great degree, all forget. It is madness to ask the common prefab run of man to fashion his own way, his own “religion”—the many find solace and meaning only in submission It is good that this is so, and they shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed for it.
He offers a theory of the profusion of homosexuality as a reaction to modern matriarchy, the “owned space” of women, a revolt against female-determined rules of masculinity
The defeated male that is turned into a peon and a neutered beast for women and hidden masters is a terrible thing to see. The jockeying for status, the physical fights, the adventures boys are supposed to have in a state of nature…all of this is in nature meant as preparation for life, for a life of conquest and expansion…Precisely a character born for conquest, for expansion, a precocious type of boy…will have his expectations about life crushed and thwarted as soon as his eyes open. This may be around the age of six or seven, but it sometimes happens earlier. Such boy then comes to have only contempt for those among his peers who, not seeing the subjection we are in, continue under their delusion…
I think there are many types of energetic and perceiving boys who reach this stage, who are turned off by the moral and biological self-castration of their conventional peers, who sense the suffocating limitations of modern space. The rest of this story is more particular to the boy who as response becomes a homo or trap, and Paglia is right about that part—masculinity rejected simply because of distance from other boys in general, mostly as a result of a certain native over-sensitivity.
Despite seeing civilization as the problem, but he doesn’t recommend a return to anything
All of these problems are problems of race, not of the modern city as such, modern progress, or the progress of technology. In fact, the attempt to limit this progress and to screw back humanity or freeze it in some supposedly pre-modern form, the attempt for example to bring back “small communities” in the modern world, is the greatest danger and a possible source of the most thorough-going and totalitarian subjection.
So what is to be done? In his chapter on adopting the “mindset” of the title he notes
Self-help is completely useless, and not what this book is about: rather, I would like most to go toward self-destruction and to be rid of them. I only care about very few who, being constrained in their predatory nature by this open-air zoo, must look to the past to understand what is possible. I want to give encouragement to some who are a certain way, in their blood, and to encourage them to become the purifying hand of nature.
He offers masculine friendship in service to a cause
Among your instincts you will find the longing for strong friendships, that the modern evil tries to snuff out. And they have good reason to try this, because every great thing in the past was done through strong friendships between two men, or brotherhoods of men, and this includes all great political things, all acts of political freedom and power. The modern zoo wants you instead to be a weak and isolated “individual.”
But of course there is less and less opportunity for men to work in teams for real goals (not, say, sports teams), and those teams are patrolled by the forces of diversity, who see in the gathering of three or more white men a hate crime on its face. But that doesn’t mean he’s not right.
Despite all the implied homosexuality in his arguments, when he offers the Greek model of intense friendships between men as transcendant, he rejects the accepted history
I know the rumors that these friendships were sexual, but I believe this is misunderstanding and exaggeration promoted by the homonerds of our time, for reasons I will explain later. The model for all such friendships was that between Achilles and Patroclus: Homer never hints such friendship was sexual. It is only out of the poverty of our imagination that we think it was, because we can’t conceive of such intense love between friends without some carnal or material benefit in play.
He derides the sexualization of relations between men in the public consciousness, “…many are rightly afraid of the way such relations have been sexualized between men and are never sure if a prospective friend has sexual intentions…at the same time as all this goes on, gays act out a domesticized and castrated parody of friendship.” A parody of heterosexuality now, too–with gay marriage, gay relationships are parody becoming reality.
As for women
Giving “freedom” to women—an impossibility. With the liberation of women in the 19th century, the West has given itself an infection from which it can’t recover without the most terrible convulsions and the most thorough purgative measures. What the “freedom” of women means in practice is the domination of mankind by the demagogues who can rally the lower orders of the spirit. Because there is no world in which “the women” can act as a political unit. Liberation of women means freedom and power for financiers, lawyers, purveyors of comforts in and outside government, employers who whore out your wife and daughters. It has been the greatest weakening and self-own a civilization has ever visited on itself. But in the end is this so different from democracy as such? Yes…because the “liberation” of women makes democracy into a terminal disease…one that doesn’t just end a particular government, but the civilization.
Our salvation lies ultimately in a military government
There is a magic to charisma that does this, and the military-monarchical organization, the rule of the warlord, comes from desire for this in the nature of all, not from reflection and abstraction. Unfortunately some things conspire to end this original condition of mankind, which is itself no paradise and is full of strife, suffering and problems. These things are, first of all, the very success of these men in securing the conditions of life and comfort for the rest of the community. Second, the ascent, within this peacetime, of the priest, the shaman, the schemer, and the matriarch, which slowly usurp power away from the brotherhoods of young men and their captains. Spinoza explains the corruption of the Jewish people in just this way: the Hebrew “Republic” was in fact a military regime of the type I say here, a rule of the captains. But the priests took this power away and corrupted the nation to weakness.