Relative Absolute, American Logos, Figure of Other and American Youth
The first sentence of Alexander Dugin’s English-language Wikipedia page says that he is a “Russian political analyst and strategist known for his fascist views.” Dugin has been called many things—“the most dangerous philosopher in the world,” “Putin’s brain,” a modern-day Rasputin whose whose 1997 tome The Foundations of Geopolitics established the modern school of Eurasian geopolitics and became required reading for Russian military officers—but fascist doesn’t really fit. In fact, Dugin posits his seminal 2009 work, The Fourth Political Theory, as the alternative to the three previous ideologies of communism, fascism, and liberalism. He describes his philosophy as anti-fascist, anti-racist, and yet overwhelmingly anti-liberal.
The dissonance between Dugin’s English-language Wikipedia page and his own beliefs strikes at the heart of his work. (It also bolsters the founder of Wikipedia’s own case against the website’s neutrality, and is the reason Countere uses blockchain-based Everipedia). Dugin advocates multipolarity, in a geopolitical and metaphysical sense: that there is not one Western “truth”, but a Russian truth, an African truth, and so on. This doesn’t mean that truth doesn’t exist. Think about it from a physics perspective: the speed of a train in Japan is different depending on if you measure it from Earth or from Mars. Both planets can be correct in their measurements—absolute truth exists—but the absolute truth depends on your frame of reference.
That sounds reasonable enough—branches of the American Right and Left might even agree—but Dugin’s theories become much more threatening in action. They were used as the metaphysical justification for Russian intervention in Syria: simply to prove, Dugin argued, that the United States is not the “only boss in the world.”
Basically, Dugin has created the philosophical framework for anti-Americanism all over the globe. He calls on societies to reject Western individualism, rediscover their ethnos, and become confident in the truths of their civilization. American left and right-wingers wouldn’t be so enthused after learning that Dugin believes that their visions of “progress”—whether promotion of democracy or LGBTQ+ rights—are racist to the societies that don’t want those things, an insult to the cyclical nature of life and civilizations, and a terrible disrespect to the societies of our ancestors.
Scary stuff. There is one great documentary on Dugin, The Wolf in the Moonlight, which interviews the philosopher among the wind-swept steppe and smoky ceremonies of his homeland. Otherwise, most Western media coverage is hysterical and condemnatory, filled with labels endemic to our political paradigm, constantly questioning his relationship with Putin. (For what it’s worth, Dugin insists he has never served as Putin’s advisor, but Putin over the last two decades has followed Dugin’s blueprint to a tee.) Dugin’s interview with the BBC devolved into the interviewer insisting that unlike its global peers, Western media at least tries to tell the truth (and if you believe that, my friend, you are on the wrong website).
We here at Countere Magazine decided to take a different approach. We decided to let the man speak for himself, and to allow our readers to judge the merit of his philosophy. We asked Dugin about his visions of the future, if he thinks the West is doomed, and the forthcoming 24-volume collection he calls his magnum opus. He also gave us a message to the young people of America. Enjoy.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Zachary Emmanuel (Countere)
Zachary Emmanuel: In a harmonious multipolar world, is there a space for a liberal individualistic civilization like the West? Or do you believe liberalism destined to go into the trash heap of history, just like fascism and communism?
Alexander Dugin: First of all, I think that the multipolar world should be regarded realistically. It is not a utopian concept. It is not some rose dream, people living peacefully and friendly, without any conflict or dispute. Multipolarity is just the shift of the main point of the global decisions from one side, the West, to multiple sides.
Multipolarity could have its own contradictions, conflicts, and oppositions, but they would be of another nature than having one hegemony in the West establishing modern day left-liberalism as a global order with absolute truths. Unipolarity is linked to this new left-liberalism, and everybody who challenges the values of LGBT, BLM, “progress,” “technology,” and “scientific development” is considered to be Nazi, Communist, and so on.
The global unipolar hegemonic order should be replaced by a more realistic multipolar world with different sets of ideologies and values. Chinese values for Chinese, African values for Africa, Muslim values for Muslim world, European values for Europeans. If you become Russian—please, become Russian! You will share with us tradition, conservative society, monarchy, authoritarianism, for the best or worst. And, in response to your question, if American or European civilization prefers to be liberal capitalist democracy, it’s absolutely up to you to base your society on those principles.
In this multipolar world, there is not one universal truth. No such thing. Some great civilization could propose something as universal, but it shouldn't be imposed. Nobody can be the absolute universal judge. That is multipolarity. It is not ideal, it is just something that is absolutely necessary in our situation.
ZI: It sounds like for both Americans and Russians, we think our society has the best values. But seeking to impose them, or make them universal, goes against the way of nature.
AD: Yes. But I think all that is quite understandable. If you seriously and sincerely believe in your values, you could not accept them to be something relative. It is normal—it is naive, but it is normal. The only thing you should recognize is that some other society disagrees with your understanding. You could still regard your own values as the highest, and yet accept that the Other can think differently. That is multipolarity.
You should stay with your absolute truth. But you shouldn't deny to the Other the capacity to have its own absolute. Neither worse, nor better, just Other. I think that when liberals, the real liberals, show this capacity to accept the Other, we should go with them: speak with them, exchange with them. But when they say you are obliged to be liberal, otherwise you will be regarded as Nazi, or Communist, or Putinist, or Muslim terrorist, that you should be destroyed and annihilated in the name of liberty, that is totally different thing.
The problem with modern-day unipolarity is that America and the West doesn’t accept the right of the Other to be “other than yourself.” Biden's West, the Democratic Party West, still wants to impose the beliefs of half of the American population as something universal for all humanity. That is total perversion. It is not liberalism. That is new kind of totalitarianism.
When I think of your ideas from a theological viewpoint, I, of course, think that my American values are best—but to impose them as absolutes on other people would be to play the role of God. I’m wondering what your thoughts are in terms of how God relates to The Fourth Political Theory and multipolarity.
So that is the main thing. The relation to the Gods depends not on the God, but on the culture or society. Not because the God is different, but because the culture or society is different.
For example, we’re Russians. We think that our Christian Orthodox civilization—church, religion, society, history, tradition—is something universal. We are sure that we are right, that we have the absolute truth, but we could admit that there are some other cultures that have their own way to this truth. And we don't try to impose our way to this absolute truth. It is not relativism, nor is it universalism. It is balanced.
“The only thing we insist is that everybody has a right to be different.”
Because the Other has a different point of departure. Maybe the final point, the point of destination, coincides. Maybe not. But if we don’t reach the end, we could not judge whether there is one God or not, or whether it is our God or not. We could claim that from the start. But we should prove that. And we cannot prove it convincing each other. We should realize our faith inside of us. So we should become saints. We should become real Christians. Not just beginners.
We should come nearer to the final point of destination, and only from that point, we should judge the Other. And maybe judge ourselves, rather than the Other. Because the closer to God we come, the less desire we have to judge the Other, and the more divine we become: less aggressive, less will-to-power. That is very important! By coming to the core of our religion, we become somehow universal—but not by imposing our starting point on the Other.
In the case of liberalism, liberals cannot say that they defend their God. They defend their unique truth: the pure relativism, the totally nihilistic attitude. Your society could be nihilist, but it is your decision. It may be your way, to God or the devil, but it’s up to you to decide. The only thing we insist is that everybody has a right to be different.
If America is happy with its society, it's up to you. It’s your President. But I am almost absolutely sure that half of American people as well reject these interpretations of liberalism. Because it is anti-liberalism at its core: to oblige the Other that doesn't want to accept your views. The good of liberalism is accepting the differences. Modern-day left-liberalism doesn't accept the differences. It obliges us to think in its way. To say this thing and never other things. And we reject that. It is pure totalitarianism. It is dangerous and we should fight against that.
ZI:Some say liberalism was doomed from the beginning, and others point to technology’s corrosive effect on democracy. What do you believe was the fatal mistake of liberalism?
AD: I’ve followed the history of liberalism to its roots. And the more I investigate, the more I am convinced that from the very beginning—or just before the beginning—liberalism had the wrong metaphysical concept.
I am talking about the source of liberalism. Duns Scotus (a Franciscan friar considered one of the most important philosopher-theologians of the Middle Ages), affirmed that the most general thing is matter. Individual is the highest point, the most spiritual thing, the crown. Haecceity in the latin. This-ness. God didn’t create ideas or species, he created individuals.
That was totally opposite to the realism of Thomas Aquinas and Plato and Aristotle. Because, according to Plato and Aristotle, the spiritual was something that belonged to the genus of the species: the most general thing or general idea. Matter serves only to separate. This influence of the separating matter on the general idea creates individual. Individual is the lowest level.
“We descend to individuality. We do not ascend to it. That is why I reject everything in liberalism, in a metaphysical way.”
So that, from the beginning—before liberalism, before capitalism—was a kind of metaphysical basis that regarded classical cosmology, ontology, and anthropology upside-down. Liberalism has its roots precisely in that individualism: that everything is matter, and on top of the matter there is just individual. This individual. Not humanity.
Liberalism today is the terminal stage of the historical development of this individualism. That is why it is wrong in my opinion, but if you think otherwise, please! I don't insist on that. That is how I read history of liberalism. I compare that with Christian Orthodox tradition, Russian philosophy, Russian socialism, and I understand perfectly why we rejected it in the past. We rejected it in [the Middle Ages with the Church], Soviet times, and now, we reject Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, globalists, the “Great Reset,” capitalism, and liberalism. Because we belong to the Other understanding of ideology.
For us, the most important thing is intellectual, spiritual, and inner reality. Not external reality. We descend to individuality. We do not ascend to it. That is why I reject everything in liberalism, in a metaphysical way. But if I regard different stages of liberalism, I agree that early liberalism seems something more normal. More human. Late liberalism is just a perversion of it: the final dissolution of all the errors embedded in the liberal philosophy.
ZI: Do you believe it is possible for Western civilization to return to a form of early liberalism? Or do you believe we are inescapably headed towards self-destruction?
AD: If we consider the Western and most of all Anglo-Saxon path of humanity, coming from Duns Scotus and the Franciscan order to Joe Biden and this globalist totalitarian vision of post-human liberalism, it is shocking. It is very strange to see how consequent that was. There was a kind of iron logic to it.
Maybe Western part of humanity made a pact with liberalism, with this individualism, and that is why we see such logic in its history. So it will go in the same direction with some hesitation, but always towards its destiny. Trump was hesitation, European rejection of American pressure is hesitation, populism is hesitation. But it is the logic of waterfall. If you are falling, you could slow down a little bit, hold onto some stone. After that, the water rushes down and down, into the fire.
I think it is cultural destiny for the West to get there. But I strongly believe in the freedom of the human person. If Man says "No!" to his own chosen destiny, he can always change everything. So if you stay strong and say, “No Biden! Get out! No liberals! Get out! No BLM, no artificial intellectuals! We are proud to be American, as nation, as people!” You could always change your destiny. But you should understand how serious this decision should be. It is not just to change party or leader to say yes or no to abortions. Not at all. It is a huge decision to reverse the logic of time.
It is always possible. Not too probable. It is very, very rare. And death is very near. Because death will follow from the post-humanist attitude that is almost entirely accepted in the West. Everything will be lost when there is no more human being. But I believe in the free will of American society to say "No" to the abyss.
ZI: It sounds like for Americans, we have our own ethnos to rediscover—to figure out who we are as a people. We can’t even agree anymore if we should be proud of our country or our neighbors.
AD: In my opinion, America is not ethnos. America is not people. America is not nation. From the beginning, it was a kind of civil society based on individualistic identity. Everything was created around this norm of individualism. It is the basis of the Constitution, of the American Revolution; it was not a continuation of the European history made by ethnos, by peoples, by religions, by nations. It was something created from the zero point. A kind of artificially created society of the future, based on the principle that excluded any kind of collective identity.
But, because Americans were and still are human, you could not realize this [post-human vision] totally. You still had some ties to the Other. So you had a simulacrum of community, of national identity. But the individualistic element in the very foundation of American society was the force that eroded more and more of these principles, to its most extreme point today. I think that tomorrow to speak about some common American identity will be regarded as hate speech! It is already a crime against political correctness.
So, in my opinion, American people were from the very beginning put into this situation to be post-people. America is a post-ethnic civil society based on the changing consensus of the individuals. That is not good base to create ethnos. It is very good base to destroy any kind of solidarity.
I think that the split of American society into two parts is the logical result of this. Because individualism divides; it could not unite. And in order to create an ethnos, to become a people, you need a U-turn in your history.
Maybe you will find it in the wars, the disasters, the revolutions. As Russians, our history is full of that. During all these wars, disasters, and revolutions, we asked ourselves “Who are we? What unites us? What divides us?” That is a huge historical experience about the meaning of our identity.
America didn't have that. Only partly, in the Civil War—but even that [outcome] is still not decided now. The dividing line is still there, with the two-party system and the identities of White people and Black people and so on.
Today, America is in very, very critical situation. If some unity of American people is possible, it is not obvious how we could arrive there. On the contrary, every sign shows that American society is split more and more. That is the worst moment to dream about people, about nation, about ethnos. But maybe it is the best situation, because otherwise there will be no more Americans. At least Americans that are humans.
ZI: Have you heard of “Bronze Age Mindset” by Bronze Age Pervert?
AD: Something, but not too much.
ZI: Okay. In the documentary The Wolf in the Moonlight, you talked about finishing your magnum opus. What is your magnum opus about, and why is it your magnum opus?
AD: It is a 24-volume work. Some of these volumes are very big, more than 1000 pages. It is my magnum opus because there I have concentrated all my main ideas in these books. It contains the summary of my philosophy and my vision of human civilizations.
I have dedicated one volume to each big civilization. The main idea was to prove that every society has its own time, space, nature, and destiny, and that humanity is composed of these worlds. There is not one humanity, one world, one history, or one destiny; there are many humanities, many worlds, many histories, and many cultures.
We cannot create a hierarchy of civilizations: for example, claiming that from an “archaic society” will necessarily develop “barbarian society,” and from “barbarian society” will develop “civilization.” That is what people in the 19th century believed, and that is what universalists and materialists still believe: that there is one humanity passing by the stages of development directly to the same goal.
I deny that. And I try to prove in 24 volumes the cyclical and independent nature of different civilizations. We have many humanities, and each humanity is living in a different cycle, with different conditions and different inner logic. For example, I have discovered that Indians have a totally different understanding of time. Chinese have their own totally different attitude toward nature, culture, society, and in order to organize dialogue between these civilizations, we need first to study them carefully.
When we study a civilization, we should totally abandon our own identity. We should forget what we know about man, woman, physics, cosmos, religion, society, family. We should try to get inside their vision of things and free ourselves from our universalist prejudices—not only American, but Russian. When I tried to study African people, there was nothing in common with my Russian, Byzantine, Eurasian, monarchist world. But I shouldn't project my opinions, my judgements, on the African continent. Otherwise I could not understand anything. Anything!
“It is not just 24 volumes that I have written and published. It is an invitation to continue my work.”
I have employed this method in my books. I am calling the method I developed “The Method of Three Logos.” I am following more or less Nietzsche in his distinction on Apollonian and Dionysian logos, but I have come to the conclusion that it is not enough. I have introduced the third logos of Cybele, or “Great Mother.” But what is interesting is that I have found all three logos in all civilizations. We could not say that “This is the civilization of Apollo, this is the civilization of Dionysus, this is the civilization of Cybele.” Sometimes one logos prevails and other times, in the same culture, the other logos prevails.
When I started to apply this method to North American civilization, I discovered many interesting things. I have come to the conclusion that the American mind is very different from the European. It is based on a very particular paradigm: pragmatism. And pragmatism is totally opposite to something like utilitarianism.
Pragmatism of the American mind is total openness of what subject should be and what object should be. It is the meeting between totally free subject with totally free object, with no normative prescriptions, and that is the reality. It is very funny. In fact, I have fallen in love with pragmatism. It explains the worst and best aspects of American civilization.
“Russia for Russians, Eurasia for Eurasians, Africa for Africans—everybody should interpret this invitation from different perspectives.”
Dealing with [North] American civilization was totally different from Latin American or South American civilization. Discovering one civilization after another, that for me was a kind of metaphysical journey. A metaphysical trial through different worlds. And from that, I have traced a multipolar world map of humanity.
It is not just 24 volumes that I have written and published. It is an invitation to continue my work. To go further. Russia for Russians, Eurasia for Eurasians, Africa for Africans—everybody should interpret this invitation from different perspectives. This is just the first approximation to establish the multiplicity and dignity of each society, small or big, “archaic” or “developed.”
That is why my work is becoming explored in Latin America—they understood my invitation, and started to enrich my sketch of Latin American logos. In Africa, [scholars] from Chad, Benin, and the West Sahara started to develop this idea of African logos—to improve and correct my approximations on it. The same for China, for Oceania, for Islamic world, and that is extremely fruitful.
The introductory lectures to these 24 volumes have been published in many languages already. I think that some time the English translation will appear. That is very important, I think. It is not about myself. It is much more about yourself, and about everybody else.
ZI: That ties into my last question. What is your message to the young people of America?
AD: First of all, I agree with the words of Martin Heidegger, citing Hölderlin: ”Where there is maximal risk, there is salvation. With extreme danger, comes extreme salvation.”
I think that young people in the United States are in the greatest danger. You’re out on the edge of non-existence. And it is somehow your fault. So you are not just victim. You are the authors of that. So you should take responsibility on yourselves. You should take responsibility of the abyss you are opening. Maybe you will be first to fall into it. But it is up to you.
It is very serious. You should not just say that there are perverted elite, Pizzagate, some reptiles, conspiracy. As Nietzsche has said, "God is dead." We have killed him. You and I. So it is about European responsibility for killing of God. That is your civilization. You have done that. And if we belong to that civilization, we have done that.
That is the starting point. You should be responsible for all nihilistic consequences of the imposition of individualistic liberal culture. It is not about guilt; it is about destiny. If it is your destiny, follow it consciously until the end. The end is very nigh.
But if you don’t agree with this, if you feel it is not your destiny—if you feel that Old Joe and LGBT+ and globalism and techno-science is not you—then welcome to martyrdom. Welcome to old Christian martyrdom. It is not easy to fight this. It is not about adjusting “a little bit” something in society. You should revolt against yourselves.
You arrived to the terminal point first. You are already some steps in front of everybody else in the night. And it's up to you to say, "The night is over. The morning is coming.”
But you can do that. It’s up to you to decide. The greatest responsibility is put on American society. More than from any other nation. You are in a position to decide for all humanity: to be or not to be.
It's difficult to expect something from the elder generations. They have lost everything they could. Only American youth can make this change, this turn in your history. And that is to return to the roots. To the logos. The American logos. It is very difficult and dangerous thing, North American logos, but it is your destiny. It is your duty to rediscover and reaffirm it and take responsibility for it.
So that is my suggestion, my humble remarks on American youth.
Published in Countere