This week, I’m joined by Anatoly Karlin. He recently wrote a series of essays on how his political thinking has shifted over the last few years on issues like AI timelines, Russian nationalism, the problem with what he calls the “rightoid international,” and more. See his preface to the series, along with the three articles: “The Soypill Manifesto,” “The Z of History”, and “Why Jail is Programmed for All Rightoids.”
Anatoly and I have undergone somewhat parallel journeys. We started out as more conventional right-wingers, before becoming disillusioned with our former political allies for many of the same reasons, namely anti-vaxx sentiment, opposition to biotechnology, the embrace of conspiracy theories, and the overall stupidity that leads to such positions. We get into our mutual “reverse red pilling,” both of us having come to realize that the Western establishment is right about things like the value of open institutions and the superiority of democracy. The conversation keeps returning to many of the arguments made in my article on the year of Fukuyama.
We speculate on what motivates Putin and his media consumption diet. I bring up the point that Anatoly’s views on Russia and its leaders seem to have converged with those of writers like Masha Gessen and Julia Ioffe. Given his embrace of Russian nationalism as recently as early 2022, this is quite the shift in Anatoly’s worldview, but I think it reflects well on his honesty and character. We also cover the rise of China, and our perspectives on its development and potential to challenge the West.
Anatoly tells me about his decision to identify as an it/it and his calls for Russia to embrace LGBT as a way to align with the West and signal its new path forward. I ask how much he is trolling here, and the answer appears to be not all that much.
We also get into some of our disagreements. I’m not as sure of the AI singularity as Anatoly is, as I can’t get over the nagging feeling that this is all nonsense. Moreover, I think that covid reflected extremely poorly on the mainstream left, and that there are many redeeming features of American conservatism, probably due to the founding of the country being based on Enlightenment values. That being said, I’m getting there on public acceptance of homosexuality being a net positive, given how anti-LGBT sentiment is associated with so much of what I find detestable.
I recommend that everyone subscribe to Anatoly’s Substack and follow him on X. I’ve for years found him one of the most provocative and interesting bloggers out there, and would like to see his work get as much reach as possible.
The video and a transcript are below. Note that the transcript is AI-generated, and has not been checked for accuracy.