01:00 Luke’s vision for humanity
03:00 BAP’s secret decoder ring for the ancients
18:00 Mencius Moldbug aka Curtis Yarvin
21:00 Against the New Paganism, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk1su1lt7bE
49:00 Bronze Age Pervert is explicitly anti-Christian
1:03:00 Bronze Age Pervert’s Fascist Philosophy – ANALYSIS, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0mb8TnTQ_8
1:07:00 Submit to Freedom: Geoffrey & Justin talk about Bronze Age Mindset, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqOxU7bXlpg
The Bronze Age Mindset (6-22-18):
Should aristocrats of the spirit have sex with each other or seize power in a military coup?
Whatever passes for conservative thought in the American academy usually passes through the influence of Leo Strauss. In his teaching, the political philosopher combined an outward respect for liberal democracy with concern that this regime neutralizes the higher types of human beings, those capable of free thinking. Strauss, however, developed his ideas in an elliptical fashion meant to evoke the kind of thought he held to be the privilege of this type.
Out of the Straussian fold sometimes emerge singular thinkers who galvanize public opinion. One was Strauss’ student Allan Bloom… On the surface, Bloom offered Reagan’s America a defense of the literary canon and old-fashioned morality against the “relativism” of the post-’60s left. But perspicacious readers—including Bloom’s former student, the queer theorist Eve Sedgwick—would notice he argued that the true pedagogue awakens intelligent young men to free thinking by inculcating contempt for democracy and mass culture, and that this awakening includes a (homo)erotic element. Closing of the American Mind was misrecognized by ordinary readers in something of the way that the Village People’s ode to gay cruising, “YMCA,” became the anthem of dorky straight people at sporting events. For all the absurdity of this situation, however, Bloom’s bestseller served a philosophical aim, directing a minority of readers to his studies of Plato’s Republic and Symposium, which are pinnacles of philosophical and political insight.
Bloom might have remained an isolated monument of reactionary homoeroticism, but our era has its own Closing of the American Mind and its own Bloom: Bronze Age Mindset and Costin Alamariu, who is widely understood to have been its author. Bronze Age Mindset, a campy, fascistic “exhortation” written half in internet slang, has by now been reviewed by every would-be intellectual trying to demonstrate his daring proximity to the limits of acceptable opinion. Alamariu, however, is no basement-dwelling “incel,” as some of his sneering critics would have it. He is an Ivy-educated political philosopher, trained in the Straussian tradition. His doctoral dissertation, The Problem of Tyranny and Philosophy in Plato and Nietzsche, deserves recognition as one of the most lucid reformulations Strauss’ teaching, and most bracing revivals of Bloom’s practice.
Alamariu lays out with great clarity what he takes to be Strauss’ views. Strauss, he argues, held that Plato took from Athens’ execution of Socrates the lesson that political life—perhaps particularly in a democracy—threatens philosophy, i.e., the free exercise of reason in search of truth. Because truly thinking people challenge convention, they appear wicked to their less-intelligent neighbors, who persecute them. A society, like that of classical Athens, in which public opinion finds ready expression in law, requires such thinkers to disguise themselves. To evade persecution, or perhaps even to rule the beguiled multitude, Plato secretly enjoined philosophers to wear a mask of virtue, conforming in appearance with—but quietly influencing—their neighbor’s beliefs.
Alamariu deserves credit for divining, and insisting upon, this aspect of Strauss’ thought—that Strauss was only a friend to our liberal democracy in an ironic, unstraightforward way, and that his praise or blame of our regime and its enemies must be interpreted with great hermeneutic finesse. Alamariu is a careful, thoughtful exegete—when it suits him to be. For this reason the superficial crudeness, even stupidity, of Bronze Age Mindset and Alamariu’s persona on Twitter (@bronzeagemantis), appear as a strategic dumbing-down of certain of the points made in his dissertation, as a tactic for generating interest in his work, or as a means of acting, in a peculiar fashion, on another, non-philosophical audience. In fact, his dissertation outlines, quite openly, the rationale for such an approach, which shows Alamariu to be a rogue disciple of Bloom.
Like many closeted gay men, and indeed many uncloseted ones, Bloom seems to have enjoyed little more than speculating on who else was secretly gay. As his friend Saul Bellow reports in Ravelstein, his novelized version of Bloom’s last days, the philosopher spent much of their conversations speculating about the sexuality of his students—and thus, potentially, their sexual availability. He had a passion for bringing young male minds to philosophy and young male bodies to his bed. Indeed, Closing of the American Mind and Bloom’s final essay in his less-read but far more brilliant Love and Friendship are semi-clandestine justifications for a postmodern version of the original “Socratic method” of combining erotic and intellectual approaches to pedagogy.
Recognizing kindred spirits was the core of Bloom’s pedagogy, and not only in the sexual sense. Bloom inherited from his mentor Leo Strauss a vision of teaching and writing that aimed at separating a handful of potential philosophers who could be awakened into original thinking from the vulgar mass of ordinary mortals. There was a gradation of human types, with people like themselves at the top; the primary purpose of education, as of eros, is of finding one’s type.
This was true not only in the libidinally charged space of the classroom, but also in the public sphere, where Bloom, through his bestselling Closing of the American Mind, could address two audiences. On the one hand were the conservative masses willing to pay for Bloom’s diatribes against the Rolling Stones, blue jeans, and oral sex, and his defense of traditional liberal arts education; on the other were the unbelieving few who, seeing through his moralizing bromides, could detect the transgressive sexual and intellectual exhortation at the heart of his teaching. The latter types would learn, ideally, not only this teaching, but how to conceal it from the former, following the political prudence inculcated by Strauss.
Great people must be produced and perfected through an erotic education that aims at making young men more vigorous, physically perfect, and hostile to our supposedly feminized, egalitarian society (Alamariu, like Bloom, is frankly uninterested in women). Alamariu’s project involves a combination of erotic pedagogy, in the vein of the ancient Greeks and of Bloom, along with a program of eugenics, the outlines of which he only sketches but which resemble no less the ideal city of Plato’s Republic than the biopolitics of the Third Reich.
Alamariu forces us to recall how little distance separates the teachings of Strauss—on which much of modern American conservative intellectual life is based—from outright totalitarianism. Indeed, Plato, the cornerstone of Western philosophy, has often appeared to readers as a guide to utterly illiberal government.
Our regime needs protection, they sensed, from its most dangerous enemies—those who imagine themselves as exceptionally intelligent and worthy, and unfairly restrained by the rules and standards of ordinary people. This type, which rebels against the conformism and mediocrity of democratic life, has to be coaxed back into the fold of convention, or at least into an outward, ironic acceptance of public norms. Such people can be made safe for, and perhaps even useful to, democracy, on the condition that they be convinced that they are in fact superior to the rest of us—so dangerously superior that they cannot even make their superiority known. Strauss’ and Bloom’s analysis of human types, by these lights, is to be read not as the self-affirmation of a philosophical elite, but as a ploy by which readers who take themselves to be stifled by the democratic herd can be reconciled to our society. The real esoteric teaching would be that the very idea of an “esoteric teaching,” and of a philosophical few who alone can divine it, is not addressed to genuine free-thinkers but to the “gentlemen” who naively take themselves to be intellectual elites. These are the enemies of democracy.