Curtis Yarvin, known by his pen name ‘Mencius Moldbug’, is one of the most prominent social critics and reactionary writers of the contemporary era. Yarvin’s blogs, ‘Gray Mirror’ and ‘Imperial Melodies’, can be found on Substack.
Yarvin’s words are in light.
There’s a little-known Chesterton work called The Return of Don Quixote. Don’t know it at all?
I don’t. I mean, I’m familiar with the original Don Quixote by Cervantes.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, The Return of Don Quixote, and it’s about the victory of a joyous reactionary movement, written as an Edwardian novel, set in the future. It’s very interesting and it sort of catches the sort of joyousness right, which is an absolutely essential part of, like, any kind of restoration of this type.
And yet, you know, kind of Russian Hide And Seek, which is of course a much later work, is more…black-pilled, you might say, and perhaps a little more convincing. And I would say, sort of read them both. You’ll get kind of some of both of these ideas, but just breaking out of this incredible, I mean, it’s like, when you look in the rear-view mirror at Brexit. It’s like 0.1% of a British Meiji, right? And it’s a completely failed venture, and a completely failed thing, you know, I was reading Richard North’s blog EU Referendum, back in the earlier ‘00s, you know, I think he was associated to some extent with, like, early UKIP, and, um you know, the idea of having a referendum on Britain leaving the EU in 2005, let alone that referendum winning, it seemed like such, what we call here, a stretch goal.
It seemed so unimaginable and it happens. This incredible revolution happens and of course it happens and it doesn’t amount to shit. It just has no momentum. As soon as it wins it begins to lose. And, actually, the main effect of Brexit was to destroy the Brexit movement.
You can’t help but feel that when you do something and people put that much effort and that much hope into something, and in retrospect you can look at it and just say “Well duh, obviously that was gonna…there was no way that could have worked in any way, shape, or form and done anything useful or relevant, or whatever,” and, the, you know…the definition of insanity is making the same mistake twice, and, right, and here, is just the form of government that has been how England rose to greatness and has been governed for pretty much all of the last two millennia, you know, before the invitation to William, right? You know, I guess, you know, William, it’s hard to know to what extent William of Orange was really interested in British domestic affairs. I don’t know how great it was.
Queen Anne was certainly pretty feeble and um, you did know that the um, the king has the right to veto legislation in parliament, right?
And do you know who the last person, the last king, who actually used that power was?
It’s not going to be James I is it? Someone distant. Charles I?
Here’s a hint. It wasn’t a king at all.
Really? OK, so was it Queen Anne then? Was it in fact Queen Anne?
It was in fact Queen Anne. Uh, she did it once, and I forget over what. Probably some completely symbolic bullshit.
I see. They went “No, no, this is no good, we’ll get this Dutch fellow”.
Yeah, yeah, it was sort of their ‘lordships die in the dark’ moment. I think, like you know, the People’s Budget of 1911 or whatever. Yeah, Queen Anne was like the legitimate daughter of James II, right? And there was some hope that – and she was basically a Jacobite heir – it’s sort of like this woman Georgia Meloni who gets elected in Italy spouting all this rhetoric and then she’s like “We must fight for the Ukraine, the cause of Ukraine is the cause of all of us”, right?
You know, when I was in Portugal, I was in a small town in this summer and, you know, all of the…you would swear the whole population of Setúbal, Portugal, had come out and, like, popular enthusiasm for the cause of the Ukraine was everywhere, spontaneous graffiti, right, you know, and it’s like, these expressions of popular enthusiasm, like ‘workers of the world, unite’ in Czechoslovakia in 1976. You know, the greengrocer does not really care about workers of the world and I’m pretty sure that if you’re a bus driver in Setúbal, Portugal, your interest in the Dnieper isn’t really – excuse me, Dnipro – is fairly limited, and the uh, just, I mean, it’s increasingly comical, and so, the idea of just like, this whole structure collapsing in one boom is so much more realistic than the idea of Brexit. It’s so much more realistic. People think it’s unrealistic, no, it may be unrealistic, but it is vastly more realistic than Brexit.
I read your piece about a Meiji Restoration. I was sat in the middle of a bunch of naval officers and I was thinking “You know what? Rishi Sunak’s not very popular, neither is Keir Starmer, nobody likes parliament, what would actually happen right now if King Charles did in fact just go ‘guys’…”
Yeah exactly. What would actually happen? And you know, there’s been this sort of endless slew of headline after headline after headline of “Oh, this thing isn’t working, we’ll get the army in to drive trucks” and “Oh, this isn’t working, we’ll get the navy in to sort out this hospital”, and you just sort of look at this thing and think “Why is it that the last sort of functional bit of our government is essentially military?” And “Why is it that…” what would actually happen if…would anyone stop it? Would anyone in the military?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I was in Dartmouth. I was at BRNC when the Queen died.
It’s full of these young, early twenties cadets, who are going through…you know, I was there the day…so I think I was one of the last people to officially join the Queen’s navy and one of the first to join the King’s, and you know, everybody, the whole, the whole college just stopped. I went out onto the Parade Ground at about 5pm in the early evening and every church bell in Dartmouth was ringing across the valley. And yes, there’s a huge amount of symbolic nothingness to it –
But that symbolism can be converted back into reality.
And everyone would be stunned at how easy it was, and how obvious it was.
I don’t think anyone would say no.
Well, would Sir Arthur Scargill bring the unions into the street? Would like, you know, would the SpADs like set up barricades outside of Nelson’s Column? What?
Right, right. I don’t see it.
I don’t see it. And so you can have your New Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land. You just have to realise that the chains that are bonding you are made of paper.
But that’s the question. The new Prince of Wales hands out copies of the Big Issue –
And I just don’t see the king going along with this, so what do we do? Do we have some kind of new Cromwellian parliamentary lie where oh no, no, the king is held captive by these malignants and bad ideas, what is it? What on Earth are we doing?
Yeah, yeah, well, you know, um, maybe we, you know, uh, I don’t know, if Prince William did enough acid, maybe?