James Duesterberg writes:
Yarvin and Land continue to thrive in the liberal milieu into which they were born. “I live in San Francisco,” Yarvin brags, “I grew up as a Foreign Service brat, I went to Brown, I’ve been brushing my teeth with Tom’s of Maine since the mid-Eighties.” Both can be considered architects of the emerging tech- and knowledge-based economy; they are the “autistic nerds” that, Land says, “alone are capable of participating effectively” in the emerging economic system. But even they do not feel at home in this world they have helped to build. If the new anti-liberal politics runs on ressentiment, as commentators on both the left and right have suggested, the nerds of neoreaction channel this sense of betrayal at the heart of the American liberal project into an either/or Boolean clarity. Their passion rivals that of their avowed enemy, the “social justice warrior.” And what they believe is, quite simply, that everything about the modern world is a lie. (…)
But this escape route from history, or fantasy, leads in a loop. Neoreaction borrows its “realist” politics from a fictional film, and sustains it through a thriving online subculture, sparking with arcane references and “meme magic.” What’s fascinating is that people love the movie. The “autistic nerds” and failsons, sitting in their man caves or their parents’ basements, dream of a world realer than their own: primal and gooey-thick, the real depth behind the flat image. But it is Neo who wakes up into this world; and Neo exists in our imagination, his image on our screens. If we wonder at the rise of the alt right—at the fact that the ideology most capable of galvanizing political passions is the one that promises to overcome politics once and for all—we should notice that their fantasies in fact look a lot like our reality. Man caves exist, and they shape our world; the neoreactionary is not the only one who lives in their shadows. (…)
Trump’s election, in which the alt right’s ideological warfare certainly played a part, is not the end of this story. Bannon, for one, described him as a “blunt instrument for us” who may not, himself, “get it.” But the imaginative investment in Trump, however temporary, reveals something important about politics in the present. If he can be, as posters on 4chan put it, “memed into existence,” then perhaps miracles can happen; a route out of the omnipresent Cathedral starts to seem mappable.