At some point I need to read Curtis Yarvin’s latest missive The Clear Pill but it’s hard for me to muster enough intellectual energy to digest his dense, turgid prose. My last effort was all the way back in July 2013. But I came across something this morning that inspired a simpler exposition of Moldbug’s central thesis: that a quasi-religious group exercises power among an array of institutions which he calls the Cathedral.
The Democratic primary campaigns are in full swing and one of the candidates, Amy Klobuchar, is as of the time of this writing still in the race, despite polling at only two to five percent. This video of her from July 2019 popped up in my Twitter timeline today.
Looking at Senator Klobuchar, I see she’s an ethical, intelligent person whose family justifiably loves her. She’s very popular in the thinly-populated state of Minnesota. She’s also short and matronly and has the charisma and perspective of a career corporate lawyer and bureaucrat, which is to say she’s a formalist. She would be equally comfortable as a school principal or HR manager. There is nothing wrong with being any of these things, but they don’t make good Emperors. She does not look or act like a Chief Executive and Commander in Chief of the most powerful, diverse country on Earth. Gravitas really is important, particularly to the cheering throngs and to the men with guns who are the only reasons government officials have any status whatsoever.
Looking at the Democratic candidates, I’d say the only one with command presence is Tulsi Gabbard, who of course is hated by the Democrat constituencies and denounced as Other-phobic, a literal Russian agent and, sub silentio, an attractive female heterosexual.
Any way, back on topic. Why are people like the short, matronly Amy Klobuchar or senile (yes, he really is going senile) Joe Biden or goofy homosexual Pete Buttigieg (here he is trying to figure out how to drink beer from a bottle) serious candidates for President? Why do they participate in these silly, micro-level rituals more suited to mayor of a small town?
And the Moldbuggian answer is:
Because it no longer matters who is President. The President is only the nominal sovereign. Obama was perfect as a nominal sovereign. The greedy, unhealthy Hillary Clinton would have been a good nominal sovereign.
Actual sovereignty is exercised by the Cathedral, that is, the judicial branch, the bureaucracy and the mass media/academy/trans-national corporations. (The U.S. legislative branch no longer exercises actual sovereignty; instead, they’re the world’s greatest investigative body). Trump had the effrontery to act like an actual sovereign, which is why the Cathedral’s hitting him with Russiagate and Ukrainegate.
Speaking of matters Slavic, Gorbachev was a nominal sovereign. Poor, doomed Yeltsin was a nominal sovereign. Putin is an actual sovereign, and he had to do a lot of ugly things to get there so he could reverse cratering Russian TFR and restore Orthodox Christian primacy in the public square.
Empires need their Sullas, and Trump could have been one but he really is a child of the halcyon 1980’s, and power is just too diffused, the American constituencies are too diverse and the system is just too corrupt at this point. But you should still vote for him in 2020 to get cultural and political space when an actual Sulla shows up.