Wilkinson did an interview with Robert Wright on the whole affair. Comprehensive defense of Cathedral institutions and ideology: the New York Times is an essential truth seeking institution (« please hire me »). Maybe they should rename it « the truth » (that’s an original idea). Academia as well. And we lost so much scientific and intellectual output over the centuries by excluding « black girls ». This is the real tragedy. So it’s essential for black girls to feel very comfortable now. Hence you need speech codes because horrible right wingers like Curtis or insensitive rationality bros could hurt their feelings. On a cringe scale from 0 to 100, it might be a 98.

Expand full comment

"On August 26, 2016, Curtis Yarvin, a well-known conservative blogger who has reportedly advised Steve Bannon, Peter Thiel, and other members of the Trump administration, visited the Google office to have lunch with an employee. This triggered a silent alarm, alerting security personnel to escort him off the premises." (linked above in the Damore lawsuit document.)


Expand full comment

I love reading these. Curtis is cozily dismembering this guy. Nothing Will could ever say could harm him. He's harnessing the same phenomena where enemies of the cathedral ultimately type cast themselves into roles that buttress it.

Curtis the insurgent judo master from his high desert mobile sanctuary casting small but inexplicably painful stones at cathedral sycophants while in retaliation they attack their own foundation with giant bombs and take out a children's hospital in the process.

Expand full comment

Alternative explanation of WW's behavior: it's kayfabe.

He's obviously a great writer; thus intelligent. And yet he writes stupid posts like this. Conclusion: he doesn't actually believe it. Instead he's doing his best to redpill normies by writing over-the-top stuff like:

> the Times, nevertheless ranks among our greatest, most reliable, least biased fact-gathering institutions.

> What a phenomenal publication the New York Times is!

And my favorite:

> he’s writing for the New York Times, where deranged, privileged fucks like Curtis Yarvin think the real power is. (The real power is in money, Curtis.)

This is why Powerball winners have such an outsize influence on our society, because they have a lot of money and therefore power.

Expand full comment

I too would love to hear this road to Damascus story. Total sperg that I am, I dove deep into the race/IQ topic.

I finally after many years found the good sense to never bring it up, and just smile and nod if anyone else does.

And yet, if Wilkenson was actually in possession of any earthshaking scientific discoveries relevant to the topic, as opposed to just offering usual vague insinuations that _those people_ who talk about it are icky, I would be genuinely fascinated.

"I'm an adult and have to earn a living now, so there are certain things I need to pretend to believe" is something I can understand and...I don't know if respect is the right word...but I'm right there with ya, buddy.

So is he just lying? Gasp. I need to remember that it's possible. But I feel like he must have some way of rationalizing it to himself. I'd be fascinated to learn how.

I am such a hopeless quokka. I feel like it's a genuine disability.

Expand full comment

Not to be uncharitable to Will, but his writing really drove home how inhuman-sounding our discourse has become.

Expand full comment

You took too many happy pills with your booze this time.

"The absolute harmlessness of words and thoughts" sounds an awful lot like a doctrine of free speech, which, as you know, may be "a nice idea but I'm not sure it's ever happened".

Except it isn't a nice idea, and the reason why it's not is precisely because of those pesky "traditional exceptions".

The fact that there are exceptions shows that the principle is invalid. While there's no such thing as a sinful truth, it's certain truth can indeed be _used_ in immoral ways.

You give libel and slander as examples of exceptions to the doctrine of "harmlessness of words". Now, it's awful easy to take shots at libel and slander; they are easy targets of moral reprobation, being false and all. But what about the sin of detraction? Damaging someone else's reputation by [needlessly] telling the truth is also a sin—you're damaging someone's most valued personal property.

And there are plenty of other ways in which the truth can be involved in a sin, to the point that it's no longer inaccurate to speak of "dangerous truths". Here's a short inventory, off the top of my head.

1. Screaming "fire" in a crowded theater—even though there really is a fire. Depending how crispy the roof already is, this might be justified, or it might not. Is there time for everyone to line up and calmly evacuate? Will a stampede for the exit do more harm than good? It takes a balanced judgment. But no one can seriously argue that these words aren't _dangerous._

2. Telling an uncomfortable or dangerous truth to one deprived of the full use of his mental faculties is rightly seen as the act of a sadist. Imagine visiting Grandma, in the home, and telling her about little Robbie deciding to transition!

3. Such delightful truths as there may be regarding the physical comeliness of a particular youth or maiden, being long meditated upon, tend to seduce the thinker into wicked sins of luxury. Ceteris paribus, there are similar objects of greed and gluttony.

4. Information overload: irrelevant, useless truth crowding out useful truth. Solzhenitsyn spoke of the right _not to know_. Trivia is both dangerous and harmful.

5. There's also the basilisk... well, I don't believe in that one. But Catholic morality sort of breeds basilisks on its own. Let's say you know someone you believe to be acting in perfectly good faith, invincibly ignorant of some obscure moral law they're breaking. If you don't think they would stop breaking that law if you told them about it, then it looks as if you're doing more harm than good by informing them about it, "tying up heavy loads, hard to bear, and placing them on men's shoulders". Manuals for confessors notoriously spend many words discussing when it is or is not appropriate to inform a penitent of their unknown obligations.

6. Regarding censorship, we have a strong tradition of that, too, the principle of which always reduces to: don't disturb the simple faith of these peasants, you asshole, we're trying to get people to heaven here. In the long run, if your weird theological views are true, we will recognize them; in the short term, get in line, write in Latin, and keep your mouth shut outside the halls of scholarship.

Is this not enough? _Obviously_ there are dangerous truths. Duh!

Even with regard to the cause du jour, uh, yeah. I may be pretty confident there are intellectual differences between races; but I'm from Arkansas. I'm not about to give Uncle Billy a lecture on the Bell Curve. Uncle Billy already needs to chill the fuck out or he's gonna get in trouble at work. Prescribe him a red pill? ¿Qué? Are you crazy?

Expand full comment

While I like these take downs as much as the next guy, I feel like we're losing the plot here. Surely there's a better use for Curtis' writing talents than knocking over tomato cans.

I nominate discussion/writing around *actual weaknesses in the current regime*. Compliance is boring and speech codes for me (but not for thee) are lame. We want Conan-tier content!

"Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women!"

Expand full comment

OMG! I got my money’s worth AGAIN : “ if we invented constructive treason now, we would have to call it STRUCTURAL treason.”

You DO have to read thousands and thousands of words to find these ABSOLUTE pearls, but - again - who else can write like this? Even though I was graduating with honors and entering medical school around the time CY was a ball of cells, a lump of tissue - te salute, master.

Expand full comment

"There is only one way out of the soft reign of terror: the universal and unconditional legal and social consensus that there is no such thing as a dangerous or offensive idea."

Has this ever happened in history? Like, even once?

"In America at least, the idea of dangerous ideas is easy to date. It dates to World War I, and specifically its ridiculous but freaky anti-German campaign. No frankfurters for you! Some would say the idea war has since gotten way more sane. Others disagree."

The practice of "tarring and feathering" may slightly predate WWI.

Expand full comment

A question: What is the root of the state of being "privileged" becoming such a terrible thing in and of itself in this culture (and/or others)? Apropos of nothing, I can recall more than a few instances of people seemingly going out of their way in conversation to add little asides like "it's not like my parents were rich or anything..." and it seems so totally irrelevant, not to mention paradoxical, in a society so obsessed with wealth. There seems to be a bizarre purity aspect to it. If I recall correctly, part of this thread existed, or is mentioned, in Gordon Wood's "Radicalism of the American Revolution", though from where is it originally traced, and how does one fill in the gap between then and the present?

Any insight there would be much appreciated.

A comment: I want to extend the "fish in water" metaphor a bit from the standpoint of somebody interested in bird photography. I like hanging out at lakes, and watching large birds pluck unsuspecting fish out of the water. Say you're the fish. You're living the life aquatic, totally doing fish things to the fullest, as you would any other day. You might even be a relatively large fish, and the extent of your worries may simply be finding enough smaller fish to satisfy your hunger for the day. You may be aware on some level that there is something above you; another world of which you are and, by virtue of being a fish, capable only of being utterly ignorant of save for the fact that that other world is very unhealthy for fish. Perhaps, one day though, you get a little careless, daydreaming by the surface. Suddenly - a piercing pain in your side - unlike anything you've ever felt before. You feel yourself yanked inexorably against the resistance of the water, upward, upward, until, in a burst of tremendous violence, there is no more resistance, but also, more alarmingly, no more breath. Maybe through your weirdly positioned (to a non-fish) eyes, you see this large, feathered, beaked, decidedly non-fish entity, to which you are, very effectively, held fast. I sometimes get these pictures of birds catching fish, and wonder if they are aware of anything but the pain and shock of getting run through by a set of talons, or if there is any part of them (probably a huge stretch here), that is able to appreciate or take some awe in this beautiful new way of seeing the world, from above, the still water receding, and understanding only briefly how much goddamn bright and bigger the world is than you ever thought it was, believed it ever could be. I wonder if there is some awe there. Some humbling effect of being introduced to member of the food chain way above your station, after thinking you were at the top. Though I am very doubtful that this is anything like the experience of an actual fish (in the few moments prior to being devoured in a nearby tree somewhere that they have to even potentially enjoy it), I find myself hoping, after reading this column, that the Will Wilkinsons of the world get the benefit of such an experience, albeit on some more benevolent catch and release program.

Sorry, that's a long question / comment.

Expand full comment

"The phenomenon of mindkilling is a natural extension of the morality of power. Under all classical systems of philosophy, logic and morality cannot contradict each other: the truth cannot be a sin. But the 20th century learned to make many parallel lines meet."

Yet another horror to lay at the feet of elliptical geometry.

Expand full comment

Hair is looking very good, Curtis.

Expand full comment

> Talent in today’s cruel world really is a dime a dozen.

D-mn, that's good!

> The Janissaries and the Mamelukes

Hands up everyone who read "the Marmadukes". Wait, you say this isn't the Comics Curmudgeon?

Expand full comment

Interesting, innit, the poll that shows that the three biggest concerns of Dem voters are:

1. Donald Trump voters.

2. White nationalism.

3. Systemic racism.

I wonder how all those nice #WeBelieve ladies learned to worry about things like that? Do you think that they were carefully taught to hate and to fear? From chaps like Will?

And poor bloody Germans. There's a moment in a Willa Cather book where a judge in WWI tells a German-American to shut up or he'll go to jail.

Expand full comment

Thoroughly entertaining. Favorite quote is "the fish don’t know they’re wet. But they know that water exists—so they point to the air, and call it “water.”'

Expand full comment