Would you vote for this dead-eyed ignorant wanker?

Then you’re in luck! Carl Benjamin, anti-immigrant, anti-European Union, anti-feminist, all-around bigot, is running for a seat in the European parliament, on a platform of undermining the European Union. It’s a bit like those tea party fanatics who want to eliminate the federal government running for congress all the time, so it’s not that crazy.

Oh, wait…yes it is.

Anyway, his argument for why he should be elected is that he’s extremely popular with alt-right trolls on YouTube, so he has already succeeded in cultivating an electorate, which is, I guess, true.

He’s better known on YouTube as Sargon of Akkad, for reasons unknown. I asked around about why he uses that moniker, since he never talks about the ancient history of Mesopotamia, doesn’t have any credentials in history, and doesn’t even seem to like people from the Middle East, and no one gave me an answer. I think I’ve figured it out, though. There are a great many people with largely right-wing views who got their start on YouTube hiding behind cartoon avatars: a knight in a tuxedo, an angry kangaroo, etc., and pretending to be an Akkadian king fits right in, and also has a bit of pretension. I think it’s like the masks of television wrestling. They’re all playing a simple-to-understand cartoon persona. They think they’re all luchadors.

Which, they think, is another reason to vote for them.


  1. ajbjasus says

    I don’t know if any of you across the pond heard Rees-Mogg say that if the EU granted the UK an extension because we still hadn’t sorted our shit out, and we then had to take part in EU elections we shoiuld take the opportunity to screw up the legislature by vetoeing everything ! This guy should be perfect.

  2. kingoftown says

    Since Nigel has left UKIP has gone full nazi (he put on at least a bit of a facade) working with loons like this guy and Yaxley Lennon. It was the largest party in the UK last european elections… hopefully they won’t do that well this time round. Thankfully the racist vote is split this time between the tories, ukip and nigel’s new brexit party.

  3. jambonpomplemouse says

    If anything says “I care about the future of my country”, it’s putting uneducated, untrained, rape-threatening-as-an-argument, professional Youtube boys in the government.

  4. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    ~Literally just changed his own profile picture to a fantasy (dragon) knight~
    Welp. Lol.

  5. says

    For some reason I feel the urge to point out that there are also very likeable and reasonable leftists on YouTube who have cartoon avatars. Shaun springs to mind immediately. His content is highly recommended and I think PZ has linked to him too in the not too distant past.

    I consider this variable to be inoncequential.

  6. alkisvonidas says


    we shoiuld take the opportunity to screw up the legislature by vetoeing everything !

    You can try, but I don’t think it can take any more screwing after MEPs’ vote for the EU Copyright Directive.

    Honestly, that’s the best argument against Benjamin’s candidacy: the EU is perfectly capable of undermining itself, thank you very much.

  7. leerudolph says

    Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister, Annunziata, is running for MEP on Farage’s new Brexit Party. Sadly, she does not look as perfectly twit-like as her brother, though I’m sure they’re very much alike in other ways. (Incidentally, why do people say “as like as two peas in a pod”? Anyone who has grown peas, or even bought them in the pod and then shelled them, knows that the peas in a pod rarely look anything close to identical, and are often very different. Even Gregor Mendel.)

  8. says

    Interesting fact: The Akkadian empire collapsed due to the so-called 4.2 kiloyear event, a prolonged drought that also brought down the Egyptian Old Kingdom. The cause is unknown, but it does illustrate that climate change can destroy civilizations.

  9. blf says

    ajbjasus@2, May is reported to have said (Ignore firebrand backbenchers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, May tells EU):

    Theresa May advised the EU’s leaders to ignore the threats of Conservative MPs such as Jacob Rees-Mogg during her appeal for a further Brexit delay at the Brussels summit, senior EU officials have revealed.

    The prime minister reassured the EU27 that Britain could be relied upon as a member state and turned fire on her backbenchers, referring to a tweet from Rees-Mogg in which he said the UK should be as difficult as possible from inside.

    “She made the point that the UK was a serious country and we should not get distracted by some non-members of the government that seemed to be trying to create the opposite impression,” a senior official said.


    It’s also been suggested(? hoped?) teh nasty party won’t do very well in the upcoming EU elections, Of course the Tories dread Euro elections. They will be marmalised.

  10. ajbjasus says

    blf #2

    Tories dread Euro elections. They will be marmalised.

    I can’t imagine who will do well in Brexit elections. Large numbers of traditional Labour strongholds in the North voted for Brexit, so I don’t think Corbyn has endeared himself there. The Tories are all over the place. I hope the marmalisation doesn’t come at UKIP and Farage’s benefit.

  11. =8)-DX says

    He’s better known on YouTube as Sargon of Akkad, for reasons unknown. I asked around about why he uses that moniker, since he never talks about the ancient history of Mesopotamia, doesn’t have any credentials in history, and doesn’t even seem to like people from the Middle East, and no one gave me an answer.

    At the very start of his channel he did some videos on ancient history. Afaik he chose the Akkadian king, because he thought the guy was a totally cool badass. Here’s his 2014 video on the actual king Sargon, timestamp at the relevant part, ending on “…that’s basically why I chose the username Sargon of Akkad.” Of course he doesn’t source this video at all, and it seems he’s mostly reading Wikipedia. So yeah that’s about as close to an origin story for the name as there is. Also the video is full of smirks whenever he reads mentions of Sargon being persuasive or cool and someone who “drove civilisation to great hights”.

    (Oh and I ofc totally agree with him being a next-level wanker, bigot and disgrace to humanity.)

  12. KG says

    Gerald Batten, current leader of UKIP and hirer of convicted violent fraudster Yaxley-Lennon as an advisor, has defended Benjamin telling a Labour MP he “wouldn’t even rape” her, as “satire”. Also according to Batten, Benjamin is a “classical liberal”. Yes indeed, I well remember John Stuart Mill (satirically) telling Florence Nightingale that he wouldn’t even rape her.

  13. Ichthyic says

    It’s a bit like those tea party fanatics

    more than a bit.

    it’s the same exact fucking thing, very likely using the same money behind it.

    good that at least some people recognize the familiar stench of it though. maybe this time they will take it seriously and curbstomp this shit before it goes any further?

    well, I can dream.

  14. zenlike says

    Yup, even now that Benjamin is running for a far right party, his followers keep on insisting he is not a right winger, whining and moaning like little snowflakes when he gets called this. I am convinced at this point he can literally start repeating speeches from Hitler and wearing swastikas, and his braindead followers will still insist he is just a “classical liberal” (*).

    (* At this point, whenever someone calls himself “classical liberal” on the internet, I generally assume they are extreme right, because they usually end up advocating exactly that. Hell, I’ve even crossed someone who literally advocated for the state to start executing everyone on the left (and his definition on who was left was fairly broad, to say the least), and who kept on insisting he was a “classical liberal”. All of this is a clear ploy to shift the Overton window even further to the right: we got a contingent of quite literal fascists, who belong to the furthest fringes of the political spectrum, loudly and unashamedly (they are incapable of that) claiming they are somehow “centrists”. And sadly too many people are falling for it.)

  15. microraptor says

    I have yet to see anyone use the term “classical liberal” who wasn’t a far-right shithead.

  16. microraptor says

    Sorry, that should have read “use the term ‘classical liberal’ to describe themselves.”

  17. Owlmirror says

    I wonder if “classical liberal” is being used to replace “libertarian”, because everyone has already figured out that everything is worse with libertarians. Guys, it’s not the label, it’s the implicit attitudes.

    Everything is worse with classical liberals.

    Everything is worse with “I’ve got mine, fuck you”-ists.

  18. says

    I am still sadden by the disconnect between popular political discourse and philosophical political discourse. I don’t really identify with any ideology anymore because the election of Trump destroyed any trust I had in the electoral process with universal voting but yeah I like the actually classical liberal thinkers of Mill, Bentham, Smith and Locke. (Among others)

  19. says

    It can’t possibly be that “Sargon” is the name of one of the first commercial chess-on-your-home-computer programs, because in chess the most powerful piece is the avatar of a woman.

    Neither can it be that Sargon of Akkad was simultaneously one of the first writers on military strategy whose writings survived to influence other writers on military strategy and (based on records from surrounding civilizations) at best mediocre at applying that “wisdom” and incompetent at anything related to logistics, infrastructure, and governance even by the standards of the time.

    Nope, Just not possible.

  20. numerobis says

    I thought Sargon of Akkad was a brutal dictator who liked to invade neighbours and slaughter them.

    Seems like the perfect type of leader for a fascist to idolize.

  21. says

    Good Christ, this man’s ego knows no bounds. How deluded, how deeply sunken in terminal end-stage Dunning-Krugeritis, do you have to be to even think of trying this?

  22. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I have yet to see anyone use the term “classical liberal” who wasn’t a far-right shithead.

    If it’s any consolation, I used to describe myself that way, but then I realized that most people who do that are shithead libertarians, and I want to be an effective communicator, and that’s why I no longer describe myself with that label, because I am not a libertarian. I regularly call myself a card-carrying radical Marxist. However, the term “modern European social democrat” is probably more accurate for describing me, and also less inflammatory, but being inflammatory towards conservatives is one of the reasons that I like using the phrase “card-carrying radical Marxist” to describe myself, and it’s actually fairly accurate when I regularly pontificate that I don’t believe that absolute property rights should be a thing, and that the uber rich shouldn’t be given legal property rights for most of their stuff.

    Also, I remember PZ making a really good point one time: We’ve advanced a long way since 1800 John Stuart Mill in terms of morality. Longing for the past is a certain kind of regressivism and conservatism, which I am not.

    Having said that, I still think that John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” is one of the best presentations and distillations of many of the core moral values that hold, and I am currently unaware of any better. I’m not religiously wed to that 200 year old book, and if I discover a better write-up, then I could easily cite that modern write-up instead of JS Mill.

  23. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    John Rawls’s Veil Of Ignorance standard is an IMO indispensable mental tool to describe my utilitarian position. IMAO, it makes utilitarianism much more “rigorous”, or at least much less ambiguous for most people, because the implicit argument rests on the true assumption that most people have approximately the same underlying moral intuitions regarding complex morality topics where one would need to invoke the Veil Of Ignorance. In other words, it’s a partial cop out – it just appeals to unstated moral intuitions that we all approximately share, but I think it still is a huge step forwards in discussions, and it should be rightly noted as a huge advance in moral thinking.

  24. curbyrdogma says

    “They’re all playing a simple-to-understand cartoon persona.” Unfortunately, that may just be it. We’re so bombarded with media that concepts and values are being pared down to cartoonish caricatures. (Trump is a perfect case-in-point). Simple, quick and attention-getting; expediency is more efficient when you don’t have the time to study. It’s really the logical outcome of Dawkin’s original “memes” concept. The Poe effect is edging ever closer to politics vs. dystopian comic books and satirical comedy shows…

  25. says

    Now, the threat of bringing the EU to a halt even more than they’re already doing it now (honestly, by now the UK should be charged with the collective salaries of EU officials and governments) seems a bit over the top, but of course being just fucking shitheads might be the thing that finally gets them what they want: a no deal Brexit…
    Patience on the EU side seems to be running very thin already.

  26. susans says

    I remember Sargon as a primary instigator of Gamergate and someone who harassed Anita Sarkeesian in RL.