The Fourth Political Theory
Arktos Media Ltd (July 20, 2012)
All the political systems of the modern age have been the products of three distinct ideologies: the first, and oldest, is liberal democracy; the second is Marxism; and the third is fascism. The latter two have long since failed and passed out of the pages of history, and the first no longer operates as an ideology, but rather as something taken for granted. The world today finds itself on the brink of a post-political reality – one in which the values of liberalism are so deeply embedded that the average person is not aware that there is an ideology at work around him. As a result, liberalism is threatening to monopolise political discourse and drown the world in a universal sameness, destroying everything that makes the various cultures and peoples unique. According to Alexander Dugin, what is needed to break through this morass is a fourth ideology – one that will sift through the debris of the first three to look for elements that might be useful, but that remains innovative and unique in itself. Dugin does not offer a point-by-point program for this new theory, but rather outlines the parameters within which it might develop and the issues which it must address. Dugin foresees that the Fourth Political Theory will use the tools and concepts of modernity against itself, to bring about a return of cultural diversity against commercialisation, as well as the traditional worldview of all the peoples of the world – albeit within an entirely new context. Written by a scholar who is actively influencing the direction of Russian geopolitical strategy today, The Fourth Political Theory is an introduction to an idea that may well shape the course of the world’s political future. Alexander Dugin (b. 1962) is one of the best-known writers and political commentators in post-Soviet Russia. In addition to the many books he has authored on political, philosophical and spiritual topics, he currently serves on the staff of Moscow State University, and is the intellectual leader of the Eurasia Movement. For more than a decade, he has also been an advisor to Vladimir Putin and others in the Kremlin on geopolitical matters, being a vocal advocate of a return of Russian power to the global stage, to act as a counterweight to American domination.
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Alexander Dugin’s “The Fourth Political Theory”
The Occidental Observer | July 22, 2013
The Fourth Political Theory
Arktos Media, 2012. 211pp.
Alexander Dugin’s book is a very timely work; by which I mean it is almost exclusively a response to the twentieth century—“the century of ideology” (p. 15) — from the twenty-first. It is a right-wing critique of modernity that has learned its lessons from left-wing post-modernity. It joins a flurry of works in a similar genre of post-war “alternative politics,” spanning from Julius Evola’s Fascism Viewed from the Right of 1964 to Guillaume Faye’s Archeofuturism of 2010. Authors can be Christian, neo-pagan, or atheist; they can be reformed fascists, “paleo”-conservatives, or Traditionalists. They all, however, seem to send the same message and understand the same thing about the present state of the Western world: everything that is wrong with the way we act is rooted in something desperately wrong with the way we think. It is, in many ways, set apart from the radical right-wing not only in conclusions but the quality of the authors. While some are certainly pamphleteers in spirit, there is a distinctly intellectual strain running through it all—exemplified by the Nouvelle Droit phenomenon in France. It should come as no surprise, then, that Dugin is Professor of Sociology at Moscow State University (as well as Chair of that department’s Centre for Conservative Studies).
As might be expected from an academic, he has produced a dense work that may appear esoteric to the unlettered reader—indeed, even the learned man who has no experience with Heideggerian metaphysics may struggle through certain parts of the book. Nevertheless, it is also an exceptionally practical work, and though there are doubtlessly many critiques that any given conservative can level against it, it remains a monumental book merely because of its project. The Fourth Political Theory is not, as the title suggests, a coherent, well-defined theory: the book is not a manifesto, despite all appearances. Rather, the work is ambiguous; the closest one can get to a definition is that “the Fourth Political Theory is an unmodern theory” (p. 68). The rest of what is said is either vague, dense, or apophatic (i.e., defined by what it is not).
A summary of the book can be read on the publisher’s website. Dugin proposes that the twentieth century was a battleground of three political theories, the first (Liberalism), the second (Communism), and the third (Fascism). Two have failed outright, but the first of the three is still insufficient despite its victory. The “fourth political theory” is what can be assembled to answer the failures of the first three, by drawing from the first three and building a new edifice. Flavours of Faye are already apparent. What is truly interesting about the book, though, requires perhaps several readings. On the first, it is a standard work of the New Right—which, while a good alternative to the present paradigm, has become somewhat tired by now. On the second and third readings, however, qualities reveal themselves that offer for a much fuller appreciation of the monumental potential of the work.
Dugin’s direct definitions can be esoteric, such as his declaration that “at the heart of the Fourth Political Theory, is its magnetic centre, lies the trajector of the approaching Ereignis (the ‘Event’), which will embody the triumphant return of Being, at the exact moment when mankind forgets about it, once and for all, to the point that the last traces of it disappear” (p. 29). While Dugin gives some explanation of the Heideggerian Ereignis, he does not sufficiently explain how this is different than any other apocalyptic theory of the Right—and, more importantly, he is never explicit about what exactly is meant by Being and why it has significance in the political sphere. Even to the philosopher, therefore, this will seem like a misappropriation of metaphysical ideas to serve vulgar political ends (a charge levelled against Heidegger himself after he joined the National Socialist Party). This is perhaps unfair to Dugin and Heidegger alike, but without a doubt the concept of Ereignis is unnecessary for Dugin’s real preoccupation, which is the collapse of the present world order and the emergence of a new geopolitical and socio-cultural reality: the multi-polar world.
Throughout his work (even without the helpful footnotes from the editors), the influence of other thinkers is distinctly apparent. Spengler, especially, has left a deep mark on Dugin’s geopolitical thought, and, with others, is likely the reason Dugin chooses to interpret geopolitical change as a metaphysical event—since with the death of Western Civilisation, there comes a fundamental change not only in Weltanschauung but in the very metaphysical sense of the people within that Civilisation. Spengler speaks of this as the “soul” of the Civilisation—the way in which human beings as components of these massive organisms imagine themselves. The Hermeneutical Circle is an obvious step from this: a civilisation is an organism in itself by Spengler’s theory, meaning that no matter what it does, it can never be understood at its core, as it is fundamentally by anyone outside of itself; yet, in order to analyse a civilisation and come to understand it rather than merely know it, it is necessary to mentally step outside of the civilisation—to become foreign to it. Having accomplished this, though, one has lost access to the fundamental qualities of that civilisation. Thus, one can either be within the civilisation, and know it “by heart”, so to speak, in such a way that is unreflective, or one can step outside the civilisation and reflect on it, but lose the innate knowledge—what Spengler calls “race”—of the civilisation. What Dugin is proposing with this Ereignis is a truly apocalyptic, that is “revelatory” event, wherein self-knowledge and being, Spenglerian Race, shifts fundamentally, and people no longer live, act, and think within a Western, Liberal paradigm but come into a new paradigm. This new paradigm is the multi-polar world.
The identification in the book of “Western” with “Liberal” cannot be overstated for Western readers. Dugin speaks of transcending paradigms that are all, ultimately, Western in origin. Any efforts to preserve the West in a cultural or racial sense would be to fall short of Dugin’s goal of transcendence. It is for this reason that the section of his book dealing with racism deserves some note. At first glance, the two-page long attack on Nazi racism sounds like it could have come from any Antifa publication—it could make anyone with a racial consciousness cringe. It is jarring because it must be, however. Dugin’s comments on ethnocentrism reveal a much more complex attitude. “Liberalism as an ideology, calling for the liberation from all forms of collective identity,” he writes, “is entirely incompatible with the ethnos or with ethnocentrism, and is an expression of a systemic theoretical and technological ethnocide.” (p. 47) In the same breath as he speaks of the importance of the ethnos to the multipolar world, however, he also declares that “European and American societies are fundamentally afflicted with these types of racism [cultural, civilisational, technological, social, economic, and evolutionary], unable to eradicate them from itself despite intensive efforts.” (p. 44) Racial thinking, for Dugin, is too fundamentally joined to the sense of progress and Darwinian thinking that is inherent to the first three political theories, all rooted in Enlightenment ideology. It poisons against the organic ethnos, which must become the focal point of the Fourth Political Theory. His practical solution, then, is an anti-racial, or tribal understanding with a fluid conception of “race” similar to the Spenglerian understanding. All this returns to the sort of radical traditionalism that clearly influences his metaphysical thinking.
The basic assumption, then, (never made explicit in the book but obvious if one is familiar with Dugin’s other work) is that the present world paradigm is defined by the monopolarity of Euro-American Liberal world power. In a way, it’s a very Russian way of thinking—the Atlanticist world, dominated by America and defined by Liberal ideology, is insufficient for human society, and a more tribal co-existence of multiple powers is necessary to correct the present flaws of the globalist steamroller. The change Dugin is calling for, however, is not from within—the sort of rebellion against the dominant ideology. Rather, he denies that there is a dominant ideology:
Some may argue that… liberals… remain believers in their ideology and simply deny all others the right to exist”, [but] “this is not exactly true. When liberalism transforms from being an ideological arrangement to the only content of our extant social and technological existence, then it is no longer an ‘ideology’, but an existential facet, an objective order of things. It also causes any attempt to challenge its supremacy as being not only difficult, but also foolish.” (p. 20)
Liberalism has become the force of Western Civilisation, and cannot be changed: much like Spengler before him, Dugin is proposing that the goal of most conservative movements — to “restore” tradition — is impossible, and only the fall of the West will produce any real results similar to what conservatives are looking for. It is for this reason that while he constantly refers to conservative and traditionalist goals, and constantly speaks of the Right, the Fourth Political Theory is “not an invitation to a return to traditional society; i.e., it is not conservatism in the conventional sense” (p. 70). Rather, much in line with the other writers of the “alternative right”, the Fourth Political Theory “embodies our determination to go beyond the usual ideological and political paradigms and to make an effort to overcome the inertia of the clichés within political thinking… [it is] an invitation for a free spirit and a critical mind” (p. 35). He’s talking about something genuinely creative, but not progressive—the progressive is trapped in a linear motion. Dugin is proposing something that at once can break from the past and yet also be called “traditional”. One is reminded of Arthur Moeller van den Bruck’s assertion that “to be conservative means to create something worth conserving.”
There is irony in that “free spirit” and “critical mind” are themselves clichés of the Western cult of education—meaning that even as Dugin attempts to free himself, he is still somewhat trapped by the paradigm in which he works. To his great credit, however, he seems distinctly aware of this, and it influences his decision not to propose a manifesto or a new ideology, but to propose new questions. Therefore, his language is carefully chosen to reflect invitation and inspiration rather than goals and codes; the new theory “must draw its ‘dark inspiration’ from post-modernity, from the liquidation of the program of the Enlightenment, and the arrival of the society of the simulacra, interpreting this as an incentive for battle rather than as a destiny” (p. 23). The Fourth Political Theory is not post-modern, but draws on post-modernity; it is not anti-modern, but unmodern, rejecting the society of spectacle and appearances by de-constructing it.
For example, consider the simulacra of Che Guevara. The iconic “Che” photograph may seem to be support for radical communism, but the reality is that his image is printed on t-shirts manufactured in sweat-shops and then sold at profit to middle-class teenagers with too little education or understanding to embrace Guevara’s own ethics or ideology. Che becomes, therefore, a simulacra—appearing to be a communistic resistance but in reality representing capitalistic triumph. This is but one example – and it is a simple one at that. Far more complex simulacra dominate what Guy Debord called “the society of the spectacle”.
Debord, like Antonio Gramsci, is another common strain that Dugin has with the French authors of the “alternative right” persuasion. There is an immediate comparison that can be drawn to Faye’s Archeofuturism—itself an echo of an old Fascist project of combining futurism and traditionalism. Faye, though, is proposing something closer to Dugin’s idea—a co-existence of archaic forms with futuristic forms, in mutually exclusive spheres. Dugin is less anarchic in his vision—his multi-polar world has neater categories, the Civilizations—but nevertheless the two are pursuing a very similar goal: drawing from the old and out-moded ideas of modernity and pre-modernity to form a forward-looking world-view. The atheist Faye has the appearance of being more daring—his wanton abandonment of Christian sexual morality is an amusing example of the old French stereotype—but truly his work is less exciting and original than Dugin’s. Dugin is challenging his reader to cling to the ancient mores of his Christian faith, but do so in such a way that faces the challenges of a Brave New World. This creates tremendous doctrinal problems, especially in regards to the metaphysics of chaos that Dugin espouses, but it is a far more interesting proposal than Faye’s re-hashed Fascist progressivism.
Dugin is not progressive because he sees no need to be: “the era of persecuting Tradition is over”, he writes, because Liberalism has no more need to persecute it or attack it—the critiques of Tradition have become “common sense” and Liberalism no longer engages in ideological battles (p. 26). The “old way” is just that: generally (even universally) accepted as a relic. This creates a world that is actually both safer for radical conservative thought and also more dangerous: “following the logic of postliberalism, this will likely lead to the creation of a new global pseudo-religion, based on the scraps of disparate syncretic cults, rampant chaotic ecumenism, and ‘tolerance’”.
Dugin is perhaps being too conservative here: using his own ideas, it is easy to argue that this has already happened, and the EU and USA represent the great canonical bodies of the new religion. Tradition is no longer under attack, to be sure, but those who still come to its defence, drawing attention to themselves as though they still have a legitimate voice in the West, will come to be seen (and dealt with) as heretics. In this way, it is more dangerous to be a conservative. In another, however, it may not be: the post-liberal, post-modern world allows for the deconstruction of anything, including itself. Liberalism, therefore, gives the Right the tools to deconstruct it, such that destroying it is not necessary. It remains for the Right only to prepare for the post-Western world.
This is the basis for Dugin’s historical examination and evaluation of the various forms of “conservatism”, which is perhaps the best example of his practical politics. It is also here that one finds attitudes which seem to fall the most within the Western paradigm. The favour, for example, shown to “Conservative Revolution” and the critique of “liberal conservatism” echoes the same sort of things one hears from the majority of the alternative right throughout Europe. Dugin’s influence from Traditionalist and radical conservative thinkers like Evola, Spengler, E.J. Jung, Moeller van den Bruck, and the pan-Slavic Danilevsky and neo-Eurasianist Gumilev are all apparent in his analysis here. It is this section which is also the least original of the book—and the one which opens it up to many of the reigning critiques, including accusations that Dugin has not really outgrown his National Bolshevism or that the work is essentially just a rambling pamphlet for the Eurasianist movement in Russia. While certainly the practical political aspects of the work here are somewhat lacking in originality, when they are brought together with the more creative and daring sections of the book, they are cast in a new light. This was, no doubt, the intention of the editors in their assembly of the book.
This is the last thing that ought to be said about the book: it is a translation not of one, but of several Russian originals which have been brought together and attached to the core of the original text. Some of them are more daring than others—the Heideggerian and speculative work especially. This gives the work something of a turbulent feel at times; metaphysics in this chapter, practical politics in the next, something resembling a religious fervour in yet another. The first reading will not, as said above, reveal the depth of the work or the intention of the author and editors—not because of the way the editors chose to arrange the book, but rather because of the nature of the writings. Dugin has written, and Arktos has assembled, a book with a title suggesting new answers, while the clear intent of the book is to beg new questions, to challenge and change the language of the Right. This necessarily makes it a difficult work at times. It is, however, despite its shortcomings, perhaps the best primer for Dugin and his thinking available, and succeeds in challenging its reader. In a time when conventional ways of thinking about identity are accomplishing very little, this Russian author offers a new paradigm for identity and physical survival of those loyal to their Western identity.
TRANSITIONING FROM MODERNITY: A REVIEW OF ALEXANDER DUGIN’S "THE FOURTH POLITICAL THEORY" (PART 2)
The Fourth Political Theory
For the second part of my review of Alexander Dugin’s "The Fourth Political Theory," I will focus on the more esoteric and abstract aspects, and attempt to relate it to real political concerns and issues. Although such ideas may seem irrelevant to a lot of people, they do have significance in the sense that they allow us to trace the trajectory of Dugin’s ideas, as well as their implications on the political sphere. In other words, they can tell us where Dugin is “coming from.”
Having said that, there’s always the possibility that I have misinterpreted certain parts of Dugin’s thesis, but this is an inevitable risk when studying such an abstract work. But we should remember that Dugin’s book is an invitation to a struggle, rather than a full dogmatic declaration of finished truth. Any predictions that Dugin might make in his work are attempts to articulate how the epistemological landscape might change, and not necessarily how such changes might affect human affairs. This is why the book can be a little hard to decipher at times, particularly when we consider its apparent lack of a central and cohesive overarching theme.
It is best to approach the "The Fourth Political Theory" as the marking out of a philosophical arena wherein new and more concrete ideas can develop in the future. Having said all this, it’s important to begin deciphering the book by first looking at its own proposed ontological subject: Dasein.
Perhaps, the greatest feature of 4PT is that it is a form of universal particularlism, centered around the idea of civilizational multipolarity, ethnos and Dasein. The invocation of Dasein is a call for this particularism, but one problem is that Dasein is too complex and abstract a way to formulate this idea for most people.
So we come to ask a simple question, “Why Dasein?” Why does Dugin choose Dasein as the subject of the Fourth Political Theory? To address this question, we must consider where Dugin is coming from.
For Dugin, the modern world, and Liberalism in general, are attempts at moving away from tradition and organic communities, and into the high speed development which characterized the previous centuries, as well as the notion of linear, “monotonic” progress. As society becomes more abstract, characterized by technical concerns and applications, so too do people, thinking of themselves and others in increasingly abstract ways. The modern world created this experience, and it is this experience which has lead to the concealment of Dasein in human affairs.
However, as we move from the Modern World to the Post-Modern one, this reduction of human experience to the level of abstraction, which is also the level of "human rights" and globalization, is challenged by the arrival of a different paradigm, Postmodernity.
As we transition into the new era, the issue is no longer about tradition vs. liberalism, but a contest between authenticity and virtuality. Where the Modern World tried to overcome the past, Postmodernity is an attempt at overcoming Authentic Being in favor of a sort of hyper-virtual existence where the world becomes a sort of eternal rave party, where there is no individual self, but only the rhythm which animates the entire structure.
In other words, Dugin conceives the coming struggle as between the inauthenticity of the coming Post-Modern world and the authenticity of Dasein. For Dugin, Dasein is authenticity, tradition and rootedness, and therefore the best solution against the encroaching virtual world of Post-Modernity.
The Postmodern world, despite its gifts of new and ever changing stimuli, is a cage that traps humanity in its own senses, severing it from the authenticity of Dasein. Let me put it this way: Do you want to believe that you’re a hermaphroditic African-Asian dragon trapped inside a heterosexual white male’s body? In Postmodernity you can become whatever you want, and later on, if you change your mind, we can always turn you into a little elf girl princess. You can become whatever you want to be, whenever and wherever you want to be. We have the technology, and no cisprivileged bigot will stand in your way of becoming a real pony princess. After all, anything’s possible in virtual reality, which is Postmodernity.
The freedom to be My Little Pony
This form of unlimited freedom is the logical conclusion to the liberal project, the freeing of man from man. It is deeply Faustian in its implications. The subject of Postmodernity is pure will to power in the context of the "Blue Pill" of The Matrix, where freedom is illusion and reality is slavery. In Postmodernity freedom is slavery and slavery freedom. Perhaps, George Orwell knew more than he thought when he uttered such paradoxes.
According to Dugin, however, this freeing of man from himself, and his sublimation into a sort of pure will to power is a symptom of a more important trend, namely the reassertion of the Radical Subject. This is a concept which is connected with Heidegger’s notion of Ereignis (the ‘Event’) and is connected with Dugin’s use of Dasein. The Radical Subject is an attempt at recreating the transcendent prehuman ontology, and the facilitation of the creation of "Chaos Logos."
Both Ereignis and the Radical Subject have semi-mystical meanings, and I would even go so far as call Dugin’s Radical Subject a form of Neo-Gnosticism, especially as it relates to Ereignis. For those who are familiar with Gnosticism, the concept of linear time, along with the material world, are manifestations of the False World of the Demiurge, Yaldabaoth and Saklas. Linear time is a prison wherein the soul is imprisoned in false dialectics, in Maya. Therefore, to overcome linear time is also to liberate the Radical Subject from the confines of time, from the confines of history and of Maya.
Therefore, Postmodernity may not just be the death of Liberalism, it also has a more important significance, which is the rebirth of the Radical Subject and the age of the Kairos (the Supreme moment). It is the rebirth of God from the corpse of pure materialism.
In this sense, there is definitely a religious subtext to Dugin’s philosophy. Modernity and Postmodernity are both considered historical necessities, as essential elements which open up the possibility of religious experience by overcoming the linear inertia of human consciousness by bringing about collective psychic stress (i.e. the obsolescence and destruction of traditional civilizational structures by the Modern World). The implications of this idea is that Radical Self works through Modernity and consequently Postmodernity to destroy linear time, and thus release itself from entrenched ontological experiences.
But being beyond linear time has two sides, one positive, the other negative, represented by the contrasting concepts of the Radical Subject and the Post-Human. The Post-Human is a new concept of man as nothing more than a collection of urges, wants and thoughts: pure will to power. The Radical Subject is more akin to the Pre-Human, the Human that is most primal and most in touch with Dasein; the human whose Being is tied with nature and chaos. Thus, the death of Modernity opens up with the confrontation between these two types of ontology, both of which seeks to overcome “man” as it is understood by modern epistemology.
Postmodernity may be destruction, but it is a necessary form of destruction since it destroys the outdated and confining (as far as Dugin is concerned) logocentric world view of the Western World. In this way, Postmodernity brings with it both danger, in the form of virtuality, as well as salvation, through the reassertion of Dasein and the Radical Subject.
“… the approaching Ereignis (the ‘Event’), which will embody the triumphant return of Being, at the exact moment when mankind forgets about it, once and for all, to the point that the last traces of it disappear,” (page 29, Chapter One: The Birth of The Concept)
When one considers the theory in this manner, Western Civilization’s role in bringing about the Modern and Postmodern worlds have an important significance in historical dialectics. This, of course, opens up the question of how we proceed from this, and for Dugin, the only solution is by accepting and embracing Dasein, and renouncing all concepts created by Modernity.
An inauthentic portrait of Martin Heidegger.
Dasein and Post-Modernity
For those who are having a difficult time reconciling Dugin’s use of Heidegger’s Dasein with the struggle against global homogenization, I suggest reading Dasein in the context of premodern philosophy, particularly Neoplatonism, which posited an inner unity to the universe’s multiplicity – Nous, the divine Oneness, which manifests multiplicity as a necessity of its very nature. Premodern philosophy posits that man is a microcosm of the universe, just as all objects are microcosms of a larger macrocosm (the Universe), and therefore bears no separation with the rest of existence. These points are essential, because Dasein implies that each man, and each event is unique by simply being in a particular period, time or place. This uniqueness, however, does not mean separation from the higher macrocosm, but instead enforces it, and, in fact, derives its authenticity from it. Only by being connected with, and in relation to, the universe can a thing be unique.
In contrast, virtuality offers no differentiation. It is seriality, which can then be mass produced ad infinitum. By trying to separate the microcosm (i.e. man) from the macrocosm, man becomes inauthentic, plastic and ultimately pseudo-human, which is what Postmodernity is for Dugin. This is consistent with Evola’s own criticisms of Liberalism, which equates it with radical individualism. By severing man from higher principles, from the macrocosm, Liberalism has paved the way for the creation of the pseudo-human, the creature that is pure virtuality.
However, one cannot actually be severed from higher principles. We can only create conditions which make it seem like we are cut off from the macrocosm. This is particularly true in relation to existential criticisms of Heidegger’s philosophy which denies the Being of Man, but rather simply states that Man exists and is nothing more.
In contrast, to embrace Dasein is to Be. It is self-awareness of where and what you are, but at the same time, to be aware of your connection with the higher self, including one’s heritage and future. In Evolian terms, this is Tradition with a capital T. So in a sense, what Dugin is saying is that Postmodernity opens up the possibility of the return of Being and Tradition by overcoming Modernity, but this possibility can only be carried out in the context of struggle and the confrontation with our Being, which is also a confrontation with Dasein. Dugin’s book is an invitation to prepare the way for this event, this confrontation, as a prelude to the Ereignis, which in turn, will herald the Palingenesis.
The Radical Subject
In Chapter Ten, “The Ontology of the Future,” Dugin deals with Modern Eschatology, which is to say the Endless End of History, PostModernity. For Dugin, however, the postmodern world and the liberal regime are more than just the agents of Democracy and Human Rights. They are also the unknowing tools of something much more profound, and, once again, this is the Radical Subject. Dugin describes the Radical Subject in this manner:
“The same experience that makes the transcendental subjectivity manifest itself and deploy its content, thus creating time with its intrinsic music, is regarded by the Radical Subject as an invitation to reveal itself in another manner – on the other side of time…For the Radical Subject, it is not only virtuality and electronic prisons which are the prison, but reality itself has become so: a concentration camp, an agony, and a torture. The slumber of history is something contrary to the condition where the Radical Subject could exist, complete itself and become.” (page168) Chapter Ten, The Ontology of the Future
Moreover, Dugin hints that Modernity and Postmodernity, along with all their symptoms, are in fact the creations of the Radical Subject, and an expression of humanity’s collective unconscious desire to reveal the concealed aspect and to awaken from the “Slumber of History.” He writes:
“If we accept the hypothesis of the Radical Subject, we immediately confront an instance that explains who has made the decision in favor of globalisation, the suicide of humanity, and the end of history: who has conceived this plan and made it reality. It can only therefore only be the drastic gesture of the Radical Subject, looking for liberation from time through the construction of non-temporal (impossible) reality. The Radical Subject is incompatible with all kinds of time. It vehemently demands anti-time, based on the exalted fire of eternity transfigured in the radical light.” (page168) Chapter Ten, The Ontology of the Future
Aside from Chaos Logos, this is the idea that I find most inspiring in Dugin’s work. What Dugin is trying to say here is that the Radical Subject, the transcendental aspect of humanity, the part that is beyond what we normally describe as being human in conventional terms, is trying to reveal itself. Admittedly, this idea has elements of religion, but the comparison is irrelevant, for what matters is that Dugin is trying to articulate an unmodern Weltanschauung, one which transcends the epistimological assumptions of the Modern world and its rationalist system.
This almost seems like a reworking of Plotinus’ “the Flight of the Alone to the Alone,” except for Dugin time is an attempt of the “Alone to Flee from the Alone.” Thus, the postmodern World is the moment where humanity catches up with itself, and must confront the nature of its existence as well as the possibilities contained within. This confrontation, Dugin says, will result in the discovery of the Radical Self, which is human consciousness which transcends the logocentric epistemology of several centuries.
So, in a way, Post-Modernity’s negation of Being is still part of Being; still part of Dasein, because even illusion and virtuality have Being, and even Postmodernity still possesses Dasein. Therefore, Dasein cannot be eliminated even in the moment where its very existence is said to have disappeared.
This begs a metaphysical question: If all things exist then what of nothingness? In order for ‘everything’ to be valid then it must include nothingness, and thus nothingness/ virtuality/ self-negation/ the modern and post-modern world/ the Kali Yuga must transpire as a matter of cosmic necessity. It is built into existence and Dugin tackles this question as a historical process which has lead to a kind of existential crisis, wherein man overcomes the past and the inconsistencies raised by the past, thereby opening up the possibility for spiritual and civilizational Palingenesis.
Indeed, Dugin poses this very possibility at the very end of Chapter Ten, The Ontology of the Future, where he theorizes that Postmodernity may be a necessary form of ontological madness. Thus, self-negation (Modernity as well as Postmodernity) must exist in order to validate the teleological aspect of existence, thus allowing for reemergence of the Radical Subject. Inauthenticity must exist for there to be authenticity. It is an attempt for Dasein to authenticate itself. As such, Dugin’s use of Dasein is an attempt to call for authenticity in an age of inauthenticity. The battle against modernity is more than just about materialism and Unipolarity. It is also a battle against nihilism, self-negation and spiritual decay.
Of all of Dugin’s thoughts, these are the ones which I enjoyed most of all, for they resonate with my own instincts. Like Dugin, I believe that the world – not just the West – must enter into a period of nihilism, expressed in different ways, but rooted in the same problems. This period of nihilism will characterize a transition of necessity, where the civilizations and nations of the world are forced to confront new possibilities which extend beyond what we hold to be real in the waning days of the modern world. It is this confrontation that leads us to confront Dasein once more.
The final parts of the book are perhaps the most important parts. In his concepts of Ontology of the Future, New Political Anthropology, and Chaos Logos, Dugin’s analysis is brilliant if a little too abstract (and possibly a little too paranoid) for the average reader. However, I consider Dugin’s ideas with regards to the Ontology of the Future, the nature of Modern and Postmodern Eschatology, the Pseudo Political Soldier and the Post-Human as nothing short of brilliant.
The gist of these chapters is an old theme of Dugin’s, and it concerns how the logocentric ontology of Western civilization has, basically, come to an end. (I would also argue that logocentric thought exists in other civilizations as well.) After having watched several interviews of Dugin as well as read some of his articles, I was already aware of this analysis, but this is the first time that I’ve encountered this thesis articulated in an exhaustive manner.
Keeping this thesis in mind is one of the best ways to understand the 4th Political Theory. Dugin believes that the modern world – which is an extension of the Logocentric Weltanschauung – has exhausted all its possibilities, and that the postmodern world is a type of postmortem existence. In this way, Dugin is channeling Nietzsche, but instead of just saying that God is dead, he takes it to a whole new level by stating that Logos, along with all its various forms and manifestations, including the Western conception of God, is dead.
When Western man worshipped Christ, it was not so much the Jewish teacher that he was worshipping, but the Logocentric Anthropos, which formed the Western experience from Plato all the way to down to the present. In this way, Dugin affirms what Nietzsche predicted several generations ago with the death God, but also elaborates upon it by replacing Christ with Logos. So, in a strange way, Dugin is affirming Fukuyama’s End of History in the sense that History, as it is currently formulated in the modern (logocentric) world, offers no other possibilities, and that human existence has become a sort of prison. From the linearity of Modernity, we are now in the spiral of Postmodernity and only the confrontation with the Radical Subject, Ereignis, can get us out.
However, this confrontation with the Radical Subject requires the return to Chaos, which is the realm of eternity, where there are no dualities or fixed cosmic laws (and I suspect that this includes Tradition with Capital T), but only infinite possibilities. Chaos is defined as something which exists beyond logocentric modernity, as something which transcends existing human experiences and as the fount of all culture and ideas.
Chaos is also defined as the source of Logos, and that to survive and create new possibilities, Logocentric thought must return to Chaos in order to rejuvenate itself, resulting in what Dugin calls Chaos Logos. The coming of Chaos Logos as well as the Radical Subject are, in some ways, related to Nietzsche’s eternal return, where the passage of time is an instrument of self-affirmation and self-knowledge by, paradoxically, overcoming temporality.
Chaos Logos, Dugin says, is inclusive, which really means openness to new possibilities, whereas pure Logos was exclusive, linear and closed off to the unknown. In other words, and to put things crudely, Chaos is all about embracing what is beyond the zeitgeist. It is to think the unthinkable and confront new definitions of what it means to be human beyond modernity. This admittedly is a difficult thing to do, but Dugin has laid the metapolitical groundwork for this transition.
This transition and the language used to express it is still being created. In this sense, the 4th Political Theory remains an invitation to all who wish to chart new courses in postmodernity. It’s also an instrument of self-knowledge and authenticity vis-a-vis the veneer of modernity. In this sense, the 4th Political Theory can also be considered an overarching framework for things to come. Understandably, this makes the work very difficult at times, but it remains the best tool for understanding Dugin’s ideas.
At a time when we are trying to cope with the rapid changes of the 21st century, the 4th Political Theory invites those who reject the values represented by the modern and postmodern worlds to create a world that is both better and more promising than the coming global shopping mall/rave party.
Alexander Dugin’s 4 Political Theory is for the Russian Empire, not for European Ethno-Nationalists
The Occidental Observer | May 18, 2014
Only a rare few in the alternative right knew Alexander Dugin before the publication and translation of his book, The Fourth Political Theory, in 2012. Suddenly, the contents of this book became the subject of lively discussion and he was hailed as “arguably the most prominent New Right thinker in the world.” With the exception of Michael O’Meara at Counter Currents, most of the reviews were very positive or at least sympathetic. After reading reviews, interviews, blogs, articles, and listening to some video lectures by Dugin, I decided to read The Fourth Political Theory (FPT).
Through the first pages, I was fairly impressed by Dugin’s laconic treatment of the way liberalism had created the normative conditions for a humanity predisposed toward a world government in its “glorification of total freedom and the independence of the individual from any kind of limits, including reason, identity (social, ethnic, or even gender), discipline, and so on” (18). With the “liberation” of man from any necessary, pre-ordained membership in any community or identity, and the universal morality of human rights widely accepted, few obstacles now stood in the way of a totalitarian global market.
Dugin is a patriot and I agree that Russia must act as a counter-hegemonic power against the spread of American Hollywood values and the continuing expansion of the EU inside former Soviet territories.
But it soon became apparent that Dugin’s FPT was more than a critique of American hegemony and Atlanticism; it was an unrelenting attack on the very essence of Western civilization. The following reasoning runs through his book: Liberalism = America’s current military and foreign policy = Western civilization = European history since ancient times = Evil. For Dugin, the idea that America is the first universal nation is “in essence…an updated version and continuation of a Western universalism that has been passed from the Roman Empire, Medieval Christianity, modernity in terms of the Enlightenment, and colonization, up to the present-day” (74). Europeans have always been, or, at least since Roman times, the intrinsic enemy of ethnic identity, tradition, and truthfulness.
In order to adequately understand the essence of liberalism, we must recognize that it is not accidental, that its appearance in the political and economic ideologies is based on fundamental processes, proceeding in all Western civilization. Liberalism is not only a part of that history, but its purest and most refined expression, its result (140).
The reviewer says that “Dugin criticizes the Western world from the point of view of tradition and authenticity.” My reading is that Dugin defends the Russian people and empire from the perspective of tradition while criticizing the West from the perspective of postmodernism and cultural Marxism. It has escaped the attention of commentators in the alternative right that Dugin relies almost entirely on cultural Marxists in his assessment of liberalism. I don’t think we should take it lightly that he celebrates Karl Marx’s ideas as “tremendously useful and applicable” (50), calls Franz Boas “the greatest American cultural anthropologist” (63), and believes that Levi-Strauss “convincingly showed” that primitive cultures in Africa were as complex and rich as European cultures (109). Without hesitation and appreciation of the way the West rose to become the foremost civilization in the world, the most creative in the arts and sciences, he states that the “very ideology of [Western] progress is racist in its structure.” He is oblivious to the fact that without Peter the Great’s assimilation of European knowhow in industry, the Russian empire Dugin so admires, and aberrantly identifies with tradition per se, would have disintegrated in the modern era.
Some of the other thinkers Dugin draws on are Baudrillard, Foucault, and Deleuze. He accepts Foucault’s condemnation of the Enlightenment as a carrier of “all the signs of intellectual racism, apartheid, and other totalitarian prejudices” (133). With statements like this Dugin would easily fit into a Western university environment. His depiction of all that is Western as racist and evil combined with his identification of non-Western traditional cultures as authentic, natural, and truthful are no different from the multiculturalist template enforced in academia. We are supposed to believe that the Chinese with their suppressed minorities and official discourse of racial hierarchies, the Russians with their history of breaking national heritages, and the Indians with their filthy caste system are not racist but possessors of healthy empires that should be supported by White nationalists in opposition to American hegemony.
For the record, as valuable as postmodernists may be against Western liberal illusions about possessing a universal model of life, they are anti-White in their very essence. Baudrillard criticizes the model of immigrant integration in France and Europe for obviating the cultural autonomy and veracity of non-Western ways of life. Writing in 1997 about the attractions of Jean-Marie Le Pen, Baudrillard condemns the inherent inability of the established parties in realizing that immigrants don’t want to integrate into European culture, and for this reason feel unjustly discriminated against, all the while calling Le Pen’s efforts to protect the identities of the native French “evil” and “savage”.
What else can one say about Foucault? He is for women’s liberation, immigrants’ rights, and queer studies in the West, at the same time that he is for Islamic fundamentalism in the Muslim world. A recent Foucauldian approach to the US/Mexico border, concluded that the way to achieve liberation in this border is for US authorities to avoid the use of any “sovereign exclusion and disciplinary institutionalization” against migrants and instead create migrant support networks “through universal inclusion, equality of participation, and a solidarity across borders.”
Reviewers might have underestimated Dugin’s reliance and strong sympathies for the postmodernist critique of the West due to his often-repeated view that the “primary target” of FTP is “Western postmodernism.” Western postmodernism may be the primary target of Russian traditionalism, but Dugin welcomes postmodernism and envisages its proponents as allies, not enemies, of a common front against Western modernity and liberalism. Postmodernists and cultural Marxists (“New Leftists”) are positively portrayed for their complex attack on the West “from all directions, from the political (the events of 1968), to the cultural, philosophical, artistic, the very presentation of man, reason, science, and reality” (132). This ism has been the most effective weapon forged in the West against the West. They are seen as allies in a common front against the West in the name of Tradition in the East and the South. Dugin understands well the preference of postmodernism for authentic, stable, and natural cultures in the Rest and for transsexuality and hybridity inside the West.
Matt Parrot, among other reviewers, welcomes Dugin’s “positive attitude toward the ethnos” (Dugin’s words) even as he is ambivalent about his rejection of all forms of racism. Dugin has said that “white nationalists” are “allies when they refuse modernity, the global hierarchy and liberal —capitalism … everything that is killing all ethnic cultures”.
But this is a rather incongruous and misleading position. Dugin welcomes the current decomposition of Western cultures, mass immigration, and the destruction of viable and cohesive European ethnic nations. He rejects categorically the concept of nations with ethnic boundaries as a modern idea that works against traditionalism and empires. He envisages a role for White nationalists only within the context of a Europe thoroughly watered down by mass immigration and postmodern diversity where proud European ethnics will somehow find a niche alongside Africans, Asians, and Muslims against American universalism.
Dugin expressly endorses Deleuze’s anticipation of new forms of human beings with multiple identities, including White identitarians, within a multiplex Western world of many genders and racial combinations. His positive evaluation of the book Empire (2000), by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, widely feted as “a new Communist Manifesto,” reveals exactly what Dugin anticipates and welcomes as the final phase in the fall of the West. As global capitalism creates “a decentered and deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open, expanding frontiers,” Negri and Hardt visualize a situation in which national authorities will be unable to halter the planetary flow of immigrants seeking jobs and a better life in rich countries. Multitudes of immigrants from everywhere will pour into the center of this global empire, the West, demanding cosmopolitan freedom and eventually dissolving the difference between the wealthy center and the peripheries. Negri and Hardt see in the immigrant multitudes a new agent of revolution against the West. This multitude will have one cardinal demand that will break forever the Western imperial core: global citizenship. “The general right to control its own movement is the multitude’s ultimate demand for global citizenship” (400). The main demand will not be economic, the right to a guaranteed basic income, but cultural, the abolition of all immigration controls: papiers pour tous!
Dugin salutes the political possibilities engendered by this globalism inside the West. Mass immigration will create a network of sabotage inside the West, fueling the anti-globalization movement both outside and inside the West, led in the West by gay pride parades, Occupy Wall Street movements, immigrant riots in the suburbs of European cities, and a whole array of groups and protests by an emerging “post-humanity” (mutants, cyborgs, and clones), internet blogs, Black flash mobs, and ecologists. White crackers are welcomed to find a role in this multitude, fight for their identity just like everyone else. Meanwhile, these post-human trannies will be opposed by the anti-global movements in Russia and other non-Western geopolitical blocs standing for God and Tradition and old-fashion Empires. These two poles — traditionalists and cultural Marxists — will have a common enemy: Western liberalism and its main representative, “the rational, rich, adult White male” (185).
The Fourth Political Theory is a theory for Russian geopolitical strategists, not for European ethno nationalists’
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