sarahpessin@sarahpessin.com

Past Voices

Some past thinkers being named in credible academic materials on emerging anti-democratic trends.

Note: I explore thinkers based on one or both of two criteria: Their anti-democracy ideas are (1) in the public record (publications, talks, credible interviews, etc.) and/or (2) being referenced (described, analyzed, etc.) in credible scholarship or news sources as actively influencing contemporary anti-democracy efforts. While I myself find anti-democracy dangerous, it does not follow that someone who explores anti-democracy is dangerous: It is possible that they are or that they are not; but regardless of their intentions, it is possible that their ideas generate dangerous possibilities that they did not envision.

(1898-1974)

Unabomber‘s Manifesto “Industrial Society and its Future” (1995)

Oswald SpenglerThe Decline of the West (1918 vol 1; 1922 vol 2; English 1926) / from Wikipedia: “Spengler’s model of history postulates that human cultures and civilizations are akin to biological entities, each with a limited, predictable, and deterministic lifespan….Spengler predicted that about the year 2000, Western civilization would enter the period of pre‑death emergency whose countering would lead to 200 years of Caesarism (extra-constitutional omnipotence of the executive branch of government) before Western civilization’s final collapse.”

Freidrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

  • e.g. idea of will to power, ubermensch; critique of ‘weak’ Judeo-Christian’ ethic of meekness and kindness

Martin Heidegger

Ludwig Von Mises | Austrian economist d. 1973

  • free-market capitalism; laissez-faire; opposes socialism; opposes interventionism

Deng Xiaoping – Curtis Yarvin is a fan

James Burnham, The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom

  • From Siegel 2022 essay on Curtis Yarvin: “Burnham argues that all complex societies are in effect oligarchies ruled by a small number of elites. To hide this fact and legitimize their rule in the eyes of the masses, oligarchies employ the powers of mystification and propaganda. Indeed, Yarvin believes that America stopped being a democracy sometime after the end of World War II and became instead a “bureaucratic oligarchy”—meaning that political power is concentrated within a small group of people who are selected not on the basis of hereditary title or pure merit but through their entry into the bureaucratic organs of the state. What remains of American democracy is pageantry and symbolism, which has about as much connection to the real thing as the city of Orlando has to Disney World.”