I am told I’m supposed to take The Dark Enlightenment seriously. I can’t. I just can’t. What it is is mostly a bunch of pretentious white dudebro computer programmers with a fascist ideology who write tortuous long-winded screeds off the top of their heads, with most of their ‘data’ coming from pop culture movies like The Matrix, and a few similarly clueless nerds who think it’s neat-o. I take it seriously only in the same way I take Libertarianism seriously: it’s a nucleus for idiots to coalesce around.Apart from thinking it unkind to dorks -- with whom I sympathize at least and identify in part -- to tar them with the brush of retro-futurological libertechbrotarian dead-enders like these, I quite agree with Myers' sentiments, as regular readers already know.
I also have to say that, like Myers apparently, I do have folks occasionally e-mailing me to comment on these jokers. Some who do so seem earnestly worried about this nonsense, while others seem to be trying to whomp up undeserved attention for this marginal movement for whatever reasons. Since I make fun of Robot Cultists of the transhumanoidal, singularitarian, techno-immortalist, nano-cornucopiast sects fairly regularly, it is fair enough that some would imagine I'd be up for skewering pretty much any brand of futurological foolishness and con-artistry crawling out of the clown car, I suppose. But as I have said repeatedly, it is mostly because transhumanoidal eugenists, singularitarian digitopians, nano-santa techno-boosters represent clarifying extremities of more prevailing and mainstream forms of neoliberal optimization, globalization, financialization, marketing deception, and promotional hyperbole that I critique Robot Cultists, hoping to expose underlying pathologies we have otherwise come catastrophically to take for granted.
In my judgment, the retro-futurists of the "New Reaction" don't seem to me to connect in a particularly interesting way to a more prevailing discourse -- they mostly just seem like dumb privileged white guys socialized in undereducated undercritical pop-tech subcultures indulging in paranoid defensive dead-ender white-racist techbro self-congratulation. Their go-to intellectuals seem dumb and pompous and more than a little embarrassing, to be honest. And I also just don't see any kind of relevant near-term future for this particular Robot Cult cul-de-sac. As an organizational subculture there is little growth potential for these poor fellows. I think muckraking temperaments and even conspiracists would be better employed attending to the historical and funding and membership and logrolling relations of the MIT Media Lab, OMNI, The Well, WIRED, TechCentralStation (defunct but still dynamistic!), Edge.org, The Long Now Foundation, various awful TED-affiliated projects, the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute, the Stanford Singularity Summits, Singularity University, co-reports by the National Science Foundation and Commerce Department like their futurological agitprop about NBIC "convergence" and "enhancement" medicine, DARPA, Google and other tech companies indulging in AI-deadender discourse and futurological blue-skying, various e-cash and e-security firms with roots in cryptoanarchist subcultures, the whole archipelago of corporate-military thinks tanks indulging in climate change denialism and toxic profiteering and bleeding over into movement Republican deregulatory and cronyist apologiae. Those organizational relations have some real stories to tell, and are having real world impacts here and now. The Dark Enlightenment, to the contrary, is like a very minor Bell Curve Star Wars Vladimir Putin fandom or something. If you want to go down a rabbit hole, start connecting dots between Stewart Brand, Ray Kurzweil, Nick Bostrom, and Peter Thiel: Enjoy! At most, these low rent Dark Enlightenment cosplayers and online manifesto pamphleteers rate a single scarcely attended panel at a third tier Con. And, frankly, even as a cultural symptom there are simply much more interesting and eerie forms the particular irrational fears and fantasies of these whiny white guys also take that are more worthy of our attention, from survivalist gun-nuttery to self-actualization PowerPoint presentations in Ramada Inns for start-up techbros and Vegas boner pill and nutritional supplement trade shows as well as the common or garden variety Obama derangements that yield the bananas bounty of Christianist know-nothingism and the Tea Party Neo-Confederacy.