Cthulhu Swims Left

An ancient tentacle monster, a post-war global problem, a galaxy brain with all the answers.

Joining me for this belated episode of Discourses is Auron MacIntyre. He is a YouTuber and a recovering journalist peddling hot takes wherever hot takes are sold.

As a kind of explainer of dissident ideas, I asked him to tell me—and you—all about “Cthulhu”—an ideological phenomenon spawned by the global post-war academic system named after a Lovecraftian tentacle monster—and why he always “swims left.” There is no way to write this without sounding like a boomer who only recently stumbled upon the internet.

Curtis Yarvin, also known as “Mencius Moldbug,” originated the concept in an article during the early aughts. Yarvin wrote:

Some of America’s little friends overseas, such as Britain, have universities in the second rank. But there is only one global postwar academic system, the American one, and all top-tier universities are in the United States. The con by which policies devised by this system are passed off as global, transcending mere nationality, is sometimes called transnationalism. But I digress.)

The triangle of professors, bureaucrats, and public opinion is stable, because the professors teach as well as advise. Of course, there is a time lag. The system experiences some strain. But it will stay together, so long as the polarity does not randomly reverse—i.e., because Cthulhu decides to suddenly swim right rather than left.

But no. Cthulhu may swim slowly. But he only swims left. Isn’t that interesting?

In the history of American democracy, if you take the mainstream political position (the Overton Window) at time T₁, and place it on the map at a later time T₂, T₁ is always way to the right, near the fringe or outside it. So, for instance, if you take the average segregationist voter of 1963 and let him vote in the 2008 election, he will be way out on the wacky right wing. Cthulhu has passed him by.

MacIntyre dives into this, and how it relates to the “Cathedral.”

Don’t worry, it will all make sense when it’s over, and perhaps then, like a Lovecraftian protagonist, you “shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

MacIntyre is extremely bright. I plan on having him back in the future and picking more of his huge brain. Below is a preview of our talk.

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