Men of action cut a large figure in the history books, but it is the ideas placed in their heads by men of thought that actually determine what they do. Thus the scribblings of mad philosophers can lead to the deaths of millions. As the modern-day heir to this tradition, Alexander Dugin bids fair to break the record.
Most Americans don’t know anything about Alexander Dugin. They need to, because Dugin is the mad philosopher who is redesigning the brains of much of the Russian government and public, filling their minds with a new hate-ridden totalitarian ideology whose consequences can only be catastrophic in the extreme, not only for Russia, but for the entire human race.
In recent months, as the embrace of Duginist ideas by the Putin regime has become ever more evident, a number of articles
have been written calling attention to the threat. But now, with the appearance of “The American Empire Should Be Destroyed”: Alexander Dugin and the Perils of Immanentized Eschatology
, by James Heiser, we finally have a book-length treatment. It is well worth reading.
Heiser is a bishop of the Lutheran church, and, accordingly, he deals with both the political and the theological aspects of Dugin’s allegedly conservative but actually neopagan “Eurasianist” ideology. The subtitle of the book may put off a number of readers, but as a plain-spoken engineer who would cross the street to avoid terms like “immanentized eschatology,” I found the writing to be clear enough overall, and in some places elegant.
Heiser follows Dugin’s career, moving from his expulsion from the Moscow Aviation Institute for involvement in proto-Nazi mystical circles in the early 1980s, through his continued development in association with various Thule Society–like organizations through the late Eighties, his contacts with the anti-democratic European Nouvelle Droite, his co-founding and career with the National Bolshevik Party in the 1990s, and his subsequent move into the Russian political mainstream following from his realization that he could gain far more influence as an adviser to those in power than he ever could operating as a splinter party on his own.
Heiser then proceeds to dissect Dugin’s political and geopolitical ideology of Eurasianism. The core idea of this is that “liberalism” (by which Dugin means the entire Western consensus) represents an assault on the traditional hierarchical organization of the world. Repeating the ideas of Nazi theorists Karl Haushofer, Rudolf Hess, Carl Schmitt, and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Dugin says that this liberal threat is not new, but is the ideology of the maritime-cosmopolitan power “Atlantis,” which has conspired to subvert more conservative land-based societies since ancient times. Accordingly he has written books in which he has reconstructed the entire history of the world as a continuous battle between these two factions, from Rome vs. Carthage to Russia vs. the Anglo-Saxon “Atlantic Order” today. If it is to win its fight against the subversive oceanic bearers of such “racist” (because foreign imposed) ideas as human rights, Russia must unite around itself all the continental powers, including Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, Turkey, Iran, and Korea, into grand Eurasian Union strong enough to defeat the West.
In order to be so united “from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” this Eurasian Union will need a defining ideology, and for this purpose Dugin has developed a new “Fourth Political Theory” combining all the strongest points of Communism, Nazism, Ecologism, and Traditionalism, thereby allowing it to appeal to the adherents of all of these diverse anti-liberal creeds. He would adopt Communism’s opposition to free enterprise. However, he would drop the Marxist commitment to technological progress, a liberal-derived ideal, in favor of Ecologism’s demagogic appeal to stop the advance of industry and modernity. From Traditionalism, he derives a justification for stopping free thought. All the rest is straight out of Nazism, ranging from legal theories justifying unlimited state power and the elimination of individual rights, to the need for populations “rooted” in the soil, to weird gnostic ideas about the secret origin of the Aryan race in the North Pole.
What Russia needs, says Dugin, is a “genuine, true, radically revolutionary and consistent, fascist fascism.” On the other hand, “Liberalism, is an absolute evil. . . . Only a global crusade against the U.S., the West, globalization, and their political-ideological expression, liberalism, is capable of becoming an adequate response. . . . The American empire should be destroyed.”
Heiser then provides a chilling analysis of Dugin’s theology:
It would be our contention that Dugin’s fusion of Traditionalism and Eurasianism has become a “gnostic mass movement” of the third type, “activist mysticism.” It is not an exaggeration to state that Dugin’s intended goal, his telos, is the End of the World, and that the accomplishment of that end is dependent, he believes, on the implementation of his ideology. As Dugin has proclaimed in his recent book, The Fourth Political Theory:
“The end times and the eschatological meaning of politics will not realize 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 realize 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 sudden development in Dugin’s thought. As noted in the quotation at the beginning of this chapter, as early as 2001, Dugin’s intentions were being published abroad, and could be read by an English-speaking audience. In 2001, [Stephen] Shenfield observes that Dugin’s eschatological view is “Manichean” — which is to say, a dualistic form of Gnosticism which views the world as a battleground of equally matched forces of good and evil, in which spiritual forces of light contend with material forces of evil. Into this Manichaenism, Dugin admixes Christian concepts, oft repeating the notion that the West is the realm of “Antichrist.” As Shenfield quotes Dugin:
“The meaning of Russia is that through the Russian people will be realized the last thought of God, the thought of the End of the World. . . . Death is the way to immortality. Love will begin when the world ends. We must long for it, like true Christians. . . . We are uprooting the accursed Tree of Knowledge. With it will perish the Universe.”
Shenfield then observes: “Alexander Yanov, quoting these lines, concludes that Dugin’s ‘real dream is of death, first of all the death of Russia.’ In his reply, Dugin avoids dealing directly with the substance of Yanov’s critique, but observes that he fails to appreciate the positive significance of death . . .”
It is hard to know how to react to someone who claims to want to bring about the end of the world. When that desire is expressed with a thick Russian accent, the hearer is all the more likely to simply dismiss the speaker as some sort of “super villain” from a bad “action/adventure” movie. It is a claim which evokes the snicker — until one realizes that the man who thinks that the “meaning of Russia” is “the End of the World” is the man whose geopolitical doctrine is being implemented by the ruler of Russia.
Dugin is quite keen on the notion that the coming age is the third, and final, age. As Dugin wrote 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.” The realm of national-bolshevism, Regnum, their Empire of the End, this is the perfect accomplishment of the greatest Revolution of history, both a continental and universal one. It is the angels’ return, 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.” All the expectations of historic Russian messianic delusions, combined with the Joachimite aims of Nazism and Soviet Bolshevism, purportedly find their highest expression in this new ideology, according to Dugin.