Andrew Yang and Accelerationism 2.0
“Andrew Yang can’t quite believe he’s running for president. On a chilly Wednesday night at Boston Common, he’s speaking to a crowd of more than 500, the kind of audience most outsider candidates would kill for. His staff has primed the crowd to respond, telling us to cheer “math” when he talks numbers and leading us in a three-beat cheer. “An! Drew! Yang! An! Drew! Yang!”
When Yang gets on the bandstand, he seems to find the whole thing sort of funny. “Chant! My! Name!” he yells back. “Chant! My! Name!” …
That unremitting bleakness has led some of the more rabid online fans to name Yang as the “chaos candidate,” a title previously held by Donald Trump. It’s an “accelerationist” idea, working from the premise that the present society cannot be saved. For accelerationists, the most humane course of action is to bring about collapse as quickly as possible, like ripping off a Band-Aid, to prepare for the next societal order.
I explain the idea to Yang, who seems to be hearing it for the first time.
“That’s highly interesting,” he says. “Is there a view of what that end state looks like?”
I tell him it’s hazy at best.
“Because to me, the end state looks unthinkably terrible,” he says, loading up the mental cache of numbers again. “Even now, we have an epidemic not just of drug overdoses, but of anxiety, depression, and mental health problems. If you load pervasive financial insecurity and scarcity on top, you will have a population that starts dying younger, is less rational, does not know what to do.”
He is looking off to the side in concentration now, his voice still low but more forceful. “People think Donald Trump is a problem. No, Donald Trump is a symptom of this ongoing transformation,” he says. “The path from here to figuring it out is fraught with a lot of misery and suffering. And right now, our political feedback mechanism in this country is breaking down… So the accelerationism idea, it might be satisfying, but do we really want to sit around and watch our society come apart?” …”
Accelerationism is a strategy from the White Nationalism 1.0 world. Basically, it is the idea that we should collapse the system with violence and bring on Ragnarok, which is what Dylann Roof and Brenton Tarrant tried to do in their shooting sprees. They succeeded in getting gun control passed in New Zealand and Facebook to censor any promotion of White Nationalism.
There are many of us who dislike that “strategy” for obvious reasons. Every single time one of these nihilistic people self detonate for their fifteen minutes of fame the rest of us who do not believe in violence are invariably blamed for it. The goal is to further polarize society, intensify repression, radicalize moderates and bring on armed conflict to end political correctness. It had the opposite effect in our circles this time because it accelerated the search for a better political and cultural strategy.
Accelerationism was already being discussed in the context of the Yang campaign before the shooting in New Zealand. In that case, the idea was essentially lets vote for Yang in order to cause enough muh hyperinflation to financially crash the system. The underlying assumption, of course, is that there is any merit whatsoever to conservative and lolbertarian economics.
Why not take the concept of “accelerationism” as a strategy and flip it upside down? Instead of engaging in violence, we simply vote for a candidate in the other party in order to crash Conservatism, Inc. Instead of ratcheting up the polarization, we try to depolarize things. Instead of increasing the toxicity in our society, we try reason, persuasion and compromise instead to detoxify everything. It occurred to me that we could travel quite far in this direction.
In the 1930s and 1940s, we had the New Deal populist-progressive coalition in America. It was that coalition which solved any number of problems in our society. The long term trend of the last 75 years has been this intensification of the polarization in our culture and government. It is the ultimate reason why nothing of value is accomplished these days in Washington.
How do you go back to the way it was before? In order to do that, you have to reconstruct the political coalition that FDR had and move away from the one Blompf has today. This requires thinking hard about the issues that divide the Blue and Pink quadrants of the American electorate. It occurred to me that the primary two issues are mass immigration and political correctness. Similarly, it occurred to me that Universal Basic Income was appealing to both of these camps.
Look it from a Feng Shui perspective: the energy can be extremely negative or can be extremely positive. Accelerationism 2.0 is healing energy.
Note: Don’t laugh. Master Feng knew who would win the 2016 election.
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