Authoritarian Nostalgia — Brief Thoughts on Thiel, Yarvin & The Deep Right

Dan Hanrahan
2 min readMay 11, 2022

Currently, on the right, and even the left, there is a resurgence of a fondness for authoritarianism. It seems each day there is a new variation on this wretched theme. One day, it’s Republicans pursuing fascist agendas. The next day, it’s left “anti-imperialists” seeking to bleach out the prolific war crimes of a demented and sadistic soul like Bashar al-Assad.

Have you heard about the latest authoritarian iteration to sprout up like a poison flower of doom? Why, it’s the so-called “Deep Right.” These are primarily white male drips supported and promoted by Christian Fundamentalist megalomaniac tech billionaire, Peter Thiel. One of their “thought leaders” is the erstwhile poet and computer programmer Curtis Yarvin. Curtis’ project is monarchism. Really. He wants to bring it back. And before you laugh, consider the fact that Thiel’s backing and Curtis’ growing popularity make him more then a mere lamentable curiosity. (That’s what many of us thought Donald Trump and Marge Greene were, after all).

If you were bored and directionless and subconsciously terrified of global heating and nuclear armageddon and were being endlessly pummeled by algorithms suggesting crazy-but-maybe-superficially-reasonable content, you might take a liking to some of Curtis’ quips. I read the recent Vanity Fair piece on Thiel and his rhetorical back-up singers and wrote the following in response to one of Curtis Yarvin’s many YouTube videos, “Monarchy is Not Fascism.” In the video’s comments, my perspective is practically a lone voice in a sea of nascent monarchists. (Again, really).

“ — Those willing to offer defanged depictions of authoritarian projects are, without fail, people interested in ingratiating themselves into the favored, non-targeted in group of such hierarchical projects (as Yarvin’s relationship to Peter Thiel illustrates).

-Additionally, these projects are supported by people who lack a sufficiently developed empathetic imagination; that is to say, their ethics are not developed to the point where they can really imagine what such regimes are like for the vast majority people not in power, those are on the receiving end of the unforgiving might of something like the Roman or Russian Empire (under whichever emperor or czar).

-Extreme vertical hierarchies, such as monarchies, are inevitably argued for by people who are sheltered enough to hold a naïve or callow view of humans and of history and who do not, therefore, recognize how centralized power most often results in madness, sadism, mass death, chaos and (ironically, given the professed values of Yarvin and the Deep Right), extreme moral decay.

- Finally, extreme hierarchies of the sort proffered by Yarvin are, by his own admission, presented with (a cool and distant) irony and a tedious arch attitude, so as to allow for maximum deniability.”