Dugin Contra Liberalism
This is a beginning of a series of more or less self-contained articles on Alexander Dugin drawn from a larger text, “Race, ‘Ethnos,’ and the Fourth Political Theory.”
Alexander Dugin has designated “liberalism” as the enemy of the “fourth political theory.” Or rather, since the enemy can only be an actually existing group of people and not an idea or ideology, he has designated as the enemy all those are in favor of the global hegemony of liberalism (the hegemony of “the West” and “atlanticism”): “If you are in favor of global liberal hegemony, you are the enemy.”
What does Dugin mean by “liberalism”? Is it the ideology of the people referred to as “liberals” in America? Calling someone a “liberal” in Europe means something quite different from calling someone a “liberal” in the United States. “Liberals” in the United States are on the left: they vote for the Democratic party and are in favor a welfare state and a regulated economy. In Europe, they would be considered social democrats. Ideologically, they are egalitarians and tend to be critical of laissez-faire capitalism. They oppose “racism,” “sexism” and “homophobia” from an egalitarian point of view. They view prison sentences as therapeutic and socializing rather than as forms of punishment. They believe in “social justice” rather than justice through retribution. They believe that human beings are basically good and can be redeemed through “social work.” They believe in social conditioning rather than personal responsibility. They tend to be in favor of a strict separation of church and state, while at the same time advocating an egalitarian world-view that is essentially a form of secularized Christianity.
In Europe, “liberals” are on the right: they are generally opposed to the welfare state, in favor of free markets, the privatization of the infrastructure and a largely unregulated economy. Traditionally, they also support various conservative social policies, placing an emphasis on individual responsibility as the correlative of the notion of individual rights. In other words, liberalism is a bourgeois ideology, favoring a capitalist economy, based on the enlightenment concept of individual human rights.
Today, however, the polarity between left and right is becoming much less sharp, and is gradually being replaced by a general consensus. The social policies of European liberal parties often coincide with those associated with the post-1968, libertarian left. Liberal, pro-capitalist parties oppose “racism,” “sexism,” and “homophobia” from the point of view of individualist libertarianism. Everyone is supposed to be treated as an individual, in an unprejudiced” way. Forms of collective identity — national, religious or racial – are declared passé. National borders and ethnic communities, insofar as they limit the freedom of the individual, are to be abolished. The freedom of the individual must be defended as long as it does not interfere with the rights of other individuals. This is the liberalism that Dugin has designated as the enemy: globalist capitalism founded on the ideology of human rights. The fourth political theory is anti-capitalist, against globalism, and against the ideology of human rights.
Today, the common foundations and origins of the social democratic, egalitarian left and the bourgeois, liberal right in the enlightenment ideology of human rights has become clearer, as “the left” and “the right” become increasingly hard to distinguish from one another. Both left and right-wing mainstream parties today tend to favor multiculturalism, immigration, gay rights, and the separation of church and state. They share fundamental views about gender equality and sometimes drug liberalization. These policies are legitimized by the “right” from the point of view of individual rights, and by the “left” from the point of view of egalitarianism. Moreover, the middle-class leftist “revolutionaries” of the late ’60s and early ’70s have often made a transition from the communist left to the libertarian right, realizing that their adherence to the left was based on an ideological self-misunderstanding. They were essentially bourgeois, left libertarians who briefly mistook themselves for communist revolutionaries.
In other words, the differences between the left and the right in Europe today are only differences of interpretation of a single legacy: the enlightenment. It would more correct to talk about “liberal-egalitarian hegemony” rather than simply “liberal hegemony.” Both liberalism and egalitarianism are based on the ideology of human rights, but emphasize different aspects. Right-wing liberals emphasize the individual aspect of human rights. Leftist egalitarians emphasize the universal aspect of human rights. Both conceptions of humanity — universal man and individual man — are abstractions, that is, defined only in negative terms. Both universal man and individual man are defined as not belonging to a particular group or category (ethnic or otherwise). Insofar as man is universal, “he” cannot belong to any particular ethnic group, gender or other category. The individual, on the other hand, cannot as such be subsumed under any category or defined as belonging to any collectivity (nationality ethnicity, gender, etc.) since this would violate his or her absolute singularity. “The individual,” then, is any and every human being and potentially corresponds to all of humanity. The individual is universal (as a representative of “humanity” as such) and all human beings are, as human beings, individuals. In other words, “universal man” can only be “individual man.” Egalitarianism and individualism ultimately boil down to the same abstract conception of man.
All established, mainstream political parties in Europe today gravitate towards this liberal-egalitarian center. This leaves all other groups marginalized. This center is the rational, humane, bourgeois individual, monopolizing the legacy of the enlightenment, with reason itself as the defining trait of humanity, it follows that those who deviate in some way from the center are non- or less-than-human (monsters), irrational and unenlightened. The marginalized are de-humanized and dismissed as irrational, “mentally ill” or “extremist.” They are denied a voice, the capacity to think and a right to participate in the political sphere: in other words, they are in various ways deprived of political subjectivity.
These groups include the various losers of liberal modernity, such as religious conservatives who oppose gay rights and the separation of church and state. Christian religious conservatives are not completely marginalized — they still have a presence within established political parties, albeit one that is steadily weakening. Communists, who oppose the idea of individual rights, free enterprise, and private property are not entirely marginalized, especially within academia and cultural institutions. When necessary, they post-communist parties in Europe are allowed to form parts of coalition governments. Leftist activists, in the form of “antifa” groups are tolerated insofar as they perform functions as the watchdogs of the system, when measures are required that lie outside of the limits of legality. They also share a common basis with the established political parties in the egalitarian, universalist aspects of their ideology, which has its roots in the enlightenment.
Much more marginalized and demonized are nationalists, who oppose, in varying degrees, universalism (to the extent that they value national identity), free trade (to the extent that they want to protect national economies), and individualism (to the extent that they view national and ethnic identity as in some cases having primacy over individual identity). Finally, the most marginalized and demonized group of all are racialists and racial nationalists, who oppose not only universalism, but also egalitarianism. However heterogeneous these groups are, they are sometimes placed in the same category – that of “totalitarian” or “anti-democratic” movements – by the liberal center.
It is on this basis that Alain de Benoist, Dugin, and Alain Soral have wanted to create an “alliance of the periphery against the center,” that is, of more or less marginalized groups against the dominant political establishment. In their case, this has so far meant not so much an alliance between the radical left and the radical right as an alliance between religious conservatives (to a large extent Muslims) and ex-communists. A good example of this in Western Europe is Alain Soral’s “Egalité et réconciliation” (“Equality and Reconciliation”), which rejects the repatriation of immigrants, instead embracing “communitarianism,” and attempts to build an alliance between Muslim immigrants and French “patriots.” The name of Soral’s movement already makes it clear that a critique of egalitarianism is not part of the agenda. Neither, of course, is racialism or racially-based nationalism.
It is noteworthy that Dugin, too, avoids any critique of egalitarianism. To the extent that opposition to egalitarianism is the essence of the true right, this means downplaying the real differences between left and right by focusing entirely on attacking “liberalism.” The concept of “liberalism” — intentionally left ambiguous, referring at times to capitalist economic individualism, at times to the moral individualism of gay rights activists and secularists — is meant to function as a central pole of opposition that will artificially unify into a single, cohesive front groups that are otherwise profoundly heterogeneous.
It is crucial to understand that Dugin, who calls for a “crusade against the West” is not opposed to liberalism because it is leading to the destruction of the white race. On the contrary, he frequently identifies “the West” with the white race (since he does not view Russians as white, as will be explained later). His primary stated goal is to destroy liberalism, even if that means destroying the white race (“European humanity”) along with it. As he puts it in The Fourth Political Theory:
. . . liberalism (and post-liberalism) may (and must – I believe this!) be repudiated. And if behind it, there stands the full might of the inertia of modernity, the spirit of Enlightenment and the logic of the political and economic history of European humanity of the last centuries, it must be repudiated together with modernity, the Enlightenment, and European humanity altogether. Moreover, only the acknowledgement of liberalism as fate, as a fundamental influence, comprising the march of Western European history, will allow us really to say ‘no’ to liberalism. (The Fourth Political Theory, p. 154)
He also defines the race of the subject of the “fourth political theory” as “non-White/European” [Ibid. p. 189]. He has predicted world-wide anti-white pogroms as retribution for the evil deeds of the white race, pogroms that Russians, however, will be exempt from, since they are not, according to him, fully white.