Curtis Guy Yarvin (born June 25, 1973), also known by his pen name Mencius Moldbug, is an American computer scientist, political theorist, and neoreactionary. His writings played a foundational role in the formation of the neoreactionary movement. He is the creator of the Urbit computing platform, through his startup company Tlon, which is backed by Peter Thiel. He is the author of the blog Unqualified Reservations.
Yarvin originally called his idea to align property rights with political power "formalism" (a concept based on legal formalism). The label "neo-reactionary" was applied to Yarvin's ideas by Arnold Kling in 2010 and adopted by Yarvin's followers; Yarvin prefers the label "restorationist."
Yarvin's work on neoreaction inspired English philosopher Nick Land to brand the wider neoreaction-sympathetic movement the Dark Enlightenment. Neoreaction and the Dark Enlightenment form part of the philosophical underpinnings of the alt-right.
In his book Alt-Right: From 4Chan to the White House, Mike Wendling called Yarvin "the Alt right’s favorite philosophy instructor." He added, "Yarvin’s key contribution to the development of alt-right thought was a searing critique of democracy based on supposed genetic 'facts' combined with a dash of intellectual snobbery."
|Curtis Guy Yarvin|
Yarvin's speaker biography photo from the 2012 BIL Conference
|Born||June 25, 1973|
|Residence||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Other names||Mencius Moldbug|
|Formalism, neocameralism, criticism of demotism|
Yarvin came to public attention in February, 2017 when Politico magazine reported that Steve Bannon, who served as White House Chief Strategist under U.S. President Donald Trump, read Yarvin's blog and that Yarvin "has reportedly opened up a line to the White House, communicating with Bannon and his aides through an intermediary..." The story was picked up by other magazines and newspapers, including the Atlantic, the Independent, and Mother Jones.
Yarvin's opinions have been described as racist, with his writings interpreted as supportive of slavery, including the belief that whites have higher IQs than blacks for genetic reasons. Yarvin himself maintains that he is not a racist because, while he doubts that "all races are equally smart," the notion "that people who score higher on IQ tests are in some sense superior human beings" is "creepy". He also disputes being an 'outspoken advocate for slavery', but has argued that some races are more suited to slavery than others.
In 2015, his invitation to speak about Urbit at the Strange Loop programming conference was rescinded following complaints made by other attendees. In 2016, his invitation to the LambdaConf functional programming conference resulted in the withdrawal of five speakers, two subconferences and several sponsors.
Yarvin's father is Jewish. He has called himself a Jacobite. Yarvin watched the results of the 2016 presidential election at the home of Peter Thiel, a Trump backer. "I watched the election at his house, I think my hangover lasted into Tuesday. He’s fully enlightened, just plays it very carefully", he told Milo Yiannopoulos.
If I had to choose one word and stick with it, I'd pick "restorationist." If I have to concede one pejorative which fair writers can fairly apply, I'll go with "reactionary." I'll even answer to any compound of the latter - "neoreactionary," "postreactionary," "ultrareactionary," etc.