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