Left and Right

The Strange and Terrifying Ideas of Neoreactionaries

Current Affairs

Author Elizabeth Sandifer explains the dangerous ideas of the far-right neoreactionaries, who have ties to Silicon Valley and a hostility toward democracy.

lizabeth Sandifer is the author of Neoreaction a Basilisk: Essays On and Around the Alt-Right. She has taken a deep dive into the thoughts and writings of the so-called neoreactionary movement, or the “new right,” a tendency highlighted in a recent Vanity Fair article by James Pogue, who reported from the National Conservative Conference. Pogue argues that there is a new tendency in right-wing thought that is influencing some prominent Republican candidates for office, including J.D. Vance of Ohio and Blake Masters of Arizona, both of whom have close ties to Peter Thiel, the PayPal billionaire, and also to a rather mysterious and lesser-known public intellectual by the name of Curtis Yarvin, a.k.a. Mencius Moldbug. Is this a fringe intellectual tendency that can be ignored, or a budding movement? Sandifer spoke with editor-in-chief Nathan J. Robinson on the Current Affairs podcast to sort things out. This interview has been edited and condensed for grammar and clarity.

ROBINSON

Elizabeth Sandifer, I need you to help us understand this neoreactionary tendency. Can you discuss what it is?

SANDIFER

Neoreaction is one attempt of modern far right philosophy—we can just go ahead and call it fascism—to create an intellectual basis. It was formulated by Curtis Yarvin, who writes under the pen name Mencius Moldbug, or formerly wrote.

ROBINSON

The artist formerly known as Moldbug?

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