Leviathan and Behemoth – Alexander Dugin’s geopolitical conspirology
From traditionalist’s point of view, the absolute consumer is far better suited for counter-initiatory Avatar, than SS storm trooper, and gas-stop by the highway is far more appropriate temple of the new god than any conceivable temple of nation or race. For all consumers can see themselves as a unified community while standing in the line before the register of the gas-stop, completely identical to every other gas-stop in European Union, being a part of network of highways which isolate the passenger and render all scenery identically unrecognizable. In other words, counter-initiation needs to offer the people a reason why they’ll profit if all the differences are abolished, until the only thing still discerning them as global brothers and sisters is a discriminatory ‘ladies/gentlemen’ label above the door of the gas-stop restroom.
Why is serpent so shy? Politics of Globalization hides it’s own metaphysics like an awkward luggage. For those who realize that project of globe encompassing society is impossible without total religious, political and economic system, the only question is: why does the serpent hide it’s legs? Is it because it’s ashamed or is it because without them it creeps faster? Alexander Dugin, Russian sociologist, philosopher and theoretician of geopolitics, whose book Konspirologija was presented to Croatian public by Eneagram publishing, would unequivocally opt for second alternative. But before followers of David Icke proceed to send him positive vibrations, we must advice them to think twice. Dugin had no qualms about Russia’s authorities’ jailing of members of Voina art collective, i.e. girls from ad hoc band Pussy Riot, after their “punk prayer” in Moscow Cathedral, denouncing their performance as a subversive act on behalf of the creeping metaphysics we are talking about. On the other hand, postmodern Croat nationalist who, upon hearing this, automatically decides to add Dugin a plus into his fan-book – a plus as big as those huge concrete pseudo-catholic crosses gracing the hills of Dalmatia and Herzegovina – will be obliged to shiver under the cold shower of Dugin’s laudatory speech on psychiatrist-cum-psychopath Radovan Karadžić from 2008.
Alexander Dugin is not the man to simplify things, so caution in approach to his work should be proportional to a caution one exercises while approaching the ideas of Western practitioners and theoreticians of social engineering, like Kissinger, Soros, Popper or Luhmann. Admittedly, the ambitions are similar – victory in the arena of geopolitics and accomplishment of a concrete and definitive worldview. However, in contrast to his antipodes, Dugin doesn’t display totalitarian incentive – or he hides it well, maybe even from himself. In that respect, aside of the fact that he is, to the contrary of Western necromancers, prone to play an open card game, we can trust a lingering hope that his cards are not being marked in advance.
Presuppositions of Conspirology Book we are reviewing is Dugin’s early work and only partly presents us with insight into his core ideas, which later brought him to the threshold of Kremlin. Konspirologija, first published in 1991., presents us with well educated and meticulous author, interested in problem on academic margin, i.e. conspiracy theories. In that sense, while laying out the framework of the book, Dugin notes that conspirological notion of history and every-day life is something quite common in public mind, although it is never spoken about publicly. That presents the thinker with the task of sociological analysis of the phenomena, namely the delineating of typical structures, forms and meanings which make it so widespread and influential, yet at the same time invisible to academic world. If anybody takes up the task, he will soon realize that Dugin is a source to be reckoned with, because introductory part of Konspirologija shows how well informed he is. He traces the history of conspirological concepts through exposition of their significant advocates, mainly authors the contemporary audience of InfoWars probably never heard of, although they had left an important mark on history of ideas in general. The principle of their classification and evaluation is not objective truth of what they argue for, which Dugin touches only in passing, but activity of human spirit which brings their ideas into being. It is a conspirological archetype of a sort, an idea deeply rooted in the unconscious layers of humanity, providing it with elusive, yet very real, intuition that below the surface of history there is a definite direction and meaning. Flood of conspiracy theories is related to erosion of traditional Christian culture, initiated, according to Dugin, in the second half of 18th century, i.e. in the age of penetration of Enlightenment ideas in realpolitik of Europe. Hence, Dugin denotes modern and postmodern conspiracy theories as the theories of “human” conspiracies. In accordance with zeitgeist they necessary tend to sublimate the religious moment and then project it in the deeds of men, groups which continually labor on destruction of existing world order.
At that point, Dugin rightfully notes the recurring patterns: for instance, the idea of so called “Masonic plot” has been around for two hundred years with minimal variations and identical pro and contra arguments, and at the same time with no signs of giving up on behalf of it’s adherents. However, that which remains permanent in all changing forms of conspiracy theories is hidden to most of their creators and proponents. So Dugin is obliged to ask the following: what is it that makes certain conspiracy theories plausible, while at the same time contradictory? In plain words, why the same idea rings differently when put in words by different men; why, to take an example, denunciation of Israel rings very different when pronounced by neo-Nazi or someone as benign as David Icke, if they use the same – admittedly, in both instances, shallow – arguments? Why do we have a feeling that they are saying different things? Sometimes mere qualification of being conspiracy theorists can suffice to shut someone’s mouth, not to mention the real money makers like accusations of anti-Semitism and historical revisionism which are now days inescapable if anything concerning the Jewish people is said without due reverence. In that sense conspirological approach to history is a risky business, if done properly. Hence, Dugin calls real conspirologists “madmen of history” in honor of “madmen of poetry”, the French symbolists. Those are people who endeavor to creatively extract the truth from historical events, ejecting themselves on the societies’ margin in the process, because in the seemingly opposed forces they see an activity of a single principle. Most of them miss the aim because they never really pause to ask the question, as to just what that principle really is. However, no one ever misses it entirely. The true exposition of principle giving birth to conspiracy theories Dugin locates in the works of a man who was neither conspirologist nor historian, but apolitical contemplative and willing exile from Western history. The man in question was French thinker Rene Guenon.
Rene Guenon and Traditionalism From the informal founder of Traditionalism, Dugin lends the idea that history is essentially a clash between two subliminal motives and their respective influences: initiation and counter-initiation. The first term denotes movement of the Spirit, from being thrown in the world and history, to return into the origin, that which Guenon calls sacral Tradition, living and breathing heart of revealed religions. The other term denotes further drowning in the world and history, further flight from origin and, finally, modern history and it’s postmodern virtualization. While initiation relies on metaphysics which depicts the Spirit as a foundation of the world, counter-initiation seeks the origin only in effects, material forms which are depicted, but also molded by modern science, employed to be a function of hidden metaphysics laboring on reducing the world and knowledge to measures of materialism. But it is essential to bear in mind that materialism is merely a phase in the evolution of counter-initiation, morphing even today in a certain, still not clearly recognizable, form of perverted spirituality. Guenon presupposes that counter-initiation follows the initiation as a reflection in the mirror, therefore it inverts all of it’s features: in it’s heart it is not a critique or rejection of metaphysics. On the contrary, it’s purpose is to hatch and groom the counter-metaphysics. Namely, life, from the perspective of initiation, is a process of eternal return of effect into it’s origin, i.e. the awakening of the cause to it’s “whence”. Counter-initiation, on the other hand, turns this primordial religious standpoint on it’s head, but in doing so, takes it non the less religiously: the effect is always stronger than the cause, so, in order to absolutely realize it’s nature, it must finally re-create the cause itself. Thus, in Guenon’s opinion, the ultimate end of counter-initiation should be inseminating the cosmos with counterfeit spirit. Obviously, then, he understands it to be primarily a subversion of religion, it’s historical counterfeit. Once the materialism fulfills it’s purpose, humanity is up to face a false awakening which will, by following the logic of counter-initiation, come to pass as a diffusion of dead matter into parody of Spirit, a sort of necromancy of matter by infusing it with pseudo intelligence. The political system serving such purpose, i.e. displaying the aspiration to clear the paths before the advent of counter-initiation by total destruction of all differences and systemizing the world in political, economical and cultural sense, and, accordingly, to rendering it totally transparent by it’s cognitive principles, is in fact it’s historical subject.
Counter-initiation and the world of today Dugin holds that conspirologists usually miss the target because they are unable to recognize this historical clash, and are consequently thrown in the decisions of picking the sides which are always wrong. That way some of them get stuck in radical political movements such as Nazism and Fascism. Of course, Tradition is not, and indeed cannot become, the creation of modernity or postmodernity, which neo-Paganism of Nazism was, in every shape and form. Moreover, political philosophies of Fascism – and especially hybrid ideology of Nazism – contain a strong pseudo-religious moment which makes them violent and admittedly unsuccessful attempts to create a counter-initiation political system; something true counter-initiation politics accomplishes in a logically consequent manner. Namely, counter-initiation can fulfill it’s aim only if it is accepted willingly and totally; it has to be a total system, but it mustn’t be tied for only one nation or race and their military, cultural and economical conquests. It is so because it’s true end is to create a one world, and by no means one nation; one centre with no more enemies to challenge it and one ideal that can be realized if and only if it can encompass the strivings of all men. In that sense, from traditionalist’s point of view, the absolute consumer is far better suited for counter-initiatory Avatar, than SS storm trooper, and gas-stop by the highway is far more appropriate temple of the new god than any conceivable temple of nation or race. For all consumers can see themselves as a unified community while standing in the line before the register of the gas-stop, completely identical to every other gas-stop in European Union, being a part of network of highways which isolate the passenger and render all scenery identically unrecognizable. In other words, counter-initiation needs to offer the people a reason why they’ll profit if all the differences are abolished, until the only thing still discerning them as global brothers and sisters is a discriminatory ‘ladies/gentlemen’ label above the door of the gas-stop restroom. The only system able to enforce all conditions for fulfillment of this ambitious project is metaphysics of Globalization, often imprecisely dubbed ‘neoliberalism’. However, Dugin believes that it has a clear and distinct geopolitical origin too – the clash between unipolar and multipolar geopolitical metaphysics he subsumes in the merciless war of two political and spiritual principles: Atlantism and Eurasianism.
Sacral Geopolitics Elaboration of the meaning of these principles led Dugin close to contemporary Russian power holders. Much of his terminology can be heard used by Vladimir Putin or Sergei Lavrov. It can also be argued that Russian foreign policy – as much as this writer can distil from various media and other sources – is in fact broadly acting along the lines laid out in Dugin’s latter works.
Be that as it may, the geopolitical principles, as explained in Konspirologija, are archaic, unconscious ideas or systems of motives and symbols which move the peoples and civilizations in certain definite directions. Their first systematic – albeit not esoteric, like we encounter in Dugin – exposition was given by British politician and founder of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder. Dugin accepts his terminology, distilled through the works of Mackinder’s Russian and German interprets. The principles of Atlantism and Eurasianism manifest themselves as geopolitical drive towards the anglo-saxon powers, once led by British Empire and now by United States of America, as opposed to the counter drive towards the continental powers of Central Europe and the East. Common denominator of Eurasian politics is the aim of establishing the “great land”, i.e. of forging an alliance of countries whose locations, cultures and mores of political action are directed from and /or towards the “world island” of Eurasia. Atlantism, on the other hand, is a unifying principle of those nations tied to the sea and establishment of so called “sea empires”. If this idea seems overly simplified and archaic, then the same accusation stands for postmodern globalist politics, because the motive of dominating the “world island” lies at the very foundations of the politics of “New American century”, as formulated, among others, by guru of American Geopolitics, Zbigniew Brzezinski. We must, however, never forget that pseudo-religious ideas are not a privilege of marginal political movements. Symbolism, rhetoric and, finally, the motives of great enlightened empires of the West are infused by them, which is obvious for anyone with eyes to see, and Dugin’s unspoken presupposition that certain spiritual inciter lies in the foundations of all opposing powers of global politics is entirely plausible. On the other hand, change management doctrine of RAND and other think-thank and institutes’ wizards is rather well documented as a method of psychological or worldview warfare (Weltanschauung Krieg), low on costs and always keeping the hands of the operator clean. When all the complexity of the moment is taken into consideration, if we take a look at Ukraine and what is going on there, it is patently obvious that technique of inciting chaos via proxy is still in employ. Admittedly, if the assault rifle can effortlessly be branded in the form of a plastic toy, and FEMEN movement promoted through fashion and life-style, doesn’t it in itself point to a fact that both assault rifles and small breasted girls are merely instruments of playing the war games?
Unipolar and multipolar world Dugin sees our age as a culmination of the struggle of two geopolitical paradigms: of unipolar against multipolar principle. Unipolarity is an attempt of implementing the global “liberal” empire made by Atlantist forces, led by USA. In effect it appears to be a process of total religious, political and economical eradication of all spiritual, social and anthropological differences among the peoples, and their submission to the rule of panoptic technocracy. Multipolar principle, on the other hand, is a paradigm of retaining and strengthening the differences in accordance with manifoldness of civilization matrixes. However, Dugin evades the Samuel Huntington pitfall and claims that plurality of civilizations doesn’t necessarily imply their clash. It can lead to conflicts but it can very well lead to interlocking, dialogue and alliances instead, like it always has been throughout the history. The precondition of multipolar world is successful resistance to Globalization, especially victory in the Weltanschauung Krieg which threatens the core values of given society and brings forth the destruction of variety of worldviews and ways of life, interestingly enough, under the aegis of multiculturalism. In that respect Alexander Dugin is an exemplary political atheist. Namely, he seems to consider every symbolic action or system created by global institutions entirely devoid of any essential morality. Values of multiculturalism, gender equality and erasing of sexual differences through ideological matrix of homosexual marriages, are only means to a rather nefarious end; entirely realistic, albeit bizarre, political project. Exactly what that project should be, we can observe ourselves with merely taking a peek through the window. It is a process of total devaluation of historical heritage of civil rights: right to privacy, private property and, at the heart of it all, right to think. Historical novelty of globalist metaphysics lies in the fact that it insists on being freely accepted by individual. However, belief in the gods of politics which, interestingly enough, often follows the lack of belief in the transcendent one is nothing but superstition.
Dugin’s questionable Traditionalism Alexander Dugin’s influence on Russian foreign policy is an object of speculation, mostly on the level of gossip. In the West he is often times dubbed new Rasputin, probably because mainstream opinion maker’s intelligence doesn’t seem to reach further of pattern recognition (clue: the beard). While it’s hard to believe that esteemed professor sees himself as “Russia’s greates love machine”, it is impossible to overlook that some of the moves Russian foreign policy makes are fairly concordant to his opinions and affirm much of what he is saying. Diplomatic victory over the West during the first phase of Syria crisis cannot be denied, and it is hard to escape the fact that Reagan’s term “Evil empire” is coming dangerously close to denote the USA itself. However, there is a great danger in idealizing the Eurasian project spearheaded by Russian Federation. Uncritical glorification of the rising might of Russia, although understandable, shouldn’t lead to forgetting the famous saying about “enigma wrapped in secret”. In other words, Westerner must never forget that he doesn’t know and – as is implied in Dugin’s logic – maybe even cannot know, what goes on behind Putin’s stone face. Further, it is questionable how really can one reconcile militant Evolian mysticism with ascetic wisdom of Guenon, which Dugin apparently tries to do. It is a pity that West is more or less ignorant of Guenon’s consequent spiritual descendant, Hungarian Bela Hamvas, man far more experienced in enduring than exercising the violent force, but who nevertheless almost singlehandedly kept the flame of Tradition alive for all Eastern Europe. What he and Guenon were able to do is to point the finger and say: this is Corruption. Nothing more, nothing less. And that in itself made them revolutionaries. Resistance of the sort Alexander Dugin advocates could prove no less immoral than the aggression of the West and in fact can hardly be reconciled with the religious attitude of Traditionalism.
We must conclude that Alexander Dugin is relevant thinker and his work is a point of reference for everybody who sees, or at least hears, something creeping in the bushes near his front door. Dugin says it clearly: in the plastic flowers of Globalization, there is a serpent hiding. But if we observe how he, as well as the European alternative right in general, splices the Traditionalism and realpolitik, the unavoidable question arises: do you really cure the viper’s bite with another batch of poison? No doubt, ever more people are becoming aware that history of 20th century was not what they were told it was. The values of the West more and more prove to be a threat not only to political, economical and biological, but also the very logical foundation of human being as such. Nihilism is all out of masks. However, to align with thinkers like Alexander Dugin solely because they see the shortcomings of the West so clearly is very unreasonable. For although his cards are not marked, don’t be so sure you know what card game he is really playing.