by UnHerd Staff
Sunday, 8
May 2022
Video
15:00

Curtis Yarvin: Why America should become a monarchy

Freddie Sayers meets political theorist and provocateur Curtis Yarvin
by UnHerd Staff

Former computer programmer and political theorist Curtis Yarvin is considered by many to be a dangerous thinker. He has been named in the New York Times and Vanity Fair as a founding member of the burgeoning ‘New Right’ and caused a stir with his appearance on Tucker Carlson.

In the early 2000s, Yarvin’s views were considered so unacceptable that he would write under a pseudonym, Mencius Moldbug. But today, his political theories have made their way from the fringe blogosphere into the pages of the legacy media. His writing can now be found at the Gray Mirror Substack.

One particularly bold claim made by Yarvin is that America would be better run as a monarchy, rather than a democracy. In this lively discussion, Freddie Sayers asks him to lay out and defend his argument.

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Patrick Taylor
Patrick Taylor
4 months ago

MAGBA?

Make America Great Britain Again

Kevin Hamann
Kevin Hamann
4 months ago

I love unherd and agree with many of the articles and even comments but this discussion was a mess. Curtis Yarvin is incoherent. There appear to be no first principles that he has built his arguments on. Thb. It was like having a pothead ramble on about the world without really understanding anything about human nature. If he is gaining influence then ugh.

Shawn Eng
Shawn Eng
4 months ago

Here are the books that are discussed among such circles.

On Power: A Natural History of Its Growth (Betrand de Jouvenel)
Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy (Carl Schmitt)
Political Theology (Carl Schmitt)
The Concept of the Political (Carl Schmitt)
Leviathan and its Enemies (Samuel T. Francis)
The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom (James Burnham)
The Managerial Revolution: What is Happening in the World (James Burnham)
Democracy: The God that Failed (Hans Hermann Hoppe)
Why Liberalism Failed (Patrick Deneen)
Nemesis: The Jouvenelian vs. Liberal Model of Human Orders (C.A. Bond)
The Populist Delusion (Neema Parvini)
Democracy for Realists (Christopher Achen & Larry Bartels)
From Third World to First: The Singapore Story (Lee Kuan Yew)
Crime and Human Nature (James Q. Wilson & Richard Herrnstein)
Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (David Hackett Fischer)

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
4 months ago

Without having seen the interview (I do text, not video) I read his Grey Mirror post on changing the US to a monarchy, basically a democratically selected dictator with no limits on fitting with previous personnel, policies, commitments, judicial review etc. And while he has a sharp eye for inconsistencies in the current system, his proposal sounds like it would end in splitting the US, if not in civil war.

There is a lot of historic examples that a multi-national dictatorship can hold together, but breaks apart in violence when democracy is introduced (Denmark 1848, Turkey post-WWI, Yougoslavia, modern Syria and Iraq, …). Examples he gives of culturally divided but democratic societies (Holland, Belgium) were fairly homogenous and consensual. The obvious explanation is that groups with different cultures and agendas can hold together in one realm because they are all equal under the sovereign, and the Monarch is not going to exclusively support one group over the others. He might even particulary favour minorities (like Alawites in Syria) because their weak position makes them more loyal to a ruler who can protect them against the majority. Once you introduce democracy, the Monarch is going to be beholden to the majority that elected him, and minority groups are going to be both disloyal and fearful.

Now imagine a presidential vote between, say, Donald Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a system where the winner is free to change all policies and rules with no restraint. Just what are the chances that the losers would accept the rule of the winners? Or that the winners would accept ever risking to lose again what they just gained?

Emre 0
Emre 0
4 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Trump vs AOC? Now that sounds like a fun election.

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
4 months ago

This is a bad proposal to hold together something that should be left to break apart. The US has been due a civil war/mass secession for a long time. The Constitution doesn’t represent a set of values/societal architecture that aligns the states anymore.

Shawn Eng
Shawn Eng
4 months ago
Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
4 months ago

No, Curtis. No.
You’re just not thinking it through.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
4 months ago

This isn’t exactly an original thought. The great Hans-Herman Hoppe wrote the book on it. It is an interesting thought exercise. Making a strong case that the power dynamics are more transparent and that royal families tended to have better long term planning strategies. The people understood who was in charge and the if the royal families were to have support they had to be somewhat competent at managing the state.
https://www.amazon.com/Democracy-Economics-Politics-Perspectives-Democratic/dp/0765808684

Christopher Gage
Christopher Gage
4 months ago

Yarvin mistakes an observation for a conclusion.
The problems of the West are down to the cyclical nature of history. We are in a crisis era. Our sclerotic elites are on the way out. We don’t need to play Game of Thrones.
Crisis-High-Awakening-Unravelling. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Emre 0
Emre 0
4 months ago

Judging by the amount of commotion he created, I’d argue he’s pointing to the next direction for the repeat.

Last edited 4 months ago by Emre Emre
Gerald Parker
Gerald Parker
4 months ago

Heck, the Dominion of Canada has done just fine as a constitutional, limited monarchy. Try it, Yanks, you’ll like it!

Emre 0
Emre 0
4 months ago

I’d been reading and hearing about Yarvin. Having watched this at length, I realised Yarvin is in fact a neo-neo-con – criticising neocons and the rest of the establishment for their incompetency. It’s a new angle that he’s criticising them for their inability to have done more and done it more effectively, as opposed to having done the things they did. Reflecting on the American trajectory so far, this feels about right to me that America will follow this path in the aftermath of the far-left era we’re about to come out of, and so this may be the thing to worry about, perhaps in guises, for the years to come.

Last edited 4 months ago by Emre Emre
polidori redux
polidori redux
4 months ago

Queen Meghan of the House of Malarkey

Mr Furse
Mr Furse
4 months ago

It has been an elected absolute monarchy since 1776.

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr Furse

Huh? (1) There was no president until 1789. (2) Most presidents have faced a hostile Congress at some point in their terms. Presidents only rarely are able to change policy very much. You can get big headline changes (Reagan cut the top tax rate from 70% to 28%) but, under the surface, the people running the government, three and four and five levels down from the president, stay the same whether the incumbent or the challenger wins the election. An absolute monarch would describe the United States as pure chaos.

Marianne Camp
Marianne Camp
1 month ago

The “people running the government, three and four and five levels down from the president” would change, if we repealed our Civil Service Laws. Right now, those laws protect people in levels 3-5 from being fired by an incoming administration. The Leftists, in their long march through our institutions, made a point of packing their people into levels 3-5, and those people now comprise the Deep State. They are unelected, unaccountable, incorrigible, and subversive. They, along with tthe Civil Service Laws which protect them, are destroying our democracy by preventing Conservatives from making needed changes, even when they win office. If fact, as the 2016 election demonstrated, things have gotten so bad, that the Deep State is politically active in using the powers of their positions to try to destroy viable Conservative candidates.

John Light
John Light
4 months ago

America become a monarchy? Didn’t you already do that since King Joe wasn’t really voted in. And then you’ve got Queen Hillary as the next in succession to the throne.