A Review of His Political Thought translated into the English Language
On the twentieth of August, at approximately 21:45 hours, the report of a car bomb pierced the night of Bolshie Vyazyomy, Odintsovsky District, Moscow Oblast, Russia. The victim was the comely Dar’ya Aleksandrovna, a recognized broadcast journalist; but the prevailing international suspicion is that the intended target may instead have been her father, Professor Alexander Dugin, an eccentric sociologist deeply implicated in the discourses of contemporary Russian imperialism. Regardless of the domestic or foreign entity responsible, the suspected attempted murder of a non-combatant, unofficial author and intellectual furnishes a mercifully uncharacteristic, but nonetheless undeniably compelling demonstration of the perceived importance of his scholarly work, to be properly examined and engaged below.
Dugin’s antecedents remain unconfirmed in the West, and perhaps even unknown in the East. Little employment history is supplied, or clarification provided as to the institution at which, or as to the faculty beneath which he earned the customary doctorate; but in 2003 he founded the International Eurasian Movement whilst an instructor at Moscow State University, with Identitarian publishing line Arktos bringing forth nine English-language books that bear his name during the last decade. The main idea of The Fourth Political Theory (2012) is that the liberal (first), the Communist (second), and the fascist (third) theories have all been empirically and normatively discredited, but that strong reliance on Heidegger can safely deliver atomized and alienated Man into a conceptual realm “of absolute freedom…the freedom given by ethnocentrism and the freedom of Dasein, the freedom of culture and the freedom of society, and the freedom for any form of subjectivity except for that of the individual” (52-53). The second installment from 2017 builds further theory on Carl Schmitt and clarifies that the satisfactory resolution of the 2008 Georgian War pivoted the theoretical conversation in the appropriate direction. Eurasian Mission (2014) unfolds a categorical rejection of globalization and of its normative basis within bourgeois liberalism and individualism, culminating in a terrifying “Manifesto of the Global Revolutionary Alliance” appealing to the aggrieved and dispossessed of every tribe and nation to enlist in the escalating campaign to overthrow the existing world order. Russian comparative politics since the fall of Communism is meanwhile the subject matter of Putin vs Putin: Vladimir Putin Viewed from the Right (2014) and Last War of the World Island: The Geopolitics of Contemporary Russia (2015), which postures relentless pressure from the avaricious “thalassocratic” or sea-based Britain and America applied to the contented “tellurocratic” or land-based Russia, with the latter suffering its most abject national humiliations during the very interval (1991-2007) when the confused leadership in Moscow proved most deferential and accommodating. Ethnos and Society (2018) and Ethnosociology (2019) deeply engage existing literature in anthropology and sociology to outline a meta-historical transformation from the homogenous ethnos to the functionally differentiated narod, and then in turn through the intervening nation, civil society, and global society to a final impending post-society of cybernetic organisms in which natural human community shall have almost completely disappeared. Dugin next invokes Political Platonism (2019) to argue that “democracy is a false doctrine; it is built on a world that doesn’t exist and a society that cannot exist” (21). His most recent Theory of a Multipolar World (2021), finally, builds on Huntington’s famous clash of civilizations thesis to begin to construct a world polity divided into a small number of large civilizations rather than a large number of small states, an arrangement guaranteed to completely dismantle American hegemony.
One might strenuously object to much of the content of these books on both evidentiary and analytical grounds, though so routine and so pedantic a response concomitantly implies tacit overall approval. Autodidact or not, Putin’s Rasputin or not, Alexander Dugin is a serious scholar, a genuine intellectual, and a provocative social scientist who may be not unworthily pronounced the most formidable theoretical opponent of Western liberalism since Lenin, whose ideas with sufficient diffusion, institutionalization, and weaponization could potentially inspire the most serious international disorders. Yet in any engagement with such intellectual enemy forces, it is of paramount importance to furnish confrontation without misrepresentation. Dugin condemns fascism, criticizes nationalism, and lays little to nothing to the charge of republicanism as such, but rather steadfastly hates, “globalization, the striving of the Atlantic Western pole to hang its unipolar hegemony on all the nations and countries on Earth” (2012: 120). This British-American imperialism is said to derive not merely from the ambition, acquisitiveness, and vainglory of select heads of state or government, nor even from pernicious political tendencies such as neoliberalism or neoconservatism, but from the Whig or Kantian teleology of the superstructure of Western thought itself, with its inability to recognize and disposition to devalue any alternative philosophy of life. “The distinctive feature of ethnosociology,” Dugin clarifies, “consists in the fact that, in contrast to classical sociology, it rejects the basic assumption of the normativity of modern society and builds its theories on the basis of equal right, equal significance and equal worth of all types of society, ancient and modern, simple and complex, highly developed and ‘primitive’” (2018: 192). Therefore his respective fourth political theory, Eurasianism, tellurocracy, ethnosociology, and multi-polarity collectively offer the promise of liberation not merely from the yoke of Atlantic world-power, but also from the unbearable imposition of the Atlantic worldview.
Amid these elaborate reactionary representations, the most conspicuous absence is any acknowledgement of international law as the impartial instrument by which limitation is imposed upon the sovereign power of the American or of any other nation. The leading rôle of the Soviet Union in the wartime Allied conferences (1943-45), in the administration of justice at Nuremberg, in the formation of the United Nations, and in the incomplete but significant détente and disarmament talks begun in Helsinki whereby Moscow substantially contributed to the development of international law, organization, and governance is completely absent from the analysis. Dugin likewise barely mentions, much less emphasizes the Vietnamese and other American military misadventures. The primary object of his seething resentment and combustible malcontent is instead the more recent exertion of American “soft” power, above all upon Russia, and the consequent profanation of his sacral narod and Behemoth through the importation of Atlanticist nihilistic values. “The coming Eurasian empire,” he prophecies, “may on all grounds be called an empire of goodness and light, summoned to act in the final and decisive battle with the American empire of lies, exploitation, moral decomposition, and equality” (2017: 112). If injustice has thus been perpetrated upon his or upon any native land, Dugin summarily dismisses any possibility of the account being settled through the existing law and polity of the United Nations, preferring instead, it must appear, the planetary war and revolution necessary to recreate his imperial “large spaces” structuration.
Proceeding from accuser to accused, the most self-defeating response by Western liberalism to such an extensive indictment is to openly belittle it, and if inadvertently to appear to deprecate the mortal agony of the wretched of the earth as the calculated psychobabble of “populists” within regrettable instances of “democratic backsliding” wherein enlightened official efforts must be redoubled to “counter violent extremism.” To know your enemy entails the capacity to learn from him, and to recognize when the grievances central to his appeal might partially be redressed through the adjustment of one’s own words and actions. Consequently, the following critical interrogatories are respectfully submitted in the spirit of conceptual dialogue, and in the expectation that controlled resistance shall strengthen the hand of freedom. Professing the Bills of Rights (1688, 1789), the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen (1789), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the European Convention on Human Rights (1950), as we ought, why does no comparable liberal instrument delineate human duties or obligations? If the comparatively skilled, educated, and moderate of the Third World, in accordance with existing policies, are systemically induced to permanently resettle in the Western democracies, then might not their precarious sending states likewise become depleted of the human capital counteracting the attainment of power by the comparatively unskilled, uneducated, and immoderate? Might not the inarguable scientific and technological attainment of the constitutionally exclusivist Afrikaaner, Israeli, German, Russian, but above all Japanese ethno-states or empires potentially endanger the axiomatic liberal proposition that diversity is useful or necessary for complex problem-solving? If commodity dumping is illegal under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1986 , VI.1), then why have millions of metric tons of ersatz manufactures from China been freely disembarked in American ports? Is it really so invidious to suggest that Anglo-American household insolvency might to some degree derive from the disestablishment of the norm of lifelong marriage, whereby millions of early to mid-adults have been corralled into surrendering their spare time, accumulated capital, and inner peace by reason of extremely expensive, utterly exhausting, and often highly acrimonious divorce and custody proceedings? Given that a doormat, toaster, hat brush, or vacuum cleaner shall suffice for the needs of five to six just as well as for those of one to two, does not liberal-individualist consumer economy result in considerable duplication, and hence waste of resources? And, above all, what is the correlative, causal, or dialectical relationship between Christian salvific and liberal democratic norms, and what ought to be thought, said, or done amid their apparent conflict? No normative commitment is stated or implied by posing any of the highly sensitive aforesaid, all of which proper inquiry might completely falsify. The intention is rather to indicate the urgent need for elite acknowledgement of the potency, the prevalence, but above all the lasting bitterness of the widespread and enduring perception—accurate or not, deserved or not—among reactionary elements at comparative and international level that institutionalized liberal internationalism purposefully evades engagement with such assorted criticism, opting instead to exploit its near-monopolist position to discredit, de-platform, or otherwise disarm the critic. “Marginal opposition is tolerated;” Dugin states in Political Platonism (2019), “but if it is more than marginal, democracy sets its machines of oppression against its alternatives like any regime, any ideology, and any dominant religion” (11). As with Lenin, Hitler, Mao, or Bin Laden, it is possible that no adjustment of American policy may be expected to produce any appreciable alteration in such profound exception and violent hostility to Western liberal democracy, and to the norms of individual rights on which it is based. In such a case, Kennanist containment would remain the sole though imperfect option. But it is also possible that Dugin—controlling for his inestimable paternal grief—is not absolutely beyond reach, insofar as a partial retreat from ceaseless technological innovation, sustained effort to reconstruct manners and morals, heightened sensitivity to the urgency of ecological renewal, recovered inter-generational and communal cohesion, and initiation of active listening to Third World grievances, among other adjustments, might begin to present a different picture to even so prejudicial an observer. Amid comparable deterioration of authority and equivalent darkness over the earth, Hannah Arendt concluded in On Violence (1969: 83), “I am inclined to think that much of the present glorification of violence is caused by severe frustration of the faculty of action in the modern world.”
The English-language works of Alexander Dugin: The Fourth Political Theory (London: Arktos, 2012), 211 pp. $29.50 cloth; Eurasian Mission: An Introduction to Neo-Eurasianism (London: Arktos, 2014), 179 pp. $22.75 cloth; Putin vs Putin: Vladimir Putin Viewed from the Right (London: Arktos, 2014), 320 pp. $29.00 cloth; Last War of the World-Island: The Geopolitics of Contemporary Russia (London: Arktos, 2015), ix + 152 pp. $21.00; The Rise of the Fourth Political Theory: The Fourth Political Theory, vol. II (London: Arktos, 2017), 229 pp. $21.95; Ethnos and Society (London: Arktos, 2018), 236 pp. $25.40; Political Platonism: The Philosophy of Politics (London: Arktos, 2019), 116 pp. $14.95; Ethnosociology: The Foundations (London: Arktos, 2019), 296 pp. $24.95; The Theory of a Multipolar World (London: Arktos, 2021), 154 pp. $14.95.