The Great Convergence I - Planet Pennywise Hatches the Hydra
The monster that was born when we got together to dig the splinters out of our minds is an existential nightmare for the globalist class
Something very interesting has been happening over the last few years, and very few people have been noticing it.
Most of the time we're so caught up in the Current Thing, whether supporting or opposing or just laughing at it and rolling our eyes, that it's hard to take a step back and notice the subtle, large-scale patterns that have been knitting themselves together as history unfolds before us. We've been so busy navigating the choppy waters of medical tyranny, censorship, cancel culture, groomers in the kindergartens, CRT in the schools, ESG in the corporations, DIE in the academy, shenanigans at the ballot box, supply chain shortages, hyperinflation, mass shootings, mass replacement migration, and the onset of the Third World War between the Globohomo Empire of Lies and the Russo-Chinese Alliance of Sovereign Nations that it's hard to get our heads above the heaving waves to see the big picture.
These are terrifying times. A cult of sociopaths, narcissists, and megalomaniacs organized under the banner of the World Economic Forum (as merely the most visible face of the cult) have quietly infiltrated every institution that matters in the Western world. They're in elected office, state agencies, media, non-governmental organizations, the upper echelons of corporate management, the commanding heights of high finance, the platforms of Big Tech, the universities, the mainline churches. Their political penetration extends from the international to the municipal. Their messaging is ubiquitous. A huge segment of the population is fully hypnotized, their minds putty in the hands of the WEFites. The monied elite openly discuss the transhumanist plan to re-engineer Homo sapiens into a sessile slave species, and the entrained populace gabble 'conspiracy theorist' at anyone who draws attention to the words of their masters ... or even to the masters' very existence. Menticided by mass formation, they move implacably towards this cosmic failure mode with the dumb will of a herd of lemmings, dragging the rest of the species kicking and screaming into the Great Filter going by the name of the Great Reset.
Meanwhile the culture rots around us, decaying so fast its like watching a stop-motion movie of a decomposing apple. Testosterone levels plummet, endocrine systems go haywire, high-fructose flesh bloats and bubbles, sex appeal disappears into nauseating androgyny, the people on the streets mutating before our eyes into abominations driven mad by depression, alienation, atomization, psychiatric drugs, synthetic opiods, and scientifically designed propaganda that hits their amygdalae like laser-guided cruise missiles. Music descends into a cacophony of autotuned vocals and re-re-resampled beats that seems to echo straight out of the Court of the blind idiot god Azathoth. Film becomes an endless Frankensteinian pastiche of masterpieces and recycled schlock repurposed to hammer Message and Narrative into the popular mind without care for the craftsmanship of plot-line, world building, or character development. The discourse of intellectuals breaks down into a schizoid blend of word salad and hysterical emotionalism, as some desperately veer away anything smelling too much like truth lest they summon the baying mob, while others seek through ritual incantations of the magic words of power to summon he whose name is Legion to do their bidding. The professions have become a malignant incompetocracy: doctors who cause disease, officers of the law who enforce injustice, educators who spread ignorance, credentialed experts of every sort revealed as ignorant charlatans.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchotyranny is loosed upon the world ... and what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Davos to be born?
It turns out Clown World has more in common with Pennywise than with Krusty.
Many of us have had a sense for a long time now that things aren't right. Some, like me, have had it since we were kids. Long before we could point to anything really specific, it was there, "like a splinter in our minds", this feeling that our world was fundamentally not as it should be, that there were vengeful shadows moving within it, that things didn't quite make sense, that nothing was as in its proper place.
About a decade ago something unexpected happened within right-wing politics. For generations, the conservative movement (a misnomer if ever there was one) had acted as gate-keepers for the ideological hegemony of left-liberalism. Whereas liberalism excused or even embraced the radicals of the far left, conservatives were quick to distance themselves from the radicals of the far right, writing out those deemed beyond the pale from participation in public conversation. This started with the racists, the anti-semites, the white nationalists, the KKK, the neo-nazi skinheads ... unsavoury groups with catastrophically bad optics. It then moved on to paleoconservatives, civic nationalists or really nationalists or even garden-variety patriots of any variety, libertarians of almost every stripe, Randian objectivists, and so on, until, by 2010 or so, the only acceptable political position within conservatism was one slightly right of left of right of centre. Meanwhile, the political program of the liberal mainstream drifted ever leftward, since they were under no compulsion to disavow their own radicals but, to the contrary, preferred to make them into heroes. Thus, terrorist bombers of the Weather Underground could get out of jail and walk into tenured faculty positions, as but one example. Thus, the common joke that conservatism has conserved nothing; thus, the barb that a conservative is merely yesterday's liberal. Thus, the inexorable drift of the political centre towards the left.
All of those excluded groups didn't cease existing when they were excommunicated. Having been booted out of the tent, they collected in the seedy dive bars of the Internet and, since no one else would talk to them, started talking to one another. Aside from being considered ideological lepers they had little in common, but you have to talk to someone after all.
This led to an uninhibited, open-ended conversation between libertarians frustrated by Ron Paul's systematic exclusion from the power process; ideologues who had, shall we say, a relaxed attitude towards fascism; human biodiversity nerds whose particular scientific fascination - the differences between the races - was considered an unacceptable topic in the universities; students of various European philosophers who had been edited out from the fashionable academic curriculum; neo-pagans and traditionalist Christians whose hard-line faiths were irreconcilable with modernity; and the 'manosphere' or 'red-pill' community, which had emerged from the pickup artist forums of the naughty noughties.
This conversation took place at a number of levels, ranging from the anarchic food-fight of 4chan's /pol/, to the elevated discourse of the neoreactionaries or NRx movement, the most famous alumnus of which is Curtis Yarvin or, as he was known in those days, Mencius Moldbug. Disagreements were intense and bitter, as you'd expect for a fractious group composed of high-openness/low-agreeableness adherents of disparate and incompatible ideologies. Yet at the same time, all were united by a common ethos: that nothing was off the table for discussion; that any sacred cow was fair game for goring on the sacrificial altar of political haruspicy; that any assumption could be called into question, most especially those assumptions that polite society considered non-negotiable. Since humour is largely the violation of expectations and taboos, this conversation, as spirited and angry as it could become, was frequently extremely funny. The meme culture of the contemporary internet is almost entirely a descendent of this period.
Each of the communities that contributed to what came to be known as the alternative right had originated around an obsession with a certain inconsistency or injustice in the prevailing order - each had formed like a callus around one of the many splinters in the collective mind. For the paleoconservatives, it was the abandonment of national interests in favour of the imperatives of global capital. For the white nationalists, it was the demonization of Europeans and European solidarity, expressed in the invasion of European countries by mass migration, as well as the hypocritical attitude towards white vs. Jewish power. For the libertarians, it was the progressive infringement on liberty by the regulatory apparatus of the managerial state and the prudish speech codes of an increasingly unforgiving political correctness. For the manosphere, it was the broken social technologies of courtship, the falsehoods propagated about sexual relations, and the overreach of a feminism that had morphed from an advocacy for women to an all-out assault on everything male.
The manosphere is an especially interesting example, because it didn't start out as an ideological group, but rather as a purely practical, results-oriented community. Guys started noticing that essentially nothing their mothers or the television had told them about female behaviour was true. Every time they acted on those ideas, they were met with rejection. Female behaviour being mysterious at the best of times, they started getting together on Internet forums to compare notes. Over time, proven techniques emerged that actually worked to get dates; thus was born the pickup artist community. It turned out that these techniques required jettisoning all the pleasant lies they'd been fed about what women want, and relearning human sexual psychology from the ground up. It also turned out, upon further investigation, that they were simply re-discovering perennial truths about human nature that had simply been kept from them. In short order this led to these men wondering what else they'd been lied to about. After all, if society had misdirected them on something as fundamental and important to human happiness as 'how to find a mate', there weren't really many limits, were there?
So all these groups got together and compared notes. In the ruthless agon of anonymous internet fora, right-wing podcasts, social media, and an archipelago of blogs, over time what worked, and what made sense, was selected for; what didn't, was discarded. It was a very similar process to what happened when UFC brought together every fighting style on the planet: the brutal competition of the octagon rapidly weeded out the bullshit and distilled what was left into Mixed Martial Arts, itself primarily a combination of Brazilian jiujitsu, Muay Thai, and boxing. So it was on the alternative right. What began as a collection of incompatible ideologies gradually coalesced into a semi-coherent worldview crystallized around the forbidden truths governing human nature.
Then came Trump's declaration of candidacy for the 2016 election, and the meme war that defeated the legacy media and propelled a reality TV star into office. This was when the political establishment, and the population at large, became aware of the Alt-Right. The defining moment was a speech by Hillary Clinton, in which, hoping to tar Trump by association, she first named the deplorable nature of the Alt-Right in front of a mass audience. The moment the words 'Alt-Right' escaped her wrinkled lips, some shitlord Anon in the audience cried out 'Pepe!' and the Internet erupted in laughter. Her speech only served to pour energy into the meme war. Anons ran circles around the focus groups and message control of the Clinton campaign, the OODA loop of the chans effortlessly outpacing the sedate duty cycle of public relations firms and media campaigns. Quickness of thought and lack of inhibition is the stuff creativity is made from, and the nuclear meme reactors of /pol/ and Twitter were able to put out better propaganda, funnier propaganda, and truer propaganda, much faster, and much cheaper, than a traditional political campaign. So much faster, in fact, that the moment the legacy system released a new campaign, it was repurposed by the malign creativity of the prankster hydra to devastating effect, usually within hours.
The establishment woke up in November of 2016 to find that the unthinkable had happened. Trump had won the election. The horrifying realization dawned on them that a monster had been born.
Not Trump. Trump was just one man - a vain, egotistical, willful but also naive man. One man could be controlled.
No, the monster that terrified them was the Alt-Right.
It wasn't the ideology of the Alt-Right that was frightening. Many within the Alt-Right itself made this mistake, with catastrophic consequences for the nascent movement shortly after in Charlottesville. The powers that be didn't much care that there were racists or sexists or Nazis on the Internet - that had more or less always been the case. What chilled them to their cores was what the Alt-Right represented. It was a fundamentally new kind of entity that had emerged: an egregore that had gestated under their noses in fibre-optic cables and wireless signals, a cybernetic hive mind formed at the intersection of silicon and flesh and light. It was everywhere and nowhere. It was endlessly adaptable. It wasn't an ideology; it was a system.
That spooked them bad. They knew full well the power of such a system. Their own oligarchical control network is based on the same principle, a distributed, centreless cephalopod, a 'vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly shoving its blood funnel into anything that smells like money', in Matt Taibi's immortal Occupy-era description of Goldman-Sachs. This isn't just a metaphor drawn from political theory. Almost a decade ago, some Swiss physicists did a network analysis of global corporate ownership structure, and found that the vast majority of the planetary economy is ultimately controlled by a knot of tightly interlinked financial entities they termed the economic 'super-entity'. Inside the super-entity, there's no one locus of control, no one person giving the orders. There's just a network of rich people, gathered around the Schelling point of increasing their power and wealth, their collective activities driving the global economy relentlessly in the direction of greater control over more resources in the hands of fewer people.
The oligarchy isn't only financial. It's also academic, technological, regulatory, legislative, and cultural - a rusting Iron Pentagon that can't be defeated by taking out any one person or organization. That's precisely the source of its strength. Individual people and individual organizations are no match for it. A self-organizing hydra developed on the same principles, on the other hand....
The global class tried to kill it with the Great Shuttening. Rounds of bannings on social media, sometimes en masse, sometimes targeted and coordinated against high-value targets. Censorship, a growing list of words and even topics that would bring down the banhammer. Cognitive infiltration by troublemakers, the old COINTELPRO tactic of spreading distrust and mutual suspicion ("He's a Fed!") while poisoning the well with misinformation. Shadow-banning of prominent voices, intended to gaslight them into thinking they were shouting uselessly into a disinterested hurricane. Lives destroyed by doxxing: people made unemployed and unemployable, expelled from universities, disowned by family and friends. Internet backbone services - payment processors, DDoS protection, even DNS servers - pulling support from websites deemed too much a part of the hyrda, if only in their refusal to ban its participants themselves.
Ultimately, none of it worked. The hydra proved too nimble, too adaptable. With a plethora of options available, members simply maintained a presence on multiple platforms, kept lines of communication open with distributed, encrypted, uncensorable messaging services. Banned accounts could re-emerge under new pseudonyms almost effortlessly. Banned topics could be discussed easily by avoiding banned words, and by adopting an esoteric lexicon that left the censors, whether algorithmic or human, baffled and confused. A parallel economy was built out: the example of Gab is instructive, which developed its own servers, and ultimately its own payment processor, in order to harden itself against external attack. The doxxed found that their status as unpersons was only temporary: most quickly found employment with sympathetic members of the network, while others learned to monetize their activities within it, becoming full-time soldiers in the meme war. Doxxing itself became more difficult, as tips and tricks for opsec against Antifa OSINT propagated through the hydra's nervous system.
The hydra was antifragile. Attacks could disrupt it here or there, but the rest of the organism would react by hardening itself against that form of interference, while the disrupted nodes would quickly reform. Kill one head, and two more regrow in its place.
Then the coronavirus was released, and everything kicked into overdrive.
Link to Part II of the Great Convergence - The Hydra at War.
The left fancies itself as the smartest ones in the room, and they can't have their students realizing that intellectual history is full of subtle and profound minds who would be considered raving right-wing extremists by modern standards.
Theophilus Chilton is another alumnus of the reactosphere, and if you haven't checked out his insightful essays on Substack you're missing out.
John, This is easily your best piece yet -- poetic in the reading, profound in the substance, I cannot wait to read the second installment. Many thanks for thinking so deeply and conveying it so well.
Much of the time, I lack much hope for the future. Pieces like this help restore it for another day and another week.