The Fourth Political Theory
by Alexander Dugin, 2012
I’ve said that rejecting the Enlightenment is only the beginning of thought. Everything modernity ruled out is back on the table. Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin agrees, and he comes, not to deliver a political theory that escapes the confines of modernist thinking, but at least to herald the arrival of such a theory. As such, this book reads more like a proposal or white paper than a dissertation or research report. Nevertheless, the coming political paradigm already has some definite features in Dugin’s mind, and some of those features he is able to communicate clearly despite burdening himself with Heideggerian gobbledygook.
The previous three “political theories” in Dugin’s counting are liberalism, communism, and fascism. Liberalism has defeated fascism and communism, so thoroughly that liberalism no longer functions as a consciously chosen ideology but as a social given. Liberalism’s victory was not a matter of chance, but a logical outworking of Western civilization. Nevertheless, because we are free, it can be fought, and it will be the task of the fourth theory to vanquish liberalism.
Each of the first three “theories” is composed of multiple parts interpreted in light of each other to form its own “hermeneutical circle”. Break the circle, reject the evil, modernist pieces, and the remaining parts are morally neutral or good and can become ingredients in the fourth theory. For instance, Marxism’s materialism was bad, but its social concern and its drawing on eschatological myth is good. Fascism’s anti-individualism and ethnic consciousness were good, but its racism, the idea of one group being superior to another, was bad.
Dugin then points out that, in fact, liberalism is also racist, because it posits the superiority of Western culture to others, and progressivism is racist because it posits the superiority of the present to the past. I think this stretches the definition of “racist” too far to be rhetorically convincing, but it illustrates Dugin’s key strategy: taking criticisms of white Christendom invented by the post-modern Left and turning them against liberalism and the American globalist order. Thus, he uncritically accepts the claims of structuralist anthropologists that non-civilized cultures are just as sophisticated, legitimate, etc as civilized ones. At times, Dugin alludes to Traditionalist lines of thought, that pre-modern cultures share, at least esoterically, an apprehension of a common great spiritual truth. Most of the time, though, the position seems to be straight cultural relativism. Every culture is as good as every other–this asserted but not argued–so all the others must band together for a multipolar world or else succumb to American unipolar tyranny. As a practical matter, I like this. It’s at a theoretical level, the one at which Dugin works, that his cultural egalitarianism is too sweeping; it is subject to obvious philosophical objections.
There is also the danger that these postmodernist weapons he wishes to use against the West retain too much of their evil origins to serve the traditionalist cause. Thus, in his discussion of gender, Dugin attacks liberalism for perpetuating patriarchy by maintaining the masculine gender role but forcing women to conform to it. There is a valid insight there, but it’s bought at too high a price when Dugin first grants the premise that patriarchy is bad (what’s more, for very stupid post-modernist reasons: that the male role is implicitly white hence racist; that even though patriarchy predates modernity, it is to be condemned for catching modernist cooties). Thus, the fourth political theory must be based on adrogynism and endorse childishness and “voluntary insanity” because they constitute rebellion against the male role. If that’s the best the fourth theory can do, we’re better off sticking with liberalism.
If I were to predict the features of an ideology to challenge and defeat liberalism, I wouldn’t base it on anti-white anthropology or continental philosophy. At best, these work as rhetorical opening attacks, because it’s an attack not coming from the direction liberalism expects. What follows must be based on something more truthful and rigorous.
Filed under: Uncategorized |