Vox has a new article on Curtis Yarvin, a software engineer and far-right blogger who’s made friends with powerful supporters of former president Donald Trump, and it’s filled with horrifying ideas on how Trump should wield power if he ever takes back the White House. But there’s one idea that seems like it’s stolen from the absolute worst corners of Silicon Valley: Yarvin wants Trump to have an app that his followers can use to get directions about where to go and what to do.
Yarvin, more commonly known by his online pseudonym Mencius Moldbug, is one of the most extreme far-right personalities who’s gained mainstream attention in Republican circles during recent years. Yarvin believes democracy has failed and wants an authoritarian ruler to exert control over the U.S. (he dislikes the term fascist, only because his model of dictatorship predates the big-F Fascism of Italy in the 1920s).
Since starting his blog 15 years ago, Yarvin has become friends with people like the current GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Arizona, Blake Masters, the current GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Ohio, J.D. Vance, and former Trump advisor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Yarvin also writes for the Claremont Insitute think tank and has been interviewed by Fox News personality Tucker Carlson. And it’s these associations which give Yarvin a platform for spreading far-right policies in the real world.
What does Yarvin’s hypothetical “Trump App” do? Trump supporters could sign up and get their marching orders about who to vote for in various primaries and elections, according to Yarvin. But the most chilling part of the new Vox article is when Yarvin says a new app would be useful to mobilize citizens and police against anything the dictator wants.
From the new article in Vox by Andrew Prokop:
Finally, throughout this process, Yarvin wants to be able to get the new ruler’s supporters to take to the streets. “You don’t really need an armed force, you need the maximum capacity to summon democratic power that you can find,” he told Anton. He pointed to the “Trump app” idea again, which he said could collect 80 million cell numbers and notify people to tell them where to go and protest (“peacefully”) — for instance, they could go to an agency that’s defying the new leader’s instructions, to tell them, “support the lawful orders of this new lawful authority.”
He points to the post-Soviet revolutions in Eastern Europe as a model, saying the enormous mass of people “shouldn’t be menacing in this January 6 sense, it should have this joyous sense that you’re actually winning and winning forever and the world is being completely remade.” And he says that though many police officers follow orders during their day jobs, many of them also support Trump — so perhaps they could signal that by putting on “a special armband.”
Yarvin says that such an app could be created with “a few billion dollars,” and seems to suggest there are like-minded people in the world who could get Trump his few billion dollars pretty easily.
“I think it could be done by, um, anyone with a few billion dollars to spare,” he continued. “This is what pisses me off — that I don’t know anyone with, like, billions of dollars who could do this.” He then paused, which you can read into as you wish. “Oh — you know, such is life.”
The entire Vox article is definitely worth reading, if only to understand how extremism is being normalized in an era of increased racism and anti-semitism. And if even half of Yarvin’s vision succeeds, the U.S. would be a dramatically different country than the one it is today.
Admittedly, many of Yarvin’s ideas seem like they could never happen, like the forced disbanding of private institutions like Harvard and the New York Times. But, then again, the idea of Donald Trump ever becoming president was once little more than a punchline.
Americans need to take Yarvin seriously and figure out how to make sure Trump and his followers never take power again. Because Yarvin has plenty more ideas beyond his app. As just one example, the fascist blogger suggested in 2008 that anyone who isn’t wealthy be outfitted with an electronic monitoring device that “continuously reports your position to the authorities.” Yarvin writes that, “If no crimes are committed near your location, you have nothing to worry about.”
Yarvin’s ideas really are the worst of sci-fi come to life. And he has the ear of extremely powerful people. We can’t say we weren’t warned.