Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Alexander Dugin — Fourth Political Theory: Shortest Presentation

This is a bit wonkish, since Dugin covers a lot of ground in a few words and graphs. But take my word for it as someone who has studied this stuff, Alexander Dugin is a brilliant thinker that is is capable of thinking outside the box. Whether one agrees with his conclusions, his range and depth of analysis is impressive.

He argues in this "shortest presentation" that the Modern period that began philosophically with Descartes putting subjectivity at the center. Modernity spawned three social and political philosophies to replace both medieval Scholastic philosophy and also the revival of the classics in the Renaissance, as well as feudalism as the dominant social, political and economic institution. These three were 18th century liberalism, 19th century communism, and 20th century fascism. As Modernity winds down in the 21st century, liberalism has emerged victorious over communism and fascism and there is no returning to either of those vanquished contenders. 

The result is that either liberalism will remain dominant or an alternative will emerge. Dugin argues that liberalism, being a product of Modernity, is condemned by time. It must either change into a new form of liberalism or be replaced by an alternative yet to emerge as the Modern period transitions into the Post Modern (which should not be confused with Post Modernism). 

As focus shifts away from subjectivity as central, which is the basis of individualism as the core of liberalism, a new historical moment is emerging. Individualism is running up against its limits in the liberal West, which has been the center of Modernity. Paradoxes of liberalism are rising, for example, as modern liberalism seeks to impose itself illiberally through forced conversion.

Dugin speculates that the alternative that is emerging is a Post Modernity that harkens to Pre-Modernity and the Great Chain of Being that was replaced by the rise of modern science and the enormous success of technology. But this does not meaning returning to the past either, which is not possible anyway.

He appeals to Heidegger's analysis of Dasein, literally being there, that is, being present, without going into the specifics of Heidegger's thought in this "shortest presentation." But those familiar with Heidegger will understand that Dugin is implying his Heidegger's critique of the ontological (existence) versus the ontic (essence), the challenge of "technicity," and the distinction between the authentic person and the conformist personality. The challenge is being chained to matter (determinism with illusion of freedom) or rising above in spirit (realizing genuine freedom). Modernity has confused an illusion of freedom with actual freedom.

I admit some confirmation bias here, but I had come some similar conclusions before encountering Dugin. While his view differs from mine, since our vantage points are quite different, it seems to me that he is on the right track. Modernity was something of a historical aberration and the course of history is likely to revert to its historical trajectory instead of Modernity being the end of history as many in the West either believe or would like to believe. 

Liberalism will be incorporated into Post Modernity, but its extremes will be tempered and its extravagances will be modulated as absorption in the subjective characteristic of Modernity is transcended, and a more holistic view emerges to temper radical individualism.

Fourth Political Theory: Shortest Presentation
Alexander Dugin


Detroit Dan said...

Interesting, Tom. Thanks

Tom Hickey said...

A further word on the subject of issuing instructions on how the world ought to be: philosophy, at any rate, always comes too late to perform this function. As the thought of the world, it appears only at a time when actuality has gone through its formative process and attained its completed state. This lesson of the concept is necessarily also apparent from history, namely that it is only when actuality has reached maturity that the ideal appears opposite the real and reconstructs this real world, which it has grasped in its substance, in the shape of an intellectual realm. When philosophy paints greyin grey, a shape of life has grown old, and it cannot be rejuvenated, but only recognized, by the grey in grey of philosophy; the owl of Minerva begins its flight only with the onset of dusk.

— G. W. F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1820), tr. H. R. Nisbet (Cambridge U Press, 1991), p. 23