Before Gamergate, Larry, the Google software engineer, was “a standard Democrat straight-voting person,” as he puts it. But reading about the movement in the tech press and on pro-Gamergate websites “did highlight some of the inconsistencies and hypocrisies with positions on the left,” he says. A comment in a Gamergate thread led Larry to the Unz Review, a website run by Palo Alto tech entrepreneur and former GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron Unz. There, Larry says he was exposed to treatises on “human biological diversity” expounding on the supposed cognitive differences between intellectually superior and inferior races.
Human biological diversity has also gained currency in the Valley through computer scientist Curtis Yarvin, who writes under the pseudonym Mencius Moldbug. Starting in 2007, in series of blog posts often cited by alt-right followers, Yarvin laid out a political philosophy known as neoreaction or the “Dark Enlightenment.” Combining a technocratic sensibility with reactionary political thought, neoreaction rejects Enlightenment concepts—such as democracy and equality of the races and sexes—and instead advocates something much closer to authoritarianism. Yarvin believes government would work much better if run like a tech company and helmed by an all-powerful CEO president. He spoke admiringly Napoleon, whom he considers to be “kind of the Steve Jobs of France.”
Yarvin’s blog combines dorky programmer lingo with dense references to obscure, proto-fascist political texts. “When I started blogging 10 years ago, the availability of completely unorthodox written content [online] was mostly confined to the pre-1923 corpus, which Google did such a nice job scanning,” Yarvin told me in an email. He believes that software programmers are attracted to his writings because they “are always looking for something to do with their restless, fidgety brains. Especially if it’s weird and doesn’t involve dealing with physical humans.”
Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who reportedly gave Trump more than $1 million during the campaign and was an adviser on Trump’s transition team, has circled neoreactionary ideas. “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,” he wrote on the Cato Institute’s blog in 2009, adding that women and “welfare beneficiaries” have through their voting habits “rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron” (He clarified two weeks later that he supports women’s suffrage and redirected blame for the supposed demise of democracy on “unelected technocratic agencies.”)
That’s just part of an in-depth article on all the dyed-in-wool bigots infesting the tech sector. I’m sure this wouldn’t come as news to anyone who works in the industry, and certainly not news to women and people of colour. Recommended Reading.