Mini-Feature: Black Pill Issues

Gonna need a tall glass of water with that

For the uninitiated, the black pill is “a catastrophic prophecy or spiritless prophesying for the future that is not necessarily grounded in reality. A red pill gone hopelessly bleak.” — Eds.

What issue are you most black pilled about?

The black pill. I think the largest and deepest problem we face on the black pill front is the state of Christianity in the West. There is only so much political power can do to straighten out, say, the family or education. But political power can at least heavily encourage and influence family formation and it could potentially create an educational system that isn't intrinsically corrupt. When it comes to religion, however, its influence is limited even at maximum power. It can potentially try to jump start religious revival, but it cannot manufacture it. Christianity is going to have to man up itself. That, it seems to me, will likely require things to get much worse before they get better.

-Matt Peterson


To me, the obviously most plausible black pill is connected to what Steve Bannon once said, namely that the only way through to the exit of today’s derelict and disfiguring globalized socioeconomic system is its collapse. Ross Douthat suggests that our decadence is actually fairly durable and could go on for generations—maybe even centuries—as we have seen in some historical instances. Putting these two different dystopian visions together, you get the prospect of a long and largely fruitless war of attrition by the ruled against the ruling class, whose efforts at truly cementing their rule do great harm but are doomed to eventual failure. Even if we somehow knew collapse was on its way, we don’t know how long the timeline is, and I suspect we can’t know in advance. “Accelerationists” argue that’s why we should just floor the gas pedal off the cliff, doing what we can to get the terminal period over with come what may. I can’t be on board with that, but it might end up happening anyway. An environment like this just makes it terribly hard to know how best to proceed in an instrumental sense. So people are likely then to proceed based essentially on religious conviction. That, to me, given our stark divides and the fracture of religious consensus in the West, augurs a likely religious war. Those, historically, have been the most brutal in our history. Black pill! I think there’s good news nonetheless, but that’s a story for another day...

-James Poulos

Share American Mindset


All these different colored pills confuse me. I had to phone a friend for this one.  

I suppose what I am most deeply depressed about, perhaps irrationally so, is the state of education in America. I fear the humanities are neglected in favor of all things STEM, and that when the humanities are taught, it is from a position of incredible cynicism or prejudice.  

This year, the University of Chicago’s English department announced that for the 2020–21 Ph.D. graduate admissions cycle, “only applicants interested in working in and with Black Studies” would be accepted. This from one of the most prestigious departments in one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Must everything now be viewed through the lens of race or sex? Not only is this exhausting, but soon the questions—to say nothing of the answers—that animate and undergird the West will be forgotten.  

So, yes, something akin to a New Dark Ages is my big fear. But don’t worry, I’m probably wrong. 

-David Bahr


What's strange is, despite the many ways in which I can see lots of things going wrong, I find myself almost completely free of despair. For a time I thought I had lost faith in the American people, but--as I described in my article on Monday—I realized that actually the people are remarkably sane given the state of their elites. If there's any object of true despair in my world at the moment, it's those elites, and most of all their institutions—the fancy academies and conferences that seem to be churning out small, arrogant men into the world.

But I'm not despairing about that either, really. To the contrary: I'm fired up. Fired up to replace our malfunctioning managerial class with a new, energized, dynamic coalition of young conservatives and independents. I will feel a twinge of regret, born of native affection, as I watch places like Yale collapse under the weight of their own decadence. I am, by all accounts, myself a creature of those decrepit credentialing institutions whose well-deserved demotion must now be hastened by every measure available. They gave me a great deal and I have fond memories of them. I will miss them when they go.

But go they must, and about that I am not black pilled at all.

-Spencer Klavan