Analysing Aleksandr Duginthe strategies of a dangerous doyen A critique of Aleksandr Dugin (one of the Kremlin's advisors) in respect to his geopolitical theory and in the light of his philosophical and Christian views.
by S.P. Ward (Ph.D)
In recent years much has been written about the Rasputinesque Aleksandr Dugin, who has become something of a cause celebre and an enfant terrible in equal measure. This book will seek to address some of the philosophical issues that arise from his perspectives on Liberalism, US hegemony, Capitalism and human rights, in respect to his neoEurasian Fourth Political Theory. It will consider his use of language and definitions, and whether his views are in any sense consistent, or contrary to his Christian beliefs. It will analyse any anomalies and try to determine whether he is sincere in his attempt to provide a new geopolitical solution to some old problems. It will try to determine whether he is a revanchist, espousing radicalism merely to deceive, divide and conquer. The analysis will establish that whilst a good case can be made that much of what he says has been misreported, or fails to understand the more philosophically nuanced sense of his words, nevertheless his ideas are still deeply dangerous. The analysis will strongly suggest he is a 5th column radical posing as a Russian â€œconservativeâ€?: a pose to cause division and confusion amongst Western conservative ranks. His idea of civilisational zones (or geopolitical blocs) in eternal confrontation being viewed as a progression, which at best naturally justifies a Eurasian totalitarian government largely dominated by Russia, or at worst encourages war and nihilism as virtues that could even exacerbate a nuclear conflagration.
Dugin the philosopher In a television interview with Vladimir Posner (aired on Channel One, April 21, 2014)1 Dugin is introduced as a philosopher and graciously accepts the definition as “precise” and “laconic”. He then emphasises the necessity for “constructive” debate: a “rational dialogue”, in order to clarify positions and identify various problems concerning politics, culture, society and the world. As an aperitif, Dugin first draws a distinction between those professionals who possess the critical ability to discuss using dialectic, and those others who are mere “amateurs”. The amateurs are those who “foaming at the mouth” are more concerned with proving their personal position as a vindication that they are right, when they do not understand “very well what they are talking about”. Dugin sets the scene, then, adopting the pose of what it means to be a philosopher; indicating his common bond with those intellectuals skilled at debate, in contrast to those mere rhetoricians who adopt a pose. The distinction is made by Plato, and rather like his hero Socrates, Dugin is filled with an “enthusiasmos” for the nature of the debate itself, whilst speaking disparagingly of those Sophists who reveal through their reasoning a lack of ability to define adequately. They have no real understanding of the issues in this, and disguise their inability with a false sense of moral superiority. As Dugin puts it: “That’s the problem. This is the disease of the neophytes; when they come across some new teaching, they try to be holier than thou like the Pope.”
See here. It is offered in translation from Russian here. 3
Dugin’s criticism of the Pope displays his disdain for the Catholic Church and the universality it carries with it. He, therefore, sets up the debate as one between philosophy and sophistry, between the true faith and the false, between Russian Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church, identifying the false narrative as one that conveys a sense of moral rectitude that itself does not convince. The other target of vilification for Dugin centres on what he continually terms “Western Liberalism”.
A corrupting, anti-Christian influence,
which has led to a dangerous political correctness. The progression has devalued and impaired the moral fibre of its institutions and, one presumes, individuals exposed to them. His critique of Western Liberalism helps form his own philosophy as a response. He particularly suggests that Russian Orthodoxy, with its more traditional Christian values, are directly under threat from it. This threat requires a response cast in both political, philosophical and military terms.
Dugin’s bipolar and multipolar models Dugin is questioned about his views on the “inevitable” conflict between the opposing powers, or “civilisations”, that make up today’s world. He identifies two here: the Sea Power (the US and formerly Great Britain) and the Land Power, which he specifically identifies with Russia. As Dugin states: “It is not that it is inevitable, it’s happening. It can have different forms. But this is the basis of geopolitics. This is not my own personal opinion. There is a discipline of geopolitics created by Anglo-Saxons- Halford Mackinder- then it was developed by the Germans, like Karl Haushofer. Then it was taken up by Russian Eurasianists- Pyotor Savitsky-and now it is taught in all countries. It is all based on this conflictual scheme, that there are two 4
incommensurate civilisations, two fundamental types of human say, the civilisation of the sea, and the civilisation of the land represented fundamentally by Russia, or the Heartland, and between them is a positional struggle. So sometimes this struggle which is going on all the time, reaches a hot phase and sometimes a cold phase, sometimes a certain softening of these contradictions, but it exists always.”
It is interesting to note Dugin’s association of the Land and Sea powers with two different kinds of human being: drawing anthropological distinctions between the two powers in terms of an “Anglo-Saxon” and “Eurasian” race. This racial distinction of the civilisations is not merely a past progression, or evolution, but one that is happening now. This sets the scene (a la Samuel. P. Huntingdon) to set up a duel in terms of two distinct racial and cultural types, cast as a civilisational clash of East and West, but he rather conflates the notion of human and cultural identity in defining this civilisational distinction: using, furthermore, a national identification, cast as either Russian or American, throughout the debate. “Civilisation” is too often reduced to a political and specifically national classification, particularly when he speaks of it in racial terms, without providing adequate justification. He fails in this to adequately define why a multi-racial modern-day America or Britain, for example, should be specifically viewed as “Anglo-Saxon”. Nor indeed does he adequately define what Anglo-Saxon values are, or why they exclusively predominate in “Western Liberalism”, when (as Deniker has shown) multiple races can be assumed to characterise Europe alone. Dugin sees the civilisational distinction as intrinsic to what America or Russia is in terms of their culture, race, and their being a maritime or a land power. So too, when he speaks of the American or Russian nation, it is clear he is not merely referring to a political notion of its boundaries,
but to a more amorphous notion of civilisational “frontiers”. These characteristics create the “inherent” conflict, which is simultaneously racial, cultural and political, and one systemic to the nature of the unipolar model Dugin perceives as a threat. A hegemonic tussle is occurring. This manifests itself in periods of cold or hot war confrontation, which rather exacerbates armed conflict to achieve future dominance. “The American global hegemony geographically, strategically and (most importantly) sociologically is a pure “tallassocracy”, the classic manifestation of the eternal Carthage, which became a worldwide phenomenon. The Atlantic localisation of the Core of the global world (the Rich North), the capitalist essence of its rule, the material innovative technology as the basis of the conquest of the colonies, the strategic control of the seas and oceans with the NAVY forces—all these features of the globalisation and present day unipolarity (sometimes in the soft version, presented as multilateralism) are the classical characteristics of the Sea Power. And the Sea Power is in the permanent quest against the Heartland, being on its direct way to world domination.”2
It is of vital importance that we recognise this inherent, systemic, deterministic conflict, Dugin asserts, in order to nullify the threat; for whilst it is not necessarily “connected to historic events”, it will yet avoid the possibility of a cold war turning hot. 3 In this, however, “readiness” or “awareness” to nullify a threat appears to be a mere apologia to mask the deficiency of his claim that conflict is “inherent” within the system. It appears no more than a façade to mask a call to violence itself, with a peace carrot or “stalemate” proposal that entails war, unless his own solution is adopted. This solution, however, is disingenuous, as it Dugin’s comments in a debate with Prof. O. de Carvalho “The USA and the New World Order”. See here. 2
Posner (ibid). 6
ultimately seeks Eurasian dominance and entails military escalation in itself. There is a lack of clarity as to how precisely “awareness” equates to a solution for avoiding conflict. After all, just because one civilisation (or both civilisations) recognise the inherent nature of the systemic and structural inevitability of the conflict, and the likelihood of it leading to a hot war, it does not necessarily mean that hot war can necessarily be avoided. This after all is the tragedy of war, and whilst many preceding the Second World War foresaw the inevitable future danger and prepared accordingly, it did not prevent it occurring. In this too, military escalation, of the kind Dugin himself calls for, further exacerbates and justifies it. Dugin’s “readiness” appears to entail a peace through strength approach, but might also be interpreted as a call to arms, and one not simply sought to defend itself from invasion, but in preparation for Russia itself to invade. At the least, it is a call that encourages escalation, and that in itself is an increasingly dangerous scenario. This is certainly how it has been interpreted by Western Intelligence in respect to the recent crisis in Ukraine, with Russian maneuvers on its borders. It has led to cancelled military consultations with Russia,4 but additionally a military escalation in response has occurred, as the Defense Department has expanded flights over the Baltic nations of all former Soviet states. The U.S. also sent F-16 fighter jets to central Poland to take part in an expanded military exercise. 5
“We continue to reassure our Eastern European allies that, at this very delicate and potentially destabilising time, the United States is strongly committed to their security” a senior administration official said. However, view this in contrast to 5
Competitive escalation itself is deeply dangerous and with escalation comes increased risk. In this, Dugin appears to want to override the possibility, but makes the contrary claims that confrontation is inherent within the system itself, but is one not necessitated by “historic events”.6 Obama’s actions in respect to the US Missile Defense Shield, which was cancelled due to it exacerbating tension between the US, Russia and Poland. See here. Geo-political explanations seek to provide a relatively accurate description of affairs at each moment, but conceal the decisive cause of historical events. Nations are covered in an organic décor that gives them an independent life of their own. The geopolitical theorists cover the map, with names, nations, states, empires, sub divisions and zones of power, giving the impression that these entities act and constitute the true characters of history, whilst ignoring they are but secondary explanations and patterns derived from the multiple events of history after the fact. In this any number of erroneous links, causes, and even principles and paradigms can be determined in the currents and eddies of time. 6
History is composed of two kinds of processes: controlled and uncontrolled. Only the first are historical actions and have a determined agent or agents. The others have multiple subjects, do not follow a predetermined course and nobody can allege to be the author of the results achieved. In respect to agents, one can only call actions historic in a true sense if they endure beyond the lifespan of the individual agents involved. Many events of the present occur, but are soon forgotten. Their ramifications become insignificant as time passes. Durability in time is the hallmark of historic action. But clearly states, nations, empires cannot be the agents of historic actions. These entities result only from the combination of forces which seek to impose themselves by the agents within. They do not have their own will, but they reflect, at each moment, the will of a dominant group, or even an individual, which may be replaced in the next moment. A state, nation or empire is only an apparent agent, manipulated by other, more durable, more stable agents or groups, capable of dominating it and using it for their objectives. These frequently transcend even the duration of the nation state and imperial formations they use. Of course, following history over several centuries, it is possible to pick up some constants, which will give an appearance of unity in what is just the recurrence of impersonal, mixed causes, which are beyond anybody’s control. Strictly speaking, one is not dealing with an “action”, but with the simple unpremeditated result of any number of unconnected actions and reactions some purposive, some accidental. Social classes, like nations, cannot be historical agents. None have a unity of purpose following a coherent plan of action through two, three, four generations. As a consequence it is best not to confuse the two types of processes, and never indiscriminately apply one explanation of causes to another. But breaking this rule is 8
In this, he offers a MAD scenario, and presumably wants to say that because there hasn’t been a nuclear conflagration in the past, there is good reason to believe one will not happen in the future. The claim rests on confrontation being an inherent part of the system, but rather presupposes the likelihood of peace because of it based on the historic example. It ignores, however, the dangers of perpetual escalation, and that this increases the possibility of conflagration occurring by mere accident or chance. More worryingly, the confrontation he envisages appears to parallel a Marxist dialectic progression. This suggests Dugin’s claim for peace is in fact insincere, as the system for both Hegel and Marx required confrontation and war. Hegel viewed the inevitable progression as being manifest in historic events as war, a progression necessary for the development of Geist; whereas Marx saw revolution as an inevitable consequence of a class struggle between the bourgeoise land owners and the working proletariat, due to an inevitable conflict of interests. In both cases, it supposed deterministic conflict due to a confrontation of opposites.
Dugin too recognises this inevitable conflict, but somehow
feels it can be managed in the Cold War scenario, simply because it has never occurred in the past. This is a naive and dangerous assumption, rather akin to justifying playing Russian roulette and gambling on the consequences that the players will not die, because they have played before and survived the ordeal. It rather assumes eternal confrontation the fault of Prof. Dugin, who tends to seek a pattern and a “meaning in history” using national and state models themselves, rather than identifying the rational agents as causal principles. In this respect, civilisational models are explained as “organic”, emerging and growing according to inherent principles, rather than due to the cause of agents and their rational objectives. But moreover, he appears to confuse the rule by further seeking to explain with agents the causes of any anomalies he seeks to support in order to justify his geo-political model.
of opposites is best managed by a stasis or balance of powers, which can yet be contained as the escalation of powers occurs. 7 Conflict is further exacerbated by the supposition that a unipolar universalism is being sought and enforced. Thus, the notion of a threat is both created and amplified.
Here the inevitable consequence of
conflict assumes opposing paradigms are trying to achieve dominance in order to enforce hegemony. The struggle to impose universalism supposes similarly a dialectic progression, resulting in an inevitable synthesis, which before it is resolved must by necessity exacerbate war. Such views rather reflect his Marxist and Hegelian (Romantic) influenced mindset. Conflict is inherent and inevitable. A claim for peace therefore appears disingenuous, or can only be achieved, as Hegel believed, after war has occurred, or in the Marxian context, post revolution after the state has withered and died. Dugin fails to consider also, whether any supposed attempt at imposing universalism might in itself warrant a dissipation of one or more powers as the progression develops: thus nullifying it as a particular threat.8 His concern is only to preserve Russia: its national identity, its culture and its political power exclusively, without fully considering the more widespread global dangers posed by a Russian imbalance. He seeks to preserve it only from the imminent threat of US hegemony, and the solution to this requires military armament, as much as philosophical theorising. Multipolarity is his later preferred scenario, but the classification of the Land and Sea Powers effectively supposes a bipolar distinction as per the Mackinder model in any case. Needless to say the multipolar model still tends to exacerbate risk and danger as in the bipolar MAD confrontation scenario, but on multiple fronts. 7
More can be said on this later when the various models: the unipolar, bipolar, multipolar (his preferred solution) and nonpolar models are examined in more detail. 8
Dugin traces the military confrontation to an ideological cause. The Soviet Union’s Communism prevented a hot war conflict with the United States from occurring in the past. If a suitable polar opposite can be found, with a suitable ideological imperative, the threat of US hegemony can be countered again. This is rather revealing, because it tends to assume Communism was a peacekeeper and morally superior because of this. It rather suggests Dugin himself is a political extremist, with an ideologically driven mind: one who favours state-centric political philosophies, rather than the more virtuous principles of liberty: sovereignty, freedom and independence. Cold War détente could not be sustained if the Land and Sea Powers had been cast as they were of old in Imperialist terms for Dugin, as the old model was a competitive model of empire. It still exists today, he claims, as a competitive model of democratic governments. It seems “competitiveness” has to be cancelled out, or brought into stasis. This involves, in a very real sense, negating the ideas of democracy and Liberalism. For Dugin, the nature of the confrontation is “forever”, due to some eternal characteristic of “competitiveness”, but he needs to recognise that “competitiveness” cannot simply be cancelled out, or simply put on hold, if it prompts escalation. It can in fact be a factor that triggers global destruction and annihilation itself. In respect to the “eternal”, but yet peaceful nature of the confrontation however: “If we want to avoid a hot war we must be ready for precisely what Kisilev is talking about, the destruction of America. And this mutual readiness removes the risk and danger. ”9 See Kisilev’s remarks here . Vladimir Putin’s propaganda chief, Dmitry Kisilev, the new head of Russian government-run and financed media/propaganda arm RIA Novosti. 9
Dugin invites a new Cold War confrontation to try to achieve balance and peace on multiple fronts. Besides the professed concern for peace however, he also views it in much more specific terms as necessary to counteract the imbalance of a Russian decline in military strength; a decline that has occurred since the 1990s. The decline is one again chiefly laid at the door of the US, who have yet promoted a “substantial imbalance” to favour their own interests after the Cold War ended. He again plays up the dangers of US unipolarity in this, but fails to recognise the disagreements in interpretation that arose during the de-escalation discussions that characterised START I. 10 As Time magazine put it at the time: “Under Reagan’s ceilings, the U.S. would have to make considerably less of an adjustment in its strategic forces than would the Soviet Union. That feature of the proposal will almost certainly prompt the Soviets to charge that it is unfair and onesided. No doubt some American arms-control advocates will agree, accusing the Administration of making the Kremlin an offer it cannot possibly accept—a deceptively equal-looking, deliberately nonnegotiable proposal that is part of what some suspect is the
START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was a bilateral treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. The treaty was signed on 31 July 1991 and entered into force on 5 December 1994. The treaty barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 ICBMs, inter-continental ballistic missiles, and bombers. 10
START negotiated the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history, and its final implementation in late 2001 resulted in the removal of about 80 percent of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence. Proposed by Reagan it was renamed START I after negotiations began on the second START treaty. The START I treaty expired 5 December 2009. On 8 April 2010, the replacement New START treaty was signed in Prague by U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev. Following ratification by the U.S. Senate and the Federal Assembly of Russia, it went into force on 26 January 2011.
hardliners’ secret agenda of sabotaging disarmament so that the U.S. can get on with the business of rearmament.” However, Time did point out that: “The Soviets' monstrous ICBMs have given them a nearly 3-to-1 advantage over the U.S. in "throw weight"—the cumulative power to "throw" megatons of death and destruction at the other nation.”11
Dugin perceives the US danger as one that has consistently sought to probe the weaknesses of Russia’s ability to defend itself, particularly in its support of the separatists in Chechnya, and the battle for the postSoviet space generally. What is required, therefore, is the realisation that Russia has a “zone of geo-political responsibility”. This zone does not require an encroachment of military bases or armaments “onto their territory”, which in any case would only lead to a provocation risking the chance of WW3. Dugin is not in favour of such an “escalation of conflicts”, he prefers instead to guarantee peace through:
At the time the US had a commanding lead in strategic bombers. The US B-52 force, although old was a credible strategic threat, but was only equipped with AGM86 cruise missiles in 1982, a weakness because of Soviet air defence improvements in the early 1980s. The US also had begun to introduce a new B-1B Lancer quasi-stealth bomber and was secretly developing the Advanced Technology Bomber (ATB) project that would eventually result in the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. The USSR's force was of little threat to the US, on the other hand, as it was tasked almost entirely with attacking US convoys in the Atlantic and land targets on the Eurasian landmass. Although the USSR had 1,200 medium and heavy bombers, only 150 of them (Tupolev Tu-95s and Myasishchev M-4s) could reach North America. The latter only with in-flight refueling. They also faced difficult problems in penetrating admittedly smaller and heavily defended US airspace. 11
Possessing too few bombers available when compared to US bomber numbers was evened out by the US forces having to penetrate the much larger and heavier defended Soviet airspace. This changed when new Tu-95MS and Tu-160 bombers appeared in 1984, equipped with the first Soviet AS-15 cruise missiles. By limiting the phase-in as it was proposed, the US would be left with a strategic advantage, but this “advantage” existed only for a time. 13
“..Zones of responsibility, zones of civilisation, of land civilisation and sea civilisation which are sufficiently organic and comprehensible.”
But it is precisely here where things do become difficult in response to say Venezuela or Cuba; where any strengthening of the military presence would lead to an “unhealthy” situation that the US would view as a direct challenge. Dugin fails to satisfactorily explain how his proposed “zones” or “frontiers” in respect to his civilisational model can be adequately defined without clearly delineated borders. He seems relaxed about the nebulosity of the idea and does not see it as exacerbating war. Contrarily, however, he does view national borders as being significant when he cites the example of the coup which arose in Kiev. This he views as an “invasion”, rather than a liberation of Ukrainian citizens from political oppression. The sense is that US meddling had exerted an influence. The amorphous nature of the civilisational frontiers is, therefore, resorted to only for Russia’s advantage, when he justifies the liberation of Ukraine and its “Russian speaking peoples” as warranted because of their cultural affiliation to Russia. He considers cultural similarities provide a sufficient justification for a Russian incursion to rescue them, but not in respect to any Western European/US values they might also share. Cultural affiliation is used as an identifier of the civilisational zones of responsibility and therefore a political allegiance that warrants military action to amalgamate disparate parts into a geo-political power. The counterweight to US hegemony is similarly conceived in terms of a SinoRussian alliance where both:
“form together as a whole Eurasia, the Heartland’s zone, two greatest continental spaces. So, we deal with tellurocracy in its essence.”12
This seems to be a departure from other published remarks, where he has emphasised the necessity in avoiding those countries with Atlanticist tendencies from allying with the Eurasian bloc. These countries for Dugin are contrarily China (a contemporary ally) which he has viewed as a historical base for Anglo-American activities against Eurasia, and the Islamic, NATO allied Turkey, which Dugin has called the country to be treated as a ‘scapegoat’ by the Eurasianists, because of its openly Atlanticist inclinations. 13 Dugin’s bipolar model has latterly evolved into a multipolar model. To this end, he has drawn three axes: one between Russia and Germany 14, another between Russia and Iran, and one between Russia and Japan. These delineate and identify a number of chief global powers. Whereas Germany and Japan can provide the Russian-Eurasian zone with the necessary economic and technological tools, Iran can act as an important link between Eurasia and the Islamic world – a traditional opponent to Anglo-American policies – and between Eurasia and the Persian Gulf, a strategic outlet for access to the sea.
“The USA and the New World Order” (op.cit).
In an interview publicised on his website, Evrazia.org, Dugin stated once again that China and Turkey cannot take direct parts in the Eurasianist formation and the best he could offer both countries would be to expand their spheres of influence southwards, while leaving regions to their north to a Russian sphere of influence. 13
France too is mentioned if it can shirk its openly Atlanticist inclinations. 15
Regarding Eurasia’s access to the other strategic outlet to the sea, the Pacific Ocean, Dugin believes that a minor axis might also be drawn to India, which can only act as a ‘frontier station’, since India does not have the sufficient geopolitical depth to become a major axis on its own. Dugin believes that such a Eurasian zone, or bloc, will also be beneficial for these allies, as Russia would provide them with its massive resources of raw materials (especially energy) as well as providing a nuclear umbrella from the encroaching and bullying influence of the West. For Dugin, geopolitics and culture are synthesised in a world paradigm. This is meant to satisfy political geographical, economic and sociological needs. The: “borders and “les dispositifs” on the one hand, and the cultural, social and value system, on the other. So, tellurocracy, the Rome’s paradigm, is the geopolitical continental kind of strategy and civilization taken together. So the hostility between USAunipolarity-globalization-financial oligarchy-modernizationcapitalism and Russia-Chine-militarism-sovereignty of statetraditional society-(crypto-socialism) is perfectly geopolitical.”15
In this oddly classical view of the world, the place of Islam in Dugin’s geopolitical vision corresponds: “…to the Rimland, precisely to the large part of Rimland going from the Maghreb through Middle East to the Central Asia and further to Islamic societies of the Pacific. Geopolitical nature of Islam opens to it two options: Sea Power or Land Power, the thallassocracy or tellurocracy? The radical Islam rejecting the West, the USA, the globalization and consequently the thallassocracy, is logically inclined to the alliance with the Land Power. But this zone as a whole can optionally make the other
“The USA and the New World Order” (op. cit. ). 16
decision, preferring the alliance with the West (as some Arab regimes).”16
In this, he does not offer any explanation of how Turkey appears to exhibit the tendencies of both, and whether it could be used as a buffer between the Islamic Middle East and Europe, a situation of particular concern now. He does, however, conceive of a strategy to counter the unipolar vision of the West in terms of alliances with Islam if they favour radicalism. In this, however, he clearly appears to be making his alliances with terrorists and against any that similarly deem modern “liberal” democracy a threat. In any alliance, the objective is to achieve a “balance”. This is required, but currently the: “ balance between the thallassocracy and tellurocracy today is in favour of the first. So the present situation can be correctly evaluated in the classical (“old”) geopolitical terms. The Sea Power, striving to control the Heartland (Eurasia) in order to rule the World (imposing everywhere its market/human rights/individualist patterns and values), is confronting with the Eurasian forces (Russia-China) and its temporary allies (Islamists, Latin America anti-colonialists, neo-socialists and 17 “independentistas” and so on).
The justification for Dugin’s distinction between thallassocracy and tellurocracy, is based on a classic theory of Halford Mackinder. It lacks the historical proofs to back it up however, for “a great war of the continents” has never actually occurred. 18 Historical corroboration was 16 17
“The USA and the New World Order” (ibid). (op. cit. )
Previously the historical precedent was used to justify a MAD scenario and the fact escalation did not lead to hot war justified it to balance the unipolar threat. This time 18
the initial justification why any MAD scenario would not lead to nuclear conflagration. Here, history is again appealed to as the justification for why Eurasia needs to be developed in order to avoid conflict, but it is one lacking historical verification based on past events. Historically speaking, it is true there have been some wars of “seapowers” against “land-powers” as Dugin asserts, but equally there have been just as many wars of sea-powers among themselves, and the same could be said of land-powers too in this respect. Notably the wars of the 20th century have further incorporated forces of land, sea and air! Neither has there ever been a general alliance of “Eurasianists” against a confederation of “Atlanticists”, as the adapted Mackinder model he uses suggests. There have been local conflicts within each bloc, suggesting further that these blocs do not even act like blocs in the classic geopolitical sense. In this respect, then, Dugin’s “great war of the continents” is suggestive of some future event, or even a strategy or goal conceived in his own mind, and like the Oracle at Delphi, or more aptly Rasputin, he peers into the future and tantalises us with his pronouncements. 19 He dreams
alliances are proposed and the need for balancing out the new respective civilisation powers justifies itself with the claim a great “war of civilisations” will occur. Historical referents in respect to both cannot be systematically and consistently sustained. 19 Grigory Rasputin prophesised the end of the world as August 23, 2013. Rasputin predicted a “terrible storm” in which fire would destroy life on the planet. He also said that Jesus Christ would come down to Earth to comfort people in distress. There was always an aura of mystery around the scandalous favourite of the Royal family. Many believed that he had foreseen the First World War, the revolution and even his own death. He prophesied to the tsar that if he was killed by one of his courtiers, as later happened, “none of you, none of your children will live for more than two years.” 18
of creating a cold war type conflict: a Sino-Russian-Islamic alliance versus the Anglo-sphere (the US, Britain and her largely Western allies) in order, he claims, to prevent a hot war from occurring, but it is a geopolitical strategy rather inconsistently argued for, and which in any case unfairly empowers and emboldens Russia. His future vision seeks to provide corroboration by reference to the past. But to this end, he often has to resort to a rather fanciful and inconsistent interpretation of history. This is not to be viewed too harshly, as history is susceptible to multiple interpretations, and he presents this in any case as a philosophical conundrum. He might add that his concern could be justified as moral too, if it was one that sought to genuinely find a solution to any future hot war scenario. Duginâ€™s own delight in speaking of future hot war situations with too free abandon, however, rather undermines that moral concern. His tendency to war mongering prophecies tends not to provide one with faith that he can provide reliable solutions either, when square pegs are rather squashed into round holes. In this, too, he rather clings to the Marxist failing that dialectic indubitably proves to be the correct interpretation of history and therefore must be applied in all circumstances. This being applicable, even when the supposed inevitability of revolution too often failed to substantiate the theory via the events of history. Rasputin was killed on December 17, 1916 by Prince Felix Yusupov, who was married to the niece of Nicholas II , a cousin of the tsar of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, State Duma deputy, Vladimir Purishkevich, and physician Stanislaw Lazovert. Psychologist Yury Levchenko told Pravda.Ru: â€œNone of the predictions of Grigory Rasputin has ever come true to life. His words about dark times in Russia after his death were nothing but intimidation. All these forecasters speak empty phrases, which we then fill associatively. Nostradamus was a bad trader, and after 40, he began to write verses that could be interpreted differently. Everyone has their own associations. Rasputin could not even predict that his patron Nicholas II was a weak tsar. He was only intimidating people.â€? 19
For example, difficulties arise for Dugin when ideological clashes occur between respective land powers that one would naturally suppose are allies: the Communist contra National Socialist clash, for example, that marked the end of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This is explained away by appealing to the action of “infiltrated British agents” 20 who deceived and manipulated Hitler and Stalin into a conflict, which naturally as respective “land” powers should have facilitated an alliance against the “sea” powers of the US and Britain. One might add, at the risk of stating a truism here, that the “Anglo-Saxon” alliance involved Britain’s Scottish forces: for it was the “Battle of Britain”, and included a majority of land power armies in respect to Scotland, but the battle was in any case largely fought in the air and at sea, at least until the planned D–Day landings.21 For the hypothesis of a “war of the continents” to work, it would be necessary to prove that the wars among land and sea powers were more frequent, or more important than other wars, over and above all the ones fought among land powers, or among sea powers themselves. Historical events however simply fail to back this up. It appears Prof. Dugin, therefore, is simply speaking from a purely academic desire to support a philosophical thesis that does not match the events of history. The invasion, for example, of Russia by France and Germany (two land 20
As O. de Carvalho notes (ibid): “Among the British agents in the German High Command, he singles out Admiral Canaris: “betrayer of the Reich”, as one of those responsible for turning Germany against Russia instead of uniting them against England. For decades, Hitler had promised to “crush Bolshevism”, making this one of the avowed goals of the National Socialist regime. Once in power, he unleashed ferocious persecution against the communists, while at the same time he prepared an attack against the USSR well in advance. But to Prof. Dugin all this does not mean anything. It was all the fault of some “British agent.”
Alexandre Douguine, “La Grande Guerre des Continents”, 26. 20
powers, according to Haushofer and Dugin) doesn’t fit the thesis. The war between Russia and Japan, 8 February 1904 – 5 September 1905,22 (a sea power) does, but Haushofer later called on Japan to be allied with Russia and Germany in any power confrontation. 23 If a “war of the continents” (a theory first floated by Mackinder in the 1900s) is a hypothesis lacking credibility (and one born of an era without any air forces) trying to argue for secret agents to support the classification and explain away anomalies like major wars that clash with the theory is frankly philosophically incredulous. One theory to explain historical anomalies might be acceptable, but a sustained theory over many decades, suggestive of an “Atlanticist” versus a “Eurasian” order, that mobilised agents according to some secret strategy, or long term aim, lacks proof. It at least requires some sustained citation of historical events to back it up.
Haushofer advocated a coalition of Russia, Japan and Germany (land powers). He praised the 1939 Soviet-National Socialist pact. From his “Heartland” perspective offensive action proceeded outwards from the centre, so Germany had to align with the Soviet Union. Japan clearly was primarily a sea power at this time. The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) or "Navy of the Greater Japanese Empire" was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 until 1945, when it was dissolved following Japan's defeat and surrender in World War II. It was the third largest navy in the world by 1920, behind the Royal Navy and the United States Navy. It was supported by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service for aircraft and airstrike operation from the fleet. It was the primary opponent of the Western Allies in the Pacific War. 22
Another historical example that overrides the Atlantacist- Eurasian thesis is given by O. de Carvalho (op. cit.) in respect to the First World War, when Russia sided with “Atlantist powers” against its “natural allies” Germany and Austria-Hungary. This again is explained as being the fault of Atlanticist agents who infiltrated Slavophile patriots, convincing the tsar that Russian racial identity was more strategically important than the territorial unity among different ethnicities; a hypothesis that Dugin imagines would have led to an alliance with Germany. 23
An aside: a few questions concerning Dugin’s civilisational model The difficulties of Dugin’s geopolitical cultural model rests in the descriptions of the blocs themselves, and chiefly that Russia, China, and the Islamic countries are to join in some kind of an alliance against the West.24 The problems of Dugin’s thesis can be summarised with the following more concrete questions, some of which he attempts to deal with here: • In the multipolar model, how is one to convince the Islamic Civilisation to rescind its faith-based notions that seek a global hegemony itself, implemented as an Islamic Caliphate? Indeed, more generally, how is one to override the inherent nisus or tendency of every civilisation to achieve hegemony?
Dugin appears to be suggesting we first need to imagine a Cold War scenario, where two civilisations (or even multiple civilisations) effectively cancel each other out. This prevents one power from achieving global dominance. This requires alliances too, but in the Post-modern world in specific reference to Islam he says: “for Islamic forces to achieve a real and contestable victory they should enter into an alliance to find allies that could not share their universalism”. 25
He has been inconsistent concerning his chosen allies in his geopolitical theory. Whether an alliance with China should be formed and or whether the Islamic world or particular Islamic nations generally should be seen as allies or not. He accepts both as leaning to Western inclinations on occasion, but appears open to the possibility of them allying with Russia due to their complementary cultural and political affiliations. 24
See A. Dugin on “Eurasian vision and multi-polar geopolitics” here. 22
He proposes allies such as Russia and China, and the need to accept the “liquidation of unipolarity” by “intellectuals” with “alliances” 26 and “incompatible universalisms”, before multipolarity can be achieved. He makes
universalisms formed by “alliances”, and what he terms “the reality” (the current situation): a singular universalism. His distinction, however, rather evades the issue: how precisely are any number of disparate civilisations with real differences in values expected to successfully negotiate to form such alliances? Why, for example, should the Islamic world rescind its own tendency to unipolarity, when such an alliance overrides its own fundamental religious principles of jihad and its imperative of global dominion? Why should it accept alliances at all, or cooperate with other civilisations opposed to its fundamental objectives? They might, if they deemed some future conquest as being furthered by a temporary alliance of course (hudna), but then how would this help Russia in the long term? Would it not rather pose an even greater threat? This is particularly so if the alliances with Islamists involved welcoming them into their midst, only to find the temporary alliance had itself led to internal subversion. Temporary alliances here do not appear to alleviate the possibility of future conflict between these allies: indeed they appear to facilitate it. Dugin assumes that the existence of a civilisation can only occur in the acceptance of the alliance with other non-compatible civilisations. This he believes will guarantee the nullification of the Western power. It is, again a Cold War model of MAD in some sense, but applied not as a bipolar, but a multipolar model, with a multiplicity of civilisations balancing each other out. This, however, still fails to provide a proper 26
See A. Dugin on “Eurasian vision and multi-polar geopolitics” here. 23
solution to the question of future conflicts, nor does it address how the alliance would not facilitate weakness if they were in fact fundamentally of an opposing value system. Nor does it justify why an alliance could not be made with the Atlanticist power itself, which for some reason he views exclusively as being in “eternal” opposition. Neither can one simply appeal to a Post-modern context as entirely new, or simply appeal to it being a mere intellectual construct which is different, to help him answer this problem satisfactorily; for his model is based on the past. The best he can offer is that “it could be managed”, or “it could be rearranged”. But how is this new order to be secured when global dominion by one or other remains a fundamental objective? Similarly how is it to be achieved without war when the geopolitical “reality” currently is unipolar US rule? Dugin suggests “riding the tiger”, an allusion to Julius Evola. 27 He is not explicit, or detailed about what this entails however, and he simply states we must “rule over” them, or control the universalism or tendency to global hegemony, by making it submit to a multipolar scenario. This is the only way to keep these “universalisms in the limits, in the borders”. In Ride the Tiger, Evola argues that the modern world has become totally corrupt and that the institutions and traditions of the ancient world that once allowed a person to fully realise his “being” have been lost. The work expands upon the Radical Traditionalist ideas which Evola developed in Revolt Against the Modern World and offers a solution to the problem of living in the modern world different from the reactionary revolution he argued for in Men Among the Ruins. 27
The principal metaphor of the book is its title. Evola argues that in order to survive in the modern world an enlightened or “differentiated man” should “ride the tiger” and by holding onto the tiger's back a man may survive the confrontation. So too he might become a greater man, by letting the world take him on its inexorable path. He might then be able to turn the destructive forces around him into a kind of inner liberation. While the traditional world described in Revolt Against the Modern World would allow a man to fully realise his being in a united society, the world Evola describes in Ride the Tiger is much lonelier and even pessimistic. Despite its pessimism, it is a testament to his belief that no matter how lost civilisation may be, there always exists the ability for the individual person to live his life always looking “above” himself and thus achieving enlightenment. 24
This apparently will be possible because civilisation itself is “an artificial and not a natural concept”. 28 His appeal to the Evolian view, however, is one that tends to confuse the agents in any given civilisation with the civilisation itself, which he then does view as organic and arising largely independently of agents exerting influence within it. • How could one foster mutual cooperation between nations if they don’t actually agree with each other? How would one, for example,
civilisational zone if they don’t agree?
How would Israel be
incorporated into a “zone” largely surrounded by Islamic values? How would the Sunni Shia conflict itself be resolved to form a coherent Islamic Civilisation? How could “civilisational” values even be constructed when such disagreements exist. How would the zones be constructed when they are scattered around the world? For example, when a large Muslim population exists in London, or there are large Chinese populations in Africa? How can there even be a civilisational agreement of values, or an agreement about what constitutes identity, in this kind of disperse set up? How can individuals with different civilisational values even live with each other? For example, the conflict in ideology between Muslims in London and English Britons about the role and status of women? Under which law or civilisational value precisely are they supposed to be living? In fairness to Dugin he is speaking here to students in the English language, which clearly limits his nuance and subtlety of expression. Alternatively his student audience may well justify a concern for a more simplistic narrative. But it is hardly one less satisfactorily explained in his writings of Fourth Political Theory, or for that matter when he addresses audiences on television in his native language. Indeed in Russian he appears far more of a fundamentalist. See Posner. So too, his advice to “ride the tiger” appears to be an acceptance of the inevitability of confrontation as something natural, and the necessity of it in order to achieve turbulence and spiritual liberation appeals to a very unchristian understanding. 28
Civilisational identity is not a concrete space like a nation state, so geographic location does not appear to be a problem for Dugin. A “Muslim”, Dugin asserts, who lives in London could yet belong outside of the “Islamic Civilisation” or “Zone” and yet share in its cultural values in a “kind of agreement”. There is no political space or division, Dugin emphasises, where the Islamic Civilisation begins or ends and the West encroaches upon it. It appears to be a fluid concept. But in this, it is still not clear what determines the identity of an individual outside of the civilisation, or what the effect of multiculturalism might be in shaping this identity to varying degrees, or indeed when and where one civilisational zone begins or ends, or even how it could be satisfactorily determined or sustained as an identifiable “zone”. Dugin suggests we must consider a non-linear solution to the problem of identity. Indeed, we must accept a multiplicity of identities in any given civilisation.29 This envisages a similar arrangement to the present multicultural set up. Out of this, however, civilisational zones will be determined and even created. They would in fact be rather artificially “constructed” to achieve a “multiplicity of identities”. But this rather fails Dugin envisions his ideal using a Plotinian metaphysic in his “Fourth Political Theory.” “The important concept of nous (intellect) developed by the Greek philosopher Plotinus corresponds to our ideal. The intellect is one and multiple at the same time, because it has multiple differences in itself — it is not uniform or an amalgam, but taken as such with many parts, and with all their distinct particularities. The future world should be noetic in some way — characterised by multiplicity; diversity should be taken as its richness and its treasure, and not as a reason for inevitable conflict: many civilisations, many poles, many centres, many sets of values on one planet and in one humanity. Many worlds. But there are some who think otherwise. Who are aligned against such a project? Those who want to impose uniformity, the one (American) way of life, One World. And their methods are force, temptation, and persuasion. They are against multipolarity. So they are against us. ”Dugin, Alexander (2012-07-28). The Fourth Political Theory (p. 197). Arktos. 29
to satisfactorily address how a civilisational zone can itself even be determined, or conflicts mitigated, if multiculturalism is accepted and even encouraged. Certainly, it is clear that a “multiplicity of identities” living or existing together in one region would not necessarily prevent cultural clashes from occurring between individuals with different cultural values. This invites internal conflict, just as there are geopolitical conflicts between the major civilisations themselves. In multiculturalism these clashes simply become internalised nationally, and often even act to dissipate the integrity of a given and specific culture or civilisation. Indeed, one rather wonders if this is the point for Dugin, and he actually even seeks it as some kind of subversion tactic to cause chaos in nations he objects to. Like some cultural Marxist revolutionary of old then, he wants to trigger the inevitable conflict he assumes is inherent within the system, to further a more specific ideological and military objective. Dugin claims his model provides a new world order for peaceful purposes, but the problems it creates invite further problems. In this, he appears to want individuals with different values to rub up against each other, as Saul Alinsky wanted, whilst claiming it will not be a problem. He seeks to mollify by claiming he is acting for the best possible future scenario, but he appears to be acting like a 5th column dissimulator here, by suggesting any violent means can be justified to achieve more peaceful ideological ends. His claim to be “right wing” considering his links to neo-Bolshevik movements in all of this
disingenuous and further supports a notion of deceit. To mitigate conflict, he claims, national governments ruled by some kind of central supranational power must be envisioned. This attempts to
restore some sort of order out of the chaos of his model.30 He does this when he parallels his example with the EU, and how it can co-exist with national governments. Eurasia then is similarly conceived, with Russia being the predominant power. The EU model, however, is purely a political and not a cultural model. This solution presently fails to deal effectively with the cultural problems inherent within a multicultural set up satisfactorily, as he himself later recognises. It thus acts only as a political organisation, but tends to assume (as a failing) a European demos and a European culture in the light of this. This is contrarily so, as Europe clearly consists of a variety of races, national cultures and different value systems that warrant distinction and often lead to dissent. Dugin, however, claims that we need not necessarily assume a “linear” way of thinking about identity in all of this multiplicity. Citizenship can be forged, but yet must involve a “turbulent identity”. He appears to suggest a transformation of cultural identity is necessary, which transcends our political identity as citizens. To achieve this requires “turbulence”. He fails, however, to satisfactorily explain how tolerance of multiple identities within this turbulence is supposed to be achieved. Nor if this is required, how it is to be achieved practically, or identified satisfactorily within geo-political limits. Indeed, all of this appears to be simply exacerbating cultural confusion, chaos, anarchy and war, particularly if the values of Liberalism and its tolerance and diversity ethos must be overridden. Dugin claims in a complex world the complex solutions are the best. He fails to recognise the virtues of the lex parsimoniae in this equation. In
Dugin relishes Chaos both in the Greek sense and as an inevitable departure from the logo-centric era Western civilisation has pursued since the dawn of its conception with the Pre-Socratics. See my later subsection: “Dugin’s Anti-Christian call for a Metaphysics of Chaos” and my criticisms. 30
any “specific case of identity it will be different” he claims, while he asserts ultimately alien cultures (such as Muslims) will be forced to form complex alliances with those that do not share their value system. It will be a “challenge” he concedes to envision how the multiplicity of identities within a given civilisation could co-exist, and even how the laws could be successfully determined. His suggested model in all of this fails to provide pragmatic solutions to very real problems. The present difficulties of the multicultural set up inevitably requires a future choice to achieve a more uniform and identifiable sense of what cultural identity is. This is rather contrarily offered as an explanation: whilst a Muslim would be free to choose which civilisation they want to live in, he appears to think a problem of choice must be faced in the multicultural model eventually. At present, the choice on how to live has not been made, but ultimately the Muslim, as an example, will be forced to decide how they live, and where they will live. Ultimately in this they will have no choice but to return to a Muslim country. It is a choice he seeks to alleviate in his civilisational model he claims, but in speaking of such a future choice, it is clear he has failed to provide any real solution. Nor is it clear precisely how the present multicultural model offered by Liberalism is distinct from his own ideas on what civilisational zones entail in any real sense. The future choice too is something of a cop out. He fails to address why some Muslims, the Islamists he proposes an alliance with, should even acquiesce to this “inevitable” choice, or how coercion justifies it as still being justified as a preference. Their value system too requires a submission to Islam: convert, or be killed, or enslaved. In this, a global conversion is required, and nation states are to capitulate to it. Islamists in this are not concerned to acquiesce and do not seek compromise, nor 29
are they likely to simply seek out a more compatible cultural region after any alliance has fulfilled its aims. Dugin here fails to see his own civilisational model, with its diffuse and amorphous “frontiers” that tolerate multiplicity and multiculturalism, in fact poses a very real and far more dangerous threat in itself. It appears to be just as threatening as the current order championed by the US or more generally the Western threat of Liberalism itself. Supposed alliances are more likely with those willing to act tolerantly, but less likely when the ally values religious and ideologically fanaticism. Coercion too in all of this facilitates the rise of extremism. Whilst Professor Dugin often speaks of civilisations enduring over thousands of years, the concept of “civilisation” also appears to shift or change in a Heraclitean sense, as all things must in a state of flowing (panta rhei). It, therefore, appears to be both a fixed and a fluid concept. It endures, but yet alters, according to demographic changes, just as the stream remains a stream, but is constantly moving. Its fluidity, however, also suggests a civilisational or cultural change of norms and mores over time, whilst yet persisting through time. Fluidity makes common themes difficult to identify however, and zones of conflict are not easily mitigated (as S.P. Huntington identifies) in such an enduring, but simultaneously fluid model. 31 Generally, civilisations are not for Dugin “static, primordial, monolithic, homogenous”; their borders for Dugin are “porous”, and he views them in organic terms as fluid and constantly growing and evolving. The distinction, however, appears to fail in a real and pragmatic sense. It fails to provide solutions, and indeed appears not to alleviate confrontation, in spite of their fluid and amorphous qualities. Indeed, Dugin’s less 31
“The Clash of Civilizations”, Samuel P Huntington, Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993. 30
specific view only appears to exacerbate territorial squabbles, by resorting all the more to abstract confusions and vagaries. Whilst the zones lack definite boundaries and are to be viewed more as fluid “frontiers”, the “artificial construct” of these civilisations also sits as a plain contradiction with their evolving and “organic” characteristics. He appears to want them to exhibit a number of contrary characteristics nevertheless, but it is theorising that cannot justify clarity in respect to determining who or what specific territory belongs to whom. • How are nation states to retain their sovereignty within the civilisational set up? Will the nation states be dissolved? Will the civilisation itself evolve a sovereignty of its own? “The main point of sovereignty is civilisation” Dugin claims. This is indicative of a civilisational hegemony over nations, tribes, races that happen to fall under the rubric of his definition. One presumes this set up somehow co-exists with other kinds of political sovereignty. He cites EU federalism, or even Soviet Communism. The details of how both interact and co-exist are not mapped out. However, what is clear is that, for Dugin, the idea of sovereign states will largely be determined by the civilisation itself, and the unique features of what constitutes a nation in its cultural and political identity will be largely predefined in reference to it. This appears to be an attempt to address the deficiencies of Stalinism and the General Line, but it resorts to political imposition to determine cultures nevertheless. This feature is characteristic of “Liberalism”, he claims, and one he nevertheless but somewhat contrarily claims to loathe. Dugin claims sovereignty in the modern sense is limited, as it does not accept transcendent values. The values are “limited by the state” he claims. For example, there is no belief in God, etc above the state. But his 31
post-modern, multipolar system challenges closed systems he claims, as it accepts transcendent values of a variety of concepts; for example a variety of beliefs in God, etc. In this claim, however, his civilisation model does not appear to be an improvement on the preexisting model of how faith is treated in a secular state presently. In the secular state model, for example, of the kind provided in the United States, faith or other cultural values are not even determined by the state. Quite the contrary, for it is purely a matter of personal faith. Here, the US “state” does not impose its determinant on that faith in any sense, nor does it seek to make other beliefs in God illegal, if they should differ from say the orthodox notion of what Christianity is. The above criticism is a fundamental, but it is one that Dugin largely fails to grasp in his understanding of what the US Declaration of Independence represents, and what it means to be an individual with human rights. His view of state determining culture fails to understand the ideological differences between the Russian Socialist model and the US Constitutional model sufficiently. More needs to be said on this shortly, but generally Dugin’s view, that sovereignty is limited in its choice of transcendent values by the state, is one that opens up many issues concerning the political and cultural value of the individual and the collective. Such distinctions are crucial to Dugin’s interpretation of the world, and more worryingly his basis for providing a response in the political and military sense to what freedom and security requires.
Dugin’s subversion of Christianity in relation to his dialectic war mongering 32
When Dugin begins his dialectic debate with Vladimir Posner he begins with the fervent exclamation “Christ is Risen!”: a view not acceptable to the liberal humanist Posner, but one acceptable to the majority of Christians in the West that would welcome his proclamation. His own view of the values of the West, however, are certainly less charitable and peaceful. Dugin’s Christian views are such that one would like to think he is naturally a pacifist, but it is belied by his reported statement that he acknowledges: “for country, for Russia , for truth, for justice, for an idea, for the people, and for correct political convictions, one must shoot and kill!”
The questions then are: “Shoot whom? Kill whom? What sort of Christian ethic is this?” The answer becomes clearer in a response that does not shirk the difficulties of the future task at hand: “First Christ was a perfect man and a perfect God. Second Christ chased the money lenders from the Temple and he said “I bring not peace but the sword”. And “the kingdom of God is won by power.” Of course Christianity is a peaceful religion. Nevertheless, we see over the two thousand year course of Christianity, we see that Christian countries, almost always in the course of their history waged wars. So in my opinion to represent Christianity as only pacifism at any price is not entirely accurate. The second point, what do I mean by readiness to kill? Readiness I would say I mean, and by the way I would say to kill or to die, or to die and to kill..[some dispute about necessity rather than readiness] I simply think that a person’s convictions, his belonging to a civilisation, or a country, to a church, to a religion, and even to a political ideology, are commensurate with the meaning of his life, and only when his life is contained as a basis, or a pledge of our own ideas and opinions, then we are ready to defend our rightness, 33
risking our lives. ..or obligated in some case, when an aggressor in relation to our faith, to our ideas, sometimes to our country, to our patriotism, to our people, we must be ready to kill. Why? Because a man is principally a soldier. Of course he tries to avoid this. I am not saying to engage in terror, I am not saying to kill everyone [but] when our opinions, our country, our society, which we represent is threatened by a serious existential danger, we must be ready to enter into battle for this…yes I mean self-defence, but I also want to say that the line between defence and attack is very thin. There is no army that is ready only to defend itself. There is no ideology, politic, sociology or other teachings that only say leave us alone we will merely defend ourselves. The problem is war can never only be orientated around defence. War must take account of attack as a preventative form of defence, and so on. But at the same time, he is accountable who understands the value of life. He is accountable in relation to what he says, to what his ideas, his opinions, his political, religious, philosophical, ideological positions are, who understands that everything will have to be paid for. Everything, and this readiness, to pay with your life, and often it is easier for people to bring themselves to sacrifice than to kill another person, but the life of an enemy, this is also very important. An enemy is a person and readiness to kill that person is oftentimes more difficult and readiness to, often more complicated than the readiness to sacrifice oneself. ”
In this extensive tirade, Dugin commits a cardinal sin in assuming that the kingdom of God is won by power in a military and physical sense, and not by the power of faith in the Holy Spirit. Dugin places the power of man here over the power of God. This is an odd stance to take for a Christian, but in this respect Dugin prefers only to see and speak of enemies: Atlanticism, globalism, oligarchic Liberalism, and further this enemy must be: “…annihilated without pity otherwise they will annihilate us.”
This appears to be another clear call to violence of the kind that warranted his sacking from the Moscow State University in 2014. A call made by his students and reputedly implemented by the University due to his public statements to “kill” Ukrainians in the recent separatist clashes.
It is one that lacks any distinct Christian ethic. It is one that
was denied and led to reinstatement later. The more disturbing implications for this advisor to the Kremlin becomes more apparent considering that the ideologies of Atlanticism and Liberalism bear clear comparison with the US, NATO, and the European Union as political powers. In fact they are directly equivalent to these federal blocs for Dugin. The global financial oligarchy too is part of the equation, and all of them (if you follow Dugin’s prescription) must be “annihilated” pitilessly. But in this Dugin is quick to qualify his definition of “annihilate” turning it into a more conceptual battle to liquidate concepts rather than nations or people. It is justified as being not simply a call to kill, or so he claims. “Look all the objects of annihilation you noted those are my words, but are collective conceptual notions. I do not say anywhere that we must annihilate liberals.”33
In this too, he is entirely consistent in his distinction between the people and the government of the US, which in his “Letter to the American People on Ukraine”, he distinguishes because: “We sincerely love the first and we profoundly hate the second.” 34
See here. A conceptual framework Dugin claims, but one that is belied by his article “Liberals against a Wall.” 32 33
See here for the full letter. 35
But in this the call to annihilate becomes muddied as: “Liberalism, Atlanticism, hegemony, oligarchy, the US as the carrier of this hegemony, but this is important, this vehemence is not directed against the government.”
The question therefore is, if Dugin is not against the people, and his violence is not against the government, which contrarily by his own admission in his “Letter to the American People on Ukraine” he “profoundly hates”, whom or what exactly is the object of his vehemence against in his call to kill? It appears, although he never specifies it, that Dugin wants us to believe he is the classic philosopher of the Socratic type, inasmuch as he calls for a heuristic debate to annihilate the misconception of ideas or ideologies that breed ignorance and misunderstanding. In this sense, Dugin’s method is fundamentally Socratic; it seeks to destroy ideas via a negative method of hypothesis elimination, until a better hypothesis or paradigm can be found, but it does not seek to dispose of the very nature of the political structure per se, only to modify or improve it. It appears to offer a means for improvement then, which is not best served utilising the word “annihilation”. “It is expressed through a war of ideas. How is a concept annihilated? How is a phenomenon annihilated? This is very serious.”
Here, however, Aleksandr Dugin is not merely doffing his doctor’s cap with a nod to a hermetically sealed intellectual debate limited to the halls of academia. Indeed, the true scope of his concerns are to be realised:
“through discourse, through strategy, through reading, through education, through diplomatic methods, through the increase in military power, without which it is not possible to defend one’s point of view in the world today.”
Perhaps Dugin’s choice of the term “annihilate” in this context is not “precise” enough for the non-specialist public audience that he seeks to address in the political sphere. He is (with his multiple concerns) embracing the general public via the political sphere, as a pragmatic response to his philosophical musings. He does not see either to be in any sense mutually exclusive, but his specialist use of language in public certainly invites danger, inasmuch
as it could be
misunderstood. Just as Socrates became embroiled in the intricacies of Athenian political life by mixing philosophy with politics in the market place, or Plato sought to implement his philosophical theories in a practical political implementation, with a visit to Dionysius II of Syracuse, for Dugin Philosophy is no mere academic exercise. It is no mere escape from the disillusion of the political sphere. It is the means by which his vision of the world can be realised and effect change, but as with Socrates, it all too frequently leads to a bewildered confusion for those not equipped with philosophic acumen. It does not necessarily bring the blinding light of enlightenment or understanding to those non-philosophers who are forced to address him. It brings only the perplexed embarrassment of aporia.35
The Socratic elenchus produced public embarrassment for the Sophists that revealed their intellectual shortcomings. It signified the annihilation of those erroneous opinions purveyed as the truth through skilful rhetoric. A successful career in politics could also be ended through the annihilation of a Sophist’s reputation. So too, Socratic elenchus in this instance proved fatal for Socrates as it prompted 35
Furthermore, it is an endeavour fraught with personal danger, as Socrates himself eventually found out. 36 Political elites, such as Putin, as Dugin himself is now only too keenly being made aware, do not tolerate to have others place words in their own mouth, or act as their unofficial mentors, when they themselves are the subject of increasing vilification and international pressure. To labour the point, Dugin achieves little in his assumptions or choice of philosophical words to convey his dialectic methodology here. His methodology bears no easy distinction for the public at large, nor does it improve the difficult endeavor of geopolitics in the concrete world of Real Politik. “There is a difference if I say “ we must annihilate Atlanticists” and “we must annihilate liberals” or Americans yes if I were to say that [But you don’t?] No, not once. I speak of collective concepts. This is an ideological war. Today Americans can be the carriers of this Atlanticist hegemony; in another case if they go the way of isolationism, or like some right wing politicians, such as Ron Paul, or [Pat] Buchanan, I suggest they will simply transform instantaneously into our allies, or at a minimum a power indifferent to us. So neither to America- the same thing about those liberals: while they impose their ideology on us they are exceedingly dangerous. ”
In the end, the call is to save Russia with a methodology that might be defined as dialectic. Yet in real terms, Dugin sounds disingenuous. Particularly when he proposes practical and pragmatic solutions that charges of heresy. In this, dialectic proved to be deadly for Socrates the man, but less so for his eternal ideas and his enduring reputation . Socrates was charged with a number of heresies trumped up by the state. These eventually brought him to trial and subsequent execution. An execution selfadministered by his drinking of the hemlock. In this, the heresies were fabricated by the political elite of Athens, who were increasingly tired of his critical methodology and sought his end, just as Stalin was liable to do. One feels Putin is more than capable of this also. 36
require invasion and war. The intellectual exercise appears to be a mere excuse to mask military intervention and sounds disingenuous. A trait he yet finds immoral, but which he notes is interwoven in society and is part and parcel of the political debate. The correct attitude to the 5th column helps shape the debate Dugin comes to voice his dialectic enterprise in relation to the recognition of a 5th column in Russia itself. “The danger of the fifth column does not lie in their strength- they are absolutely insignificant-but that they are hired by the biggest “godfather” in the world the US. That is why they are effective. They work, they’re listened to, they’re never punished, because the world power stands behind them.” It seems a contradiction to deny their danger, yet simultaneously claim they are “effective”. Why is he so concerned? When asked to identify who these people are, he defines them as the oligarchs of the 90s, who determined the ideology and politics of Russia during that time, and who were eventually ousted by the “reforms” of Putin during the new millennium, and which became “the core” of the opposition. In this, they are identified as an opposition that continually criticises, but it is criticism that is here simultaneously destructive and constructive. In this, they are working against Russian interests, with a continual emphasis on the importance of getting closer to the West, and in doing so are undermining Russian sovereignty, when it needs to be strengthened by excluding Western influences. This, therefore, mimics a dialectic process of construction and deconstruction and serves a purpose to strengthen self- examination as well as Russian sovereignty. In this dual role, he identifies the influence of the pressure groups. Those for example who exhort the need for Russia to rescind the newly amalgamated Crimea with media campaigns, and who push for non39
interference in the Ukraine, even if it represents a threat to Russian interests. These are not those who are seen on the public marches, Dugin concedes, but the intellectual staff in the background: Navalny, Nemtsov, Kasyanov, etc. These are the “hired people” who are paid to do the West’s bidding and who seek to further, by consorting with Western Professors and American and Georgian Intelligence agents, the interests of the Atlanticists. They fulfil their bidding to the detriment of Russian interests. Whilst conceding that there are some of these agents such as Valeriya Novodvorskaya who act without payment, and act purely because of ideological principles as idealists for the values of Liberalism, he asserts nevertheless that they do so because they more generally despise true Russian values. In reference to Novodvorskaya he states: “She would like it to be a different country, with a different history, with a different people, with different social ways, with a different anthropology, with a different philosophy and different society.”
Dugin, however, simultaneously sees this minority as necessary for debate, and in this sense useful, so that Russia doesn’t fall into a trap of “self-love and self-glorification”. In this, he appears mindful of at least one danger that could be instigated by Russia’s own hand: a fault that, like National Socialism, could foster national narcissism, moral weakness via supremacism, and a danger which could ultimately herald Russia’s own demise. Overriding this utility, however, is a contrary message. For the fact the 5th column act in a deceitful way, and moreover act as mere pawns of the
US in the name of the liberal globalism, proves (for him) they are nothing short of a shame and a scandal: “…as in the case of Pussy Riot, who appear on a global level, and who secured for them meetings with high ranking political actors to convince the Russian people. That this is accidental, that they just happen to love this punk group, is absolutely impossible.”
Dugin identifies the immorality of the 5th column as part of the “systemic network war” against Russia, its values, history and identity, which in turn has been only abused after “it gave them everything”. But this view implies a paradox as the 5th column provides a necessary antidote to the immorality of national narcissism, whilst they yet act as agents to perpetuate immorality themselves. For Dugin, that they are immoral agents is simultaneously recognised with their “useful” opposition as a critique. In this sense then they are useful “traitors” just as “useful idiots” promulgated the cause of Socialist interests in the West. Ultimately, they serve a utility in Dugin’s Russia, as they provide an immoral and subversive element within the nation’s midst that strengthens its resolve, whilst still being the enemy itself. In the end, all this can make Russia feel better about herself, and might well provide “readiness” when she wins the inevitable battle of ideas. Dugin specifically does not suggest this, but it is implicit in his statements and mirrors the productive and psychological value of dialectic debate. Dugin seems to be suggesting that we should tolerate such “traitors” in our midst, because they serve a useful purpose for the nation and for political dialectic. This is not an Orthodox Christian view, however, and does not fit readily with the response of the Orthodox Church itself, who called on the government to criminalise blasphemy. On February 26, a 41
criminal case was opened against the band members who had participated.37 But in this call for utility, Dugin appears against the Church stance, and remarkably liberal in his tolerance of subversive elements in Russia’s midst. Whilst this is not exactly anti-Christian, his philosophical presumptions here are at odds with Orthodoxy. All this is in contradiction to the wishes of both the Church, the stance of Vladimir Putin, and the Russian judiciary more broadly. But this must contrarily be so for Dugin, in the light of his own fervent faith in the virtues of Russian Orthodoxy, his patriotism, and his keen desire to support the wishes of his political leader. Here again the term “traitor” appears to be an unwise choice of terms by Dugin. It stands at odds with his notions of the 5th column serving any positive utility for the nation by providing a different perspective. Furthermore, the use of such terms, particularly by a public figure, simply promulgate a feedback loop, where unjust imprisonment or execution is encouraged. It appears to be an assumption made before
On February 21, 2012, as part of a protest movement against the re-election of Vladimir Putin, five women from the group entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. There was no church service in session at the time, and only a few people were in the cathedral. Removing their clothes, they put on balaclavas, walked up the steps leading to the altar, and began to jump around, punching the air. After less than a minute, they were escorted outside the building by guards. Film of the performance was later combined with footage shot at a different church, identified by Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin as the Epiphany Cathedral in Yelokhovo, to create a video clip for the song, which they entitled “Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away.” 37
The trial of the three women started in Moscow's Khamovniki District Court on July 30, 2012.[Charged with “premeditated hooliganism performed by an organised group of people motivated by religious hatred or hostility” meant they faced possible sentences of up to seven years imprisonment. In early July, a poll conducted in Moscow found that half of the respondents opposed the trial while 36 percent supported it; the rest being undecided. Putin stated that while he saw “nothing good” about the band's protest, “Nonetheless, I don't think that they should be judged so harshly for this.” 42
court or sentence has even been passed. In this sense, then, “traitors” cannot be useful. “Traitors” are either imprisoned or shot. In respect to this, Dugin seeks to repair his position with the qualifier that: “if they did not have global support from across the ocean they would be useful. If they were simply a liberal opposition they would be useful.” But his qualifier is not one that convinces or justifies why if Liberalism is inherently evil, as he vehemently believes, we should tolerate the presence of such an evil in our midst. Whilst it indeed may encourage Russians to act contrary to its values, it might equally be viewed as a subversive element that due to its “efficacy” could undermine moral behaviour entirely; a subversion over which Russia might have little control. That they are “traitors and enemies”, however, is not in dispute for Dugin, who given a wartime situation concedes they would be best imprisoned or shot. “I think that with traitors by the laws of war-time…” is his caveat for acting, but it is not one he claims he seeks to implement now. Whilst he further overlooks that we are already in a war of civilisations at the present time, he yet justifies their useful purpose. Dugin notes that, in respect to the Russian 5th column, America: “…acts very successfully in this, it does not repress directly.”
But he yet undermines this useful purpose by suggesting Russia must adopt the American strategy in respect to them. “It controls discourse. It is absolutely impossible for people with alternative points of view to break through to the main journals, the media, they have no chance to appear on TV. I’m not saying we 43
need to physically repress them. That is absolutely unnecessary, and occurs moreover from weakness. The people should be ostracised and isolated from the media.”
It is difficult, however, to understand how a productive moral response can be achieved if they are effectively muzzled and isolated.
Whilst it appears tolerance does not require incarceration, Dugin is clear: there is no question of freedom of speech being tolerated in any new vision of what Eurasia entails. This is particularly if it harbours the evil of a liberal ideology, or indeed any different perspective more generally. Is this, then, a call for a return to the Stalinist era, or a new vision of a Ministry of Truth where personal individual freedom was somewhat tolerated if freedom of speech was curtailed? Apparently not, based on his criticisms of Communism’s deficiencies. It is simply an acceptance of the ability for Russian values to dominate. This confidence is the outward expression of a Russia comfortable with its own values, and one that should successfully be able to tolerate subversives in its midst. In this spirit of confidence, they are deemed to have a useful purpose and are not an existential threat in the way Liberalism as an ideology is. Russia’s reaffirmation of the old in the new here is not necessarily a call to simply embrace Communism, but is also one reminiscent of Russian Imperialism: a new nationalism, which supposedly heralds a Russian Spring. Here, for Dugin, Russia will experience: “in the full sense of the word a Russian renaissance... We are beginning to feel pride for our country. Russians are beginning to recognise that they are in the world not only as passive objects, but the subjects of history. And the more we demonstrate our care for 44
Russians and Russian speakers beyond the borders of Russia, the more we strengthen our society. The more we move from a condition of passivity and slumber to, on the contrary, mobilisation.”
That this is Imperialism, and not simply a spirit of patriotism that seeks its own protection, is confirmed when he identifies “passivity” with an inability to fight against perceived immorality and the Atlanticist view. This is not simply containment, or nullification of an encroaching power either, for the moral and just cause entails a pre-emptive mobilisation “beyond the borders of Russia”.
This is necessary in order to
demonstrate “care for Russians” and Russian speakers, whilst commensurately it is viewed as strengthening Russian society. It is one that hardly respects the integrity of the national values of others however, or their borders. His perspective and response is born out of the last 23 years, which he views as being a series of subversive strategies exerted by the US in order to undermine Russian influence. At present it is coming to a head with the annexation of Crimea and the war in Ukraine in the South East. In this, Dugin speaks of the need for a dialectic response, but contrarily refuses to concede that Russia should agree to constructive dialogue with the Kiev government because he considers it is “illegitimate”. The legitimate democratic government under Yanukovich having been usurped without heed to democratic elections in a military coup d’etat. In this respect, then, Dugin is not willing to accept that Russia should concede to constructive dialogue with those who apparently he does not consider warrant respect, or who may not necessarily agree to acquiesce to Russia’s demands. This is a very inflexible approach. It is suggestive of
an ideologue and fanatic and out of character with his earlier claims towards dialectic. An example of this inflexibility is in his attitude to the Ukrainian “junta”, who met with Russia face to face. Here Dugin is not prepared to even admit that any constructive dialogue actually took place, that it was necessary, or that it should rightly have even involved direct talking as: “First we met with the Americans, with customers, we met over the heads of the junta…but this by no means [suggests] we are ready to open diplomatic relations with those who overthrew the government in Kiev- that we will speak in any way directly with them- we spoke indirectly with them through translators- Lavror addresses Kerry, Kerry gives some order to be quiet, or not to be quiet.” [smiling and nods].
Here the dialectic is one of deceit, a rhetoric that even fails to recognise the interlocutor if the party is distasteful to Russia’s notion of what democracy entails.
But further, it is Russia’s notion of what it requires
which is deemed of paramount importance. This amounts to territorial gains for its own strength with a vision that: “To hold Crimea the South East is necessary for us and Crimea is necessary to retain Russia and make it healthier, to straighten it out, to enliven it. So the question is the South East or death.” 38 The necessity of putting an end to the geopolitical competition of power between Russia and the US was recognised by Zbigniew Brzezinski. The process, as Dugin claims, would require the Ukraine to be “torn away from Russia”; an effort that occurred over some 23 years of subversive strategies and planning, and not as the result of any spontaneous uprising. This is corroborated by the leaked phone calls of Victoria Nuland and Baroness Ashton. See here and here. In respect to the snipers in Kiev, the second leaked conversation suggested that they were in fact in the thrall of the Maidan coalition government. This usurped the Yanukovich government and was supported by the US government. This further corroborated the claims that the snipers were hired by the coalition forces on the ground. See here. This is the counter claim to the Western media, who assert the snipers were possibly Russian backed fighting the insurgents. 38
Dugin claims, the US has sought to undermine the competitive power of Russia, and the proof of the struggle to date has been the Kiev coup. The result means Ukrainian neo Nazi forces could now be released on the border of Russia, an intolerable situation. This justified, in Dugin’s view, the necessity of annexing Crimea from the Ukraine with military intervention, but which was in any case ultimately legitimised by democratic elections. But Dugin then goes further claiming: “The south East is also actually part of the Russian world, of Russian civilisation, Novorossiya. And we would be ready to recognise the territorial integrity of Ukraine if it were at a minimum neutral or better friendly. But when in Kiev there have come to power illegally people who despise Russia and everything Russian “Moskalyaku na gillaku” 39 What is that? That’s pure racism. That’s to hang a Russian on a branch. And if kids we see sing in schools after the coming of the junta sing this to announce the genocide of the Russian people in Ukraine then if we take this we have exposed 20 million [in the South East] to genocide... Russian speaking, a majority of Russians, whose identity was formed historically.”
In this, death is a consequence inflicted upon the people of the Ukraine if Russia fails to act in the protection of ethnic and by extension cultural Russians, against the emerging neo–Nazi junta. But here, invasion does not warrant a land grab (or so he claims) in the imperial sense of conquest. It is supposed to be merely an ability to secure the South East, so that the people in the region are safely able to “decide their own fate”. This reasoning, however, again appears disingenuous. It reminds one of the justification by Hitler to invade the Sudentenland with the excuse of
“moskalyaku na gillaku” “hang Russians on tree branches”. 47
it being a repatriation of Germans to the Fatherland. 40 A comparison strengthened by the claim that military occupation is necessary in order to prevent genocide of South Eastern Ukrainians, because they contrarily are Russians. It is bolstered by the claim that it will help make Russian civilisation stronger, inasmuch as it will make it “healthier” and enliven” it, and also help to “retain Russia” for the greater good. A vision of a Greater Russia Professor Dugin is not simply content to free the South East Ukrainians from a perceived tyranny, in his view, of a neo-Nazi threat. The Greater Russia which denotes the Russian World and the Russian civilisation: “corresponds with some pluses or minuses to the territory of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. These were not ethnically Great Russian lands, not Great Russian territories. These were territories created by all ethnoses of our space created over hundreds of years. Central Asia of course is included…the Baltics and Western Ukraine maybe in part on some level for Greater Russia. But look Civilisations do not have such borders, Russian civilisation, the Russian world, does not have state borders. State borders might extend further than civilisational ones, in which case we capture Poland or Finland, which are of course part of another history, both Poland and Finland. That’s a different history, a different civilisation, even if they are for some time under our control, it’s not for long, it’s a historical accident. But there are natural organic borders Russia and Eurasia, as our Eurasianists In the wake of growing nationalism, the name “Sudetendeutsche” (Sudeten Germans) emerged by the early 20th century. It originally constituted part of a larger classification of three groupings of Germans within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which also included “Alpine Deutschen” (English: Alpine Germans). This later became the Republic of Austria and “Balkandeutsche” (English: Balkan Germans) in Hungary and the regions east of it. Of these three terms, only the term “Sudetendeutsche” survived because of the ethnic and cultural conflicts within Bohemia. According to the February 1921 census, 3,123,000 Germans speaking the mother tongue lived in Czechoslovakia—23.4% of the total population. The controversies between the Czechs and the German-speaking minority (which constituted a majority in the Sudetenland areas) lingered on throughout the 1920s, and intensified in the 1930s. 40
called it, or Turanic civilisation, different from both European and Asian civilisation. Altogether it is a unique Turanic civilisation tending over various periods to integration which is Greater Russia.”41
The question in all of this is what is Dugin’s conception and purpose in mapping out a Greater Russia, or “Russian world”? Does it ultimately seek global dominion, or is it merely (as he claims) the establishment of a Russian centric “civilisation”, which yet acts as a bloc in the geopolitical sense to nullify any supposed Western threat? Dugin certainly views the struggle between two conceptual strategies, the Sea Power and the Land Power as key, and in all this he is fond of quoting Halford Mackinder in his book “Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study in the Politics of Reconstruction” who claimed: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.” Or as Dugin paraphrases it in excellent English: “He who controls the Heartland controls Eurasia. He who controls Eurasia controls the world.”42 This message, borrowed from Mackinder, was originally composed to convince the world statesmen at the Paris Peace conference of the crucial importance of Eastern Europe as the strategic route to the global Heartland.43 It was interpreted as requiring a strip of buffer state to 41 42 43
See also here See here. According to Mackinder, the Earth’s land surface was divisible into: •
The World-Island, comprising the interlinked continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. This was the largest, most populated and richest of all possible land combinations. 49
separate Germany and Russia. These were created by the peace negotiators, but proved to be ineffective bulwarks in 1939 (although this may be seen as a failure of later statesmen during the inter war period). The principal concern of his work was to warn of the possibility of another major war; a warning also given by Socialist economist John Maynard Keynes. Mackinder was anti-Bolshevik, and as British High Commissioner in Southern Russia in late 1919 and early 1920, he stressed the need for Britain to continue to support the White Russian forces, which he attempted to unite. In contrast, however, Dugin offers a 4th political theory that appears to be a mixture of National Bolshevik and Fascist ideas. These provide a Russian hegemony necessary to counteract the threat of US unipolar and multilateral ambitions. But in this, Dugin’s view essentially is any control of the Heartland effectively equates to control of the globe, as was the case with the influential German thinker Karl Haushofer, both before and during the Third Reich. Consequently, like Haushofer, he finds Mackinder’s theory compatible with the desire to control Mitteleuropa and to take Ukraine. The intention to take the latter was indicated by Haushofer and others with the slogan “Drang nach Osten” or “Drive to the East”. • •
The offshore islands, including the British Isles and the islands of Japan. The outlying islands, including the continents of North America, South America, and Australia.
The Heartland lay at the centre of the world island, stretching from the Volga to the Yangtze and from the Himalayas to the Arctic. Mackinder’s Heartland was the area then ruled by the Russian Empire and after that by the Soviet Union, minus the Kamchatka Peninsula region. The model is to all intents and purposes also conceived of by Dugin. It is vital to secure global control and nullify unipolar and multilateral hegemonic strategies.
Mackinder identified the geopolitical nightmare that was to haunt the worldâ€™s two major sea powers (Great Britain and the United States) during the first half of the twentieth century: the nightmare being that if Germany or Russia were allowed to control East Europe, then this could lead to the domination of the Eurasian land mass by one of these two powers as a prelude to mastery of the world. It seems, then, that Dugin effectively does advocate control of the world by Russia, utilising the Mackinder model, whilst yet he can speak of a balance of civilisational powers that co-exist in the same breath. Dugin seeks to transfer a rather Marxist, Sovietological model of struggle between two opposing camps to a future geopolitical system, where Russia controls the Heartland from within, yet projects its influence across borders into other states, effectively nullifying Western power. In this, as Dugin asserts: â€œRussia obtains the concrete geo-political centre which is a kind of continuation of the Sovietology status, which was analytical and strategical based on the idea of the struggle between two camps. So it is a transposition of the same attitude on the geo-political level.â€?44 Here the conception of Eurasia as a political space is necessary to control or divide the world and enables a submission, or a nullification of the Sea Powers, that in turn nullifies US hegemony. The Dugin view, then, derives from a response and a solution to the problems posed by the unipolar and multilateral interpretations of the US.
recommendations as contained in the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). These seek a pax Americana with essentially a US 44
See here. 51
hegemony determined at the centre. This was conceived as a new Liberal-Democratic
circumventing it become compliant in their “strategical ideological basis”. By that one infers in their political persuasion. In this they are Americanised by being compliant to US interests. The multilateral view, or globalist view, in contrast (popular with the neo-Liberals in the Democratic Party) conceives of a nonpolar, multilateral world, where the US gives up any idea of hegemony and seeks to divide its rule with other powers. These other powers are arranged paradoxically in a hierarchy however, by virtue of one or more being closer to the United States in terms of a shared history and common values: the foremost at present in the Obama regime being Europe. In both models there rests an implicit distinction of what can be termed “hardware” and “software” hegemony. This corresponds in a unipolar world to a strictly fixed form of control, enforced militarily and economically, with the national interests of the US being regarded as paramount for the whole of humankind. It requires US international military bases abroad. Alternatively, in the multilateral model, it requires a soft hegemony, where all the people are implicitly controlled by virtue of being obliged to accept a particular system based on shared philosophical principles and values: for example human rights, democracy, free markets and free trade. Whilst this does not equate to enforced control, it yet engenders control by means of the US imposing its system of values upon them. It entails expected military support also in any conflict. Both systems seek control of Eurasia from without according to Dugin:
“In this sense hardware hegemony or software hegemony come to the same end and could or should liquidate any other strategical power or regional hegemony that could challenge American domination. At the same time the idea is to weaken or destroy any kind of civilisation that could challenge any Western system or set of values.”
Key to Dugin’s concept is the need for the US hegemony in both models to recognise the independence of Eurasia as a political, strategical and civilisational space, and for Russia to be acknowledged as the centre of this as the predominant Land Power. This geopolitical identity of Eurasia is something “new” believes Dugin. It is “not simply a continuation of the Tsarist empire” (although its conquest of lands and nationalist supremacism politically and culturally appears markedly similar) nor is it a continuation of the Soviet Union, which was imbued with a specifically Marxist Leninist ideology of class struggle (although its dialectic distinction of opposites features heavily in his own world view and is compared to it contrarily even by him), nor is it simply the Russian Federation as a notion of country within limited borders. No, he claims, the newness of this geopolitical entity rests on the basis of civilisation; an amorphous concept, that whilst it casts its raison d’etre due to a geopolitical framework, yet does not seek to establish borders, but rather offers a diffuse concept of “frontiers”.45 It is this civilisational Dugin divides the world into four civilizational zones: the American, the AfroEuropean, the Asian-Pacific and the Eurasian. 45
Russia must strive to establish various geo-political alliances organised as concentric circles. In Europe, for Dugin, Russia must ally itself with Germany. Dugin pays particular attention to this. Presented as the heart of Europe, Germany should dominate all of Central Europe, as well as Italy, in accordance with the theories of ‘centrality’ developed by the National Socialist geo-politicians, as well as 19th century Prussian militarism. In Asia, Russia should ally itself with Japan, appreciated for its Pan-Asian ideology and a fascist imperialist echo of the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis during the Second World War. Within the Muslim world, Dugin chooses Islamic Iran, admired for its moral rigour. He presents Iran as one of the few real forces of 53
aspect, however, that carries its own inherent value-laden notion of what unites the various and disparate regions into a specifically Eurasian land space. This appears to identify itself with a specifically Russian set of values at the centre. It smacks of Imperialism in any case. In this Dugin, as noted earlier, fails to explain how or why countries should wish to be united again in a “Post- Soviet space”, or why countries such as Poland, Iran or Afghanistan, with distinct histories and cultures, should wish to align themselves geopolitically with Russia, or in Poland’s or Finland’s case, why they should be placed under the Eurasian wing, even temporarily. He fails to explain why some countries should be amalgamated in a collective sense, when geopolitical and even broad cultural values from the West might have influenced them more. He simply presumes the distaste for “US” Liberalism will be enough, or the threat of US hegemony will incite enough fear, but given this latter reason, why should they be amenable to a primarily Russian civilisational or political conception of who they are as an alternative? This is particularly so based on their previous harsh treatment in previous Soviet land grabs? In respect to this “Greater Russia”, Dugin shows his National Socialist influences too, as he often cites Carl Schmitt’s “Grossraum” term as
opposition against American globalisation, and invites it to unify the entire Arab world, as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan, under its leadership. Dugin characterises this quadruple alliance Russia-Germany-Japan-Iran, which would react against the thalassocracies (the United States, Britain in Europe, China in Asia, Turkey in the Muslim world) as a “confederation of large spaces,” since each ally is itself an empire that dominates the corresponding civilisational area. Unlike the Eurasianists of the 1920s, Dugin does not talk of an irreducible and romantic opposition between East and West; for in Dugin’s theory, both Asia and Europe are destined to come under Russian-Eurasian domination. See Osnovy geopolitiki, p. 247. 54
conveying his idea of a “civilisational space”.46 The former National Socialist Schmitt’s idea of a “Great Area” appears in his book “Völkerrechtlishe
Raumfremde Mächte”, and was viewed by him as a key concept for the foundation of the science of international law and international relations. Key to this, is the idea that Grossraum is an area dominated by a power representing a distinct political idea. This idea was always formulated with a specific opponent in mind; in essence, the distinction between friend and enemy would be determined by this idea. It is a dichotomy Dugin very much supports in his loathing of Western Liberalism and Capitalism, and in his “deep hatred” of America as a political power. In this concept of “us versus them”, Dugin’s view of US hegemony, like Schmitt’s Grossraum, appears to appeal to a concept of non-intervention by foreign powers in a “leave us alone” multipolar
The Nomos of the Earth is Schmitt’s most historical and geopolitical work. Published in 1950, it was one of his final texts. It describes the origin of the Eurocentric global order, which Schmitt dates from the discovery of the New World. He discusses its specific character and its contribution to civilisation. He also analyses the reasons for its decline at the end of the 19th century, and concludes with prospects for a new world order. He defends European achievements, not only in creating the first truly global order of international law, but also in limiting war to conflicts among sovereign states, which, in effect, civilised war. In Schmitt’s view, the European sovereign state was the greatest achievement of Occidental rationalism; in becoming the principal agency of secularism, the European state created the modern age. 46
Notable in Schmitt’s discussion of the European epoch of world history is the role played by the New World, which ultimately replaced the Old World as the centre of global power and became the arbiter of European and world politics. According to Schmitt, the United States’ internal conflicts between economic presence and political absence, between isolationism and interventionism, are global problems, which today continue to hamper the creation of a New World Order. But however critical Schmitt was of American actions at the turn of the 20th century and after World War I, he considered the United States to be the only political entity capable of resolving the crisis of global order then and in the future. 55
mentality. But the “leave us alone” mentality is one that does not bear up to close inspection in respect to making claims on territory. For Schmitt the heart of the genuine US space was based on: “…the core of the original Monroe Doctrine, a genuine Grossraum principle, namely the union of politically awakened people, a political idea and, on the basis of this idea, a politically dominant Grossraum excluding foreign intervention.” Based on the perception that the Monroe Doctrine provided the precedent for justification for both German and Japanese Grossraum, Schmitt observed that the traditional Eurocentric order underlying international law, relations between and among sovereign states, had been
Grossräume.47 As far as Germany was concerned, her Grossraum consisted of, according to Schmitt’s view during the 30s, predominantly Central and Eastern Europe. Though Schmitt failed to define the precise territorial dimensions of Germany’s Grossraum, he cited the Monroe Doctrine as the basis for maintaining it, not in terms of something entirely diffuse, but within “recognizable territorial limits”.48 But Schmitt appears to be speaking out of both sides of his mouth here in respect to integrity, and this is rather the tactic adopted by Dugin. For at any time in his continual appeal to frontiers, a view that transcends the traditional notion of national territorial limits, he yet views them as organic zones, and in that there is always some room suggesting others could yet be invaded.
ibid. p. 76, 77, 81.
Carl Schmitt – “Volkerrechtliche Grossraumordnung”- ibid. p. 16. 56
Exclusion is a feature for maintaining integrity in Schmittâ€™s model. According to the Monroe Doctrine, Schmitt argued, the leading or hegemonic power is the one that determines the governing political idea for its realm. The United States asserted, therefore, that it had the hegemonic right to exclude from the West any foreign power, or any foreign influence it did not favour. After the end of World War I, the United States also asserted that the newly formed international organisation, the League of Nations, was to be excluded from asserting any jurisdiction in the Western hemisphere with this in mind. Exclusion however need not necessarily negate inclusion should circumstances require it. Schmitt emphasised that the German Grossraum should exclude any foreign interference, and above all American influence, and in this sense he argued for the proclamation of a similar German Monroe Doctrine. Schmitt critiqued the universalist claims of the United States in this respect, noting that (as a matter of principle) non-interference by European states in the affairs of the American continent could not be justified, unless the United States likewise refrained from interference in the affairs of the European continent.
It is this balance of powers that
Dugin too very much seeks to establish in his new vision, in order to nullify US unipolarity. This nullification or â€œliquidationâ€? of the unipolar model can be achieved in establishing a Russian Grossraum, and paves the way for the larger concept of Eurasia to secure it.
Its universalist claims, however, could be seen as a threat and a justification for further territorial incursions. It is also a case that it does not deny the possibility of a justification for invasion, if the US Grossraum is deemed as not minding its own business, or is viewed a threat in some more general sense. 49
Dugin’s conception of a “Greater Russian Space”, however, is worrying in its reliance on Schmitt’s ideas. His view of landmasses cast in terms of civilisations echoes a National Socialist conception of a Third Reich: a national Grossraum principle by extension that seeks to justify a Russian Reich. But in this, whilst the concept of Grossraum belongs to the concept of Reich (Empire, Realm), the two are not identical because for Schmitt: “not every state or every people within the German Grossraum is part of the Reich.” A Reich, according to Schmitt, “is the leading and sustaining power whose political idea radiates over a specific Grossraum”, but the exclusion from the Reich rather suggest inferior powers being ruled politically within its greater space. The code that governs relations between Grossräume at least theoretically in this is supposed to be nonintervention, but it is not one necessarily sustained as independent states within the German Greater Space just because it is not part of the Reich.50 In respect to Schmitt’s ideas of multiple independent Greater Spaces, this parallels Dugin’s claim of non-interference between the US and Russian land masses. The success of the idea relies on Schmitt, but it raises question about what non-interference might entail. Schmitt asserted that in the middle of Europe the German Reich faced the interventionist claims of the Anglo-Saxon pseudo-universalism. This in some sense justified further territorial claims to counter threats. Dugin views it similarly: Russia for 23 years has been subject to a continuing and growing interference by US Liberalism that warrants territorial claims. Similarly it needs to mind its own business. The question of 50
ibid. p. 66. 58
minding one’s own business in his new model however cannot be justified when it contrarily entails Russia also making a claim on the integrity of national borders in the name of shared civilisational values. A Russian Reich appears to be proposed as a political ideal that controls the Eurasian Great Space, and this can only be viewed as totalitarian rule and an imposition. The consequence of US Imperialism has entailed an attack upon Russian culture and civilisation with a corruption and erosion of its principles. A view that again does not fit happily with his earlier claim that Russia is undergoing a Renaissance in its values that is even able to accommodate a “useful” if admittedly radical liberal influence within its midst. Here Dugin, like Schmitt, speaks of the importance of a national life style “based on the principle of a national renaissance or a quintessentially “Russian pride” or “Russian Spring”, yet extrapolates and extends this further with the notion of a civilisational bloc of values that undermines national and cultural identity which appears decidedly Russia-centric. This development appears hauntingly like the National Socialist justification for ruling Europe against the supposedly “Jewish-Bolshevik” threat. Relations between Grossräume were to be governed by the principle of non-intervention. Intra-Grossraum relations in Schmitt’s construct were to be based on respect for every nation and nationality. In theory, this was not supposed to denote a policy of domination, exercised without the need to resort to any extraordinary means of intervention, but decisions about whether to intervene might well reflect power-political realities and might justify them anyway. As was the case during the war, then, political and military decisions could not be made in any capital other than Berlin and were very much autocratic and totalitarian. 59
The war footing justified extraordinary rule by Berlin according to Schmitt. But another possible justification for intervention in a nation would be if it pursued foreign policy goals inimical to the security interests of Germany more generally. This principle appears similar to Dugin’s conception of Russia protecting its cultural values and political principles and interests as the key player and principal Land power. It justifies Eurasia, but it is Moscow that is to be the decider as to when intervention can or should take place. Cultural influence too is expressed by political ideology for Carl Schmitt, just as it was in the Soviet Union’s General Line. Here he again defines the Reich as: “the leading and supporting power whose political idea is radiated over a specified major territory and which fundamentally excludes the intervention of extra-territorial powers with regard to this territory.”51 This language of a “radiating” force of influence pervading the greater territory similarly compares with the notion of a central Russian political and cultural hub which “pervades across borders” echoed by Dugin. It should be noted, however, that Schmitt’s theory was different from what was actually practised in National Socialist Germany. The changing world order and nature of war could not view international relations in terms of an equal relationship between competing Grossräume. Schmitt himself never advocated an unrestricted expansion of a singular Grossraum. In this, he did not propose geopolitical objectives of a global world hegemony by for example Germany cast in ideological terms. His view may have been amenable to a German domination of Europe, free of American interference. It is less clear how the invasion by Hitler of 51
Carl Schmitt “Der Reichbegrif in Völkerrecht in Positionen und Begriffe” (p. 303). 60
Russia squares with his theory however. It largely appears to contradict it. In this, Dugin appears to be of one mind with Schmitt, and his concept largely fits with the substance of his work “Grossraum gegen Universalismus”, inasmuch as it is a strong criticism of the American ideology of universalism that yet provides space for a growing homeland hegemony. His parchent for invading parts of Europe, however, appears to be influenced by an older notion of Russian influence that justifies expansionism. The Schmitt and Dugin view critiques American universalism as being counter to the Monroe Doctrine and thus, ideologically and politically, it has in the 20th century laid claim to Europe. American objectives for world conquest and domination have used the ideology of universalism to revise the geographical limitations of the Monroe Doctrine: the very principle of geographical delimitation and demarcation characterised by the concept of Grossraum, and which has pervaded European politics and culture via the EU with its dominating influence. Contra Dugin, however, it could be claimed that universalism did not justify American interventionism in the European continent as a means to achieve global control. Interventionism was justified in order to prevent German control of Europe, and from that quite possibly domination of the entire world. Intervention, then, was justified for the perpetuation of the nation state, democracy and liberty, as well as peace. Dugin and Schmitt’s ideas are distinct from Hitler’s concept of Lebensraum, which served as a further device for furthering foreign policy objectives. In this, however, it could be claimed Hitler sought first a German continental hegemony so he could effect a global world
hegemony via military conquest.52 In other words, whilst there were ideological and geopolitical similarities between Wilson’s universalism This, however, flies in the face of Hitler’s claim to want to leave the British Empire intact. David Irving reports in Hitler's War p.35 what these documents say: 52
“A different aspect of Roosevelt's policy was revealed by the Polish documents ransacked by the Nazis from the archives of the ruined foreign ministry buildings in Warsaw. The dispatches of the Polish ambassadors in Washington and Paris laid bare Roosevelt's efforts to goad France and Britain into war with Germany while he rearmed the United States and psychologically prepared the American public for war. In spring of 1939, [Ambassador William C.] Bullitt quoted Roosevelt as being determined “ ‘not to participate in the war from the start, but to be in at the finish.’ The Warsaw document left little doubt as to what had stiffened Polish resistance during the August 1939 crisis.” Irving quotes Baron von Weizaecker as saying that Hitler “had set his heart on peace” and Hitler as saying “The survival of the British empire is in Germany's interest too.” Hitler “felt he had repeatedly extended the hand of peace and friendship to the British, and each time they had blackened his eye in reply.” Whether Hitler expressed this opinion sincerely or not is not known: “A European war would be the end of all our efforts even if we should win, because the disappearance of the British empire would be a misfortune which could not be made up again.” McLaughlin, Michael, For Those Who Cannot Speak, p.10. In this, he told the Dutch fascist leader Anton Mussert: “We have not the slightest reason to fight Britain. Even if we win, we gain nothing.” Irving ibid. p.511. Hitler then was an admirer of the British empire and even offered to defend the empire anywhere in the world with German troops should Britain ever need them; Barnes, Harry Elmer, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, 162; and Irving, ibid., 371. It has also been claimed that Hitler did not want to take over the world. His fight was against “Jewish Bolshevism” alone, but he was forced into it. This idea of world domination is British propaganda sympathisers of Hitler say. Churchill and Roosevelt wanted war, and they forced it on Germany. Hitler did all he could to be friendly with Britain and France it is claimed. Even the invasion of Czechoslovakia and Poland were forced upon him to save German lives and the encroachment of territory. Prof. G.C. Tansill’s Back Door to War, Chap. XXIII, states that it was Roosevelt, above all others, who was working unceasingly for war. Tansill cites evidence to show that Roosevelt was using every channel at his disposal to encourage Chamberlain to go to war with Germany. Roosevelt was telling Britain and France that he would come to their aid at once should they go to war against the Germans. Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy was repeatedly telling Chamberlain that America would rush to the assistance of Britain and France in the event of unprovoked aggression, and Bullitt was encouraging France to believe the same thing. 62
and Hitler’s Lebensraum, Schmitt in his claims represented a nuanced departure. Both Wilsonian universalism and National Socialism’s Lebensraum were in this sense a corruption of a genuine Grossraum principle it might be claimed, and both universalism and Lebensraum rejected the very notion of international pluralism, or the co-existence of competing Grossräume.53
Both universalism and Lebensraum are antithetical to Schmitt’s concept of the territorial limits of Grossraum. Both universalism and Lebensraum however theoretically observed no territorial limits, serving as an ideological justification for global world domination. In this, American universalism can be equated to Lebensraum. 53
Following Adolf Hitler's rise to power Lebensraum became an ideological principle of National Socialism. It provided justification for the German territorial expansion into East-Central Europe. The Drive to the East similarly was based on its tenets as much as the fear of the Bolshevik threat. It stipulated that most of the indigenous populations of Eastern Europe would have to be removed permanently (either through mass deportation to Siberia, death, or enslavement) including Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and other Slavic nations considered racially inferior and nonAryan. The Third Reich aimed at repopulating these lands with Germanic colonists in the name of Lebensraum during World War II and thereafter.The entire populations were to be decimated by starvation in this, allowing for their own agricultural surplus to feed Germany. Hitler’s strategic program for world domination was based on the belief in the power of Lebensraum, pursued by a racially superior society. People deemed to be part of inferior races, within the territory of Lebensraum expansion, were subjected to expulsion or destruction. The eugenics of Lebensraum assumed the right of the German Aryan master race (Herrenvolk) to remove indigenous people they considered to be of inferior racial stock (Untermenschen) in the name of their own required living space. Nazi Germany also supported other 'Arian' nations' pursuing their own Lebensraum, including Fascist Italy's Spazio vitale, but it is unclear what it considered were its own territorial limits in respect to Lebensraum, which due to increasing confrontation globally appeared to be ever expanding. The statements by Dugin, whilst critical of this US universalism, are still suggestive nevertheless of a Sino Russian Lebensraum. They are so in his claim that the Eurasian civilisation should be a “frontier” without clear territorial limits. His use of the Grossraum terminology and the specific citing of Schmitt however does suggest more subtle distinctions.
In formulating the concept of Grossraum, Carl Schmitt wanted to broaden the framework of international law to include relations between Grossräume. His concept allowed for the rational conduct of international relations and provided a compelling principle for international law that would correspond to new historical realities. The relevance of these ideas for Dugin lies, he wants us to believe, in his developing multipolar approach, which will not merely signify a return to the stalemate bipolar world of the two former superpowers. Whilst there would be two competing Grossräume (Great Spaces) or two opposing political blocs, each with its sphere of influence and thus geographical demarcation: the Atlantic Grossraum, dominated by the United States, and the Eurasian Grossraum, dominated by Russia, further Grossraume in Africa and the Pacific regions would provide multipolar possibilities to exact peace. The political competition between blocs gives a substantial latitude for autonomy and independence for countries included in their sphere of influence, one would assume he wants to claim. It appears Dugin wants us to believe he does not seek a Russian exceptionalism, but merely seeks to avoid a US notion of exceptionalism dominating or achieving global hegemony. In this hegemony, Western Liberalism would be to the fore and would pose a cultural as well as a political threat. “Russia’s identity consists in the fact it does not relate to Western civilisation, does not enter its circle, is its own civilisation. What’s more it is distinct and equally as great as the whole West not just a single Western country.” It is an emphasis that seeks to claim that the Russian civilisation is unique, but on the other hand is not as exceptional as any other.
“China is also a unique civilisation but its pretentions to world domination and the assertion of Chinese values as universal are nowhere near as intrusive, as large scale, as persistent, as the Western civilisation.” But in this, the Russian civilisational space still suffers from the fundamental flaw of a Russian notion determining the model of what a Eurasian concept means.
In this, the fundamental flaw in Dugin’s
reasoning becomes more apparent with two contrary claims. First the statement that: “Russia should not be compared with France or Germany, which also differ from each other, but with all of Europe or with Asian culture.” And his second closely related claim that there is such a thing as “Western European civilisation. This European civilisation is completely precise, a concrete collection of values, notions, ideas and methods and procedures.” In the first claim, Russian schizophrenia is to the fore in its dual identification with Asia and Europe, but this justifies why it is to be viewed as the central hub for Eurasia. In the second claim, the precise and concrete set of values do not in any sense appear to warrant the exclusion of Russia from certain European nations. Nor is its mixed Eastern and Western culture supposed to be alien to what Europe is. Further Europe is defined in a concrete sense here and its values are “completely precise”. But this suggests uniformity as to what Europe entails culturally, socially and politically. This presumed uniformity however is clearly not the case, either in its judicial practises that differ in respect to Habeas Corpus and Corpus Juris, in respect to Continental European and UK judicial practise, but also in the wide and disparate cultural features between nations. Europe’s differences in respect to 65
secularism in say France, where religion is separate from the State system, and the UK where religion is a feature of the state. The fact the disparate peoples of Europe speak different languages, and as a consequence resist the definition of being universalised into a concept of a European demos; distinctions in terms of cultural movements in literature and music. There are any number of different examples that undermine his claims. In this to speak of “Western European civilisation” is to denote a development in terms of peoples and nations that in many respects are quite distinct, but certainly subject to change. It is unwise therefore to try and “construct” a concrete empire on such a foundation of shifting sand. For whilst it appears we often speak of a common and shared heritage and history, it is clear that each national and cultural mindset has interpreted the consequences of that history in unique and quite distinct ways, experienced their own unique events specific to them, and applied such experiences to their societies, norms and values in different and sometimes subtly different ways. It is true notions of justice, liberty and equality, the virtues of democracy and Individualism and Liberalism appear to be universal in a more overriding sense in the West, but the “methods and procedures”, and the perspectives of interpretation in respect to them clearly are not. Dugin seems to be suggesting that because Russia characterises both the Asian and the European civilisations, that it is the centre of both and should therefore rule them. But he seems undecided as to whether Russia is Asian or European in its cultural characteristics. As a fusion it would justify the Russia-centric sphere of influence. Yet this does not marry with his claim that Russia is distinct from France and Germany
“which also differ from each other”, nor does it justify the domination of Poland once more as in the Soviet era. Dugin seeks to emphasise the dangers of universalism. These were: “..first imposed on Eastern Europe as the Byzantine and then through colonialism on everyone else.” The idea of imposition is key here, and parallels the imposition of Western US unipolar power. Dugin is not prepared to accept that the universalism of a virtue such as justice, liberty, fraternity or equality, can be taken as a free choice, but continually speaks of it as one that is imposed. For example, in respect to such virtues as political principles, inherent in the rights of what it means to be a human being by reference to the French Revolution, Dugin asserts: “Fontaine imposed it, opponents were destroyed.”54 He is not prepared to concede here that the people fought for such virtues as a basic human right, and suffered as a consequence in any number of civil wars. Indeed, in this, “Liberalism” is conceived as a colonisation for Dugin, and just as the French Revolution occurred to cultivate the ills of it, so it was similarly propagated by imperial notions, and spread via the French and British Empires. The progression is now being repeated in the course of the Western colonialisation of values on a global scale. However: In 1789–1792, France was transformed and fell into line with the Revolutionary principles of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”. The signing of the Declaration of Pillnitz between Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and King Frederick William II of Prussia, and the subsequent French declaration of war, meant that from its formation, the Republic of France was at war, and it required a potent military force to ensure its survival. As a result, one of the first major elements of the French state to be restructured was the army. François-Xavier Octavie Fontaine (7 November 1762 in Saint-Remy, Haute-Saône - 17 May 1812 in Paris) served in the French military, in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. 54
“If Western values are for the West, Western ideas for Western European humanity, there will be no complaints against the West.” Here he appears to rescind his view that Liberalism is a threat to “Western Europe” or “Western” civilisation more generally. It can be tolerated in some sense, but it is soon seen as provisional on the desires of the people. If at least some complain, the scenario will shift. Complaints here appear also to extend to a recognition of the sovereign rights of independent nations in Europe to object to the imposition upon them by a US political model that unifies and projects universal values. But in this it is unclear why Russia should be deemed the saviour of at least some parts of Europe from US Liberalism and hailed as a credible alternative. Here, cultural qualifiers are too diffuse and amorphous and particularly measured by Russia’s syncretic mix of Asian and European influence invite confusion. In this, however, the threat identified is clear: it is “Western Liberalism”, even if the antidote and justifications to cure it by recourse to Russia are less satisfactorily defined. In his identification of the danger, he specifically mentions his experience during a visit to France in support of an anti-Gay marriage parade, where he claimed many people asked him to save them from the threat of Western Liberalism. Clearly, then, he believes some European countries share a common civilisational loathing for having US values foisted upon them. In this, however, he often speaks collectively of “Europe” in a worrying continental/cultural sense, without any recognition of distinctions, or the territorial integrity of particular nations. “The idea is like this, we must seize Europe, conquer it, annexe it. Let’s say to them that with our protectorate we will ensure their defence. Do you see how Pussy Riot are imprisoned here? We will imprison yours too. You have Femen we’ll quickly take care of 68
them. We’ll seize Europe and all the high technology will be ours…Russians mobilise for the sake of great goals. Europe that is our great goal.” Whilst there is a distinction between particular European and Eurasian values for Dugin, the need for a saviour is recognised. Putin is viewed as their kindly protector: one who will defend them from the terrible dangers of “Liberalism”. “The idea I always insist upon is that there is a separate European civilisation and a separate Eurasian one, and many of my European friends, conservatives as a rule say: “We will not hold out alone. Save us! We want to come to Putin. We can’t take this anymore!”
But the problem of determining which nations should be forced to accept Eurasian values, and whether this extends to all of Europe, is in this discussion rather vague. What salvation entails appears only to be met with military intervention. Alternative methods involving peaceful collaboration are neither clearly stated, nor is it explained why nations opposing US Liberalism cannot simply take charge themselves. Clearly the argument for a European invasion could not simply be made, as it has in respect to the nation of Ukraine, by appealing to its “Russian speaking” peoples.
Nor is it made clear what will happen to those
citizens of a particular country who object. If we are to accept the reported comments attributed to him, death would be in order for those that dissent. This attitude has raised objections amongst even his fan base, but such objections do not appear to diminish the need for an urgent response for Dugin. Indeed, this is exactly why Dugin represents a real danger at the present time. His views also exert influence upon the Kremlin, and are reflective of a more ideological and organised 69
perspective within it. His then is not simply a lone voice, but one that finds support.55 More generally in respect to Dugin’s philosophy, a tendency to universalism is inherent in any notion of a collective supra-national, pan Eurasian identity, or pan Western identity. Whilst bipolarity could be tolerated in a MAD scenario it still invites an increasing likelihood to conflict and is only exacerbated in a more complex multipolar scenario. The question here again is what happens to those nations that resist the cultural definition? Frontiers instead of borders, so who belongs to what and where? What about different cultural values that define the Large Space and how are they to be delimited? The concept of a civilisation in this respect is too diffuse and amorphous. Why in all of this is Dugin using National Socialist terminology when he talks about “liquidating” Post Modernism and Western Liberalism? What if the Liberals object? How does this guarantee the peaceful outcome he claims he seeks?
Dugin’s evolving multipolar model
Stripped of the veneer of its rationale Dugin’s 4th Political theory is in truth an invitation to chaos and a step closer to regionalised and ultimately global war. Of late, his bipolar Sea and Land powers theory has evolved into a more modern and cogent multipolar model as his preferred solution. The multipolar option, however, is not one that Dugin is an ideologue in the true sense with a black and white view of Russian and American concerns. On the Ukrainian battleground where their opposing interests meet, he believes that: “Hatred towards Russia and Putin in Ukraine is the hatred of a group of schizophrenics towards a doctor of a bunch of drunkards to the sheriff and a deeply sick person to a healthy one.” 55
champions the virtues of maintaining national sovereignty itself, but seeks to subsume selected nations into larger blocs. This is supposed to effectively prevent them from being ruled by the US. However, the dangers of subsuming nation states into the Eurasian bloc, rather invites regionalised and global conflict itself. The multipolar theory also champions an escalation of power seeking, an increasing likelihood of one or other blocs striving for a unipolar hegemony in turn as it grows in power. Its application further lacks any moral sense in recognising what it would means to be a citizen of another nation with a respected and sustained culture, traditions and values unique and particular to it when it is subsumed. Liberty, therefore, is sacrificed in order to keep us “safe”. Government commensurately expands to enforce the security measures in the name of maintaining order. In his definition of a collective Western civilisation, or a collective Eurasian civilisation, Dugin largely ignores the religious, political, cultural and social distinctions of tribes, nations and indeed races that make us all unique, important and valued all the more because of them. Multipolarity here, like multiculturalism at the national level, appears to harbour within it dangers which exacerbate cultural conflict, chaos and war. Whilst Russian Eurasianism involves subsuming the parts into a Russian ruled collective, with no clear determinant of how or why nations should comply and not object to the historical and cultural referents that supposedly make them Eurasian. The use of the term “multipolarity” reflects what is in vogue nowadays, and is one increasingly mentioned in the speeches and writings of
political figures and journalists.56 These views have been evident in the Obama administrations’ efforts also notes Dugin. The belief is that such an effort would help U.S. foreign policy to better balance its power with the rising powers such as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. The was evinced too on July 22, 2009, by Vice President Joseph Biden, during his visit to Ukraine, who said: “We’re trying to build a multipolar world”. Few of these statements contain any precise definition of what multipolarity actually entails, nor any consistent theory of how it is to be achieved. It’s a catch phrase word currently. The most common definition for “multipolarity” entails only an indication that, in the current process of globalisation, the undisputed center and core of the modern world (the U.S., Europe, and the wider “West”) is faced with an increasingly prosperous emerging second tier of nations. These represent a competitive rivalry between the U.S. and Europe on the one hand, and China, India, Russia, Latin America, etc. on the other. For Dugin however this: “convinces one more and more of the relative traditional superiority of the West and raises new questions about the logic of The topic of multi-polarity has been touched upon in the works of the David Kampf in his article “The emergence of a multipolar world”, historian Paul Kennedy in “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers”, geo-politician Dale Walton “Geopolitics and the Great Powers in the XXI century: Multi-polarity and the Revolution in strategic perspective”, Dilip Hiro “After Empire: Birth of a multipolar world”, and others. The closest in understanding the sense of Dugin’s multipolarity has been Fabio Petito, who tried to build an alternative to the unipolar world on the basis of the legal and philosophical concepts of Carl Schmitt. 56
On the other hand multipolarity as it is being mentioned in the mainstream more generally by for example, the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (February 2, 2000) tends to highlight the United States as the “indispensable nation”, because the US no longer wants to “establish and enforce” a unipolar world, and that economic integration has already created “a certain world that can be even called multipolar”. This kind of view however, is viewed by Dugin as merely a ruse to further US unipolarity. 72
further processes that determine the global architecture of forces on a planetary scale – in politics, economics, energy, demography, culture, etc.”57
It is clear for Dugin that any claims of “multipolarity” by the West need to be clearly defined and consistent. Furthermore, they should not simply be used to further US hegemony by the backdoor. However, the world order too is changing, and Dugin does not note this sufficiently. The superiority of US hegemony and Western Liberalism should not simply be assumed to be dominant as an inevitable progression unless it is opposed. He does, however, rather tend to assume this continuing dominance. He presumes the corrupt America and its Liberalism will rule the world unless it is addressed, but it is a dominance undercut by his own acceptance of the emergence of new powers (such as China and India) that does not guarantee it. In this, he is rather obliged to contrarily downplay their second tier status and emphasise US hegemony as an increasing threat, whilst also contrarily assuming an ongoing rise in power for the second tier to comparable status to befriend them and justify alliances. He, furthermore, fails to see the dangers any ongoing progression to equal power might entail. The progression would entail stronger claims on power itself, which rather invites even greater future dangers from others, and not just the United States. What then is multipolarity for Dugin? Largely it is defined by what it is not. Dugin’s proposal for a multipolar system then is one that should not simply:
See his definitions of multipolarity as distinct from multilateralism and unipolarity here. 57
“coincide with the national model of world organization according to the logic of the Westphalian system.”
The Westphalian system recognised (and still does) the absolute sovereignty of the nation-state and the laws of International Relations. The system, developed after 1648, but evolved to reflect the geopolitical situation up until the end of World War II. The system was born out of rejecting the claims of the medieval empires and their claims to universalism, justified in terms of a “divine mission”. It arose, as Dugin notes, “out of the bourgeois reforms in European societies”. The key concept of the system, however, is not just a political concept, but a moral principle, which rests in a recognition that only a nationstate can possess the highest sovereignty, and that outside of it, there is no other entity that would have the legal right to interfere in the internal policy of this state. The basic principle was expounded, irrespective of which goals and missions (religious, political, or otherwise) might actually guide it. It was, however, formulated in the context of European nations and their right to maintain sovereignty. From the 1600s to the end of WW2, this principle informed European policy and, accordingly, was transferred to other countries of the world with certain amendments. As originally conceived the Westphalian system was relevant only for European powers. Their colonies were regarded merely as their continuation, not possessing sufficient political and economic power to warrant full independence. Since the beginning of the 20th century however, the principle was extended to the former colonies during the process of decolonisation. 74
The Westphalian model assumes full legal equality between all sovereign states. In this, there are just as many poles of foreign policy in the world as there are sovereign states. However, whilst the theory still informs international relations in principle (and all of international law is supposed to be based on it) in practice, as Dugin states, there is still “inequality” and “hierarchical subordination” between various sovereign states and “oppression” by more powerful nations that override it.58 The reason’s lie chiefly in the First and Second World Wars and the emergence of a new bipolar order after, where decisions were made respectively by only two super powers: Russia and the US. Allies then simply complied with their representatives’ wishes in respect to global decision making, but their sovereignty in some more fundamental sense was impaired as a result. The paradox is that whilst international law continued to recognise the absolute sovereignty of any given nationstate, the fundamental and important act of decision making effecting global policy was only made by two. With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the bipolar system gave way to a unipolar hegemony, where the US effectively began to propagate its geopolitical, cultural and economic power unopposed by the limiting Soviet influence. The lack of any opposition to US unipolarity has meant its propagation remains unopposed. This characterises it as an encroaching danger for Dugin. The threat exists in any case due to the general character of its subversive values, propagated socially and culturally, which appear to be degrading Western civilisation and must not be allowed to spread.
See here. 75
To rid the world of the encroaching danger of US hegemony and the threat of “Western Liberalism”, Dugin proposes the “multipolar” system. Nevertheless, it is a “multipolar” world solution that yet lacks the moral and legal principles of equality that characterise the Westphalian model. It is notable that his solution appears not to entirely recognise the sovereignty of separate nation-states in the neo-Eurasian model he provides to counter it. In this too, his model has more in common with Westphalianism than he might care to admit as it tended to speak of the importance of preserving sovereignty, yet also accepted colonies as part of empires. At the heart of his desire for multipolarity and the justification for a new Eurasian space/bloc lies a paradox. First his claim that nation states are not recognised to be “legally and formally sovereign”, nor to “have the status of a full-fledged pole”. This justifies their protection, therefore, from the encroaching US unipolar hegemony. Yet on the other, he also states that: “the number of poles in a multipolar world should be substantially less than the number of recognized (and therefore, unrecognized) nation-states.” The vast majority of these states are not able to provide for their own security or prosperity in the face of a possible conflict with the current US hegemony he claims. They are politically and economically dependent on an external authority, and one that culturally, morally and politically he finds to be unjust, dangerous and perverse. Being dependent, they cannot be the centers of a truly independent and sovereign will and thus need to be protected. Paradoxically, here, he justifies subsuming some European nations under Russian control, in order to provide a balancing antidote to the US 76
threat. Subsuming such nations under a supposed Russian/Eurasian umbrella, however, impairs their sovereignty in turn, whilst bolstering Russian unipolarity. Neither is it clear that enough of a distinction is made between national cultures and national differences that justify it as a more preferential model.
For Dugin, multipolarity is supposed to work because: “It is not a system of international relations that insists upon the legal equality of nation-states as the actual, factual state of affairs. This is only a facade of a very different picture of the world based on a real, rather than nominal, balance of forces and strategic capabilities.”
Multipolarity accordingly: “operates not with the situation as it exists de-jure, but rather de-facto, and it proceeds from the statement of the fundamental inequality between nation-states in the modern and empirically fixable model of the world. Moreover, the structure of this inequality is that the secondary and tertiary powers are not able to defend their sovereignty, in any transient bloc configuration, in the face of possible external challenge by the hegemonic power. This means that sovereignty is a legal fiction today.”
The multipolar model is offered here as a preference to his earlier distinction between the Land and Sea powers, or the Cold War scenario, because a new bipolar world cannot properly counter US unipolarity. “Neither modern Russia, China, India, or some other state can pretend to be a second pole under these conditions. The recovery of bipolarity is impossible due to ideological (the end of the popular appeal of Marxism) and military-technical reasons. As for 77
the latter, the U.S and NATO countries took the lead so much over the past 30 years that symmetric competition with them in the military-strategic, economic, and technical spheres is not possible for any single country.”
This, then, represents an evolution from the earlier bipolar model. Lacking the necessary ideological component, a new bipolar world cannot be attained. One presumes, however, that 4th Political theory itself does represent the ideological component he deems sufficient to provide a counter pole, should Russia be prepared to adopt it. “It is absolutely clear that a multipolar world order not only differs from the unipolar, but is its direct antithesis. Unipolarity assumes one hegemon and one center of decision-making, while multipolarity insists on a few centers, herewith none of them having exclusive rights and thus having to take into account the positions of others. Multipolarity, therefore, is a direct logical alternative to unipolarity. There can be no compromise between them: under the laws of logic, the world is either unipolar or multipolar. Thenceforth, it is not important how such a particular model is legally formulated, but how it is de-facto created.”
The distinctions of de juris national sovereignty and de facto uni-polarity justify the imposition of multipolarity. It is an imposition irrespective of legal requirements. It might, therefore, be a call
for an invasion of
national countries, irrespective of the requirements of international law. Dugin claims too that there are effectively only two choices for the global new world order: unipolarity or multipolarity. This appears to be a false choice when Cold War history has proven otherwise, and his own concerns to create a new “space” rather echoes the old Soviet bloc of the past, or a new Russian Empire. His claim also rather too easily dismisses those US critics of the neo-Conservatives, who have highlighted “non78
polarity” as a viable alternative. He rather tends to see this as a ruse to further a “Western Liberal” universalism, and by extension US unipolar hegemony. The nonpolar (or multilateral progression) is different however, as unlike the unipolar progression, it emphasises the dwindling role that the US will have as globalisation proceeds. This, of course, is no reason to welcome it for those who see this progression as a threat to US sovereignty itself. The chief complaint for Dugin, however, is that the model still envisions globalisation in primarily “Western” terms, and it effectively requires the maintenance of US unipolarity to encourage it. It is this US advocacy for “Western Liberalism” too, and its expanding presence as a cultural subversion to all the countries and peoples of the earth, that chiefly causes him to view the US specifically as subversive. In this, however, Dugin rather tends to equate “Western Liberalism” more generally with US hegemony specifically. He discounts the possibility of mutual collaboration in this and downplays the possibility that differences in cultural values could continue to co-exist in any political progression as one world government emerges. Nor does he make enough of a new more universal supranational set of cultural values emerging The future world government will be attended by representatives of different countries, standing together with “common values” and thus striving to establish a “unified socio-political and economic space” in the theatre of the world. In this, however, he assumes too readily that political progression equates more generally to an eradication of cultural norms and mores at the national level, and that Western Liberalism will dominate, rather than entail a true synthesis, or even that an alternative culture will come to predominate, reflective of new political powerplays. He fails to explain exactly why “Liberalism” 79
itself should necessarily predominate, when a synthesis of cultures might equally occur, or another less liberal culture come to dominate; particularly as Western (the US) influence declines and Eastern (Asia or China or Islam) influences rise. Nonpolarity justifies ongoing globalisation in terms of a commensurate decline in US unipolarity and an increasing multipolarity itself. For US Constitutionalists that want to retain the fundamental freedoms and principles enshrined in the US Constitution this is enough of a threat, as it impairs American exceptionalism. It is not one that Dugin as a consequence should fear, however, if it entails reducing the US as a perceived threat specifically, but he objects to it nevertheless. This objection is significant, as it rather suggest a preference for Russian supremacism. In this too his preferred Eurasian solution to counter the progression is rather a hypocrisy, which shows his disregard for national democracy in turn. Sovereignty is something that he appears to want to sacrifice in the name of protecting his beloved Russia from the perils of the Western value system, whilst simultaneously boosting its political power, in order to further its own claims to unipolar hegemony in turn. Justification for the nonpolar model rests on: â€˘ Co-operation between democratic countries, but gradually the progression should include non-state actors - NGOs, social movements, separate citizen groups, network communities, etc.
â€˘ The construction of the nonpolar world will be characterised by a dissipation in decision-making power from one power centre (now Washington) to the many entities of the lower level - right down to
online planetary referendums on the major events and actions effecting all of mankind.
• The economy will supersede national politics and market competition will sweep across all the countries’ customs barriers. The state will become more concerned with its citizens’ care, rather than traditional security, as enemies in the traditional sense will (supposedly) not really exist. The progression will usher in an era of global democracy.
It is a theory Dugin fears, as it heralds the death of Russia’s geopolitical influence, unique traditions and culture, but it is too often simply viewed as an “Americanisation” of it. Accordingly it: “presents itself as a stage towards the replacement of the unipolar world, but only on the conditions promoted today by the U.S. and Western countries in regard to their socio-political, technological, and economic models (liberal democracy). These and their values will become a universal phenomenon, and the need for the strict protection of democratic and liberal ideals will no longer exist – all regimes that resist the West, democratization, and Americanization at the time of the onset of the nonpolar world should be eliminated.”
The project tends to be distrusted on the grounds that not only does it perpetuate Western Liberalism, but once it is established there is no guarantee the US hegemony will in fact be dissipated in its wake. This is not an alternative that can be trusted then, but merely a: “continuation, and it will be possible only as society’s center of gravity moves from today's mix of alliance of two levels of hegemony - material (the American military-industrial complex and Western economy and resources) and spiritual (standards, procedures, values) – to a purely intellectual hegemony, together
with the gradual reduction of the importance of material domination.”
Here, Dugin only assumes nonpolarity as a possibility if the material and spiritual can be resolved, or dominated by an “intellectual hegemony”. He appears to reject this as a possibility however, and the implication is one where the material demands of the military industrial complex, along with the “Western” value system it is allied to, prevent it from occurring. Both need to be transcended in some sense, in favour of an intellectual development, where the spiritual and the material alliance are shifted from the “centre”. Lacking the necessary means to throw off US hegemonic influence then, he argues against unipolarity and nonpolarity. He fails to realise that any competitive powers that necessitate and perpetuate the material and the spiritual could become harmonised and the US unipolar threat dissipated as progression occurs. For example, the military industrial complex itself would not be required if the threat of mutually assured destruction from two or more superpowers, or even from any number of rogue states, was resolved into an equal and collaborative one world order.59 Here the so called “spiritual values” of (one presumes) a fundamentally Western Liberalism could become synthesised into a more globalised notion of standards, procedure and values. This, however, might well necessitate the annihilation of one or other particular and unique perspective. It might in turn herald a new tyranny, and it is this which anti-globalists fear.
One presumes conflict here is merely to be dialectical and not military, but the question of reactions to disagreements is a possibility too much idealised and does not inhabit the real world when dissenters could quite easily turn into enemies. 59
The possibility of a new, peaceful, “global” paradigm, evoked by a synthesis of the disparate parts into a whole, is rather ignored by Dugin. His preference is to preserve the traditions of the past, and Russian culture specifically. He wishes only to protect any possible dissipation by any political and cultural progression that might seek to dominate and threaten it. His own notion appears to seek a Russian hegemony, rather than any brave new world of the future that might involve mutual collaboration or a new political and cultural paradigm. New paradigms are not so much viewed as a threat, but rejected on the grounds they are not really a possibility. Western Liberalism and US power, therefore, would simply come to dominate the globe, signifying the death of any values that differed from it. He fails here to see Russian values as evolving positively in this. The old values, the Russian values, must be preserved and not lost, but neither does he make enough of the possibility of a synthesis of values in any new paradigm that might be mutually beneficial and achieved via collaborative progression. Globalisation of course carries with it the danger of a loss of sovereignty/ It entails a loss of national identity, the cultures that make us unique, and the particular constitutional values we might carry with us as nation states. Whilst this is a danger, it is not one that should be feared, if there is indeed intellectual collaboration and a willingness to develop a new world paradigm, free of one dominating influence. The real danger, however, does lie in whether the old order should, or even could be transcended: whether the “centre of gravity” can simply be shifted in a genuine authentic (and peaceful) progression, and not merely exploited to further hegemonic advantage. This in some sense requires a leap of faith, the outcome of which cannot be known before the act. It would not be within the nature or imperatives of conservativism to embrace it in
any case. It is particularly worrying too, as those who do champion it are themselves of a “liberal progressive” bent. They tend, therefore, to favour a state-centric approach and a preference for corporate socialism. The chances of a totalitarian one world government evolving because of this are increased. As a progression, it is certainly one fraught with dangers and uncertainties.
Neither is it clear that the one world government
proposed would be fully accountable to the nation states if they are maintained as members, let alone the billions of different peoples it supposedly represents, particularly if they are not. A one world dictatorship of synthesised world values might just as easily pose a threat to individual nations and the liberty of peoples, as a unipolar US or Russian hegemony could. Historically, part of the progression toward this is the notion that various zones subsuming the nation states will precede it. As Stalin is reputed to have said: “Divide the world into regional groups as a transitional stage of world government. Populations will more readily abandon their national loyalties to a vague regional loyalty than they will for a world authority. Later, the regions can be brought together all the way into a single world dictatorship.” 60
Thus, Dugin’s suggestion of such zones, to counter a US unipolarity, is suggestive of a more devious strategy itself. His strategy might be indicative of a Russian global power grab in the future. His objections to US Constitutionalism and its classification as a more general threat under the rubric of “Western Liberalism” certainly draws suspicion, when its core principles espouse independence and freedom for all nation states as a prerogative.
As cited by Christopher Story in “The Perestroika Deception”. 84
In Dugin’s view, US unipolarity and nonpolarity (multilteralism) effectively lead to the same end: the global propagation of a corrupt Western Liberalism and ultimately an “Americanisation” that will effectively strengthen US political power. He rather contrarily states that US unipolarity already exists, and has since the end of the Cold War, but it is clear US unipolarity has not markedly Americanised the Chinese, or Asian cultures, or their own particular “standards, procedures and values” during this period. There is even less reason to suppose why a declining American power, either culturally (and he constantly refers it as a subversive influence) or militarily (which it would be if competitive powers that pose a threat are effectively removed) should still be deemed a threat to Russia, never mind the rest of the East. The issue essentially is what globalisation as a progression entails? Whether it is a preferred choice morally or politically. Whether it represents an enforced tyranny, an amalgamation, a synthesis, or simply a collaboration that yet respects the integrity and right for cultures and indeed other nations to simply exist. Not enough is made of the nations of the world contributing on an equal footing by Dugin. To date, US unipolarity has not markedly induced an Americanisation of the cultures of emerging nations even when the presence of US corporations
been more apparent.
The effects of
collaboration of Russia with the US (post-Cold War) did not lead to an Americanisation of Russia either, but a strengthening of its own traditional values as a reaction to an increasing US or Western corporate presence. This trend has been apparent even when the US has occupied nations in the past, such as Japan, Germany, or South Korea. The cultures (if not the political order) have very much been unaffected and remained intact. Indeed, in this respect, the Ancient Roman model has 85
parallels, as the cultural values of any particular society have largely been allowed to continue unaffected, irrespective of the political, economic, or military presence that accrued. Indeed, the US, rather like the Roman view, tends to view this only in terms of successful military control. Cultural continuity, in this respect, is even required, in order to ensure a passive and manageable people, and the continuing practice of their own customs and rituals was deemed a necessary part of this. The progression, moreover, has even been characterised by a US decline (as he himself recognises, and which is a stated aim of nonpolarity in any case) a loss of jobs at home (as supranational corporations take power), and marked by an ascension of other nations as emerging superpowers, or at least comparable powers in their own right. There is little guarantee, therefore, that unipolarity entails an Americanisation of culture, nor that it could even be sustained. His proposal of a Eurasian bloc in this seems to be counterproductive to any collaboration of all nations sustained by the virtues of equality, independence and freedom. The hallmark virtues and philosophical principles which the US Constitution itself and the Declaration of Independence nevertheless made the basis for Americaâ€™s founding, and which yet successfully marry with the Westphalian model in many respects.
An assessment of Duginâ€™s rather disingenuous claims and real motives to date It is noteworthy that Dugin claims to seek mutual collaboration between opposing powers to meet more productive and peaceful ends, but his proposition of a monolithic political and civilisational bloc that subsumes others to act as a buffer against the US/Western threat is 86
counterproductive to this. As is his distrust of the possibilities of a genuine collaboration that does not herald an ulterior motive. His distrust of the benefits of mutual collaboration, in an equally balanced new world order (a future one world government) rather belies a stubborn dogmatism and radical extremism itself, not just intellectually but spiritually. “The multi-polar world cannot be combined with the nonpolar world model because it does not accept the validity of the uni-polar moment as a prelude to the future world order, nor the intellectual hegemony of the West, the universality of its values, or the dissipation of decision-making into the planetary multiplicity regardless of the pre-existing cultural and civilizational identity. The nonpolar world suggests that the American melting pot model will be extended to the whole world. As a result, this will erase all the differences between peoples and cultures, and an individualized, atomized humanity will be transformed into a cosmopolitan 'civil society' without any borders. Multi-polarity implies that the centers of decision-making must be high enough (but not solely in the hands of one entity - as it is today under the conditions of the uni-polar world), and cultural specialties of each particular civilization must be preserved and strengthened (but not dissolved into a single cosmopolitan multiplicity).”
Dugin again too readily ignores nonpolarity, conflating it with unipolarity in this progression. He assumes US dominance where the dissolution into a “single cosmopolitan multiplicity” is of a particularly Western Liberal kind. US unipolarity has predominated since the end of the Cold War, but he does not make enough of US decline when it most obviously is in decline. Similarly, new powers are emerging and, as in the case of China and India, might supersede the US in economic and military power in the future. If we take his assumption of the political and economic influences leaving the door open to cultural subversion, or
at least change, who is not to say by his measure of reasoning, that Chinese culture, or Indian culture, will not come to predominate? Whilst any preservation of national sovereignty must be deemed a good thing, and no American Constitutionalist would disagree with it as a virtuous principle, if it protects independence and liberty, his own critique smacks of a deceitful ploy to further Russian/Eurasian hegemony and destroy the US (and more broadly the West and Western values) in turn. Genuine collaboration in this appears disingenuous and might well be no more than a power play to further Russian advantage. The Eurasian model appears to be a desire to return to some sort of Soviet model, or a model of Empire, where small nation states are dominated, rather as Poland was and/ or even occupied to supposedly keep them “safe”. In turn, the concern to preserve culture appears far more determined by the state and its political ideology than any Western Liberal model that promotes secularism, tolerance and diversity as ideological principles, whatever the weaknesses these might suffer in the political arena. In this, then, Eurasian fundamentalism poses a much more dangerous threat. Any new Eurasian culture too would be ideologically determined and would be shaped by the combined features of both National Bolshevism and the genuine “fascist fascism” that Dugin himself has very publicly called for.
This can only yield
totalitarianism as a political system: an ideology that does not bode well for any kind of genuine mutual collaboration, even if they tried to implement it. Dugin claims he only wants to preserve and protect Russia from an encroaching Western threat, whilst he yet talks of pre-emptive action to counter the threat with military invasion himself. In this, he is often 88
found to be lacking in honesty, both in respect of his former military escapades and his denial of these, as well as his claim to be anti-racist, whilst he yet calls for the “liquidation” of Ukrainians. The contrariness of his language might be an attempt to continuously analyse terms and provide alternatives and counterarguments as a philosopher. His statements indeed might even be misunderstood by a largely non-philosophical audience. His insistence on denying certain very real charges in the light of his own proclaimed statements to the contrary however, rather leaves one with the impression he cannot always be trusted, and his claims are simply a clever attempt to cover his real views. His philosophical ideas on closer analysis invariably reveal far more dangerous motives. 61 In this, then, there is a big question as to whether Dugin himself is a 5th Column dissimulator, working to further Russian hegemony. This will always be difficult to determine, as one of the features of any 5th Column activist is a lack of honesty, a tendency to tell lies, and the free use of friendly terms to infiltrate and gain trust. Any 5th column dissimulator too tends to want to divide and conquer, and sowing dissent and confusion in this is very much part of the strategy. It particularly requires the use of false labels. Some of his truer motives can be revealed through an analysis of the philosophical principles themselves, rather than the claims he seeks to dress them up with. Any anomalies can be highlighted to show his real intention as a consequence, revealing perhaps a darker, more malevolent mind. Of course, such anomalies might simply be due to a purely philosophical concern to examine all issues and discuss the arguments He is reported to have said on one occasion that “Today’s Ukrainians are a race of degenerates that crawled up from sewage. Genocide is in order.” 61
impartially for their own sake, but Dugin is far more ideologically driven than that. Discounting a genuine lack of understanding, therefore, one can safely presume this very intelligent Professor has a definite political ideology and strategy that he seeks to apply, and it is one that he holds to personally and not simply espouses impartially.
Anomalies in Dugin’s claims Anomalies in Dugin’s claims and positions essentially are: • His claim to be a Christian, whilst yet calling for an affirmation of Chaos over Logos; a tendency to justify immoral behaviour such as cannibalism in war situations, and a tendency to use language that criticises and vilifies “Western” Christianity in turn. •
A call for multipolarity to counter the Western threat. He claims this in the name of preserving sovereignty, whilst yet overriding national sovereignty in specific European countries, because they belong historically, or culturally, to Russia.
• A claim to be a “conservative”, when his political background hails from National Bolshevism, and he calls for a “genuine fascist fascism” to counter the Western threat. • A tendency to espouse a state-centric philosophy that makes government all powerful, whilst criticising Liberalism across the board,
“Liberalism” and “Classical” Liberalism: the latter being far more Constitutional in orientation, and one that genuinely champions individual rights, the preservation of independence, liberty and sovereignty.
A critical analysis of these four anomalies throw up many issues. They need to be analysed, to determine the authenticity of his claims, and whether they point to more dangerous intentions.
The corruption of the individual and Individualism by Liberalism and the problems similarly raised by state collectivism
Dugin doesn’t make any clear distinction between Classical Liberalism that favours Constitutional values and modern “Progressive Liberalism” that has developed largely as a result of Socialist influences, specifically Cultural Marxism. He tends to simply view Liberalism as a danger wholesale. His identification of “Liberalism” is one that indeed stands scrutiny, even if his identification of it as a specifically “Western” threat lacks credibility in the light of its origins in Russia, and its propagation by Soviet Communists via the Frankfurt School. Its presence in American institutions being a later development, but which still harboured some of its original Socialist revolutionary imperatives. Dugin’s concern in highlighting the danger of Liberalism is to emphasise its deficiencies philosophically, culturally, morally and politically. In this, whilst modern Liberalism is indeed a danger, he fails to fully note that it is just as much of a danger to the West as it is to the East. When he does, he tends only to use it as a justification for Russian usurpation. More generally, and paradoxically, he, fails to consider that its adoption
by the West heralds a declining threat from the West itself, as it destroys itself in turn. His primary pose here is to set himself up as a man trying to save Russia from the imminent Liberal threat of the West. A cultural and political power that threatens to engulf the world and seal US dominance, whilst failing to appreciate distinctions need to be drawn between the US and Constitutional America, and that such distinctions, moreover, should be couched more generally in terms of the threat of cultural Marxism, and or Liberal Progressivism per se, rather than a specific national, cultural and political threat originating simply from the US. Dugin identifies a philosophical explanation for the cultural decay in Liberalism and makes it clear too that: “The liberal idea is built on the idea that the human is an individual, and it does not matter what kind of collective idea he has. It does not matter what nation, what religion, and today they say it does not matter what sex he has. Sex is an option as free as the country of residence, as religious confession…this thought puts an end to the traditional-even for European culture or Indo European culture- the notion of a person, whose sex is an inseparable characteristic of his personality. ” Here a distinction between the individual and the collective ultimately leads Liberalism to a destruction of any notion of race, cultural identity, national identity or even personal sexual identity. 62 Liberalism is a Dugin even goes so far as to say that the natural consequence of Liberalism must be same sex marriage, and as a consequence the increasing destruction of the human race. 62
“Look there’s a fundamental problem here about the gender problematic, I teach courses on the sociology of gender The liberal idea is built on the notion of an individual identity and it doesn’t matter what kind of collective identity the person has...what is now being destroyed by Liberalism in its last phase will reach their culmination in same sex marriage.” 92
nihilism, therefore, a spiritual and cultural pathology, that seeks to destroy any collective associations that human beings are naturally disposed to make. But in this Dugin pushes the notions of the dangers of Liberalism too far. He particularly fails to recognise the dangers of any imposition of a state notion of a collective as nihilistic in itself. His approach reeks of a kind of National Bolshevism, and whilst he is a proclaimed “conservative”, but of the New Right, mingling this with a “genuine fascist fascism” purged (he claims) of racism, he yet seeks to pay respect to the “mighty angel”63 Lenin’s desire for an internationale: a state centric perspective, with a unified collective notion of a common cause. This is an odd prescription, considering the experiences and lessons that have been learned by Russia directly, in respect to Leninism or Stalinism, with its national emphasis on Marxist-Leninist principles. A perspective he claims to have surpassed, along with the other failed ideology of the 20th century fascism. Yet Dugin’s thesis here too pays court to an essentially fascistic notion of a submergence of the individual’s identity into the collective identity. A view that stands, as Mussolini all too clearly defines: “Against individualism. The Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State, which is the conscience and universal will of man in his historical existence. It is opposed to classical Liberalism, which arose from the necessity of reacting against absolutism, and which brought its historical purpose to an end when the State was transformed into Dugin worries it will destroy our sexual identities, and the relations between a man and a woman, if same sex marriage is legalised as a norm. But of course it hardly needs to be said that the majority of people feel no need or compulsion to change their sex or sexual orientation by being given the freedom to choose. 63
In this he recognises that angels can be forces of evil or forces of good. 93
the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual. And if liberty is to be the attribute of the real man, and not of that abstract puppet envisaged by individualistic Liberalism, Fascism is for liberty. And for the only liberty which can be a real thing, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State. Therefore, for the Fascist, everything is in the State, and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value, outside the State. In this sense Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State, the synthesis and unity of all values, interprets, develops and gives strength to the whole life of the people.”64
Dugin in this respect believes that civilisation is a concrete reality, and not simply a diffuse and abstract notion. But he also appears to want, and rather transparently so, an expansion of the Russian state by justifying it in a cultural collective that presumes similarity. He fails to acknowledge the rights of individuals and indeed individual nations’ rights to decide in this. He rather prefers to champion the right of the state to decide its values. Ultimately, any notion of civilisation must rest on the bedrock of human rights and the wishes of the people, and by that recourse, pay respect to the individual and the principles of Individualism. This is what constitutes any truly moral philosophy of freedom. Such principles will always ensure a more universal notion of what it means to be a human being, and safeguard morality in turn. Individualism should quite rightly be “preserved” in a conservative sense, by virtue of our traditions, but also by virtue of an individual’s concept of themselves and their human rights; as any free, right thinking paleo-conservative in the Classical Liberal tradition would advocate.
This, however, is not a nihilism
Benito Mussolini 1932- Lecture and excerpt from an article on Fascism which Mussolini wrote (with the help of Giovanni Gentile) for the Enciclopedia Italiana . 64
through Liberalism, as Dugin claims, but a preservation of what it means to be an individual in the best sense. It is a necessary safeguard for a healthy society and culture, and a necessary requirement for just government. But of these ideals Dugin pays short shrift. He sees no necessity to show respect: “I want to say that human rights is a classic racist theory, because in this theory of human rights, the Western concept of the human is taken as the norm, and when people spread their notion of what a human is over all other cultures, they impose on them an absolutely anti natural norm, from here we get what we call double standards.”
A good case can be made favouring Dugin here. Human rights is a classic racist theory, inasmuch as its contemporary manifestation too often champions minority rights over the rights of all men and women. Positive discrimination, as an example, does not favour anything but minority ethnicities in the name of equality, to the detriment of the majority. This, however, is met in the Constitution, and its appeal to the rights of “all”, as determined by God, needs to be placed in the context of a universal protection of the rights of humanity as a basic principle. This concern is to protect freedom and liberty for all, delimit the power of government, and protect the rights of the individual as a fundamental. In considering the dangers of imposition, however, Dugin himself appears to show no tolerance for the rights of the individual, but only the collective: “The society that Russia needs should not be representative democracy, should not be a market society, based on the monetary equivalent of all values, and should not be the idiotic, anti-natural, perverse ideology of human rights. Market, democracy, human 95
rights get out of here…these are the notions of the individual as opposed to the collective. ”
Yet in the Declaration of Independence in 1776 the preamble to the document states: “We consider these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Here the emphasis is on a more universal conception of what it is to be a human with the epithet “all men”. There is clearly nothing racist in such a notion, as there is no recourse to particulars, or a specific race or tribe of men. The counter argument, however, might be that when this was scribed, slavery was in practice, and the Great Experiment admittedly took time to implement civil rights and an evolving notion of what “all men” entailed in terms of women’s rights, and the rights of African Americans to become full or equal citizens. However, the provision here is also one that supposes universalism in a more general sense, not simply as pertaining to all citizens, as much as to eternal values. This is primarily a natural right, rather than merely a legal right. Such rights are then to be afforded as a fundamental to all, simply because they are given by God. This idea makes provision for future progression, because of a humanitarian mandate, and is not one to be curtailed by the limited perspectives of prejudiced men or social conventions. The emphasis on “God given” suggests an acceptance that ultimately humanity, in all its distinct forms, should be protected as an ideal ethos 96
to ensure “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. They are secured by governments as long as those particular governments follow the universal and divine principle that they derive their just powers by the consent of the people as the governed, and are delimited in power, so they best serve their representatives and do not endanger liberty. Dugin asserts: “I am against the making of that American Declaration, connected with a Protestant model of Theology, a Protestant political system, not applicable to Catholics or the Orthodox, or all the more so to other religions to generalise them and to build on that basis.”65 As on a number of issues, Dugin has this entirely wrong. Although the Declaration of Independence mentioned “Nature’s God” and the “Creator”, the Constitution makes no reference to God in any specifically “Protestant” sense. Indeed, the First Amendment explicitly forbade the establishment of any official Church or creed. There is even a story, probably apocryphal, that Benjamin Franklin’s proposal to call in a chaplain to offer a prayer when a particularly controversial issue was being debated in the Constitutional Convention prompted Hamilton to observe that he saw no reason to call in “foreign aid”. If there is a clear legacy bequeathed by the founders, therefore, it is the insistence that on matters of religion a given interpretation was a private matter, in which the state should not interfere. 66
See the transcript here.
Diversity is the dominant pattern here, commensurate with a freedom of interpretation about Christianity. It is, however, fundamentally “Christian” when all said and done. “Protestantism”, however, is not the exclusive theme. Franklin and Jefferson were Christian deists, Washington harboured a pantheistic sense of providential destiny, John Adams began a Congregationalist and ended a Unitarian, Hamilton started as a lukewarm Anglican for most of his life, but embraced a more fervent Christian posture after his son died in a duel. 66
Dugin generally gives the impression of confusing Liberalism, in the modern US sense as Corporate Socialism, with Classical Liberalism. The latter being more readily identifiable with what might be termed Constitutional America.67 But in specifically identifying the Declaration One philosophical religious conviction they all shared, however, was a discernible concern with living on in the memory for posterity. One reason the modern editions of their papers are so extensive in this respect is that most of the Founders were compulsively fastidious about preserving every scrap of paper they wrote or received, all as part of a desire to leave a legacy and heritage that would assure their immortality in the history books. A method of immortality assured through creativity in the artist’s life, described in the Symposium of Plato. When John Adams and Jefferson discussed the possibility of a more conventional Christian immortality, however, they tended to describe (in Socratic fashion) heaven as a place where they could resume their ongoing argument on Earth. His denotes a philosophical bent that permeated any religious dogmatism. For most it found fellowship in a Christian ethos, but was not limited by sectarian squabbles. It was flexible enough to accept even irreverence when Adams asserted that if no future state existed, his advice to every man, woman, and child was to “take opium.” In this, then, the attitude was not to worry about the mysteries of the Divine, but to encourage open debate, and the concern with inclusivity it encouraged to sustain a legacy for subsequent generations to remember. In that sense too, any discussion of them today is a testament to success at achieving immortality. It was from this sense of religious tolerance and liberty that America’s first intellectual movement was able to evolve as a new departure. Transcendentalism arose among New England Congregationalists who differed from orthodox Calvinism on two issues. They rejected predestination, and they emphasised the unity instead of the trinity of God. Following the scepticism of David Hume, the transcendentalists took the stance that empirical proofs of religion were not possible. It also developed as a reaction against 18th century rationalism, and John Locke’s philosophy of Sensualism. It is fundamentally composed of a variety of diverse sources, including Hindu texts like the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, various religions, and German idealism. This philosophical and literary movement is notable however in advocating that society and its institutions—particularly organised religion and political parties—ultimately corrupt the purity of the individual. They have faith that people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent. It is only from such real individuals that self- perfection could be fashioned and true community could be formed. Many modern scholars of Liberalism argue that no particularly meaningful distinction between classical and modern Liberalism exists. Alan Wolfe A False Distinction summarises this viewpoint, which: “reject(s) any such distinction and argue(s) instead for the existence of a continuous liberal understanding that includes both Adam Smith and John 67
here, he is revealing that he is more aware of the distinctions than he lets on. It might be accepted that the modern form of Liberalism is not simply an evolution, but a corruption of Classical Liberalism in its true sense. Dugin, however, simply appears to loathe Liberalism in all its forms, irrespective of whether they counter or agree with his own professed positions as a champion of the rights of Russian sovereignty, freedom and the Russian people. The anomaly here too rests on the notion of what modern Liberalism entails. Modern Liberalism emphasises the increasing intervention of the state, and its imposition on the people, in a more socialised, federalised,
Maynard Keynes... The idea that Liberalism comes in two forms assumes that the most fundamental question facing mankind is how much government intervenes into the economy... When instead we discuss human purpose and the meaning of life, Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes are on the same side. Both of them possessed an expansive sense of what we are put on this earth to accomplish. Both were on the side of enlightenment. Both were optimists who believed in progress, but were dubious about grand schemes that claimed to know all the answers. For Smith, mercantilism was the enemy of human liberty. For Keynes, monopolies were. It makes perfect sense for an eighteenth-century thinker to conclude that humanity would flourish best under the free market. For a twentieth century thinker committed to the same ideal, government was an essential tool to the same end... Modern Liberalism being… the logical and sociological outcome of classical Liberalism.” However, according to William J. Novak, “The Not-So-Strange Birth of the Modern American State: A Comment on James A. Henretta's 'Charles Evans Hughes and the Strange Death of Liberal America”, Law and History Review 24, no. 1 (2006), Liberalism in the United States shifted, “between 1877 and 1937...from laissez-faire constitutionalism to New Deal statism, from classical Liberalism to democratic social-welfarism.” L. T. Hobhouse, in Liberalism (London: Williams and Norgate, 1911), attributed this shift, which included qualified acceptance of government intervention in the economy and the collective right to equality in dealings, to an increased desire for “just consent”. Hayek wrote that Hobhouse's book would have been more accurately titled “Socialism” and Hobhouse himself called his beliefs “Liberal Socialism”. See F. A. Hayek, “The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism” (University of Chicago Press, 1991), 110. It would be a mistake too to presume because there is historic continuity that therefore both perspectives are the same. Neo Conservativism arose from Conservativism, but no one of sense would wish to suppose its Trotskyist origins should therefore be overlooked, nor that it is genuinely “Conservative”. 99
collectivised, state-centric notion of what it means to be a citizen. But this is not one that Dugin himself (by his own measure of reasoning) should fear in his call for a state collective. In respect to this fear, Dugin objects only to the unipolarity of any selfimposed US Liberalism, which by its recourse to Individualism presents a dangerous corruption of the more collectivised state notion of what it means to be Russian. Collectivism is then, for Dugin, the antidote against the perils of Western universalism. But in this, more worryingly, Dugin fails to understand the value of an individual as a human being. Furthermore, he continually commits a fundamental error in his confusion of what the universal “Men” or “all men” entails or could embrace. Dugin doesn't see Man in the Platonic sense (a philosopher he claims to admire) but continually confuses particular instances with the universal (eidos). He only considers the relevance of a man-made state-centric perspective and its effect on a specific people, rather than considering the broader perspective of what the more essential universal human being could entail. This general classification unites us in a more universal sense, irrespective of distinctions and definitions of nation, race, or indeed culture or civilisation. The intrinsic character of what it means to be human in the more universal sense, is continuously overlooked by Dugin. It is replaced only with a political notion of government. The universal is capable of discernment and gives rise to multiple perspectives, but it yet entails an essential essence (ousia) of what it means to be Human and practically a definition of man as a citizen of the world in a more general sense. This is not simply a call for civilisational unipolarity as a universalism, in a particular political ideological sense, but a call for a recognition of what 100
it is that unites us in our common nature as human beings, whilst admitting of different perspectives. The differing perspectives permit the right of different forms of government and political systems, but the universal denotes the fundamental rights of human beings to be protected,
independence and sovereignty to stand. In this, Constitutional America cannot be deemed a threat to any other nation by virtue of its basic principles. Independence and sovereignty are universal and God given rights, which no particular nation can overcome or determine in isolation. When this philosophy is recognised and properly understood it soon becomes
Constitutional America. It facilitates and serves to protect any nationâ€™s right to independence and sovereignty. By recourse to it, the freedom of the individual from the perils of either foreign governments, or indeed its own government, against the will of the people, is protected. Any meaningful progress for peace and a new world can only be truly established by recognising the fundamental distinctions between classical and modern Liberalism, between the rights of the individual and Individulism protected from the imposition of collectivism, the rights of freedom under the law determined by a limited federal government, as opposed to the imposition of a government granted all the power, even if it claims to be acting for the best motives. The latter results only in totalitarianism and not a republic, where the individual finds true freedom liberty and justice. Moreover, Constitutionalism is an ongoing experiment. It therefore entails and warrants a continuing free debate as to its philosophical merits. Its concern is not to stifle free speech as determined by 101
government sanctions or political correctness, as to what can or cannot be said. It is an endeavour, which is susceptible to definition, and in that definition, which is an ever evolving progression of what it means to understand more clearly, both for the philosopher, the politician and the citizen, it warrants continual discussion, debate and analysis, to help hone a better knowledge of its intrinsic characteristics. It is in this sense genuinely open to improvement and development, and does not represent a monolithic petrification: the latter being so characteristic of the Soviet model of the past. The American nation was founded upon the idea that the unifying principle of society is not the government, the armed state bureaucracy, or the Church, but society itself, its culture, its religion, its traditions, and its moral values. Dugin’s view gives primacy to the State and its role informs its citizens of the virtues of what faith is and what goodness is, in some official sense, but appears particular limited in this context. It is blind to any recognition of what the spiritual and moral endeavour of the universal for “all men” means. Yet by virtue of its longevity, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution perhaps represent the most successful endeavour to emphasise the importance of these more universal principles. It is a remarkable testament to its durability and flexibility in a political landscape that continually shifts and changes. The values and ideas of the Founding Fathers have provided the context for the ongoing experiment. They still appear to have endured, brought prosperity, and a moral sense of purpose in their wake. The claim of pure Constitutionalists to stringently reevaluate the current political progression in the light of them can only be a good thing. It shows how America is a free society, prepared to undergo stringent selfexamination: a nation which isn’t afraid of the problems and issues that might be raised because of it. 102
Any recognition of this by Dugin then as a philosopher at least needs him to accept that Constitutionalism is not his enemy.
It requires stronger
distinctions from Dugin than the simple and oft made claim that “Western Liberalism” is a threat, without a more stringent examination of what that definition actually denotes and entails. In the provisional sense, Constitutionalists might well agree (aware as they are of the subversive dangers of cultural Marxism, progressivism, socialism, etc) but Dugin can find no harbour in any attack on the Declaration that does not raise much stronger suspicions that he is in fact an enemy of those very principles of sovereignty, independence and personal liberty that he himself claims to support.
Individualism versus Collectivism Dugin sees in the dichotomy between Individualism and Collectivism, a direct parallel of West versus East. In this, Dugin sees Individualism in the classic selfish sense: as a person taking part in society only to further his or her own interests, or at least to further the right to serve his or her own interests, without taking the interests of society as a whole into consideration. Dugin views Liberalism as the preeminent political perspective of such values, and he identifies in this the source of all our woes.69 One example But in this we are supposed to defer to his view that: “Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, Putin is irreplaceable.” 68
A more positive use of the term in Britain came to be used with the writings of James Elishama Smith, who was a millenarian and a Christian Israelite. Although an early Owenite Socialist, he eventually rejected its collective idea of property, and found in individualism a “universalism” that allowed for the development of the “original genius.” Without individualism, Smith argued, individuals cannot amass property to increase one’s happiness. See Claeys, Gregory (1986). “Individualism, 69
might be given as the decay of the family because individuals are encouraged only to think of themselves and not others, their sexual needs, etc. being paramount, whilst marriage is viewed as being a burden. Or the more specific example he gives concerning the confusion of a person caused by the excessive individualising and liberalising of the sexual identity. It is a value that progresses to the point that ultimately even the role of gender becomes a restriction, and the freedom to choose being a fe-man is available or encouraged, or same sex marriage is accepted as being an individual prerogative. This is pursued even in the face of the death of a race and/ or an entire culture. The nihilistic ramifications he views are an inevitable progression. 70 Societies and groups can, however, differ in the extent to which they are based upon predominantly “self-regarding” (individualistic and arguably self-interested) behaviour, rather than “other-regarding” (grouporiented, and group, or society-minded) behaviour. This is apparent in Ruth Benedict’s
distinction between “guilt” societies (e.g., medieval
Europe) with an “internal reference standard”, and “shame” societies (e.g., Japan, “bringing shame upon one’s ancestors”) with an “external reference standard”. In the latter, people look to their peers for feedback Socialism, and Social Science: Further Notes on a Process of Conceptual Formation, 1800-1850”. Journal of the History of Ideas (University of Pennsylvania Press. William Maccall, another Unitarian preacher, and probably an acquaintance of Smith, came somewhat later, although influenced by John Stuart Mill, Thomas Carlyle, and German Romanticism, to the same positive conclusions, in his 1847 work “Elements of Individualism”, Swart, Koenraad W. (1962). “Individualism in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (1826-1860)”, Journal of the History of Ideas (University of Pennsylvania Press) 23 (1): 77–90. An intermediary view in this debate appears to be Jean-Jacques Rousseau who claimed that his concept of “general will” in the “social contract” is not the simple collection of individual wills, and that it furthers the interests of the individual. The constraint of law itself would be beneficial for the individual, as the lack of respect for the law necessarily entails, in Rousseau’s eyes, a form of ignorance and submission to one’s passions instead of the preferred autonomy of reason.'The Social Contract, trans. Maurice Cranston. Penguin: Penguin Classics Various Editions, 1968–2007. 70
on whether an action is “acceptable” or not. This is also known as “group-think”.71 In this context, Individualism is often contrasted either with totalitarianism, or with collectivism,72 but in fact there is a spectrum of behaviour ranging from highly individualistic societies, through mixed societies, right through to more collectivised societies. Whilst the individual and Individualism are clearly distinct concepts, the problem of Individualism and its associated paradigm Liberalism can only be understood in terms of the effects it exerts on individuals. More specifically, it can only be more fully understood in an individual’s relation with other human beings. In their relationships one can discern attitudes, values, and therefore morality and ethics. But neither can an individual’s identity merely be defined in the context of a group. The real essence of what an individual is cannot simply be said to rest in some collective notion of “group identity”. Nor can it merely be defined in terms of one’s social position in a class. Indeed, a case might be made of its dangers: as individual identity becomes submerged in any group identity, and becomes merely obscured and limited, suppressed, or even to some extent annihilated in identifying with it. To be an individual is one thing; to be a partaker of, or an engager with individualism is another. The latter denoting the sense of a moral habit or an ideological conviction. In this, there is a clear Platonic parallel, where the particular partakes of the ideal form in some sense. The
“The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture”, Rutland, VT. 1954 orig. 1946. 71
Hayek, F.A. (1994). “The Road to Serfdom”, The University of Chicago Press. p. 17, 37–48. 72
particular is other than it, but is defined in a more universal moral sense by recourse to it. Hence, the many good ladies in the world and the many good men, do so by virtue of their participation in something which is yet other than the specific or particular examples of what it means to be good. They are good by virtue of their interaction with a more transcendent and universal value of Goodness. Yet by virtue of their good endeavours, they yet participate collectively in the universal Good, which denotes the nature of their common Goodness. Whilst this entails different perspectives, it is a measure of what it entails to know the Good. It is also the endeavour of dialectic debate to seek to proffer a better definition by individuals of what goodness entails. Dugin, however, can see no value in any comparison with the value of Western individualism as a paradigm of what it means to be free or moral or equal. Nor does he see any moral value pertaining to the Good in any universal notion of Liberalism that might denote the practical and political implementation of the paradigm. Ironically, however, he practises it as an individual himself, when he exercises his own freedom of expression in debate, and it is one he would presumably not wish to see curtailed in this respect by the limiting restrictions of group think. Individuality, in this sense, consists in the power each of the opponents has to give this or that answer to a certain question freely, but it consists also in an individual being free to reject the formulation of the premise, and the reshaping of the premise again from its foundations, as he or she sees fit. It is this practise of individualism that he enjoys, but it is one not often available, however, as an individual within the limited restriction of a collective, or via the imposition of a state mandate. In this most precious right of freedom, of what it means to be an individual, Dugin fails to see that the collective rights of the state have so 106
often taken precedence. Furthermore, in this real pragmatic sense, that the individual has been trodden underfoot, or deemed expendable for the greater interests of the group. Collectivism then, in this sense, has too often devalued the worth of a human life. Individualism and Collectivism are not merely abstract, ideological terms, with no sense of a substantive historical reality underlying them. They are, rather, ideologies informing concrete political movements that have and will continue to impact human lives. In this too, the terms do not express merely linear and univocal principles of action, but two clusters of dialectic tensions, which manifest themselves in real contradictions every time one attempts to put one or other of them into practice. In this, Dugin realises the necessity of speaking against the foe of Liberalism, or in the broader sense Individualism, but he too easily uses the term to vilify those he hates in a pejorative and not constructive discussion.
Definitions of key terms As practitioners of dialectic, we need to define the moral and immoral meanings of the terms, and what they denote, accepting as we do that it may not be possible to entirely separate the wheat from the chaff, nor necessarily separate the good from the bad. “Individualism” as Olavo de Carvalho of the Inter-American Institute (“The USA and the New World Order.”) defines it, may denote a general selfishness, indifference to your neighbour, or the sole concern to pursue one’s own interests to the exclusion of others. Conversely, it can also be defined as the moral duty to respect the integrity and freedom of each individual. A concern to protect the individual from exploitation by 107
others, or (as in the case of slavery) from being used as a mere tool of another, which therefore limits the attainment of our selfish purposes. On the other hand, as Professor de Carvalho again notes (op.cit) â€œCollectivismâ€? can denote solidarity, a sense of altruism, and selfsacrifice for the good of all. Whilst conversely, it can denote the submission, or submerging of the individual in the name of a tyrannical group value, which appears to offer only abstract collective benefits for the group as a whole, and not the individual, who has become deindividualised. Implemented in the concrete world of politics and government, however, as Hegel and Marx noted when outlining their theories on dialectic progression, the dual meaning inverts the priority of the good or evil associated with these terms. Collectivism, then, as a principle of general solidarity, realises itself in the individual becoming de-individualised and the submergence of the mass of individual wills. This tends to lead (via a progressively relinquished hierarchy of command) to an individual with absolute control of the masses in order to achieve things: a Dear Leader, King, Emperor, FĂźhrer, etc. This person is a supposed embodiment of power in some sense of the masses of people, but in reality retains all the weaknesses, limitations, and defects of an individual. Such an individual afforded absolute power invariably becomes drunk with power and corrupt. He becomes immoral and lacks the moral integrity possessed even by many ordinary individuals, with limited access to power. This immorality too often leads to a disregard for the value of an individual life, offset as it is by their supposed concern for the collective good, and often reveals itself merely as an individual desire to maintain their own power for selfish ends. 108
The absolute power afforded to Stalin, Chairman Mao and Pol Pot, with their disregard for the value of a human life, are some historic examples. It need only be noted that any absolute power, put at an individualâ€™s disposal, provides them with the means to impose their individual whims upon the mass of de-individualised subjects, which leads to the ruin and death of millions. The logical progression ultimately of any collective solidarity, therefore, risks the chance of culminating in the empire of the Absolute Individual; a default position in order to get things done. It is necessitated to implement something that the impotent rabble of masses cannot achieve. Such an individual Leader is often deified. He is, however, rarely a true moral exemplar or an embodiment of good, but immoral and an embodiment of evil. Absolute collectivism in this sense breeds Absolute Egoism, and man-made gods become monsters.73 Likewise, Individualism, if taken in its negative sense, not only curtails its ultimate political consequences, but it cannot even be put into practice via mundane individual actions. The total disaffection to peers, the exclusive devotion to a pursuit for only individual advantage, excludes the altruistic desire to share with others for their good. It cultivates a moral vacuum and an egocentrism that breeds only xenophobia to the denial of ought else. For example, the perils of a Scrooge like character, counting all his money in solitude, whilst denying his fellow human beings a shred of the benefits that such money could It is to be noted here that the very virtue of limiting the power of a President or a Prime Minister in this respect ensures that they too will not become dictators or tyrants in the absolute sense, a vital measure in ensuring any individualised power is administered and shared amongst representatives who in a secondary sense represent the will of the people. Clearly a just political system requires a sharing of any individual responsibility of power to guarantee fairness and morality and as a safety valve against Absolute Egoism. 73
bring. He does so because he, blinded by the selfish pursuit of accumulating it for his own miserable ends, comes to harbour only contempt, and in harbouring such contempt in solitude he nurtures it, which increases his misery in solitude, and only increases his selfish aims. It is very much a self- sustaining vice. In these two scenarios, however, it is clear that the logical progression of collectivism (in any negative sense) can be carried to an extreme point, which harbours real trouble for others, whereas the negative consequences of individualism does not. The Absolute Individual is not limited in his use of egotistical power and can become the destroyer of worlds, unlike he who merely practices individualism. For in respect to the latter, it can only be practised in a restricted sense. It is by its very nature restricted, It is, therefore, incapable of going beyond the limits of its solitary domain to adversely influence the swathe of humanity. In contrast to the positive ramifications of Individualism, however, defined in the sense of respect and devotion to the integrity of individuals, its practice is not only viable, but also constitutes the sole basis upon which one can create that environment of humanitarian solidarity that is the proclaimed, but unrealised utopia of collectivism.
The practical results of implementing Individualism Olavo de Carvalho (op.cit) again admirably provides in his exchange with Professor Dugin a list of the virtues of Americanism. He rightly brings to our notice the virtues of Individualism, which the American people
display admirably in their society. He contrasts these with a lack of philanthropic endeavour by Russians. 74 75
As Professor de Carvalho states: “1. Americans are the people who contribute the most to charitable causes in the world. 2. The USA is the only country where individual contributions to charitable causes surpass total government aid. 3. Among the 12 peoples who give the most in voluntary contributions—USA, UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, New Zealand, Turkey, Germany, and France, American contributions are more than twice those of the runner-up (UK). If any smart guy wishes to diminish the importance of these figures, alleging that “they give more because they are richer,” he better forget it: the contributions are not ranked in absolute numbers, but as a percentage of GDP. Americans simply pull out more of their own pocket to help the poor and the sick, even in enemy countries. The most solidary Russia and China do not even make it to the list. 4. Americans adopt more orphan children—including from enemy countries—than all other peoples of the world combined. 5. Americans are the only people who, in every war they fight, rebuild the economy of the defeated country, even at the cost of making it a trade competitor and a powerful enemy in the diplomatic field. Compare what the USA did in France, Italy, Germany, and Japan with what China did in Tibet, or Russia in Afghanistan. 6. Americans do not offer only their money to the poor and the needy. They give them their time in the form of voluntary work. Voluntary work is one of the oldest and most solid American institutions. Half of the American population dedicates its time to work for free for hospitals, childcare centers, orphanages, prisons, etc. What other people in the world has made active compassion an essential element of its style of existence? 7. In addition, the value attributed by American society to works of generosity and compassion is such that no big shot in finance or industry may dodge the duty of making immense annual contributions to universities, hospitals, and so on, because if he refuses to do it, he will be immediately downgraded from the status of honoured citizen to that of public enemy.” 74
See The Centre on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Giving USA 2010. The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2009 (Glenview IL: Giving USA Foundation, 2010); The Centre for Global Prosperity, The Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances 2010 (Washington D.C.: Hudson Institute, 2010); Charities Aid Foundation, International Comparisons of Charitable Giving, November 2006, CAF Briefing Paper (Kent: Charities Aid Foundation, 2006); Virginia A. Hodgkinson et al., Giving and Volunteering in the United States. Findings from a National Survey Conducted by The Gallup Organization (Washington D.C.: Independent Sector, 1999); Lori Carangelo, The Ultimate Search Book: Worldwide Adoption, Genealogy and Other Secrets (Baltimore: Clearfield, 2011). 75
Professor Dugin, on the other hand, decries the virtues of American Individualism, preferring to favour a Sino-Russian “holism”. It is the classic Individualism contra Collectivism dispute. In respect to Individualism, Dugin claims people only act according to their own preferences. This is to the detriment of the collective and ultimately the individual in turn. He calls instead for a deeper sense of collective identity, and in this a greater and more dynamic sense of collective purpose. This, he claims, is characteristic of Russia and its history. In this call, however, Dugin generally conflates integration with the greater objectives proposed by the government. The result too often can be characterised not in a greater sense of moral purpose, to serve for the benefit of the collective, but only the presumption of a greater impetus to act for the will of an Absolute Leader. It is little wonder then that Dugin, seeking to combat the moral decrepitude threatening Russia from an encroaching US Liberalism, can fervently exclaim: “Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything, Putin is absolute, Putin is irreplaceable.”76
In this appeal to the omnipotent and omniscient power of the Absolute Leader, one can discern that there is little space left for charitable works to help needy individuals or even individual causes. Dugin’s moral prescription to turn Russia into a healthy state again is rather one that requires the welfare of the common man to be in some sense “sacrificed”
Vladimir Posner Interviews Alexander Dugin. See here. 112
for the greater national mission. He sees this mission as necessary, in order to reclaim its once great expanses and Eastern traditions.77 Ultimately, Dugin’s goal appears to alienate the individual and its supposed ego-centric tendencies, but it is one that only denotes abeyance to his proclaimed Putin god, rather than in the service of the common folk. In this, whilst Dugin concedes the multiplicity of leaders and civilisations must be recognised, and all are considered exceptional, as are the value of all tribes, his acceptance of his own leader within the domain of his “Greater Russia” vision is very much given as an absolute. The paradox here is that Dugin might well recognise the necessity of any given number of leaders in any number of civilisations, yet he seeks to resist them in preference to his Putin god. He makes reparation to the Absolute will of Putin. Yet in making abeyance to a Great Russian Leader, rather than to the people, there can only be one result, as the history of the Russian gulag penology so shockingly proved in the Stalinist era. Neither need one suppose that this is an error merely consigned to the past as a historical lesson that could not be repeated again.
It is here that Collectivism becomes a monster embodied in a
Anything but abeyance and love to the Absolute authority of Putin is tantamount to a pathology for Dugin. “Hatred towards Russians and Putin in Ukraine is the hatred of a group of schizophrenics to a doctor, of a bunch of drunkards to a sheriff , of a deeply sick person to a healthy one.” See here. But whilst continuing to then claim quite rightly that racism is a pathology, he casts the right to practise Liberalism or Democracy very much in the same terms. “The society that Russia needs should not be representative democracy, should not be a market society…should not be the idiotic, anti-natural perverse ideology of human rights.” 77
Dr. Judith Pallot, The Gulag as the Crucible of Russia’s 21st Century System of Punishment, Oxford University, reported that at least 120 “forest colonies” (forced labour camps) dating from the Stalin era are still being used to house tens of thousands, all of them defined as “criminals” as opposed to the mix of political subversives that objected to Soviet tyranny in former years. The camps Dr. Pallot reports on are located in the Perm region of the Northern Urals. The average yearly temperature in that region is about minus 1° C, although during the long winter from October to May it falls as low as minus 40° C . 78
human god ruling the faceless masses, and in that too is provided a harbour for a real embodiment of evil. Whereas it hardly need be stated to any Christian, particular one of Professor Dugin’s fervency and orthodoxy, that only God incarnate as Christ embodied the attribute of the perfect Individual.
The Christian context for Individualism In contrast to Dugin’s absolutism, the founding of American statehood, written in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, attempts to encode the principle virtues of the American people in their concept of the state. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
In this, America has sought primarily to cultivate in its Constitution, not Absolute Statism, but as Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address (and before him John Wycliffe) asserted, a government and a nation “under God”. This “nation”: “…shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” 79
See here for the Gettysburg Address Speech by Abraham Lincoln.
Both the principle of freedom and the religion of Christianity, accepted in a spectrum of perspectives, provided the foundation on which both the British and American nations were built. In 14th century England, Oxford University Professor and Theologian John Wycliffe concluded from his study of the Bible that if the people of a society would govern their own lives, rejecting wrong and doing right voluntarily, there would be no need for a government of external force to control them. For Wycliffe, ‘Dominion belongs to grace’. In that he meant the controlling authority, which at that time was a government of force dependent on the sword to control, would ultimately yield to a government of moral principle, serving the moral character of the people. For Wycliffe, placing the Bible in the hands of the people was the means to guarantee a moral government. The people could then read the Bible, come to know God personally through Jesus Christ, and reform their lives in accordance with its principles in every area of life. Thus, in specific respect to civil government, Wycliffe said: “This Bible is for the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” He concluded that the true fount of liberty in any society was widespread, but moreover the emphasis rest on individual Christian character. There is little in this perspective that would have been alien to the people attending the Gettysburg Address, when Lincoln echoed those words. For both Wycliffe and Lincoln, the existence of liberty depended on faith, and an understanding of our common humanity. To restore liberty then, we must first gain a proper understanding of our own true value and contextualise our true self in the principles, virtues and rights given to us by God as human beings.
As Lincoln once nobly said when referencing the framers of the Declaration of Independence: â€œThese communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their childrenâ€™s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began -- so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.â€? -Speech
at Lewistown, Illinois, on August 17, 1858 (CWAL II:546).
It is in the nurturing of freedom and virtuous behaviour that we enable goodness to flourish. Goodness is not something a beneficent government bestows; for it arises from the hearts of free citizens reared in a tradition of morality and liberty. In this, the American nation more specifically was founded upon the idea that the unifying principle of
society is not simply the government, the bureaucracy, or the military, but society itself: its culture, religion, traditions and moral values. Professor Dugin, however cannot seem to conceive of any model of society other than the one assigning control in a kind of Russian, imperial theocracy, where all citizens are “soldiers”.80 An arrangement like the present in modern Russia, where the former KGB (now the FSB) works in tandem with the Church and the Party to shackle the people. But in Dugin’s desire for a kind of reborn Russian imperial theocracy (a For Dugin, the idea of the power of the Orthodox Church as a historical agent has influenced his “holistic” notion of theocratic empire. He conceives of the empire as emanating from the Church and united symbolically, in the person of the Tsar. In an interview given in 1998 to a Polish magazine. “I am Waiting for Ivan the Terrible”, December 11, 1998, 130-146, he qualifies as “heresy” the distinction between Church and Empire that shaped Western civilisation. But without this separation, the only hypothesis is that religious expansion coincides with the territory of empire. In this, the various empires and imperial nations of history have always had well-defined borders that separated them from other empires and independent nations. In this case, however, the imperial religion becomes an expanded national religion. The Tsar, as the head of a mere national religion, has no possibility of expanding that religion beyond its borders. It is therefore limited, unlike the Church of the Western Civilisation, or, alternatively, if religion is to flourish as universal belief, he has to invade all countries and become the emperor of the world. 80
Both National Bolshevism and its Eurasian and neo-Eurasian versions are born from an internal contradiction of the Russian imperial religion. The Eurasian project is the only way out for the Orthodox Church if it does not want to remain limited to the Russian nation. In this it has been effectively neutralised by the nation of Russia itself, and thus prevented from fulfilling its stated mission to be spread universally. The Church of England was not founded on a principle of universalism however, but is limited by the State. America, however, was founded on a clear distinction between Church and State. In contrast, the Roman Catholic Church can expand to the last frontiers comfortably, as it does not carry the burden of a Holy Roman Empire on its back. This is what happened after its dissolution in 1806, whilst the Orthodox Church is still nationbound and looks for a means to expand around the world. All the world ideas of Professor Dugin appear expressive of this broader concern in some sense. He communicates a Eurasian agenda to provide a solution for the Orthodox Church. All the talk about geopolitical borders could be a strategic arrangement to try to fulfil the impossible dream of this grand historical objective which, in choosing to be an imperial religion, condemned itself to two choices: either remain imprisoned within national borders, or begin a global war. 117
Dostoyevskian view) and in his fear of the West (with its emphasis on Individualism) he appeals for even greater power to be given to the State, as it is the State that will confer upon the people what is or isn’t acceptable morality. His fear and desire for the virtues of a Christian nation, determined merely by the state, blinds him to the virtues of Constitutional America. A nation he can only see through the prism of his blinkered political beliefs as one fostering egocentric narcissism. Whilst the experiment indeed may not be perfect, and the US today may indeed have lost its way, Dugin’s perspective even today is simply not reflective of the actions or the attitudes of the vast majority of the American people. 81 Philanthropy is one based on an adherence to the principles of altruism as a virtue based in freedom. It is not one forced upon the people by a government that compels them to act, but by the power of their own faith, and the virtues of their own moral characters. This is a perspective in its roots and at its heart that is steeped in a Constitutional tradition promoting the virtues and benefits of fraternity, equality and liberty; virtues that give rise naturally to altruism. The Declaration of Independence recognises that these virtues are given by God to all, and Tradition is alive where faith is alive and this is alive in the United States, where the majority of people have not merely a vague belief in God or in gods, but rather a defined and clear Christian faith. Olavo de Carvalho again (op. cit.) asserts that: 81
“a recent Rasmussen poll revealed that 74% of Americans—three quarters of the population—declare, loud and clear, that they believe that Jesus Christ is the living Son of God, who came to the world to redeem the sins of humanity. This is the central dogma of Christianity, be it Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.” Another poll reveals 77% believe Jesus rose from the dead. See here. Another poll by Rasmussen Reports shows that 75% of voters in Arkansas and Alabama believe the Bible is literally true. In Arkansas, that includes 75% of Democrats. See here.
in this makes primary a recognition of our common humanity in the service of those principles for the benefit of all. Whereas for Dugin there is a constant emphasis on imposition, particularly in the principles exhorted in modern US Liberalism, but also in the values of Constitutional America. Yet there is in actuality no imposition of State upon the individual in the ideals of Constitutional America. There is rather an emphasis that moral principles shall inform the state, guide it and govern it, for the benefit of the people. The three tier separation of powers ensures its pragmatic application. In this too, the recognition by Lincoln was never anything other than the admittance that in any clash of perspectives, or indeed civilisations between our fellow men on matters of state: “The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for, and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party-and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say this is probably true-that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet.”
In any mutual recognition, or search for common ground then, we are morally bound to accept that, at least for those who claim to be Christians, we are united in one universal belief, this being a belief in the existence of God, and the significance of Jesus Christ as the Saviour. This unites believers on the human level, irrespective of our different interpretations, or any differences of what course or actions this might entail. But in this supposition, Dugin too appears to have issues. They lead him to focus finally in his Fourth Political Theory on the question of not only mankind’s cultural values, but even our future existence, and 119
even the very existence of God as a philosophic principle itself. In his concern to save Russia from the evils of US hegemony, Liberalism, and the inevitable decay of values this supposedly entails, he even seeks to critique the very nature of Being itself.
Dugin’s anti- Christian call for a Metaphysics of Chaos Dugin’s call for a Metaphysics of Chaos rests on an essential distinction between two kinds of chaos. First, postmodernist “chaos”: this is a kind of post-order confusion, yet characterised by the decay of the logocentric view. Second, the Greek conception of “Chaos” as pre-order, or something that exists before ordered reality came into being. Only the latter can be considered as denoting the more metaphysical and technical sense of the word for Dugin, and thus is cast as an alternative to Logos.82 83 Dugin relishes Chaos, both in the Greek sense, and as an inevitable departure from the logo-centric era Western civilisation has pursued since the dawn of its conception. The tradition of theorising on the
Dugin, Alexander (2012-07-28). The Fourth Political Theory (p. 206). Arktos.
Logos (λόγος, from λέγω lego “I say”) is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, and religion. Originally a word meaning “a ground”, “a plea”, “an opinion”, “an expectation”, “word”, “speech”, “account”, “to reason” it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC), who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge. 83
Ancient philosophers used the term in different ways. The Sophists used the term to mean discourse, whilst Aristotle applied the term to refer to “reasoned discourse” or “the argument” in the field of rhetoric. The Stoic philosophers identified the term with the divine, animating principle pervading the Universe. Dugin uses it in an analysis of Being, and in a Heideggerean concern for analysing existence and the principles underlying ontology. 120
nature of “Being” is one identified as beginning with the Pre-Socratics. In this mankind has assisted: “the fall of logos accompanied by the corresponding decline of classical Greco-Roman culture and monotheistic religion as well.” (op. cit. p. 206). In this, Dugin makes recourse to Heidegger. He expounds his view that the very idea of Logos was wrong from the beginnings of the Pre-Socratic tradition. Yet he focuses also on Nietzsche’s complaint in respect to the post-Socratic Platonic theories on Being. In both he identifies the source of the present corruption of civilisation as a “decline” that rests in a problem of ontology (ibid. p.206 ff): “in the affirmation of the exclusivist position of an exclusivist logos. This shift was made by Heraclitus and Parmenides, but above all by Plato with the development of philosophic thought that envisaged two worlds, or layers of reality, where existence was perceived as the manifestation of the hidden. Later, this hidden element was recognized as logos, as the idea, the paradigm, the example. From that point on, the referential theory of truth proceeds. Truth lies in the fact of the immediate correspondence of the given to the presumed invisible essence, or ‘the nature that likes to hide’ according to Heraclitus. The Pre-Socratics were at the forefront of this philosophy. The unfettered explosion of the modern technique is its logical result. Heidegger calls it Ge-stell and thinks it is the reason for the catastrophe and annihilation of mankind that inevitably approaches.” Dugin claims the features of this emergence of a logo-centric interpretation entailed the suppression of the primary feminine chaos by the imposition and pre-eminence of a masculine logos; an ontological “annihilation” by a masculine logo-centric culture, against a feminine chaos-centric interpretation. This nullified an inclusive approach. Yet Dugin does not find the responsibility for this malaise to be a fault of mankind generally. He blames the West exclusively. The blame rests on 121
the misuse of the concept of Logos, as well as the concept of Individualism it gave birth to, along with its unipolar imposition of Liberal values upon the world: “I love the East in general and blame the West. The West now expands itself on the planet. So the globalisation is Westernisation and Americanisation. Therefore, I invite all the rest to join the camp and fight Globalism, Modernity/Hypermodernity, Imperialism, Yankee Liberalism, free market religion and the unipolar world. These phenomena are the ultimate point of the Western path to the abyss, the final station of the evil and the almost transparent image of the antichrist/ad-dadjal/erev rav. So the West is the center of kali-yuga, its motor, its heart.” The “transparent” icon of the anti-Christ84 characterises the West as an embodiment of pure evil. Dugin speaks of this as being the cause of the Kali-Yuga: a Hindu concept, to parallel his own view that the East is in peril and being laid low by the Western decline in spiritual and cultural values brought on by Liberalism. In this, he rather conflates cultural decline with ontological decay. He considers both are caused by and grounded in the West, in respect of its present liberal cultural and political values, and in its Western conception of Being more specifically. The Ahmadiyya teachings interpret the prophecies regarding the appearance of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ) and Gog and Magog in Islamic eschatology as foretelling the emergence of two branches, or aspects of the same turmoil and trial that was to be faced by Islam in the latter days, and that both emerged from Christianity or Christian nations. Its Dajjal aspect relates to deception and the perversion of religious belief, while its aspect to do with disturbance in the realm of politics and the shattering of world peace has been called Gog and Magog. Thus Ahmadis consider the widespread Christian missionary activity that was aggressively active in the 18th and 19th centuries as being part of the prophesied Dajjal (Antichrist) and Gog and Magog emerging in modern times. 84
The emergence of the Soviet Union and the USA as superpowers and the conflict between the two nations (i.e., the rivalry between communism and capitalism) are seen as having occurred in accordance with certain prophecies regarding Gog and Magog. Ahmadis believe that prophecies and sayings about the Antichrist are not to be interpreted literally, and hold deeper meanings. Masih ad-Dajjal is then a name given to latter day Christianity and the West. 122
Kali-Yuga, like his view of Post-modernism, involves a descent into cultural and social confusion, but it is reflective of a spiritual descent into Chaos in the ontological sense. Dugin’s initial distinction between “chaos” and “Chaos” seems rather arbitrary and artificial and ill served by drawing such a comparison with the Hindu explanation. His conflation too, on first glance, makes his distinctions seem rather superfluous. In this, as in Hinduism, his comparison appears to involve a dissipation of the cognitive faculties that judge, appraise, or conceive of our cultural values. Whilst Dugin does not fully map out any epistemology here, he alludes to it in bemoaning the decline of cultural values and the ontological problems that arise as a “dissipation of Logos” (a breakdown in rationality or order) in some sense. The distinction stands, however, in his claim that
ontological subversion can be
remedied by the imposition of its counter Absolute “Chaos”. Dugin identifies the “dissipation” of Logos with eternal demise, and this has comparisons with the Vedas in a social and spiritual sense. Hinduism, however, cannot harbour any notion of death, or cessation of the process in an absolute sense. Brahman is the eternal principle underlying all in manifestation, and as such it sustains an eternal cycle. It cannot be seen as a discontinuity, or a coming to an end in itself, although its particular manifestations as epochs or ages do.
A brief explanation of the Hindu view to clarify Dugin The Yuga Cycle timeline is but one aspect of the continuing cycle. It takes the beginning of the Golden Age to 12676 BC, more than 14,500 years 123
before the present, when the Great Bear was in the “Shravana nakshatra”85. The Great Bear will advance by 3 nakshtras in every Yuga because of the 300 year transitional period. 86 The Sanskrit Brahma-vaivarta Purana describes a dialogue between Lord Krishna and the Goddess Ganges. Here Krishna says that after 5,000 years of Kali Yuga there will be a dawn of a new Golden Age which will last for 10,000 years. For Hindus we are now ending the Kali Yuga, nearly 5,700 years since its beginning in 3676 BC. The end of the Kali Yuga will be followed by three more Yugas spanning 9,000 years, before the ascending cycle ends and descent recurs. The original Yuga Cycle doctrine appears to have been fairly simple: a Yuga Cycle duration of 12,000 years, with each Yuga lasting for 3,000 Shravana nakshatra is one of the twenty seven nakshatras according to the Hindu Vedic ancient astrological beliefs. This nakshatra spans across the makara rashi or the Capricorn and the ruling lord is the creator Vishnu. A nakshatra is one of 27 (sometimes also 28) sectors along the ecliptic. Their names are related to the most prominent asterisms in the respective sectors. They correspond roughly to astrological signs. 85
The starting point for the nakshatras is the point on the ecliptic directly opposite to the star Spica called Chitrā in Sanskrit (other slightly different definitions exist). It is called Meshādi or the “start of Aries”. The ecliptic is divided into each of the nakshatras eastwards starting from this point. The number of nakshatras reflects the number of days in a sidereal month (modern value: 27.32 days), the width of a nakshatra traversed by the moon in about one day. Each nakshatra is further subdivided into four quarters (or padas). These play a role in popular Hindu astrology, where each pada is associated with a syllable, conventionally chosen as the first syllable of the given name of a child born when the moon was in the corresponding pada. This agrees with the Mahabharata, which mentions that the Shravana nakshatra was given precedence in the Nakshatra cycle. The timeline also indicates that the ascending Kali Yuga, which is the current epoch, will end in 2025 CE. The full manifestation of the next Yuga – the ascending Dwapara – will take place in 2325 CE, after a transitional period of 300 years. The ascending Dwapara Yuga will then be followed by two more Yugas: the ascending Treta Yuga and the ascending Satya Yuga, which will complete the 12,000 year ascending cycle. 86
years. This cycle is encoded in the Saptarsi calendar, which has been used in India for thousands of years. It was used extensively during the Maurya period in the 4th century BC, and is still in use in some parts of India today. The term “Saptarsi” refers to the “Seven Rishis” or the “Seven Sages” representing the seven stars of the Great Bear constellation (Ursa Major). They are regarded as the enlightened rishis who appear at the beginning of every Yuga to spread the laws of civilisation. The Saptarsi Calendar used in India had a cycle of 2,700 years. It is said that the Great Bear constellation stays for 100 years in each of the 27 “Nakshatras” (lunar asterisms) which adds up to a cycle of 2,700 years. The 2,700 year cycle was also referred to as a “Saptarsi Era” or a “Saptarsi Yuga”.
Dugin’s view of the Anti-Christ Key to Dugin’s interest in the Kali Yuga is its mysticism, and his view of it as an Eastern religion. Because it is Eastern, he sees it as more inclusive, and therefore more “Chaotic” and therefore more preferable, as it is more reflective of the inclusive and regenerative feminine principle. Politically too, this is apparent when he speaks of the necessity of an alliance with Islam, in order to counterbalance the increasing Western hegemony. But more generally, he appears to like Eastern religions wholesale. In this love for all things Eastern, he also appears to want to enlist René Guénon to the Eurasian cause, and is fond of citing his theories on symbolism, but he does so by recourse to an essentially Manichean duality between Light and Dark and Good and Evil. 125
Dugin’s reading of Guénon however is a perversion. It is so because he never interpreted the East-West symbolism as a duality in the Manichean sense. As a profound scholar of the Islamic tradition also, he always took into consideration one of the most renowned ahadith, which identified the Anti-Christ as coming from the East. Indeed, among the main centres of diffusion of “counter-initiation”, as Guénon called them, there are none located in the West (the claim made by Dugin); but there is one in Sudan, one in Nigeria, one in Syria, one in Iraq, one in Turkestan (inside the former USSR) and two in the Urals, well within Russian territory.87 Projected on a map, the Seven Towers form the contour of the constellation of Ursa Major: the Great Bear, and Russia’s national emblem. This represents, in traditional symbolism, the military class (Kshatriya) as a cyclical rebellion against spiritual authority. For Jean-Marc Allemand, this was last made manifest as “the forced militarisation that inevitably accompanies Communism and serves as its basis”:88 “This excessive warlike feature—and utterly inverted in relation to the original and subordinate function of the military caste—is the ultimate result of the revolt of the kshatriyas; in this sense, the USSR is really the land of the Ursa.”
Nevertheless, Dugin in his fondness for symbolism tends to ignore these interpretations. He must be aware of the symbols in appealing to Jean-Marc Allemand, René Guénon et les Sept Tours du Diable, Paris, Guy Trédaniel, 1990, p. 20. See also Jean Robin, René Guénon. La Dernière Chance de l’Occident, Paris, Guy Trédaniel, 1983, pp. 64 ss. See also O Carvalho “USA and the New World Order” (ibid. 3). 87
Jean-Marc Allemand, René Guénon et les Sept Tours du Diable, Paris, Guy Trédaniel, 1990, p. 130 88
Guenon, but remains silent. It is not that he finds them too fantastic, it is just more likely that he finds the interpretation clashes with his own professed Russian Orthodox sensibilities, and his own thesis about the West being the source of evil, and therefore chooses to omit the Eastern association. Whatever the merits and credibility of such an esoteric perspective, the real world facts parallel Putin’s Russia, which is moving to an increasing militarisation of society, and an increase in military manoeuvres: a progression in line with Dugin’s call for a “mobilisation” for the Eurasian project, and commensurate with the domination of Chinese society by the military, and with the “Sovietisation of Islam”, which Jean Robin (op.cit) an authority on Guenon, considers to be one of the most sinister characteristics of modern spiritual degradation. Yet Dugin himself appears to have been infected with this spiritual degradation that he warns emanates only from the West. He speaks of two means of salvation, and both are shocking and contrary to any Christian principles one would ordinarily expect him to believe. Indeed, they are positively anti-Christian, and his formulation of these ideas are dangerous and immoral (indeed evil) for any orthodox Christian to suggest. He calls for: • a global destruction of the malaise of Liberalism that has infected Modernity and Post-Modernity by recourse to an embrace of Chaos.
• An annihilation, or at least a purge, to rid civilisation of the decaying Logos in some manner. In respect to the first he claims: “And if there were real traditional values in its foundations we will save them only in the process of the global destruction of the Modernity/Hypermodernity.”
The destruction is a metaphysical call for Chaos and it has ontological, psychological and spiritual ramifications. It also has political, social and moral implications, as Olavo Carvalho notes (op. cit part 3), and these calls again equate to a “salvation by destruction” ethos for mankind. It represents a particularly chilling ethic and a revolutionary imperative that inevitably leads to destruction: “The French Revolution promised to save France by the destruction of the Ancien Regime: it brought her fall after fall, down to the condition of a second-class power. The Mexican Revolution promised to save Mexico by the destruction of the Catholic Church: it transformed that nation into a supplier of drugs to the world and of miserable people to the American social security system. The Russian Revolution promised to save Russia by the destruction of capitalism: it transformed her into a graveyard. The Chinese Revolution promised to save China by the destruction of bourgeois culture: it transformed China into a slaughterhouse. The Cuban Revolution promised to save Cuba by the destruction of imperialist usurpers: it transformed the island into a prison of beggars. Brazilian positivists promised to save Brazil by the destruction of the monarchy: they destroyed the only democracy that then existed in the continent and threw the country into a succession of coups and dictatorships which only ended in 1988, in order to give way to a modernized dictatorship under another name. Now Prof. Dugin promises to save the world by the destruction of the West. Sincerely, I prefer not to know what comes next. The revolutionary mentality, with its self-postponing promises, which 128
are always prepared to turn into their opposites with the most innocent face in the world, is the worst scourge that has afflicted humanity. The number of its victims, from 1789 to this day, is not less than three hundred million people—more than all epidemics, natural catastrophes, and wars among nations have killed since the beginning of time.”
The essence of Dugin’s dialectic, furthermore, rests in a debate that appeals to the inversion of the sense of linear time. Time is reversible for Dugin, as it was for the Greeks (see Plato Statesman 268c ff.) in the sense that the Great Year’s periodic reversal heralds the decline of civilisations.89 This is indicative of the decay of Logos for Dugin, but not for Plato, where God’s power is undiminished, but merely withdrawn intermittently for a period of time. Dugin’s concept has Platonic features, as like him he believes in the possibility that human civilisations can once more return to a premodern time, or be reconstructed in any number of different forms, thanks to a decline in the influence of Logos. Dugin, however, unlike Plato, finds it is Chaos which is a reviving power. He believes that Chaos is eternal and can “revive” or resuscitate Logos in some sense.
Here, God personally guides the universe during a certain period (269d). This is evident in the celestial order of the heavens (269de), as exhibited in its circular and ordered motion (269d-e, 270b). At other times, however, God’s supervision is withdrawn (269d). This produces a contrary motion from that induced (269d), which is circular, but in the opposite direction (269e). The result of the withdrawal of divine contact culminates in a tendency to irrational and chaotic motion (273c). The myth then serves to introduce an account of how the reversal of the cosmos causes a corresponding influence upon mankind and other life forms, evident as a reversal of the processes of growth (270e).It does not denote a diminishment in God’s power, or rationality indicative of an ontological decay of this principle however. 89
Scientific imagery mixes with traditional mythical beliefs; as a description of the fall of mankind from a golden age of innocence through to barbarism is given (272a273b). God then restores his influence, resulting in rationality and order again (273de) and an as yet partial restoration of mankind, evinced in the different arts of civilisation (274c). 129
â€œChaos is the eternal nascence of the Other, that is, of logos. To sum up, chaotic philosophy is possible because chaos itself includes logos as some inner possibility. It can freely identify it, cherish it and recognise its exclusivity included in its everlasting life. So we come to the figure of the very special, chaotic logos, that is, a completely and absolutely fresh logos being eternally revived by the waters of chaos. This chaotic logos is at the same time exclusive (this is why it is properly logos) and inclusive (being chaotic). It deals with sameness and otherness differently.â€? (op. cit. p.210).
In truth, however, this perspective consists of inventing a future, and then reinterpreting history and the present in the light of this hoped for future. It was a feature characteristic of Marxist Leninism also, with its interpretation of history based on dialectic materialism: the political theory of dialectic to justify the clash of classes and the future utopia of Communism. Dugin, like Marx, reasons by recourse to a presupposition or theory, as if it were a certain and totally-proven fact. It involves a radical reinterpretation of what the historical interpretation of Logos has been, and in the same fashion that his geo-political explanations and theories rest on preconceived ideas, he attempts to fit the events of history around them to strengthen his own thesis. In applying his theory of Chaos, Dugin applies a classic revisionist strategy; a radical modification of past perspectives in the light of a preferred future. Furthermore, he applies this methodology to his general understanding of the importance of the Logos, and to its detriment. But in all of this philosophical theorising, he astonishingly appears disinterested in siding with any historical tradition or development of Logos as a Christian spiritual legacy, a feature of civilisation that has largely endured. Chaos is conceived of as the antidote and should be encouraged to take precedence. 130
Indeed, Dugin pays no respect to Christian tradition, let alone the greater breadth of philosophical tradition, in spite of his clinging to traditionalism in the Russian Orthodox sense. Logos is a mere plaything, a chess-piece he can use to further his own political and intellectual strategies. It is simply a case of inverting the normal process of knowledge, an inversion according to which the known is understood though the unknown, reason through irrationality, the certain through the dubious, the categorical through the hypothetical. In this, it seems, Dugin is offering as a solution a parlour trick, even a deceit; a structural, systematic lie, based on his politico-cultural wishes of what he would like the future to be. Lacking in an debated definition then, this is no more than an intellectual mirage projected from his imagination. A quack medicine, that is supposed to provide an antidote to the illness Western Civilisation is suffering from, and which is infecting the East also. His own questionable faith aside, Dugin conceives of a Eurasian Empire, and then he reinterprets the history of the world as if it were a long preparation for the advent of Eurasia. In this he is like a revolutionary: dreaming of the utopia, and justifying militancy and war because of it, based on a preconceived Marxian perspective of the inevitability of revolution. He too in this appeals to people power and a struggle that will inevitably spread around the world to usher in a new world order. Like Hegel, however, it is a philosophical theory of history that has little proof based on actual historical events, and like Marx it is an ideology that dreams of an ideal that can never be realised, based at least on economic realities.
Three possible futures for the decaying Logos
For Dugin, mankind stands gazing at a horizon where the sun of our civilisations is setting. It is “the dusk of logos”, “the end of order”, “the last chord of masculine, exclusivist domination.” Yet mankind still stands “inside the logical structure, rather than outside it.” He calls for an escape beyond the boundaries of the decaying Logos (p. 207). With this realisation stated, Dugin outlines three possible solutions for the future: • A return to the kingdom of Logos. This is the Conservative Revolution, the restoration of a masculine, full-scale domination in all spheres of life. This could be done spiritually, socially or technically. This way, where technique meets spiritual order, was fundamentally explored and studied by Ernst Jünger. It entails a return to classicism, accompanied by an appeal to technological progression. It is an effort to save the collapsing Logos, via the resuscitation of traditional society. It warrants a new order and a restoration of traditional values.
• Alternatively, we can accept the current trends and tread the path of confusion, becoming more and more involved in the: “dissipation of structure inherent in post-structuralism, and in trying to wring pleasure out of nothingness.” 90 The relation of Chaos to not-Being is not explained or differentiated here. In the traditional sense Chaos is something, but it is distinct from Logos, which was equated with Divine Reason and Being for many of the Greeks. But if it is so, is Chaos to be thought of as not-Being? If it is, is it to be conceived of as Nothingness in any respect? Doesn’t any affirmation of it as not- Being equate to nihilism in some sense? Is this what Dugin wants, an annihilation of the precedence of Logos via an affirmation of the Logos-Chaos duality? Is this why he uses language such as “kill”, 90
This is the option chosen by the Left and the liberal representatives of postmodernity claims Dugin. It is modern nihilism at its best he says. Originally identified by Nietzsche, and explored by Heidegger, it is the concept of nothingness, it represents the potentially present in the principle of identity, being and Logos itself. It is a path of diminishing returns. However, this is not the limit of the process, nor the end of the fall of the logical order. It is rather the construction of a rational realm of the “unlimited expansion of horizontal decay”, “the incalculable multitudes of the flowers of putrefaction”.
This view is highly irrational however, and expressed far too poetically. Precisely how can there be a causative decay by Logos based on its own ontological decay, when the eternal Logos yet transcends decay?91
• A third path, and Dugin’s proposed solution, calls for a transcendence beyond “the borders” of Logos, by stepping out beyond the crisis of the world, that is literally Post-modern; i.e. lying beyond modernity, where the dissipation of Logos truly reaches its limit (ibid p.207-208).
“annihilation”,“liquidation”, etc. If so, why does Chaos represent a means to save? Why if Logos is order is the non -order of Chaos better than order? If Logos is Being or Existence then Chaos might very well be not Being or non- Existence. But for Plato’s duality, sheer non-Existence cannot exist absolutely, conscious as he was of the Parmenidean monism this necessarily entails. Chaos, then, is something less than Reason and imperfectly so. These are metaphysical and ontological issues Dugin does not even consider, or even seek to defend. As Origen declares the Logos being eternal and wise as Divine Intellect could never degenerate into folly. Likewise the Holy Spirit being essentially eternal holiness could never decay into unholiness. Here there must be other factors for “unlimited decay”. 91
This is where we face, or embrace in some sense, the feminine and inclusive Chaos. He is at his most seductive here, and rather gives the impression of lacking in female company with his sensuous, erotic and oddly explicit description when he writes: “Man conceives woman as an external being and seeks to penetrate her.” (ibid. p.210). 92 In this third “solution”, however, Dugin contrarily recognises that crossing the border of being is ontologically impossible (op. cit. p.208). “Nothing is not: Nothing is not: so speaks all logocentric Western ontology after Parmenides. This impossibility asserts the infiniteness of the outskirts of logos and grants to the decay, inside the realm of order, eternal continuity. Beyond the border of being lies nothing, and to move toward this limit is analytically infinite and unending (the aporiae of Zeno of Elea are here fully valid). So, no one can cross that frontier into the non-existent not-being that simply is not.”
In spite of the impossibility of traversing beyond being, proven by Zeno’s paradoxes, he yet insists “nevertheless in doing this”, so we can then: “appeal to chaos in its original Greek sense as something that proceeds being and order, something pre-ontological.” (op. cit. p.208).93
He utterly fails to grasp here the possibility that it need not exclusively be “like attracted to unlike” as woman and man can also be perceived as attracted “like to like” and not as Other. This too causes the act of creativity to arise in Plato. In this it is an imitative and assimilative process. 92
Greek χάος means “emptiness, vast void, chasm, abyss”, from the verb χαίνω, “gape, to be wide open, etc.” It may also mean space, the expanse of air, and the nether abyss, infinite darkness. Pherecydes of Syros (6th century BC) interpreted chaos as water, like something formless which can be differentiated. Hesiod and the Pre-Socratics used the term in the context of cosmogony. 93
It seems by an “appeal”, or an affirmation, or some sort of apprehension (as it is but seen from afar in some sense, on a border we can never traverse) we can transmute, change, or effect our existential condition in a radical sense. This change brings about a renaissance, not only in ourselves, but as a civilisation. The raison d’etre for such an approach, however, appears to be an affirmation of a kind of nihilism, justified deceptively as a constructive act of salvation. It appears to have Christian parallels in the sense of Christ dying on the cross and in that act of sacrifice He yet saves the world. But it is wholly unchristian in its call for an affirmation, or an acceptance of Chaos, and a merging of it into the present sphere of Being; a nihilism both in the physical and conceptual sense (as we have seen in respect to his call to “kill” Ukrainians). In this, it also appears to In Hesiod’s Theogony, Chaos is a divine primordial condition, which is the origin of the gods, and all things. It seems that the origin should be indefinite and indeterminate, and it may represent infinite space, or formless matter rather than Nothingness. The notion of the temporal infinity was familiar to the Greek mind from remote antiquity in the religious conception of immortality. This idea of "the divine" as an origin, influenced the first Greek philosophers. The main object of the first efforts to explain the world, remained in the description of its growth, from a beginning. They believed that the world arose from a primal unity, and that this substance was the permanent base of all its being. It seems that Anaximander was influenced by the traditional popular conceptions and Hesiod’s thought, when he claimed that the origin is “apeiron” (the unlimited), a divine and perpetual substance less definite than the common elements. Everything is generated from apeiron, and must return there according to necessity. A popular conception of the nature of the world, was that the earth below its surface stretches down indefinitely and has its roots on or above Tartarus, the lower part of the underworld. In a phrase of Xenophanes, “The upper limit of the earth borders on air, near our feet. The lower limit reaches down to the apeiron” (i.e. the unlimited). Some of the passages in Theogony, between 734-819, are probably additions to the original text. The sources and limits of the earth, the sea ,the sky, Tartarus, and all things are located in a great windy- gap , which seems to be infinite , and is a later specification of “chaos”. Primal Chaos was sometimes said to be the true foundation of reality, particularly by philosophers such as Heraclitus. 135
be a call for a psychological nihilism, which in effect seeks through the introduction of Chaos (an irrational, pre-ontological principle) the death of the eternally “decaying” Logos, and its replacement with something else. This something is yet identified as “not-Being”. The process is open to a variety of interpretations as to what exactly is entailed. In the qualified sense it is a death; for it is the termination of one state (a decaying Logos) and a transmutation into another. But it is a rebirth in a more complete sense, by virtue of it transmuting Logos as a principle of Reason or Order. Yet it is debatable whether this transmutation
incorporating the antithesis of what it is supposed to be as Reason and Order. It is in this sense transmuting Logos into something entirely new, but yet it signifies both an end and a beginning. An alternative reading might accept the process as a rebirth or replenishing of Logos; for as eternal principles, both must necessarily endure and survive, whilst yet being in a new relation with each other. Dugin appears to favour this interpretation in his claim that the affirmation of Chaos is a “salvation” of the Logos. Certainly, both are required in a counterbalance to halt the eternal decay of Logos. Just as, for Dugin, multipolarity or bipolarity is necessary to halt the decay of order and values through Western Civilisation’s Liberal malaise. In both cases, one feels he does not consider it involves annihilation, but he often uses this and similar terms when he speaks of the progression, at least in respect to the multipolar model. So too, in specific respect to the metaphysical strategy as a salvation, it is not clear how a pre-order which is Chaos can achieve this, when it is simultaneously identified with a non-traversable not-Being, and has historical identifications with irrationality, or a pre-ordered, pre-ontological state; an addition which 136
could only hasten decay, or further the deterioration of Logos as Being, with any affirmation of it. 94 The addition of Chaos as an irrational principle signifies further an association with the corruption or even death of the soul as a life principle, sustained in its immortality by virtue of the Logos. As an intellectual faculty it can be defined as the absence of, or at least the control or nullification (or bringing to order) of Chaos as irrationality. In one sense then, the addition of Chaos to the intellect signifies, if not the death of the eternal soul, then at least its dissipation, or the impairment of its functioning from what it truly is. The addition of Chaos could in some sense further its ontological destruction, particularly if it is read simply in terms of soul being the life principle. Dugin makes no mention of such a personal psychological nihilism as a possibility. It is a logical possibility however, on any reading of Logos and Chaos in relation to Being and not-Being which he himself identifies, and one kept within the historical traditions of what Logos and psuche entail. This nihilism, then, in its twin aspects, is the characteristic of a theory which is immoral, even evil, if one accepts logically it implies a strategy to destroy, or at least impair reason. It also suggest the annihilation of Intellect, or an annihilation of Reason via Chaos traditionally associated with the philosophical idea of God. If Reason is eternal, it is indestructible, but certainly it could be viewed as advoking a merging of
Dugin would no doubt maintain that any reading of Chaos as irrationality rests on a fundamental misinterpretation of what Chaos is as the anti-thesis of Logos. But that it is irrationality as well as a â€œpre-ontologicalâ€? principle in contrast to Logos is clear by recourse to tradition. Further, if Logos is identified classically in some sense as Being and Order, it is very clear that Chaos must equate to some notion of not Being, or Being without Order, if it is to provide any distinction of what it actually is in relation to Logos. Here, clearly Chaos is not order and Logos entails order. Whilst Chaos need not necessarily equate with Non Existence in the Absolute sense (as not Being), it is in the sense that it lacks or fails to exhibit rationality and order. 94
its primary characteristics with a more primordial, disordered, irrational state. This does not seem very productive or creative.
Dugin trashes Christianity and civilisations by degrading the Logos
Generally in Plato, in later neo-Platonic thought, the Alexandrines and amongst the later Christian Platonists, the Logos was viewed as the rational creative principle that permeates and manifests as cosmos, as opposed to the universe. It therefore signifies reason and order in nature. Whereas Chaos is only ever identified with that which Logos is not, but which appears to have always been. God, therefore, creates order from Chaos, and has no need to create the physical cosmos ex nihilo. Furthermore, and more generally in Greek and Christian traditions, since God eternally manifests, the Logos is likewise eternal. Here, on one interpretation that is more manifestly Christian, Logos forms a bridge between the created and uncreated, and only through this principle, as the visible representation of reason, can the incorporeal God be known. Creation came into existence only through the Logos, and God’s nearest approach to the world is the command to create. Whilst the Logos is substantially a unity, it comprehends a multiplicity of concepts. This enables Origen, as an example, to term Logos the “essence of essences” and “idea of ideas”.95 Origen drew from Plotinus and other Neo-platonists , including the following triad: One/Intelligence(s)/Soul(s). First, the triad obviously suggests the Christian doctrine of the Trinity where God (God the Father) is to be identified with Plotinus’ One. Hence, for Origen, the Father is above being. Contrast the passage in Exodus 3:14 “I am that I am”, which Augustine and others would take as entailing that God is a being par excellence. The One then generates or gives rise to the Logos or Word, 95
The defence of the unity of God against the Gnostics led Origen to maintain the subordination of the Logos to God. 96 Origen distinctly emphasised the independence of the Logos and the distinction from the being and substance of God. The Logos (and the Holy Spirit) however share in the divinity of God. In this sense, Logos is viewed as an imago Dei, or a reflex of God, in which God communicates his divinity as light radiating from the sun. The activity of the Logos was conceived by Origen in Platonic fashion, as the World Soul, where God manifested his omnipotence as cosmos. His first creative act was the divine spirit, as an independent existence; and partial reflexes of the Logos were the created rational beings, who, as they had to revert to the perfect God, must likewise be perfect; yet their perfection, unlike in kind with that of God, the Logos and the divine spirit, had to be attained. Freedom of will is an essential factor for these rational beings, notwithstanding the foreknowledge of God. The Logos, eternally creative,
was viewed as
an endless series of
which is to be identified with Plotinus’ Intelligence, and also with God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. The Word is, or contains, the exemplars (i.e., the Platonic Forms) of all creatures, in imitation of which creatures are fashioned in creation. Origen is here following the beginning of John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” The Platonic Forms are now in a Divine Mind, and are to be thought of as divine ideas. Plato’s “Ideas” were not however originally ideas in a mind. The move of putting Platonic Ideas into a divine mind goes back at least to Philo of Alexandria (an important Jewish thinker around the turn of the Christian era). The doctrine became standard in the Middle Ages, through the influence of Augustine. Immediately below the Word is the Holy Spirit, which is to be identified with Plotinus’ Soul. Below that are created and individualised souls. T. E. Pollard, Johannine Christology and the Early Church, page 95 (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 13, Cambridge University Press, 1970). 96
comprehensible worlds, which are mutually dependent. Combining the Stoic doctrine of a universe without beginning, with the biblical doctrine of the beginning and the end of the world, Origen thus conceived of the visible world as stages in an eternal cosmic process. Professor Dugin, however, justifies his anti-Christian, post-Greek thesis in rational almost philanthropic terms. Let us hope it is not to mask an intent which may be less charitable: “A
great number of people today are unsatisfied with what is going on around us, with the absolute crisis of values, religions, philosophy, political and social order, with postmodern conditions, with the confusion and perversion, and with this age of the utmost decay in general. But considering the essence of the decline of our civilisation to the present state, we cannot look to the preceding phases of the logo-centric order and its implicit structures, because it was precisely logos itself that has brought things to the state where they are now, bearing within itself the germs of the present decay.” (ibid. p.208).
Here he fails to consider the past virtues of Logos as a rational ordered and eternal principle and locates it in historic time. He identifies it only with an increase in a decay of values, and thinks nought of Reason’s spiritual
achievements in science. In his solution of what the presence, or influence of what Logos might entail, he sees only destruction, whereas Chaos here is viewed as a positive boon. Like a wicked, almost Satanic ritual, therefore, he inverts the values and meaning of both Chaos and Logos and continues: “Logos cannot save us from the situation that it is the cause of. Logos is of no use to us here anymore. Only the pre-ontological chaos can give as a hint about how to go beyond the trap of postmodernity.” (op. cit. p. 209).
In this, unless we accept the Dugin prescription, we will be “doomed” and forced to accept the post-logical, dissipated postmodernity that only: “… pretends to be eternal in some way because it annihilates time.” This is necessarily so because: “Modernity has killed eternity and postmodernity is killing time.” (op. cit. p.209). Here, Dugin fails to understand the ontology of any dual system. It is necessitated forever by the presence of an eternal Logos, which can never decay or die. It is one also that must ensure that Logos takes precedence if any system of order is to be maintained. The result with the introduction of Chaos, if it is the contrary, is self-evidently irrational disorder and decay, or at best a petrified stasis of opposites. Such a counterbalance, whilst it may indeed vouchsafe further decay, cannot in any sense be justified as the foundation for a new and positive regeneration of culture or civilisation. Dugin’s view of Logos fools us with a false sense of eternity and order as it decays, but he provides only a faux solution. It is one that at best provides only a stasis and no sense of real regeneration. At worst, it may merely hasten our slide into eternal confusion and oblivion with an imbalanced emphasis on the virtues of Chaos. The solution is Chaos he claims and not confusion, but it is tantamount to an emphasis on an irrational pre-ontological disorder both metaphysically, culturally socially and politically that amounts to the same in any case. In his identification of it as a solution for cultural rejuvenation, he even proposes an anti-Logos, and this for Christians must be considered tantamount to the proposal of Evil, a Satan or Anti-Logos. In this, of course, Logos must still be required, in order for the system as a whole to 141
function, and it must necessarily be so, as it is eternal and transcends historic time, but for Dugin it requires it to be cannibalised by its antithesis in some sense. This act of consuming is thought to revive and rejuvenate. Here Logos does not occupy the spatial or temporal dimension itself, but it yet informs and provides the order necessary for the sphere of spacetime to exist and for a civilisation to arise. In this sense, then, by any logical reasoning, Dugin’s claim of a dissipation of Logos must be read not just as the decay of Divine Reason or Being, but the dissolution of man’s reasoning, and indeed mankind’s being within the system itself. But in this, any acceptance of Chaos is also tantamount to a conflation with confusion, and an emphasis of a descent into madness that effects the destruction of the rational soul and its ability to reason productively. 97
Here the Greek notion of reason, and one which characterises an understanding of what true Being entails in Plato, should be offered as an interpretation of our current malaise contra Dugin; for it is not a decaying Logos, but a lack of assimilation to the Logos, and one which requires the harmonia of the soul to be attuned to the Logos as the divine principle of Reason. It is this which I believe will ultimately vouchsafe mankind’s salvation. More generally for Plato, Logos is used as a synonym for the divine (theos) and spoken of in respect to the divine World Soul. Logos (as a If we were being thoroughly Platonic or neo-Platonic about this, we should say generally that, just as the Intelligence is identical with the intelligences, so too the Soul is identical with individual souls, but clearly in this mankind’s ability to reason fully cannot equate to the Divine until it is assimilated in some sense to that which is more perfect. Notable to this is the part that irrationality plays in producing (through disorder) the decline of the soul from its true and properly ordered function as a divine principle. It is one therefore not remedied in any sense by the addition of Chaos. 97
principle of order) incorporates the Same and the Other, and assists in facilitating a good creation, by virtue of it being made as an image of the rational creator’s understanding of the eternal Forms. It is this which ensures the creation of a just and fair system (cosmos). Just as any ideal state or civilisation on Earth must be constructed by the legislator with an understanding of what logos entails. Dugin, however, views Chaos as providing a new opportunity for a fundamental evaluation and a rebirth of what Being is. By gazing into what the pre-ontological Chaos has to offer, he seeks to seduce mankind with a temptation to embrace the feminine, rather than the Logos, which he claims is perversely “phallo-centric”. This odd view is very much an attack on Christianity, let alone the Greek view, and its view of God as the Logos. It is a bizarre attack for one such as Dugin, by any measure of what he claims to believe. He needs to recall the basis of Christian belief: “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the Word was God”: (John 1.1).
Moreover his view is a negation of the incarnation of Christ made flesh as the Logos: “The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 143
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.”
The need to embrace Chaos is Dugin’s invitation to step outside the situation, rather than endure the inevitable decline of civilisation and a loss of values for mankind. But here Dugin seeks not a balancing of opposites to provide stasis, but an escape by seeking to “transcend” Logos for: “Logos cannot save us from the situation that it is the cause of. Logos is of no use to us here anymore.”- (Fourth Political Theory, p. 209).
But rather than sliding down the pole of Ananke as it were, which might be viewed mythically as connecting Logos to Chaos- the pole by which the wheel of cosmos is attached at its centre in the Myth of Er- Dugin should view postmodernism as but a phase in an inevitable cyclic process, and not as eternal decay. This cyclic return will herald ultimately a natural and inevitable ascent and an inevitable restoration, or re-attuning to Logos. These may indeed be dark days, but as a Christian he should take comfort in God’s plan. A plan that may very well warrant a reaffirmation of Being in some sense as a natural consequence of the eternal cyclic process. It might in language he is more fond of warrant an “eternal return”. It will not, however, be achieved through a call for an annihilation of the systemic balance of forces which facilitate future progression through relinquishing Logos.
My interpretation, I might add, is far more in keeping with the Greek and Hindu perspectives. Dugin’s, however, is a call for increasing “turbulence”, as he admits, and he is impatient to initiate it. In this, there is no heed of the long-term passage of time or the order within the cosmic process. Why is he so impatient? After all, as history proves, civilisations arise and fall, and yet they rise again reborn anew. Why does he seek to impose his own solution on God’s process? Why does he act as if he were some divine strategist, and Logos is a mere chess piece for his own amusement? He treads a path to embrace Chaos/chaos, but this is reflective of his inner mind. A battle he makes with his professed faith that warrants much more sustained thought. We have already briefly dealt with the Hindu view, but it occurs too with the idea of a cyclic and periodic procession cast for the Greeks in terms of the Great Year; as Timaeus (39d) 98 alludes to in Plato’s monologue of the same name, amongst others. Accepting the idea of the inevitable The term Great Year has a variety of related meanings. It is defined by NASA as: “The period of one complete cycle of the equinoxes around the ecliptic, about 25,800 years also known as a Platonic Year.” One complete cycle of the equinoxes here means one complete cycle of axial precession. This precession was known to Plato, who defined the “perfect year” as the return of the celestial bodies (planets) and the diurnal rotation of the fixed stars (circle of the Same) to their original positions. 98
Cicero followed Plato in defining the Great Year as a combination of solar, lunar and planetary cycles In De Natura Deorum: “On the diverse motions of the planets the mathematicians have based what they call the Great Year," which is completed when the sun, moon and five planets having all finished their courses have returned to the same positions relative to one another. The length of this period is hotly debated, but it must necessarily be a fixed and definite time.” By extension, the term “Great Year” can also be used for any concept of eternal return in the world’s mythologies or philosophies as Otto Neugebauer wrote. See Neugebauer O., (1975)A History of Ancient mathematical astronomy, Birkhäuser, p.618.
cycle provides mankind with a means to escape the trap of postmodernity with a simple reaffirmation of the virtues and values of Logos. The very principle, I would contend, which the human soul is no longer attuned to. This is the true cause of its malaise. Dugin, however, seeks to embrace Chaos, otherwise we will be doomed to accept the inevitable post-logical dissipation that heralds only our destruction for eternity. He fails to understand the inevitability of the cyclic and periodic ascent and descent of the ages, or indeed the imperative and pre-eminence of God as Reason in this formulation. “…the only way to save ourselves, to save humanity and culture from this snare, is to take the step beyond the logo-centric culture, towards chaos. We cannot restore logos and order, because they bear in themselves the reason for their own eternal destruction.” (op. cit. p.209).
“To make an appeal to chaos is the only way to save logos. Logos needs a saviour, it cannot save itself. It needs something opposite to itself to be restored in the critical situation of postmodernity. We could not transcend post-modernity. The latter cannot be overcome without appeal to something that has been prior to the reason of its decay. So we should resort to philosophies other than Western.” (p. 210).
Here, Dugin makes a fundamental error in understanding the nature of what Logos is, as he seeks to sweep away the whole history of Western Philosophy, which oddly in part he favours, but which in the main he identifies as the culprit of mankind’s suffering. In this, he fails to realise Logos is eternal and therefore cannot dissipate. It is like the Forms in this sense: an enduring and eternal principle that exists. These are not waxing or waning, or dissipating in any organic sense, and neither in its cyclic ordered progression is Logos doomed to eternal decay. His view, 146
perhaps, is one which seeks to parallel his notion of organic civilisations, but it fails when applied to eternal principles. By virtue of its dual connection with the eternal life principle, which is the soul, and as a principle of ordered motion, Logos entails an enduring and uniform progression through time. In the cosmic sense too, it is not the Same and the Other specifically (the parts of the World Soul), but the unifying principle of reason that unites them, and a rational order that sustains them. Nor is it the shifting and changing universe of matter, or the elementary particles of our terrestrial realm, as Timaeus (47e-56c) delineates in the Demiurge’s creation of physical matter. The Logos is the eternal enduring principle. A principle that gives order to such matter, or scattered particles, and which forms them through the Master Craftsman’s understanding, and by virtue of His rationale. Without logos then it is a disorderly, “god forsaken” state of affairs (53b). Logos should not be identified as the cause of the decline of civilisations, nor should it be viewed as changing in any fundamental manner intrinsic to itself, because of the decline of civilisations. If there is an errant cause more identifiable with Chaos in this respect it is Necessity, and this is characterised by its ability to negate or nullify Logos in some sense, but only inasmuch as it curtails the formation of matter by its rational process (47e-48a). Here too Logos is co-extensive with numerical time in the historic sense, but it co-exists in eternity, not in the sense of chronos, but in the aionic sense, as distinguished in the Timaeus (37d). Here, time is simply made to serve as an icon, or image of the Forms, which are eternal. In this Plato, like Parmenides, has banished all genesis. Plotinus then carries this tradition on in Enneads III, (7,4); “manner of existence” as it pertains to Being.
for aion is the
The fault, then, lies in mankind’s lack of assimilation to the eternal principle of order or Reason. In this, to know God entails Logos, and to be “like God” is to fulfil the nature of what philosophy entails for the soul. Any corruption then, is something other than Reason or Logos. 99 It might even lie in the errant nature of matter itself, but it does not entail a dissolution or dissipation of Logos. This is a question of requiring, as Plato himself details in the Theaetetus, 100 an assimilation, or an attuning
Philebus (30c). Here, God is that ‘royal reason’ to be identified as a ‘royal soul’:
“…you will say that in the nature of Zeus a royal soul and a royal reason come to dwell by virtue of the power of the cause, while in other gods other perfections dwell, according to the names by which they are pleased to be called.” In the Theaetetus (176a-f), there is an important statement concerning the existence of evil in the human condition, and the manner by which this may be overcome. It is claimed by Socrates, whilst in a discussion concerning the nature of knowledge, that the evil in human nature can never be fully eradicated, but it is possible to attain salvation through assimilation to God. 100
"Evils, Theodorus, can never be done away with, for the good must always have its contrary; nor have they any place in the divine world, but they must haunt this region of our mortal nature. That is why we should make all speed to take flight from this world to the other, and that means becoming like God as far we can, and that again is to become righteous with the help of wisdom." Here, Plato writes the soul is "made like" the object it desires to emulate. In ‘taking flight’ from the evils of this world, Plato is suggesting that the philosopher needs to liberate his soul from the influence of evil, and should seek to concentrate on that Soul, which is the most righteous and wise in its order and goodness. This enables the human soul to become "deiform" (theoeides) and in the "likeness of God" (theoeikelon). The view that the philosopher should seek salvation through the imitation of the divine principle, who is God, is a theme that crops up throughout the dialogues. In the Symposium (212e), the true contemplator of beauty becomes a true friend of God in winning the friendship of heaven. In the Republic (501b), the virtues of justice, beauty and sobriety are found in the nature of things, and they are used to create the ideal state by the heavenly artists who are its guardians. They derive their judgements from that likeness of God, which dwells in humanity. In living the moral life, they become "likened to God as far as this is possible." (613b). Here, the philosopher is only able to imitate to a partial degree the righteousness of God. The specific reasons why men are not gods, and cannot be so even when they have achieved god likeness, is not made clear in the context of this passage. It might 148
of the soul back to that which it no longer appears to be in harmony with. Only then can the foundation of a new and more satisfactory civilisation occur. Ultimately, all this is achieved through the activity of Philosophy for Plato, where the soul through the correct balancing of the faculties of reason (logistikon), spirit (thumoeides) and appetites (epithumetikon) can achieve the correct awakening of the faculty of nous. This interior psychological assimilation occurs through the various studies of astronomy, mathematics and philosophy and most importantly the enterprise of dialectic to facilitate knowledge (dianoia). This ultimately leads to an episteme born from apprehending the principal Forms and the Form of the Good; the summum bonum of the enterprise, and the preeminent Causal Principle. This is the determinant of what Logos is in the greatest sense; (cf. Republic 509b) and the foundation of the beautiful and best city state. A city state which, incidentally, is a republic. Dugin, however, appeals to Eastern religions to save our civilisations, and this call includes Chaos as a remedy for the decaying Logos:
possibly entail the presence of an evil such as matter which is associated with irrational motion lacking the principle of order. In the Timaeus (90c-d), Plato continues a variation on the imitation theme, but he provides a reason why humans are not like gods, by asserting that the motions of the human soul once embodied in matter become damaged or impaired in their true ability to function. He recommends, therefore, that we should seek to rectify this damage in the motions of the soul by: â€œlearning the harmonies and revolutions of the Universeâ€? (90d). The human soul thus restores itself back to its original nature by this process of abstract learning, and is able to fulfil its present and future purpose ordained by the gods as the "most good" (90d). It is notable here that Plato makes no mention of philosophers experiencing Forms, or practising dialectic, in order that the soul might ascend or understand the divine. He stresses only the importance of theoretical astronomy as the basis of the learning process. It is through this that the soul becomes "like" the World Soul, which it is essentially the same in nature and composition. 149
“We should explore other cultures, rather than Western, to try to find different examples of inclusive philosophy, inclusive religions, and so on. Chaotic logos is not only an abstract construction. If we seek well, we can find the real forms of such intellectual traditions in archaic societies, as well as in Eastern theology and mystical currents.” (p.210).
But this is no recourse in the light of his perspective on Logos, nor will it provide a fundamental solution to the history of a metaphysic he has largely devalued, or reinterpreted, or even seeks to destroy. It appears to be a dark call for a darker age and a return to a more bestial and primordial state. The concept of Logos can be traced back 2600 years, in a lineage of philosophical tradition born in Ionia, but it has also influenced Eastern religions since, in an evolution of ideas that mirror the history of philosophical debate. There can be no interpretation, therefore, found in Eastern religions that utilise the Logos in any derogatory or transient sense, nor do they view it as a decaying principle in need of salvation. Indeed, more often than not, it is used as a synonym for God, Reason and Order, and as such cannot be rescinded or transcended by mankind. To provide but one example, and to answer Dugin’s call, and it could be answered with any number of traditions and “mystical currents”, let us consider Sufism, which is both a purveyor of Eastern Islamic theology and mysticism that answers his requirements. In Sufism, the concept of Logos is used to relate the “Uncreated” (God) to the “Created” (man). In Sufism, for the deist, no contact between man and God can be possible without the Logos. The Logos is everywhere and always the same, but its personification is “unique” within each region.
Jesus and Muhammad are seen as the personifications of the Logos, and this is what enables them to speak in absolute terms.101 It is to be noted oddly that Dugin claims to be fond of the Neo-platonic traditions, particularly Plotinus. Yet he ignores such traditions in his thesis of Chaos. He also fails to realise that one of the boldest and most radical attempts to reformulate the Neo-platonic concepts into Sufism arose with the philosopher Ibn Arabi, who travelled widely in Spain and North Africa. His ideas were expressed in two major works “The Ringstones
Illuminations” (Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya). For Ibn Arabi, every prophet corresponds to a reality which he called a Logos (Kalimah) .This Logos is an aspect of the unique Divine Being. In his view the Divine Being would have forever remained hidden, had it not been for the prophets, with Logos providing the link between man and divinity.102
Ibn Arabi seems to have adopted his version of the Logos concept from Neo-platonic and Christian sources,103 although (writing in Arabic rather than Greek) he used more than twenty different terms when discussing
“Sufism: love & wisdom” by Jean-Louis Michon, Roger Gaetani 2006 ISBN 0941532-75-5 p. 242. Also “Sufi essays” by Seyyed Hossein Nasr 1973 ISBN 0-87395233-2 page 148. Is Dugin therefore saying Jesus is corrupt as the Christ principle in claiming what Logos is? Is he claiming God is? 101
Biographical encyclopaedia of Sufis by N. Hanif 2002 ISBN 81-7625-266-2 p. 39.
Charles A. Frazee, "Ibn al-'Arabī and Spanish Mysticism of the Sixteenth Century," Numen 14 (3), Nov 1967, pp. 229–240. 103
it.104 For Ibn Arabi, the Logos or “Universal Man” was a mediating link between individual human beings and the divine essence. 105 Other Sufi writers also recognise the importance of the Neo-platonic Logos.106 In the 15th century ʻAbd al-Karim al-Jili introduced the Doctrine of Logos and the Perfect Man. For al-Jili, the perfect man (associated with the Logos, or the Holy Prophet) has the power to assume different forms at different times, and appear in different guises.107
In this call then, for a construction of Chaos as a “saviour” for Logos, Dugin is committing a heresy. He insults the traditions of Sufism and Islam, and shows a woeful disregard for the entire corpus of Eastern and Western mystical traditions whose foundation rests on the Logos. But more so, as a Christian, Dugin commits the cardinal sin of blaspheming against the holy concept of Christ incarnate as the Logos. This should be a sin in his own eyes, but he appears strangely unconcerned or even oblivious to it.108 T. Little, “Al-Insān al-Kāmil: The perfect man according to Ibn al-'Arabī,” The Muslim World, 1987, Vol. 77, pp. 43–54: “Ibn al-'Arabi uses no less than twenty-two different terms to describe the various aspects under which this single Logos may be viewed.” 105 Robert J. Dobie, Logos & Revelation: Ibn 'Arabi, Meister Eckhart, and mystical hermeneutics, Catholic University of America Press, 2009, ISBN 0-8132-1677-X, p. 225. 106 Edward Henry Whinfield, Masnavi I Ma'navi: The spiritual couplets of Maulána Jalálu-'d-Dín Muhammad Rúmí, Routledge, 2001 (originally published 1898), ISBN 0-415-24531-1, p. xxv. 104
Biographical encyclopaedia of Sufis by N. Hanif 2002 ISBN 81-7625-266-2 p. 98.
One wonders then what Dugin’s response might be to a Christ–Logos hypernym. Would he agree and simply say yes only to then affirm that Logos must be saved through an affirmation of Chaos and only in this can mankind save the decaying Christ! But that is a pure blasphemy in any tradition or sect of Christianity by any measure. Man cannot save Christ, only Christ has the redeeming power to save 108
Dugin as an Active Nihilist Dugin’s concern to end the pre-eminence of Logos is a death wish that can never be realised. It is so by virtue of its eternal nature, and by virtue of its persistence through time. In his call for its replacement or rejuvenation by Chaos, he is invoking a call to nihilism in the physical, metaphysical, psychological, national and cosmic sense.
In this, his
fascination with existence, like his increasing involvement in politics, appears to display a morbid preoccupation with violence, and a strange obsession with evil and death. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that
Dugin appears far more
enamoured of Nietzsche’s assertion that “God is dead”, or at least on His last legs, an odd view to adopt as a fervent Christian, than any glad news that could be provided with a message that “Jesus Saves”.109 Yet in this fascination too, Dugin displays a quintessentially Heideggerean atheism, that contrasts starkly with his professed Christian beliefs. 110
mankind, and in that shall those who believe be born again and serve as a witness to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. In this too, Chaos represents an antonym to what Christ as Logos is, and in the light of the symbolic theory of Guénon is suggestive of a chilling portent of the future for those that might believe. In respect to the Anti-Christ see here. “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? 109
—Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann “…questioningness [Fraglichkeit] is not religious, but it may nevertheless lead me to a position where I must make a religious decision. I do not behave religiously in 110
Is this Dugin’s intention? Is he offering merely a deceptive pose, or even prepared to suffer the torments of Hell, in order to save mankind collectively from an even greater torment? Is he to be the saviour of mankind, offering through his philosophical endeavours the solutions to our existence, pointing the way as he does so to a brighter state vision of tomorrow? Is he, prepared to sacrifice God on the altar of Chaos, in order to be the saviour of civilisations? 111 Here it might be thought by the reader that I am letting Aleksandr Dugin off the hook, by emphasising his dedication to the Philosopher’s art and admiring him for the act of sacrificing his religious faith for the sake of all mankind. An act some atheists might deem necessary for the endeavour. An art that seeks solutions, and requires atheism in order to progress, and all for the sake of humanity via the pursuit of dialectic. But it is clear that in this art, many great and noble philosophers have not felt it necessary to abandon their differing beliefs in God, nor even adopt a saviour’s pose, or pretend analytical atheism in the name of a cause. Indeed, on the contrary, they have only found in such an activity some very good reasons to justify and strengthen their faith, and many philosophising, even if I as a philosopher can be a religious man. ‘but here is the art:’ to philosophise and thereby to be religious, i.e., to take up factually its worldly, historical task in philosophising, in action and a world of action, not in religious ideology and fantasy. Philosophy, in its radical self-positing questioningness, must be in principle a-theistic.” PIA, Winter semester 1921-22, Heidegger. “Philosophy is radical questioning, but to really question – to push one’s questioning to the brink of the abyss – one must be an atheist, for faith gives answers too soon. … Faith and philosophy are mortal enemies; in fact, ‘faith is so absolutely the mortal enemy that philosophy does not even begin to want in any way to do battle with it.’ ‘the philosopher does not believe’ – she or he cannot believe, because faith is in radical opposition to the very nature of philosophy as questioning.” – JKA Smith, The Fall of Interpretation p.108. 111
have proclaimed it passionately. In this, then, Dugin’s enthusiasm for Heidegger and Nietzsche are odd, and make strange bed fellows, and are ones that do not do much service to his personal faith as a Christian.
The question here is why? Is he obliged as a philosopher to be an atheist? Clearly not, as many great philosophers strongly believed in God. Indeed, the whole history of Philosophy and Theology largely stands as a testament to the rational justifications of their faith. Why then should Aleksandr Dugin, the philosopher who greets people publicly with the fervent exclamation “Christ is Risen”, who speaks of devils and angels, of good and evil and even the Anti-Christ, why should he select out of the whole history of philosophical and spiritual ideas, two individuals in Nietzsche and Heidegger who ultimately do his Christian faith so much disservice? It appears the recurrent theme that continually unites him with his philosophical heroes is his strange fascination for nihilism. It crops up time and time again, not only in his interpretation and choice of companions, a dark looking bunch, even in the classroom, but also in his choice of language: “annihilate”, “kill”, “destroy”, “sacrifice”, “liquidate”, the list could go on. But here he is on rather solitary ground. Bearing all this in mind, let us measure how far Dugin has strayed from the path as a lost sheep and consider also what Nietzsche had to say on the topic of Christian faith, but also on his favourite obsession, the subject of nihilism.
In his notebooks, in a chapter entitled “European Nihilism”, Nietzsche evaluates Christianity at length. But even Nietzsche the God killer states 155
that the Christian moral doctrine provides people with a wealth of intrinsic value; belief in God might justify the evil in the world, but it still provides a basis for objective knowledge. In this sense, then, in constructing a world where objective knowledge is possible, Christianity still provides an antidote against a primal form of nihilism, against the absolute despair of “meaninglessness”, or to use another word of equivalent meaning “chaos”. From there, however, Nietzsche’s pessimism only caused him to descend from the mountain. For it is exactly the element of truthfulness as an absolute in Christian doctrine that Nietzsche finds is its undoing: in its drive towards truth, Christianity eventually finds itself to be a construct, which leads to its own dissolution. Perhaps in a sense, as a construct, Dugin’s Civilisations too must ultimately fail and die. It is reality substantiated by history. But it can have no support for the Christian Dugin from any viewpoint of Nietzsche’s. For the very fact of realising that faith is a construct, signifies a realisation that we have in effect outgrown Christianity: “not because we lived too far from it, rather because we lived too close.” The dissolution of Christianity constitutes yet another form of nihilism, because Christianity is an interpretation which posited itself as the truth. Nietzsche states that this dissolution leads beyond scepticism to a distrust of all meaning. But this is a luxury Dugin cannot indulge in as a Christian; for his belief is paramount and an absolute. It is one that cannot be jettisoned while he still proclaims the truth of the gospels and the canon of the Orthodox Church. In relation to his love affair with Chaos, and his nihilistic obsession also, Dugin can make no happy bedfellow with Christian morality in the 156
Orthodox sense. As Stanley Rosen finds in Nietzsche’s concept of nihilism, one is confronted with a situation of meaninglessness, in which “everything is permitted”.112 Accordingly the loss of higher metaphysical values that exist in contrast to the mundane reality of this world, our merely human ideas, must give rise to the idea that all human ideas are valueless. Rejecting idealism must therefore result in total nihilism, because only similarly transcendent ideals live up to the previous standards that the nihilist still implicitly holds. In the Nietzschean view, therefore, the inability for Christianity to serve as a source of satisfactorily evaluating the world is another cause of its own dissolution. This is hastened due to the advances of the sciences, which for Nietzsche showed that man is a product of evolution, and that the earth has no special place in the universe. The Christian notion of God, therefore, can no longer serve as a basis for our sense of what is moral. For Dugin, however, the very basis of morality must at least be the Christian ethic of “Love thy neighbour”, the Beatitudes and Christian pacifism. So too it must provide some interpretation of the existence of the purity and perfection of the Logos as Jesus Christ. He must accept as an Orthodox Christian, the absolute values of Christianity, and their preeminence as a divine truth. These are largely unquestioned and given as an article of faith. As an Orthodox Christian, Dugin cannot rescind them, for they provide the base foundation on which the canon of the Church has been built. For Dugin, the absolute principles of Logos, God and Christ as the divine incarnation, are required to be accepted as truth. This is required in in “Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1969. (p. xiii). 112
order for him to call himself a Christian. They are required for him to make sense of this world and to live a moral life also. Any reaction to a loss of meaning rescinding these values would result in what Nietzsche might call “passive nihilism”, which he recognised in the pessimism of Schopenhauer; a fashionable pose too for the Wertherian Romantics of the time. But Schopenhauer’s doctrine, which Nietzsche also referred to as “Western Buddhism”, advocates not an affirmation of Christ and the practising of a Christian agape, but a separating of oneself in a purging of will and desires, in order to reduce suffering. Nietzsche characterised this ascetic attitude as a “will to nothingness” however, where life turns away from itself, because there is nothing of value to be found in this world. Dugin however as a Christian is at least obliged to accept the world as it is professed to be in the Bible. This world is a manifestation of God’s plan by virtue of the revelation of the Logos. He is required to view it is a divine thing by virtue of it being His creation. He is also required to live by the example provided by Jesus Christ in his own life and find value in this emulation. It is through this emulation and only through the acceptance of Christ as his personal saviour that his personal salvation can be secured. For Nietzsche, however, it was only through the rejection of all values that the nihilist can be characterised: “A nihilist is a man who judges of the world as it is that it ought not to be, and of the world as it ought to be that it does not exist. According to this view, our existence (action, suffering, willing, feeling) has no meaning: the pathos of 'in vain' is the nihilists' pathos- at the same time, as pathos, an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists.” -Friedrich Nietzsche, KSA 12:9 , taken from The Will to Power, section 585. 158
Yet here he also emphasises both the danger of nihilism and the possibilities it offers: “I praise, I do not reproach, [its] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength!”
According to Nietzsche, then, it is only when nihilism is overcome that a culture can have a true ground upon which to thrive. He wished to hasten its coming only so that he could also hasten its ultimate departure. For Nietzsche, this “active” nihilism is not merely a submission to an acceptance of our fate, but destroys to clear the field for the construction of something new. This form of nihilism is described as a “show of strength”, a wilful destruction of the old values and a means to find a new beginning. It is a way to re-contextualise one’s own beliefs and interpretations and give them meaning. Here Dugin’s solution too might be advocating an inclusion of Chaos designed to wilfully destroy. His model certainly suggests, like Nietzsche, an active and not simply a passive nihilism (as per his second premise) that entails becoming an agent in the progression towards rebirth and salvation. Active nihilism is contrary to the passive nihilism that resigns itself to the decay of the old values and invites a compliant pessimism. This wilful destruction of values, and the overcoming of the condition of nihilism by constructing new meaning, could be related to what Nietzsche elsewhere termed the will to dance, or the “free spirit”, or the affirmation of the Eternal Return. It is the affirmation of the Overman from “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, the model of the strong individual, who affirms his own 159
values, and lives his life as if he were creating his own work of art. For Dugin, however, this creation of a new meaning from the pre-eminence of Chaos could not rest in a tradition that accepts or espouses any traditional sense of what it means to be a Christian. It necessitates a new perspective, and requires an emphasis on the power of the individual, rather than the power of God.
In his resort to active nihilism, however,
he is very much part of the problem of devaluation that he currently complains about. Dugin’s theory of Chaos acknowledges the debt he owes in his interpretation to Heidegger. In his “Nihilism, as Determined by the History of Being” (1944–46), Heidegger interprets Nietzsche’s nihilism as trying to achieve a victory through the devaluation of the highest values. The principle of this devaluation is, according to Heidegger, the Will to Power. The Will to Power is also the principle of every earlier evaluation of values. How then does this devaluation occur, and why is this nihilistic? One of Heidegger’s main concerns was that philosophy, and more specifically metaphysics, had forgotten to discriminate between the notion of a Being (Seiende) and Being (Sein). According to Heidegger, the history of Western thought can be seen as the history of metaphysics. In this sense then, because metaphysics has forgotten to ask about the very notion of what Being is (Seinsvergessenheit) the history of Being has been a historical narrative about its own destruction. It is in effect dying a slow death by its own hand, and that is why metaphysics is essentially nihilistic. But in this, Heidegger envisioned Nietzsche’s metaphysics, not as a victory over nihilism too, but an effort to try and right the wrong in order to perfect it.
Postmodern and poststructuralist thought continues this concern, and questions the very grounds on which Western cultures have based their understanding of “truth”, particularly in the sphere of what constitutes absolute knowledge. Yet the chief guru of this, Jacques Derrida, whose deconstruction is perhaps most commonly termed “nihilistic”, did not himself make the nihilistic move that others have so often claimed of him. In this, Derrida’s disciples argue that this approach rather liberates texts, individuals or collectives from a restrictive truth, and that deconstruction’s true concern opens up the possibility of other ways of being. Spivak, for example, uses deconstruction to create an ethics of opening up Western scholarship to the voice of the subaltern and to philosophies outside of the canon of Western texts. Derrida himself built a philosophy based upon a “responsibility to the other”. Deconstruction can thus be seen not as a denial of truth, but as a denial of our ability to know the truth. It therefore makes (at least on one reading) an epistemological claim, unlike nihilism’s ontological claim. In all of this darkness lies something we can sense as positive, but can mankind track their way forward and find a common sense of purpose to enlighten his progress? It is certainly possible. Postmodernism with its post-secular critique of modernism, tends to see the world and this cosmos in terms of differential flux. As such, it can be seen as embodying a fundamental ontological violence in its assumption of difference as being an agony since, for nihilistic philosophers, language has no goal beyond its own creativity. In this can be perceived an intrinsic nihilism, but language (logos) as an activity is only in decay or nihilistic if it is perceived to be perpetually declining or coming to an end.
The task before us, therefore, is to be continually creative, and in that imitate the Creator; for that act of the Creator as the Logos (or the Word for Christians) can still be perceived as on going in the continual creation of the stars and planets and the myriad births of the clustered galaxies. It indeed provides renewal for our faith as a visible confirmation of the principleâ€™s ongoing creativity. Whilst the starry cosmos might appear still, it is in reality ablaze with activity. This is itself a testament to Godâ€™s eternal presence and influence. The physical manifestation of the Logos, the cosmos, is a rational and ordered icon reflective of the principle. It is exemplified in scientific laws, and moral principles. Mankind perceives it and enacts it as such by virtue of its rational and ethical endeavours and disciplines. It pervades through every facet of life in the creative act of language. Dialogue therefore, in the dialectic sense, entails an act of creativity for mankind. In accepting thinkers who value active nihilism in terms of Chaos, there is no universal reason that can give us metaphysically secured values, or can revive our faith in the classical virtues. In this, mankind is at an end, both in the ontological and epistemological sense, but a new beginning can be found. It cannot be found in any act of destruction that negates. Such an act is the equivalent of encouraging mankind to act as a spoilt and petulant child, who, having realised their toy is broken, throws it to the floor in disgust and anger, or as in Duginâ€™s prognostication, hopes that the blow of Chaos will yet make it work again. Human creativity, however, is a part of the cosmic creation, and gives the human logos time and space in which to formulate an imitative response. This is the context in which any act of birth, or rebirth, has to be inevitably formulated, and in this context only Logos provides the theatre in which the narrative might be framed. Human language here is 162
the instrument through which mankind’s logos creates an opportunity to reassert itself through Divine emulation, just as Logos continually creates as the principle of Reason, Order, or for Christians the Divine Word. For Logos did not rescind its act of Creation as the Creator, it is eternal, and an unending process of progression. Furthermore, it is by virtue of it being rational and ordered a good creation, and exemplifies and embodies that which is Good. Thus, mankind too may continue to strive to emulate it using language and reason, and morality and ethics, as a creative means for its progression and expression. In this endeavour, our philosophical and political knowledge in respect to dialectic can strive to “interpret” social theory, but only by an acceptance of our fundamental limitations. The enactment of a peaceful, reconciled social order lies beyond any purportedly objective or universal understanding of Reason or Order in the absolute sense. In this lies an acceptance that ultimately God must be unknowable, but the acceptance of that reality for humans does not negate the endeavour to know, or nullify our attempt to imitate in any practical sense. Indeed, through that aspiration
understanding and a greater imitation, free from the limitations of human language. In this light, postmodernism’s focus upon flux has an analogue in the act of the Creator’s creation, whereby our self -created perspectives of reality are not only radically contingent, but also imitative and assimilative, with sectors of correspondence that overlap and unify. Here the discipline of the Logos, narrated for example through the discipline of Theology, can accept itself and the Church as a historical and cultural fact to illuminate and order uncertainty. It need not necessitate surrendering the possibility of attempting to speak of the transcendent. 163
Indeed, only on the presupposition of the transcendent as a reality can any talk of the immanent make sense, without slipping into the kind of absolute nihilism Dugin implies or even secretly yearns for. At the heart of a Christian alternative therefore, as an example, lies a narration of a reality which is not chaos, violence, or nihilism, but an appeal to order and reason and therefore peace. It is an endeavour to work for a deeper understanding in the light of Godâ€™s creative activity in the creation: one example being the discipline of science, particularly astro-physics or cosmology. In reference to Christianity also, it is achieved through an acceptance of the unity of the Trinity as a fundamental. Yet this virtue of nonviolent Christian practice, whilst it is contextualised in something external to its own imitative activity, via its own narration, need not limit itself with the proclamation that it alone defines what is â€œtruthâ€?. For whilst this truth is absolute, its source is also transcendent, and that requires an endeavour and an acceptance that we can only attempt to realise it through an eternal realisation that all human perspectives are contingent and partial approximations. In this, all perspectives and disciplines can be proffered, but not all perspectives by virtue of human reason are equally as valid. They must be tested by the validity of analysis through the principles of reason, and by recourse to logos as critical debate. It is here that the true act of creativity for man is realised by recourse to his own logos. In this, despite the existence of difference within the created order, all creatures are related to God as the Creator and to one another, and it is this very difference in relations, perceived by mankind through their shared perspectives, that ultimately unite us. One life together in God can be realised by virtue of our shared existence. In view of this, violence (that is any form of chaos or conflict) must always be secondary to Logos 164
and “peace” as reason and order. For the condition of peace, created by reason and order, entails the resolution of opposites. This ensures we shall live in “harmony” with one another and all shall co-exist as a unity, whilst mankind’s creativity will achieve a greater purpose and an imitative realisation of the creative activity of Logos. It requires not the negation of the individual, but the perfection of the individual. None of this can be achieved by an appeal to the pre-eminence of Chaos, which is the fundamental antithesis of what Logos as a creative and life sustaining principle is. For mankind there are many perspectives, but inevitably only one raison d’etre for cultivation. It is the affirmation of the pre-eminence of the rational endeavour and in that lies a greater evolution towards order and unity and the development and affirmation of civilisation. It is a challenge for mankind, and a dialectic argument Dugin, as a Christian, should try to keep closer to his heart.
Summary and Conclusion Aleksandr Dugin already has a strategy for the domination of Europe in a plan he terms the “Russian Spring”. It is presented as one of three scenarios for resolution of the current Ukrainian crisis. The other two, in which the Kremlin prevaricates in the face of Western pressure, could result in thermonuclear annihilation, or at least small scale wars leading to global chaos. Considering this, Dugin’s strategy for the “Russian Spring” can be summarised by his followers in ten points. This has now been taken down from his Facebook page, but it gives a clear indication of the pragmatic and real-world intentions of the movement, and how 165
dangerous it really is. It has in any case been recorded in translation by Robert Zubrin (March 10, 2014 10:38 PM) in the National Review.
1. Kiev takes a waiting position, concentrates its troops on the border with the Crimea, and threatens, but takes no direct action. The U.S. strongly pressures Russia, freezing accounts, and actively wages a propaganda war, but they and NATO avoid direct clashes. Kiev receives substantial support from the West, but focuses on domestic issues. The border with Russia is closed. The referendum in the Crimea on whether to join Russia passes with minimal problems. The vast majority vote are for joining Russia. No country recognises the referendum except Russia. Russia raises the question of retaliation if it does not receive Crimea into Russia. Both chambers of the Duma promptly ratify the annexation. Crimea is returned to Russia. Russian forces enter. The West exerts strong pressure on Russia. Militants in the North Caucasus and the 5th Column in Moscow are activated. Putin is supported by everyone. His popularity among the people increases. This helps him cope with internal challenges.
2. In eastern Ukraine, Kiev starts to take tough punitive measures. There is a straight nationalist dictatorship. Individuals attempt to attack Crimea or commit acts of sabotage. They start taking revenge on Russians and the Russian-speaking east and south for the loss of Crimea. This leads to the onset of resistance. The second phase of Ukrainian drama begins: envisioned as the Battle for a â€œNew Russiaâ€?. People wake up and act quickly. Ukraine establishes a state of emergency, in
connection with what is defined as â€œMuscovite aggression.â€? The last traces of democracy are abolished. Elections are held in May in wartime.
3. The nationalists arrange a series of terrorist attacks in Russia. In Russia itself, the regime evolves, and starts to clean out the 5th Column.
4. In Novorossia, resistance increases and gradually moves to the phase of direct rebellion against the Kiev henchmen. There is a bloody civil war. Russia deploys a massive effective support structure; symmetrically the West supports Kiev. At a certain moment, in response to the sabotage in Russia and bloody actions of the nationalists and the repressive apparatus of Kiev against civilians and the east of Ukraine, Russia sends its troops into the east. The West threatens nuclear war. This is the existential moment for Putin, but he cannot stop. Going hard (possibly with heavy losses), Novorossia is liberated. The Left-bank Ukraine is conquered, with its border along the Dnieper. A new government is founded:
for example, Ukraine or Novorossia, or a
version of Crimea under Russian control may be repeated.
5. The Right-bank Ukraine, which does not recognise secession (as Yugoslavia under Milosevic and later Serbia against Kosovo), forms a new de facto Ukraine-2 state. NATO bases are immediately located on its territory, stopping the possibility of Russian move to Kiev.
6. The new nationalistic Ukrainian government quickly comes to a crisis. Direct clashes begin between ethnic groups (Ruthenians, Hungarians, 167
Poles, Romanians, other minorities) and on political grounds (power loss blamed for half the territories of Ukraine). The state weakens. The process of new secessions begins.
7. Russia does not stop there, but carries activity into Europe, acting as the main element of the European “Conservative” Revolution. Europe starts to crack: Some countries are behind the U.S., but more often begin to listen to Russia. Against the background of the financial crisis, Russia’s position becomes more attractive. Russia takes on the role of protectorate for multipolarity, continentalism, and new “conservatism” of Dugin’s new political theory.
8. In Western Ukraine, Ukraine-2, a pro-European (pro-German) political force comes to power that begins to soften anti-Russian policy and moves away from the U.S.
autonomous European armed force is created independent of NATO on the basis of the German Armed Forces and the French.
10. Finally a new great Continental Association is formed, as a confederation of Europe and Eurasia, the European Union and the Eurasian Union. Russian, Ukrainians and Europeans are on one side of the barricades, the Americans on the other. American hegemony and dominance of the dollar as well as domination of Atlanticism, Liberalism and the financial oligarchy comes to an end. A new page in world history 168
begins. The Slavs are reunited not against Europe, but with Europe in the framework of a multipolar polycentric world stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.
In order to be united “from Lisbon to Vladivostok” Eurasia will need a defining ideology. Dugin’s “Fourth Political Theory” is supposed to fulfil this need. This has a political dimension in its synthesis of Communism, Fascism, Ecologism, Traditionalism, but also offers a religious/spiritual dimension in a subverted form of Christian/Satanic (Chaos/Logos) occult mysticism. This is presumably an attempt to satisfy the adherents of all those diverse anti-liberal cults to make it popular and swell its ranks. In this rather eclectic embrace of numerous belief systems, he also professes a fondness for Paganism, Christian Cabbalism and neoPlatonic philosophy, whilst further appealing to Eastern religions generally, irrespective of tradition. He does this presumably to capture the Islamic influence, and he refers to Islamism specifically as a political ally. His metaphysical ideas betray him, however, not as a friend to Islam, but as essentially anti-Islamic in his anti-Logos appeal to Chaos. This is underlined by his general unorthodoxy. In this, he is not the Russian Orthodox Christian he claims to be, but an admirer of Heideggerean nihilism. In purely philosophical terms, Dugin’s existential and metaphysical concerns lead him to posit an active nihilism. His appeal to the virtues of Chaos to resolve the decay of Logos and cure the malady of Being is a solution originating from the prime concern of Heidegger’s that a fundamental confusion between Logos and Being has haunted Western civilisation since its inception. In this, however, Dugin’s choice of Chaos 169
as a solution is positively anti-Christian, and his language often appears not simply to seek Logos’ salvation, but seeks to elevate Chaos as the prime principle itself. His appeal to Chaos, rather than placing his faith in the eternal value of Logos, represents in some very frightening sense a subversion, and a blasphemy that insults millennia
theologic, Christian and Islamic tradition. Dugin’s Christian faith appears to be a mere pose to further its subversion and not a salvation. He tends to view salvation as one that is initiated by the power of Man and not God. His appeal to the redeeming power of Chaos would entail, for Christians at any rate, an affirmation of Satan’s power. It is bolstered by his subversion of Rene Guenon’s theory of Anti-Christ symbolism, and his concern with the “counter hierarchy” emerging from the East. 113 In this, he displays an inversion of the claims, and with his Chaos thesis, the philosophical tenets of rationality and order that have sustained and developed Western civilisation for millennia. It is not an exaggeration to state that Dugin’s primary imperative is to hasten Armageddon with an Apocalyptic reading.114 He 113
Rene Guenon p 325-326 “The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times”: “one can already see sketched out in various productions of indubitably ‘counter initiatic origin’, or inspiration the idea of an organisation, which would be like the counterpart, but by the same token also the counterfeit, of a tradition conception such as the Holy Empire and some such organisation must become the expression of this counter tradition in the social order, and for similar reasons the Anti-Christ must appear like something that could be called, using the language of the Hindu tradition, an inverted Chaktavarti…His time will certain no longer be the reign of quantity…it will be on the contrary be marked on the retet of a false spiritual restoration by a sort of reintroduction of quality in all things, but of quality inverted in respect to its normal and legitimate significance. After the egalitarianism of our times there will be again be a visibly established hierarchy, but an inverted hierarchy, indeed a real “counter hierarchy”, the summit of which will be occupied by the being who will in reality be situated nearer than any other being to the very bottom of the pit of Hell. ” 170
seeks to hasten the End of the World, and proclaims, as a servant of the Devil might, that this will be a productive and creative act of purging and a salvation. The accomplishment of that end is dependent, he believes, Christians commonly use the terms “Armageddon” and “Apocalypse” to refer to the end of the world. Specifically, though, Armageddon is a place where the final battle for mankind will be fought, while the Apocalypse is the reading of the events that lead to the end of the world. There is also both a religious apocalypse that Christians believe mankind can do nothing about, and the secular apocalypse that people might still have some control over. 114
There is only one mention of Armageddon in the Bible, in Revelation 16:16. The verse is: “And He gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue ‘Armageddon.’ ” The word comes from the Hebrew words har (meaning “mountain”), and Megiddo (also Megiddon), which was the name of a city. The city belonged to the Canaanites until it was captured by Joshua, and then was turned over to the Manassites. Today, the once-great fortified city is little more than ruins, located about 95 kilometers (60 mi) outside of Jerusalem. The city has a very long and bloody history, both Biblical and secular. After Joshua’s conquest, the Canaanites were slaughtered again there by the order of Deborah, and it’s the suspected location of an epic battle in Judges 7 between the Midianites and Gideon. King Solomon used the city to house the horses for his chariots, and it was also the site of a more modern 1918 battle between the British and the Turks that gave rise to modern Israel. The future battle at Armageddon will supposedly be where Christ and his saints will take on the Antichrist and an army of 200 million men. It’s at that point a period of 1,000 years of peace will begin. Apokalypsis on the other hand is the Greek word for “something uncovered.” It refers to the uncovering of a vision for the future, such as in the Book of Revelation and the Revelation of John. Most beliefs about the apocalypse are pieced together from different texts throughout the Bible, meaning that the apocalypse is actually providing a cypher for interpreting a series of events in the world around us that signal the oncoming Rapture, the great Tribulation, and, finally, the battle of Armageddon. The apocalypse then is the divine plan for establishing a reign of peace on earth, after defeating the evil that has taken root in the world. The difference between the religious and secular apocalypse is that the former isn’t necessarily the events themselves, but a way of interpreting them. A pre-determined event that cannot be changed as it is part of God’s plan. The secular apocalypse however does admit of change through our own actions. We can heed the dangers of wars and thwart any future crisis. 171
on the implementation of his radical ideology, not just in spiritual and philosophical terms, but in military terms also. His general ethos is encapsulated in a call to kill. As Dugin has proclaimed in his “The Fourth Political Theory”: “The end times and the eschatological meaning of politics will not realise themselves on their own. We will wait for the end in vain. The end will never come if we wait for it, and it will never come if we do not... If the Fourth Political Practice is not able to realise the end of times, then it would be invalid. The end of days should come, but it will not come by itself. This is a task, it is not a certainty. It is an active metaphysics. It is a practice.” This desire to bring about the end of the world is not a new strain in Dugin’s thought. It has been carefully considered for years. He cannot, therefore, take refuge in the claim that it is merely a proposition that he is prepared to abandon easily, because it was conceived in haste, nor that he simply offers it only for academic consideration. It is, moreover, fundamentally misconceived, and representative of a violent mind. It represents the prime premise of his philosophical ethos, and shows a shocking perversion of his supposed Christian faith. His appeal to Chaos represents, in simple terms, the equivalent of an intellectual call to worship at the altar of Satan. It represents a call for the immersion of Christ in a Chaos principle to supposedly resurrect it and create a new Chaos-God-Logos trinity. A bizarre notion, which also betrays influences from “Manicheanism”, a dualistic form of Gnosticism: a faith which views the world as an eternal battleground of equally matched forces of good and evil, with the spiritual forces of light battling the material forces of evil. Into this mix, the redeeming power of Christ, achieved by his death on the cross, is again inverted, so that the death of
Man supposedly represents some perverse form of salvation that will usher in, if not the end, then a new age. Dugin is keen to initiate this “third”, and “final”, age. As ever it is envisaged as a tripartite dialect progression: a view so beloved of the Bolshevik and Marxist intellectuals of the past. Accordingly, he writes in “The Metaphysics of National-Bolshevism”: “Beyond ‘rights’ and ‘lefts,’ there’s one and indivisible Revolution, in the dialectical triad ‘third Rome — Third Reich — third International.” In this, the realm of National-Bolshevism, the “Regnum”, their “Empire of the End”, is viewed as the perfect accomplishment of “the greatest Revolution of history”, and is considered both a continental and universal one. It is the: “angels’ return, the heroes’ resurrection, the heart’s uprising against the reason’s dictatorship. This last revolution is a concern of the acephal, the headless bearer of the cross, sickle and hammer, crowned by eternal sun fylfot. This “Empire of the End” is marked by the “dialectical triad” which combines “Third Rome — Third Reich — Third International.” Russian messianic delusions, combined with Joachimite aims, fused with National Socialism and Soviet Bolshevism, supposedly find their highest expression in this new ideology. Its symbolic representation is found, for Dugin, in the occult symbol of the eight-pointed “Star of Chaos”:
an emblem inscribed in gold on a black background. This
represents the flag of the Eurasianist movement. As James Heiser asserts in his “The American Empire Should Be Destroyed: Alexander Dugin and the Perils of Immanentized Eschatology”: “For Dugin, logos is replaced by chaos, and the very symbol of chaos magic is the symbol of Eurasia: ‘Logos has expired and we all will be buried under its ruins unless we make an appeal to chaos and its metaphysical principles, and use them as a basis for 173
something new.’ Dugin dressed his discussion of logos in the language of Heidegger, but his terminology cannot be read outside of a 2,000-year-old Western, biblical tradition which associates the Logos with the Christ, and Dugin’s invocation of chaos against logos leads to certain inevitable conclusions regarding his doctrines.” In short, Dugin’s Eurasianism is a cult of Chaos, and whilst he would not admit it himself, for Christians a cult of the anti-Christ. It is a dark project, which threatens not only the prospects for peace and stability in Ukraine and Russia, but the peace of the entire world. As to its implementation, evil and bloody rituals appear to be his preferred choice. To provide the most shocking example, in his article “Responsibility to Kill”, he pontificates on the ethics of war, and during the course of battle enthuses: “We could freely use animal food only if we agree to eat human flesh, in any form symbolically or directly. There are African tribes on West Atlantic shores who breed human slaves to eat them. I find it perfectly reasonable and perfectly responsible. If we kill animals by our hands , contemplate them suffering and dying, cut off their skin and separate bones, touching their inner organs, or if we vividly imagine that act each time when we eat our meal, we are completely sane, and we could proceed eventually applying in wars the same attitude towards humans. In the war it is essential to take responsibility for the act of killing. The very similar responsibility is connected to the act of eating animal food. But animal signifies sentient, that presupposes suffering. Let us do it with full responsibility- eating as well as fighting in one word- the responsibility of killing, or abstain, it is a free choice.” This is a chilling ethic, and one that can only be justified surely by a man who lauds evil in both the moral and intellectual spheres. In this, Dugin yet claims he believes in the redeeming power of Christ, and oft proclaims a false fervour to hide his wickedness in his greeting “Christ is 174
Risen”. The real question, however, is which Christ is he really referencing? Based on his extensively elaborated philosophical world view, there can only be one answer: the Anti-Christ. In this too, he speaks only of the “End Times” and as Shenfield, “Dugin’s Evil Theology”, observes: “The meaning of Russia is that through the Russian people will be realised the last thought of God, the thought of the End of the World…Death is the way to immortality. Love will begin when the word ends. We must long for it…like true Christians. We are uprooting the accursed Tree of Knowledge…with it will perish the Universe.” The beginning of this process begins in the real world with military action. In 2008, before war broke out between Russia and Georgia, Dugin proclaimed: “Our troops will occupy the Georgian capital Tblisi, the entire country and perhaps Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula which historically belongs to Russia anyway.” It is clear, then, that the Eurasianist’ view requires the capture of Ukraine as the next step. This is an important short term goal in the longer term quest for geopolitical and spiritual power. Without Ukraine, Dugin’s Eurasian project is hamstrung, and sooner or later Russia, or so Dugin fears, would probably have to join the West. With Ukraine under Russian control, however, the chances of a Eurasianist project succeeding are increased. Full implementation of the Eurasian strategy would usher in a new Russian empire, but with it a new totalitarianism, that would imprison a large swathe of humanity. A Russian dictatorial power that would view itself in some political and spiritual sense as superior. It would mean another Cold War, an arms race, a need for increased national-security, repeated conflicts costing millions of lives, and more generally an increased risk of nuclear conflagration. 175
The popularity of neo-Eurasianism is increasing and led by a cabal of influential figures in the Kremlin.
Dugin’s role in this is to lend the
If Eurasianism was simply limited to Professor Dugin’s theorising and philosophical musings it would not be of such concern. It could be dismissed as having a limited influence upon the Kremlin and Putin in turn. It could even be dismissed as the rantings of a dangerous but brilliant academic, but one limited in his political influence. Dugin, however, is not the only champion of the Neo-Eurasian philosophy. It has its foremost advocates amongst others in the Putin administration that yet might be less cerebral and innovative, but more influential. Dugin’s power is limited in and of itself, even if he does exert influence over an emerging, but easily disillusioned Russian youth movement. 115
A more influential figure for Eurasian and Ukrainian policy in the Kremlin is Sergei Glazyev, an economist, who like Dugin tends to combine radical nationalism with nostalgia for Bolshevism. He was a member of the Communist Party and a Communist deputy in the Russian parliament before co-founding a far-right party called Rodina, or “Motherland”. In 2005 some of its deputies signed a petition to the Russian prosecutor general asking that all Jewish organisations be banned from Russia. There are other figures too in what is known as Izborsky Club, a policy shaping think tank. Founder and president of the Izborsky Club, Aleksandr Prokhanov, was a former high-level Soviet propagandist. In 1991 Prokhanov wrote the “Word to the People” manifesto for the coup that attempted to restore Stalinist hardliners to power. Following the failure of the coup, Prokhanov joined the radical ultranationalist opposition, which he has boosted through his publication of the antiSemitic newspaper Den’ (The Day) and when this was banned, following the failure of the 1993 Soviet-restorationist coup, he continued through the publication of an extremist “red/brown” (Communist/Nazi) newspaper “Zavtra” best translated as “Tomorrow”. Other powerful members of the Izborsky Club have included Zavtra’s editor-in-chief, Aleksandr Nagorny; Putin’s Eurasian Union policy architect, Sergei Glazeyev; economic policymakers Aleksandr Ageyev, Sergei Bachikov, and Andrei Kobyakov; military hardliner Leonid Ivashov; pan-Slavist soldier of fortune and Zavtra military editor Vladislav Shurigin; oligarchs Oleg Rozanov, Yuri Lastochkin, and Aleksandr Notin; police major general and former head of Russian Interpol Vladimir Ovchinsky; the co-chairman of the reactionary “Great Fatherland Party”, Nikolai Starikov; the Kremlin’s Islamic-world strategy coordinator, Shamil Sultanov; the author of the bestseller “Why America Will Perish”, Oleg Platonov; leading TV news anchors Mikhail Leontev and Maksim Shevchenko; film director and Russian Orthodox priest Ivan Okhlobystin; Russian Orthodox Church Supreme Council member Archmandrite Tikhon; along with Eurasianist ideologues Aleksandr Dugin, Valeri Korovin, Andrei Fursov, and Vladimir Kucherenko (a.k.a. Maksim Kalashnikov). 176
simultaneously offering a divide and conquer strategy in the academic and political spheres of the West. He presents himself as a “traditionalist” and a “conservative”, critiquing (as many conservatives and Constitutionalists do) the perils of Liberal Progressivism as an essentially corrupt and immoral Socialist derived philosophy, whilst simultaneous he conflates it with Classical Liberalism, in order to attack the merits of the US Constitution and the virtues and values of liberty. However, his attack on the values of “Western Liberalism”, which have themselves originated from cultural Marxism, ring hollow in the light of his own National Bolshevik influences, and his tendency to work with totalitarian ideologies. The impression in all of this is Aleksandr Dugin is an insincere “conservative” and one who cannot be considered a friend of paleoconservativism, or any who genuinely espouse the virtues of justice, freedom and independence. His contrary suggestions, comments and the anomalies apparent in his reasoning, strongly suggest he is a radical and one of the worst and most dangerous kind. A “nationalist” but one who espouses a new brand of supranational totalitarianism. The These individuals have been the prime movers behind the Kremlin’s drive toward war, and a Eurasian empire. A glance at their publications should dispel any notion that Russia’s ongoing step-by-step invasion of Ukraine is being undertaken for purposes limited to taking control of just a few more provinces. These people are quite open about the fact that their plans are much more expansive in nature than that. For example, Dugin’s chief lieutenant, Korovin, has just come out with a book entitled “The End of the Ukrainian Project”. In this he asserted: “The destruction of residual Ukrainian statehood is predetermined.” The Izborsky Club’s agenda goes far beyond Ukraine however as he makes clear. Kucherenko (aka Kalashnikov) outlines the next stage. Russia lost the Third World War (the Cold War), he says in a recent article published by the club, but: “the Fourth World War is possible. It will be a war for the redivision of the world. . . . And in the final stage, some strong country, the United States, in the first place, and then perhaps China, will be subjected to military strikes.” 177
intellectual figurehead of a movement that poses a grave threat: not simply in respect to Constitutional America, but in respect to the entire world.
Published on Dec 30, 2016
An analysis of Aleksandr Dugin (one of the Kremlin's advisors) in respect to his geopolitical theory and suggested strategies in the light o...