MESSIANIC ONLINEISM AND THE SPIRIT OF ‘16
Zero HP Lovecraft
You hear leftoids talk about the spirit of ‘68. What is the spirit of ‘68? Most of us weren’t there, but it was a moment in time when it must have felt to all parties right, left, and center as if a burgeoning left-revolutionary consciousness was unfolding, filling the world with possibility. It was this perhaps intangible energy which was thought to unite labor movements, women’s liberation, black nationalism, civic rights, homosexuals, and pedophiles. I’m not saying that to be provocative. In ‘77, a depravity of French intellectuals (this is the technical term for a group of French intellectuals, like a school of fish, or a parliament of owls) all signed a petition to remove the age of consent in France. This is a very old and crucial leftist revolutionary idea, that the nuclear family is the source of all social oppression, that children should be raised by the state, and that the sexual use of children should be democratized and open to everyone. You can find these ideas wherever leftists are preeminent, because the ultimate motivating animus of leftism is “fuck you, dad.” Even most center-left activists, if they have any awareness of history, or their imagined place in it, still view the revolutionary events of the 60s and 70s with a kind of holy reverence. They still idolize the spirit of ‘68. Those were the days, yeah? There was solidarity, there was music and dancing, and most importantly, there was open, violent revolt in the street.
Our ruling class believes the rhetoric of equality, emancipation, and so on, with no reservations; they see no contradiction between their wealth and power on the one hand, and the spirit of ‘68 on the other. These people, having grown up lionizing and idolizing left-revolutionary thought, now find themselves holding the reins of power, and they are doing the best they can to administer the state according to those values, although they are only human. That means they are motivated by “low” animal drives such as greed and lust. There is often a petty profit motive or a sexual motive behind all the dastardly acts of corruption which our ruling elite perpetrate. But these petty actions—using regulation to choke out US industries and line their own pockets with investments in foreign competitors, stockpiling teenage girls to use as sex slaves on fuck island—these are not the ideals which guide our ruling elite; these are only the perks of the job. Everyone, no matter how rich or powerful, still sees themselves as the good guy. They conceptualize their lives in terms of moral narratives, and they understand their own life as some kind of struggle towards The Good. We can accuse them of hypocrisy, but hypocrisy is a universal human attribute. The problem with our leftist ruling is not that they fail to live up to their own ideals, the problem with is that their ideals themselves are reprehensible, and the worst thing any leftist can possibly do is live up to her ideals. The problem is that they’re willing to sacrifice good things like wealth and sex for the sake of the most evil and stupid moral values in the world: equality and emancipation.
Why did the spirit of ‘68 take over? Violence and laws can be used intimidate people, but they produce reluctant believers; they don’t win hearts and minds. The sad, simple, human answer is that emancipation feels good. The spirit of ‘68, as the Zoomers say, is a vibe. Good feelings only. No bad feelings. No reckonings or grim realizations, no surfacing difficult truths, ever. Left-revolutionary edgelords could produce coherent philosophy 100 years ago, but now that leftism has filed off all of its edges, they have nowhere left to lord. The spirit of ‘68 is now best encapsulated, not by the French revolution slogan liberty, equality, fraternity, but by its contemporary, ever-expanding manifestation: diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Belonging is a recent addition but it was inevitable, just as adding a triangle of African skin colors to the pride flag was inevitable. The moment something like this is proposed, it would be a bad vibe to lay down a boundary. Boundaries precipitate bad feelings.
I’ve written elsewhere about the metaphysics of emancipation, but most people, even most leftists, do not think in such explicit metaphysical terms. On the contrary: they desire “emancipation” because telling someone “no” or hearing the word “no” makes them feel bad. To call this “emotional reasoning” is to give it entirely too much credit. No reasoning occurs, only attraction and repulsion on the basis of feelings. We may find it satisfying to believe there are intelligent, deliberate agents operating behind the scenes, planning the demise of the West, but in truth, no such agents exist. The world is run by normies, and the above is how normies think. There are some malicious sociopaths sprinkled throughout the normie ruling class, but they are not necessary for the system to be terrible. Add them or remove them; their presence adds no predictive power to the theory. They are a rounding error.
Good vibes only: any conversation, any line of thinking that causes public discomfort is automatically branded as immoral, as callous, as cruel. The spirit of ‘68 says: all your problems in life are caused by the people who tell you no. They are caused by boundaries, therefore the solution is to dissolve all boundaries. Hence diversity, equity, and inclusion, and belonging. And from the outside, we know that these slogans refer to a racial philosophy which is implicitly—and sometimes explicitly—anti-white, but to its adherents, to its true believers, it really is a bid to make race meaningless. If race is meaningless, if there are no differences between people, then you never have to face the discomfort of being told no, and you never have to face the discomfort of telling someone else no either.
(It’s worth noting that there is, just beneath the surface, a blood thirst and a capacity for schadenfreude which we call normie sadism. This is the repressed “shadow” of good vibolatry; the normie will pour all their sourness and negativity into a public performance of hating whomever the priest denotes as an approved target—Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton, Jeffrey Epstein, the Religious Right, the woke. A priest in this context doesn’t mean a catholic priest or a protestant pastor necessarily, but whomever the normie regards as a moral authority. It could be a newscaster, a pundit, a president, or even an anonymous online edgelord. When you see people writing out their violent fantasies under their own name about some hated Other, that’s normie sadism.)
I relate all of this in order to draw a parallel; to present the vibe of the first Trump campaign as the spirit of ‘16. The spirit of 16 is embodied in Donald Trump, but in many ways he is oblivious to it. The spirit of ‘16 is the unfolding of a burgeoning, right-revolutionary consciousness which seems poised to remake the world and take it back spiritually from the left. It is the possibility of smashing their idols, of redacting and retracting the belief in liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Donald Trump is not a political radical in any reckoning prior to 2016. In fact, he’s very much a liberal, but he isn’t a leftist. Moreover, he’s a normie; it’s pretty clear to watch him and listen to him that he’s running on pure vibes. What makes him stand out, what makes him so threatening to the regime, is how confidently and arrogantly he violates all their little pieties. He gets on a stage and he says mean things about people who deserve it. Where others shrink in fear of social opprobrium, he stands tall and tells the whole world that he doesn’t care what some finger-waggling schoolmarms think. Curtis Yarvin wrote that Trump was a television king, not a real king, merely an actor who is very good at playing one. And that seems to be true. But then again, we live in a theater-kid-ocracy, and no one can tell the difference between play-acting and authentically-being.
What’s the most world-historically significant thing that could have happened on January 6th? Keep in mind that the people who entered the Capitol brought no guns. They peacefully milled around and stayed in the cordoned pathways designed for tourists, mostly. No government employees or police were harmed. One of the—pardon the euphemism—peaceful protestors was shot to death by a security guard. A not-insignificant proportion of them were covert federal agents or paid actors. But supposing Trump had marched in with them and declared himself the King of America in perpetuity —what then? Suppose he called on all military men in the vicinity to arrest the corrupt and traitorous bureaucrats, suppose he issued an ultimatum to the vast invisible leviathan— could it have worked? Such a thing sounds preposterous and yet the reaction from the regime itself suggests that it fears this possibility. Is it only that the Jan 6 protestors violated the sanctum sanctorum of the imperial cult of the USA, or is it something more?
The big mistake people make when they imagine these kinds of victory scenarios is that they stop thinking one second after they win. Life isn’t a movie, it’s an endless series of sequels, and even if we had Trump as the king, that’s only the first step. The bureaucracy, however corrupt it is, still mostly works even today, and our goal isn’t just to put our guys in at the top, it’s also to make it work better. All those banal administrative tasks that the leviathan performs still need doing. You still have 42 million feral blacks milling around. The women are all still emancipated, and most people still think that’s a good thing. True, normies are highly malleable to power and propaganda, but both of those things need to be exercised at a mass scale. It’s much easier to imagine revolution than it is to imagine governing, but revolutions are destructive and brief even in the best cases, and governance is slow and boring and it’s what we actually need.
Normies think this way because revolution is the modality of the left, and the normies who support Trump are overwhelmingly still enthralled to the Spirit of ‘68. They have, as many on our side, like to say, “good instincts” — they aren’t on board with all this woke craziness. Drag queen story hour. The gender unicorn. Transwomen cheating our biodaughters out of their rightful glory in women’s sports leagues. That’s a comfortable level of dissent. They may have rejected the high church of progress, but they still subscribe to the low church. They’re still reading the same book. They know they oppose wokeness, but they also don’t know how to oppose it, or what exactly they oppose. When you push them, most normiecons find it impossible to articulate a critique of feminism or homosexuality, they think the problem with antiracism is that it’s racist, and their only principled objection to transexuality is that it’s something for adults, not kids. They will reflexively deploy left-egalitarian rhetoric to ground their moral stances, because that’s the software they’re running, and the anti-wokism is down to the fact that conservatives are slow to adopt any change in any direction. The average normiecon was radically unequipped even to argue against something like Black Lives Matter before Christopher Rufo gave them the label “critical race theory.”
Conservatives are partly open to reactionary thinking, because to them it sounds like an excuse not to change. We all know they’ve never conserved anything, and that they regard any social condition which was present when they came of age as the default state of the world, as the good old days. Conservatives are neither right nor left wing, what they are is stubborn. They appear slightly right-wing in the same way that a light which is rapidly moving away from you appears red: it’s an instance of the doppler effect, a red shift. They are attracted to the aesthetic of transgression, but in practice, they want the same thing as any other normie: they want good vibes. They have slightly better targets for their normie sadism, but ultimately they are the same as leftist normies, except they would like their DEIB formulated in Christian language rather than secular scientific language. If you spread bad vibes, they might even defend the progressive consensus, the spirit of ‘68, with declarations of Christian piety. One man repeats a line from John Oliver, another quotes a Bible verse, and (most bafflingly) a third recites some mawkish pledge of allegiance to Adolf Hitler, but they’re all doing the same thing: they’re reciting their personal litany against Bad Vibes!
The spirit of ‘16 is a right-revolutionary spirit. It does not desire stasis or conservation. It desires radical change. The more conservative proponents of the spirit of ‘16 square this circle by framing the change as a return or a restoration, but the one thing the leftists are right about is that you can’t turn back the clock. The spirit of ‘16 is the realization that feminism, colorblind anti-racism, and the entire LGBTQ bbq are all one thing, they’re a package deal, and the moment you judge people “not by the color of their skin,” that’s the same moment that a woman starts to need a man like a fish needs a bicycle, and that’s the same moment that love is love, even when that purported love is constituted by piss orgies, anal prolapses, and deliberate self-infection with HIV.
That’s a vile thing to write. It’s a vile thing to contemplate. And that’s the difference between the spirit of ‘68 and the spirit of ‘16. The latter is born of a willingness to confront the ugliness and the foul consequences of the spirit of ‘68. That’s why it trades principally in “hate facts.” The spirit of ‘16 knows that black IQ is on average one standard deviation lower than white. It knows that despite making up just 13% of the population blacks commit 60% of homicides. It knows the average gay man has over 100 different sexual partners in his life, and the outliers may have thousands, and that what gay marriage is really talking about is men brutally fucking each other in the ass; It knows that 100% of homosexual adoption is child sexual exploitation. The spirit of ‘16 knows that gender confirmation surgery is adult genital mutilation. It knows that a trans woman is a man who gets off on the idea of himself as a woman, so he has a surgeon cut a bloody gash between his legs, which smells like a septic tank for the rest of his life. The spirit of ‘16 knows that the vast majority of homosexuals, male and female, were sexually abused as children, because homosexuals are vampires who “reproduce” through sexual molestation. This is only the tip of the iceberg, (or the icestein, or the icenthal, if you prefer.)
And to even state any of these things, to know these things, let alone to dwell on them—or god forbid, draw conclusions from them— is to create bad vibes. In our own little online reality tunnel, all of these truths have become so ubiquitous that we find them boring. But just try telling one of your female coworkers, for example, any of this (no really don’t.) The spirit of ‘16 does not trade in these truths out of hatred, but out of love. I really mean that. The spirit of ‘68 is driven by motherly love: she wants to bring all of her children together and have no more fighting and no more war, everyone feeling welcome, everyone feeling good about themselves. The spirit of ‘16 is fatherly love: laying down laws, protecting immature people from the consequences of their own desires, punishing wickedness in order that it may cease. The spirit of ‘68 is so ascendant in our society that fatherly love is effectively illegal, because again, the ultimate animus of leftism is “fuck you, dad.”
Donald Trump is a normie, but he’s also a king. This isn’t the conservative think piece that winds you up and blueballs you, a diagnosis without an answer. The answer is that we need a Donald Trump, and no other Trumps are forthcoming, so we have to work with the one we have. But the answer is also that Donald Trump is necessary but not sufficient, and no one really knows what else we need. Donald Trump has the power, through the sheer force of charisma, to charm the Normie into going along with the spirit of ‘16. He doesn’t have the power to actually change what the Normie believes, but his masculine defiance of the overbearing mommy state is empowering to the great mass of men in this country who are downtrodden and browbeaten by a system that despises them. (Even as they are complicit in that system, even though it depends on them; we are, as Vaclav Havel had it, both the inmates and the jailers in the gay nigger feminist state.)
In 2016, the brief, bright, hot fire of reaction drew some independent and unconventional thinkers, and it also drew a much larger mass of people who are psychologically normal. Independent thinkers don’t cooperate well, which is why they are independent in the first place. As a result, they can only share a group identity and a group being as long as there’s a Schelling point like Trump to smooth over all of their differences. Trump was always the president of poasting, and when they ritualistically banned him from Twitter on January 8th, all the heat started slowly draining out of us. The normiecons scattered. The right-revolutionary thinkers—the poasters—no longer had a center. But everyone still remembered what it was like to have a center, to have a Trump. In the intervening years, we have mostly forgotten.
Modern storytelling, steeped in the Spirit of ‘68 political formula of No Gods, No Masters, never really conveys to people how good it feels to be led by a worthy leader (set aside for a moment the question of Trump’s worth; he certainly felt worthy). To us children of the revolution, it sounds so foreign to suggest that a man might fondly regard his king. Indeed, all of the stories in all of the media we’ve ever been exposed to have been about how awful it is when authority resides in an individual. The reality is quite different and quite jarring: the feeling of having a worthy and benevolent leader is almost messianic.
It’s not surprising that various political actors, having noticed the messianic fervor around Trump, have tried to copy it to promote their own dull candidates from CIA central casting. Andrew Yang was an early iteration of this, and Vivek Ramaswamy is suspicious. The Ron DeSantis campaign has employed similar tactics. These campaigns pay professional graphic designers to make memes with vaporwave aesthetics, as if it was the color scheme that got Trump elected, and not the force of his personality. Attempts to astroturf this messianic quality are doomed to failure, but there are lesser lights who captured some of that salvific energy in Trump’s absence. Bronze Age Pervert and Nick Fuentes are two notables here, and I think both of them did so unwittingly, but this essay isn’t about them. Anyone can be the object of messianic ideation, but usually people imprint on one or two personalities who were instrumental in their own personal red pill journey. Others turn to more distant figures. The left liked to call Trump Hitler, so we memed him as Hitler, and the younger people in the “movement” didn’t get the joke, so they became unironic Hitlerists. I don’t call them nazis because they aren’t nazis; and they can’t be, because the national socialist party doesn’t exist any more.
(By the way, you can see the exact same tendency manifest on the left in the recent happenings with the host of Chapo Trap House Matthew Christman. The way his dysgenic, braindead fans reacted to the news of his stroke shows that he was a savior figure to them; he even has the right name for it: Christ-man.)
Many of these people claim to be Christian, and I’m not trying to insult Christians, but it’s interesting how many Christians seem to satisfy their soteriological urges by participating in new and timely eschatological narratives which necessitate new and timely saviors. It’s almost as if Christianity has become too abstract in post-industrial life and it no longer fulfills our psychological needs as they pertain to religion. I don’t think anyone, regardless of their professed religious attachments, is doing this intentionally, or that they think of Donald Trump, or Bronze Age Pervert, or any other online figure in explicitly messianic terms, but it seems to be a consequence of the parasocial online environment, the perplexing simultaneity of distance and proximity.
I call this tendency Messianic Onlineism: we have seen so many people jump from savior to savior, until they eventually burn out and stand in the corner calling everyone a fed (for real though, everyone-ish who was involved in Charlottesville was later coerced into collusion with law enforcement.) When one savior says something you don’t agree with, something that ruins your vibe, you look for another. It’s a totally passive way of being, a normie way of being. To see this pushed to its pathological limit, recall the recent episode of Oliver Anthony, whose Rorschach ink blot country and western song was the current thing for a few days. The discourse around this man resembled nothing so much as a worn out roastie who still believes in love trying to talk herself into and out of whether or not she should sleep with him. He has such nice red hair, such a cute accent! No you fool, he’s an op, a fed, a fed op, an op fed, a post-op, a post-op fed, he’s here to trick you.
Take a step back and consider how insane this is. What is he here to trick you into doing? Listening to his song? Need I remind of you of Sailer’s Law of Coal Miner Country Singers? The most heartfelt songs by coal miners tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the coal miner himself will be considered richer. My nigger in Christ, he is an 84-iq appalachian who sings in doggerel. But all of this schizophrenic self-blather between the right and its own asshole makes perfect sense when you understand it’s the egregore of messianic onlineism trying to figure out whether Oliver Anthony is a suitable object of messianic online esteem. “Don’t get fooled again!” hisses the jaded, used up emotional whore in your lizard brain that has mistaken parasocial attachments for soteriological affordances so many times before. The only thing that feels better than finding the messiah is heaping vitriol on a false one.
Donald Trump is the ultimate object of messianic online attachment. He is the president of online, he is the one who was going to save us. They weren’t after him, they were after us, and he was just in the way. Trust the plan, anon. Get your popcorn, you’re going to love the way this movie ends. Is the QAnon spectacular vernacular the most perfect distillation of this tendency ever invented? The perversity of making Trump into a messiah is that as much it’s wrong, it has the potential to be partly correct.
Donald Trump is necessary but he’s not sufficient, and the spirit of ‘16 is the answer to the spirit of ‘68, for those who have the courage embrace it. For the moment, Donald Trump is essential to the spirit of ‘16, and although he could be replaced, it won’t be with any lifelong GOP stuffed suit, someone who was groomed to be a politician, pushed through WEF pipelines, the USA version of Komsomol. The regime declared war on everyone who voted for Trump, on everyone who supported him, on everyone who participated in January 6th or who dared to help him in any way. To vote for Trump again is to enlist as a soldier in that war, even though it’s not clear at this time how you’re going to coordinate and fight. It won’t be enough to sit around waiting for Trump to save you. Winning in real life isn’t like winning in Christianity. You don’t just give your heart to Christ (vote) and then wait for the salvation to roll in.
On the topic of faith vs. works, the Trumpists are going to have to earn salvation. They’re going to have to become worthy, and the only way to do that is by embracing the spirit of ‘16. I wish I could give you an easy answer regarding how to become worthy, but there isn’t one. The first step is doing all of the good things you were going to do anyway: being physically fit, financially secure, and self-sufficient. Christ might save you from your sins in the next life, but no one is going to save you in this life except for yourself. The spirit of ‘68 mostly tears things down, and the spirit of ‘16 needs to build them. This is harder, takes longer, and fails most of the time. You have to do all that, do it correctly, and then patiently wait for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that’s impossible to anticipate precisely. And then you have to not flinch.
What you absolutely don’t do to become worthy is join some SPLC-adjacent movement like Unite the Right Charlottesville 2.0 rally, or some paramilitary organization and go throwing romans on a highway bridge. All of these types of groups are funded and organized by the ADL, the SPLC, and the FBI, and they exist to scare up donor money to left wing causes and justify censorship of right-wing voices. Protests and rallies aren’t how the little guy speaks truth to power. Protests and rallies are how the powerful extract ritualistic obedience from their subjects. A BLM march or a women’s choice protest isn’t The People Using Their Voice, it’s a church service, attended for the edification of the believer. That doesn’t mean don’t go to a Trump rally, it means if you do go, do it with open eyes.
The value proposition of Trump is that he actually has what it takes to displace the imperial cult of the USA and recenter it around himself. On August 23rd, 2023, Trump released an interview with Tucker Carlson in lieu of appearing at the Republican Primary Debate. On August 24th, Fox news released Trump’s mugshot following his arrest in Fulton County, Georgia. The mugshot was an instant classic, and the interview was full of that same sharp wit and arrogant charm that won so many of our hearts eight years ago. For two whole days, it was 2016 again, and I remembered that sense of optimism from the early Trump years, that sense of possibility.
Maybe the spirit of ‘16 isn’t dead? But no, Zero, no, you’ll just get hurt if you think that way, probably literally, probably by people affiliated with various intelligence agencies. Fortunately, as a Biden supporter, I am confident that Trump will never be allowed to run in 2024. After all, he committed treason against the United States and tried to manipulate an election and launch a coup against are Democracy. I’m equally confident that if he did manage to run, he would never win. There would be another mirage on election night, a miraculous act of god like a water pipe bursting in multiple vote tallying offices at 3am, and then hundreds of thousands of new Biden votes would appear just in time to save the day.
BUY VOLUME II ISSUE VI