The Corner

The Real Primary: Cthulhu vs. Smod

In Kevin’s typically brilliant piece on Dark Age Economics, he writes:

There is no reason, in theory, that one could not buy a Picasso masterpiece and pay for it in coffee, or in coffee futures, or in barrels of West Texas Intermediate crude. But most sellers, and most buyers, prefer currency — a restaurant in Austin has a sign proclaiming that it “proudly does not accept the American Express Card, Visa, MasterCard, checks, chickens, or pesos.” Dollars do not have any inherent value; as my favorite presidential candidate, the mighty Cthulhu (“Why Vote for a Lesser Evil?”) put it, dollars are merely “pieces of green paper backed solely by religious dogma.” (Cthulhu’s fiscal policy? “He permits his devotees to collect as much paper in as many colors as they happen to like.”). . . . 

I found this curious. Kevin’s preferred candidate is Cthulhu? Don’t get me wrong, I get the appeal. Cthulhu gets things done. He doesn’t pander. He certainly seems to believe in a kind of sound-money policy (by the way, I’m using the masculine pronoun for convenience, not descriptive accuracy; Cthulhu is beyond sex and gender). But Cthulhu poses some problems as a presidential candidate. The first that comes to mind is that he is evil.

I should note that the claim that Cthulhu is evil has actually sparked some controversy on Twitter. Some of his devotees tell me that he’s beyond mortal conceptions of evil which, of course, is what evil people always say. Moreover, his campaign slogan is “Why vote for the lesser evil?” Is he lying? Will he be a flip-flopper, refusing to follow through on his platform of full-spectrum evil? The last thing this country needs is an EDINO — Evil Deity In Name Only. No, I take him at his word.

Call me old-fashioned, but even though I take a back seat to no one in appreciating the appeal of a cleansing fire that shall sanitize this corrupt husk of a planet, choosing evil still strikes me as morally problematic.

There are other issues. For example there’s a major church–state problem here. The Cult of Cthulhu is “an organization of humans who are convinced that Cthulhu’s return is inevitable and work to hasten it. They foresee a time when Cthulhu will rise up and rule over Earth, and mankind will cast aside concepts of civilization and inhibition. Chaoswill ensue, and men will revel in their most base instincts.”

I for one think we have enough base-instinct reveling going on, and replacing public-sector unions with Cthulhu cultists strikes me as, at best, a modest improvement. Also, this strikes me as an argument for one-worldism, which we here at NR have historically rejected.

I could go on, but I’m sick of negative campaigning. We have too much of that in our politics today.

I suggest that for the principled conservative looking to chuck it all in and give up, there’s only one candidate with the credentials and philosophy the times require. I’m referring, of course, to the Sweet Meteor of Death, Smod to his friends.

Smod describes himself as a “pre-cambrian conservative.” He has no cultists looking to rule in his name. He doesn’t endorse evil, merely the sweet release of planetary destruction. While Cthulhu can be a bit of windbag, Smod makes no speeches, he makes no sounds at all as he glides through the cosmic ether. Calvin Coolidge looks loquacious by comparison. Meanwhile, Cthulhu’s will is unpredictable, he vows chaos and anarchy here on earth. Smod provides what the market demands: certainty, predictability, and simple rules for a complex society. Who knows what Cthulhu will do tomorrow? With Smod there is no tomorrow. He has the single-minded focus only a cold and soulless inanimate object can provide.

Last, Smod is real. We don’t know when he’ll get here, but odds are he eventually will. Sure, “Why Choose the Lesser Evil?” is a great bumper sticker, but aren’t we tired of fakes who fail to deliver? To borrow a phrase from Seinfeld, Smod is real and he’ll be spectacular (for a fraction of a second. And then silence. Sweet, sweet silence).

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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