Curtis Yarvin (subscribing gives me the dox heebies and I’m not giving him any shekels at the moment, but I have friends who provide) says that ape shall not rule over man and advocates for a “cozy revolution”. Logo on twitter claims that men of ideas drive history, and that men of action dance on their puppet strings. These ideas feel related in my mind. So. Two birds, one shell.
“When men of rank sacrifice all ideas of dignity to an ambition without a distinct object, and work with low instruments and for low ends, the whole composition becomes low and base.”
Yarvin is sounding a lot like Burke these days. Caesar, the actual Caesar, you know the guy, killed a million Gauls and looted a staggering, mind-blowing amount of gold for the sheer thrill of conquest and to get filthy rich. The dignity of Rome’s ancient traditions demanded that Caesar come back home like a good boy to face censure and likely execution. Yet Rome was a degraded cesspit, corroded by party-politics, and Caesar, well, we still use his name to describe a guy who says “fuck that”.
Men of action rule, and are guided by externalities, not the ideals of philosophers. The philosophers who “inspired” the French Revolution did not in fact do so. Rousseau, Voltaire, and the like were merely providing the post-hoc rationalization, in the finest intellectual language, for the revolutions in England in the seventeenth century, and after their careers, served merely to validate the already-powerful civil service of the Sun-King’s absolutist government in its grab for power. Absolutism itself, rather than being ideological, was a development that arose from power struggles between Crown and Nobility, and was later justified by intellectual absolutists and divine-right theorists who arose well after absolutism had been actualized but never named.
As I said, men of action do, and thus inspire the intellectual class. The thoughts and pens of nerds dance on puppet strings when Chad flexes. The ancient dynamic of the bard eulogizing the great warrior has not substantially changed one bit. Marx’s intellectual career was spent justifying Robespierre and the French Revolution, an exact reflection of Carlyle, who spent his on Napoleon and Cromwell. The intellectual than ends his “career” being used yet again, by later fact-men as garment in which to wrap their naked power-politics.
The priest who, having power, attempts to set an idea on the throne invites disaster. Voegelin called them “gnostics”. Men of ideas do not drive history because a man, having power, must master the idea or become mastered by it. If he has mastered the idea, he becomes a Cromwell or Caesar himself. Augustus, in attempting to save the Republic, became the Republic in the flesh, annihilating the ideal. If the idea masters the man, we get the purity spiral. For an idea on a throne means an empty throne, and in its name a simian struggle to occupy the spiritual center begins. This struggle is necessarily to be halted by a man of facts, who plops his quite-human ass, that shit even comes out of, on the throne supposedly occupied by an idea, and often ends up having to kill the idea’s adherents when they object.
Lenin did not take power according to the dictat of Marx, did not take power as the representative of an organized proletariat but rather seized it from fellow elites (the wik article is brazenly tankie, with, I note, a level of prose typical of a 90IQ affirmative action college freshman), and when he attempted to install the ideas of Marx as ruler of Russia, his life and the lives of his true believers were cut short. The man who came out on top was the man who threw away the garments of his priest-LARP and emerged naked, more simian, and infinitely more effective, as the born bandit-king he was.
Yarvin is an engineer, and thinks like one. A government is not installed as a computer program is, not constructed, tested, and debugged by the wise hand of a smart and right-thinking man. Power is wrestled over, tooth and nail: the refined cabinet-politics of the Baroque, honed to as fine and precise an art as their greatest music and painting, have not altered one bit in essence from Carlyle’s megatherions grappling for supremacy in the primordial muck. Yarvin (nor Froude, for that matter) goes into much detail on what happens after-Ulysses strings and bends his great bow. It is undeniably simian. But ape shall not rule over man.
Or shall he? Charles II was restored by Parliament; by a Parliament that had General Monck’s swords resting on the backs of their necks. Not literally, but does it matter if the sword is naked or sheathed? Is one really more… apelike than the other? No matter how many velvet gloves, no matter how fine the embroidery, how rare the silk trimmings, the fist inside is still iron. The iron fist is how chimps go to war, and it is still how governments are made, reformed, and unmade. The velvet glove made the fist more effective indeed, but the value of the glove is beyond the scope of this piece. It is a fact, however, that the decorum and politesse of that era is as dead and buried as the dignity and honor of the Roman Senate in 49 B.C.
And Monck was no idealist. He was a friend of Cromwell, not a man whose head rung with “dieu et mon droit“. The man of ideas who wanted to reform and remake was… Barebone. I’m sure he thought, or hoped, it would be gentle. A “cozy revolution”. (And I am of course using Barebone as a proxy for his entire “elite”.) Monck was just a dude with an army who was fucking sick of it. When I talk about “men of facts” and “men of action”, this is what I mean. Monck saw the facts, and had an army. More anarchy, King Charles, or King Monck. Charles once tried to get Monck to betray Cromwell. He wouldn’t do it. Now Cromwell’s dead. Monck was loyal to Cromwell. Were he a man of ideas, maybe he would have tried to construct a “Cromwellism”. Since he was a warrior and a man of fact, he sided with reality.
Even Charles II had about a dozen people drawn and quartered. Nowhere close to a million, or fifty million. But he killed people who mattered. If your head is filled with notions of democracy, everyone matters to power. You have to kill a million to make a difference. If you believe in reality, you know that few rule, and you only need to kill a few. This is necessarily a difference of degree rather than kind. Is one really more apelike than another? Democide is to democracy what regicide is to monarchy. One is uglier and causes infinitely more suffering. But is the basic motive any different? Cromwell’s very body was exhumed and hanged. Is this the act of an ape or a man? Did the Restoration suffer greatly for this base and puerile outburst of simian sentiment? This massive… flex?
The answer is, not a bit. Ape indeed rules over man. Monck’s guards had to beat up a lot of puritans in the streets, a simple display of dominance that has remained unchanged since the tribal politics of the chimpanzee. It is time to stop worrying and learn to love the monke, for the difference is not a choice between ape and man. The choice is between the Monck-ape who understands reality and the Robespierre-ape who does not. I don’t know what “caesar” is going to look like for us. The first and second Punic wars of antiquity are precisely analogous to the first and second World Wars of Western Civilization. But we are in uncharted waters, because in our culture-organism’s life-cycle, Carthage won. The maritime mercantile empire ruled by an evil and insane theocracy defeated the militaristic land-empire. I do not know what Carthage’s eventual Caesar would have looked like, but I do know that he would have refused to sacrifice his kids to Moloch.