Unregistered 193: Interview with Alexander Dugin
Russell: My guest this week holds the distinction of being the only philosopher in the world to be officially sanctioned by the United States government. He is sanctioned because he is the leading intellectual behind the global nationalist populist movement that is threatening to take over governments across Europe and the United States, and he is known as Vladimir Putin`s mind. This is my interview with Alexander Dugin.
I am joined from Moscow by Professor Alexander Dugin, one of the most famous people who's been on the show, but who's not very well known to my American audience, which is most of my audience. That's one of the reasons I wanted to have you on, Professor Dugin, because there is a lot that is said about you in this country, although not much of what is said is knowledgeable. Very few people have actually read your work in this country, very few people even talk about you now but when they do that, they describe you essentially as a monster who is responsible for some of the worst political movements and phenomena on the planet of the last five to six years. You're quite a demon in the American mind, at least in the intelligentsia's mind in America, and when I discovered your ideas, I was fascinated by the deliberate misrepresentations of your work in American media and politics, but mostly I was impressed by the complexity and how it all fits together. You have ideas about Russia, Russian politics, Russian history, relationship between the West and Russia, but then you also have ideas about philosophy and epistemology. All those things fit together into a beautiful philosophical system that should be respected and understood as a machine that works together. I think almost like a clock does. To me it's almost reminiscent of marxism in that way. It's a total cosmology that pulls together many different spheres of human life. Let's go through this, I mean that's quite an introduction I just gave you, but you begin by calling out the historical relationship between the West and Russia in the present time as a relationship of an oppressive imperialist force on the one hand in the West and Russia on the other hand, who is perpetually othered. Russia is presented as the other who cannot be understood and should not be understood and must simply be removed or replaced. I guess we can start there, that's a big introduction but take any part of that you would like to begin with.
Dugin: Thank you for such nice introduction. You are now talking to the demon for the West. To be a demon for the postmodern and liberal West is almost the same as to be a saint for the rest of the world, for all other civilizations that contest the universality of the western, liberal epistemology. Same as to be an authority for those in the West, who also reject this postmodern globalist agenda and that is not a small part of the population. During the “Trump adventures” we could see how the half of the United States country was mobilized to avoid the alternative in favour of the globalist system represented by Biden and democrats. The half of the American population doesn’t accept that. In Europe we can also see various as right-winged as left-winged populist political movements that challenge the status quo of the globalist ideology. For all those people I may be considered as a point of reference or a leader. I accept the role of being a demon for modern, liberal, globalist swamp. I am challenging it. I am not against anything else but the modern Western Civilization that has been wrong from the very beginning of the modernity. According to my analysis, in the beginning of the modernity the West had cut its own primordial roots and that was a great alienation from the western identity, from Mediterranean Greco-Roman culture. The modernity has been both mistake and crime from the very beginning and now we are witnessing the end of modernity. It has accomplished its mission and achieved the goal and that’s why the world we are living in is so terrible. This world is a flawless and complete realization of this perverted thing called western modernity. The death has colonized everyone else in times of so called “great geographical discoveries” and the rest of the unique cultures and civilizations have become victims of this colonization. Moreover, the modernity has colonized the West itself. That was both geographical and historical colonization. Thereafter, only representers of modernity were allowed to pass judgement on the past, on our history, tradition, religion etc. Only they could define what is right or wrong about everything that is different from modernity. That was a catastrophe. In these terms I am not only in tune with Russian Slavophiles, who represented the anti-western tradition of conservative philosophers, but I am also in tune with western traditionalists, conservatives, Platonists, with all tendencies that still regard the western modernity as failure, mistake and crime. It can be applied to Nietzsche and Heidegger. It´s not just a Russian point of view, it´s something much broader and that is why I think they really hate me. I am rather delighted to be a demon for this liberal, globalist, individualist, postmodern civilization.
Russell: Absolutely, you pose an existential threat to them, of course they hate you. I am at the very least sceptic of modernity. I am not sure if I have such thoroughgoing critique as you. Yet you call it a catastrophic mistake. You are speaking mostly to Americans on this show, most of them will have no idea what you mean by this, and they will think that you can't mean anything serious by saying that. What parts of modernity do you find to be so objectionable or why is it that modernity specifically to you has been a catastrophe?
Dugin: The modernity is based on certain principles. It´s not just a “new time”, it has its own paradigm and epistemology. This modern epistemology is based on the idea that nothing is sacred, that there is only matter, only the exterior world. All interior experiences are just a reflection of the world outside. We can see that e.g. in materialism or mechanical physics. The idea that things are being moved by forces that are totally external to the things themselves and a human being is just a reflection of this material universe was the vision of Newton and other representatives of the early modernity that recognized the God as a clockworker, a mechanical God, as someone who adjusts the system so that it functions properly. As a result, the human subject was reduced to being a reflection.
That was the end of Christianity, what Americans can understand. Americans are religious people and religion is the basis of anti-globalist movements. I am an Orthodox Christian, I don’t want to talk about differences between Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism now, but what is essential is that the modernity had cut roots with sacred, transcendental reality. That was the reduction of the human being to be just a reflection of the exterior world and the end of Christian epistemology, which is based on the recognition of eternity, immortality of the soul and our great inner kingdom. Words of Christ that “the Kingdom of God is inside of you” are the main principle of the internalist epistemology. If the Kingdom of God is inside of us, then everything should be regarded from the inside out.
Everything: human heart, human being, human soul, the God and the point of eternity in the center of our being is precisely the first and the last possible ontological basis to perceive the reality. This is what was prevalent in Europe before the modernity and that is still the basic principle of almost all non-Western Civilizations in different, not only Christian way of understanding. It is same to recognize this internality of the being and this dominance of both internal and eternal aspects of being over the externality and materialism. Thus, modernity has alienated. Everything of this kind, not only Christianity but all other sacred traditions started to be considered as something naïve or ignorant.
Why Americans, people who belong to a totally different civilization could understand my general thesis, because now you can see this hyper liberal new democracy dominated by perverted elite and minorities that have destroyed everything in morality, culture and epistemology. You can see the logical conclusion of the modernity; you are living through the end of it. Half of the American society is horrified by that as far as I understand.
I recommend diving deeper into your history. America was a modern creation. You have created your civilization based on the modernity in one way or another, but
still the foundation of your culture, including the pragmatism, is something different. It is half Christian and half pragmatist. I think that pragmatist philosophy is not something modern, it`s something much more interesting. I have dedicated the part of my book, written on the American civilization, praising the pragmatism. I think that it is a precious aspect of your identity. However, you should find alternative interpretation of pragmatism, not liberal one, because the pragmatism, as far as I understand such authors as Peers, Dewey, and James, is precisely the rejection of deterministic understanding of exterior and interior worlds. Everything appears in the middle of where the internality and the externality meet up. So, it seems to me very interesting how the reality, without any prejudice considerations towards deterministic processes as outside as inside, is put in between there.
Maybe it is not spiritual, but it is not materialistic either. It reminds me of Heidegger and his theory of Dasein, that is also always in between. I think maybe pragmatism is not completely our European, Russian, Orthodox, traditional, Christian internalist vision, so that we put the reality in the inside, but it is not yet purely materialistic, techno-centric and deterministic vision that the liberal ideology and nominalism are based upon. I think pragmatism is something laying in between, I consider it to be the point to start the revolution in the American mind, return to their philosophical roots and defend the American identity against usurpers, demons of the liberal globalisation, that represent something different from America. American identity is pragmatist and I believe that everything, as right, as wrong about America has also been pragmatist. Many aspects could have been better explained if we would have accepted the pragmatism of the American mind and in that sense, we could have warned it about the danger of liberal dogmatism and its progressive vision on the reality. Liberal dogmatism is, first and foremost, a gnoseological dictatorship concerning as inner as outer aspects of it.
That is a colonization of two realms that should be free according to the American identity.
Russell: Your take on American pragmatism is something I haven't thought about but that's fascinating. I've studied Dewey quite a lot, but more on his politics, which are completely counter to yours and it's interesting that his philosophy might be consistent with yours when his politics were absolutely counter to yours. So, let’s get back to modernity and roots of this problem that you're identifying here. A lot of people I know would say to you “well yes, of course we replaced religion and God in the church with science, Professor Dugin, but we now can know and understand things” and in fact they claim, as you know, that they can explain and understand virtually everything, including the inner life of human beings, the inner world what you've been talking about, the interior world, that you consider to be sacred and that is related to God. Whether it's related to God or not it is something that, I believe, we can't know, but the western modernist scientists tell us that they can know the whole world around us, but more importantly, they can know us inside of ourselves better than we can. I'd love to hear what you have to say about it. To me that might be the origin of the imperialism in western modernity that you rail against. Does that make sense?
Dugin: Yes, exactly. I have written many books and my latest one is dedicated to the origin of the western modern science, where I tried to deconstruct it. I tried to show the method how it was created. It didn’t come from nowhere. Before the modern science existed, there was pre-modern, traditional science that was based on concepts of Aristotle. In my latest book I made a restoration of the faith in Aristotle. I think it was a great mistake and crime of the western, modern science to abandon and violate principles of Aristotle and subsequently create the anti- Aristotelian universe. Modern science is a violent, materialistic aggression of the falsehood against the truth. I am absolutely sure that following the phenomenological tradition represented by Husserl, Heidegger and Brentano as well as the phenomenological approach to reading Aristotle, can be understood that Aristotle represents the real science. The modern science, that is based on overthrowing all Aristotelian principles, has created the false reality. This reality has been imposed on the being, which is rather the picture of the reality and not the reality itself.
It is interesting that the development of the contemporary science in the last century and a half has been congruent with such critique of the modern science. The new science, led by Einstein and Bohr, is much closer to traditional understanding and moreover it reveals failures and mistakes of the modern and materialistic vision of the world. Quantistic physics and above all its super string theory, chaos theory, fractals in the theory of Mandelbrot etc. are all good examples. They are much more correspondent to the pre-modern understanding than we may think. The vanguard science has nothing in common with this materialistic, mechanical science, that has appeared in the beginning of the modernity and has spread across the masses. There is a gap between the vanguard scientific thoughts and what masses think the science is. Core pieces of the modern science, such as Heisenberg, Schrodinger or Pauli, recognized that science as nothing but a projection of the human mind. That is not the explanation of the reality. We cannot identify what is reality and what is not. The science cannot affirm that it is built on pure truth, it is just a projection of the mind. Thus, we need to return to structures of soul and mind. We need to concentrate on what is the origin of this projection. These are words of Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Pauli, Ilya Prigozhin and many other top-class scientists. Real scientists understand very well that the science is just about human mind and nothing else. Bad scientists and masses tend to be totally ignorant about real scientific thoughts, knowledges and methodologies. They think it is some form of religion. It is not a religion. It is an organized nihilism and recognized as such by highest authorities of it.
Russell: One of the things that I find absolutely fascinating about your thinking is that you seem to me to be simultaneously pre-modern and postmodern.
Russell: You're an anti-modernist though, I think your sympathies are with the pre- modern, but your analysis, you derive a lot of it from the post-modern, is that right?
Dugin: Absolutely, I do it consciously. I am pre-modern in terms of my values and main metaphysical principles, though methodologically I am post-modern. I think that the worst thing is the modernity. I prefer attacking it from both frontiers, not only from leftist post-modernism, which hyper-materialist, post-modern attitude I oppose, but I agree with its critique of modernity. When a post-modernist shows and proves that the modernity is based on nihilism I totally agree. However, mostly post-modernists belong to the left and tend to agree with Gilles Deleuze that we should have a will to nothing. As, for example, in Lacanian topology where the reality is nothing. Left post-modernist accept that and promote more nothingness, more destruction, more perversion, because modern perversion is not enough.
Nevertheless, they recognize the modernity as a perversion which is based on nothing. I think this testimony of post-modernism, this methodology of deconstruction of the modern narrative can be very useful, if it falls into the hands of traditionalists. When traditionalists neglect that, they are making themselves obsolete, because thus they return to the war we have lost. There are new wars, that are not lost yet. That’s why we should understand the reality and supply ourselves with epistemological weapons. In that sense, Foucault, Deleuze, Lacan, Derrida can be read with great passion. Personally, I prefer early Latour and fully agree with his criticism of the modern science and his book “We never were modern” is also great.
Russell: This is one of the great ironies in contemporary politics, I think. I want to tell you about myself a little bit. I was raised in a communist-marxist-trotskyist family, of course they were atheists and I have always been around agnostics and atheists. I've never been around religious people consider myself a secular person I don't really care one way or the other too much. I want to say that your post-modernist philosophers who you like so much, of course would say that your God is a social construct and what would you say to that?
Dugin: That is interesting. Social construct doesn’t mean that we need to fragmentate it and reduce to individualism. Individual is a social construct as well, that is one of the main tricks in liberalism. They claim that the God is a social construct and propose to deconstruct it. I could agree on that, though I could also agree on what Dostoevsky has said that “who has rejected his land, his people, has rejected his God”. It is very important. The God is somehow related to the people, land and culture in the eyes of defenders of faith and conservative thinkers. We should not say that the God is totally alienated from the people. Maybe he is, but we are not. Our relation to the God creates our identity. That was noticed by the right. According to Durkheim, the God is the society. Liberals, proclaiming the God as a social construct, invite us to deconstruct it, reduce to the level of individuals, though individual is a social construct as well. So, maybe let’s start from the deconstruction of an individual, not from the deconstruction of the God.
An individual is a pure abstraction, a convention that may be called into question. Liberalism, in order to transform this doubtful convention into reality, undertakes all possible processes of liberation such as liberation of an individual from one’s religion, nation, gender etc. to achieve something unachievable. This never-ending pursuit for an individual leads to nothing, it’s just an endless reduction.
Neoliberalism, for example, is inviting us to reduce an individual to a sub- individual, to regard an individual as an artificial machine that is to be fixed and configured. I don’t want to challenge the concept of the God as a social construct. Maybe so, but we are human beings, and we are free to choose between social constructs of wholeness and absence, between something infinitely big and
infinitely small. These two concepts guide us in opposite directions. We are free to be in pursuit for the God that is constantly ascending to peaks of the apathetical theology, or we are free to be in pursuit for an individual that is also evading but leading us to the matter and nothingness. Recognizing both options as social constructs doesn’t mean that we should follow an individual. That’s why they consider me as a demon. I am seducing people not only to defend the old-fashioned objection, but I agree that things like gender are social constructs and not
something biological, because I don’t believe in modern biology. We are rightful to choose to preserve and defend our traditional gender roles, that are based on sacredness.
Russell: That makes a lot of sense to me. The modern western liberal wants to, as you said, free us ”from the God”, from the church, from the land we live on, from our gender, from our race, but I think what you mean is they want to free us from history, is that right?
Dugin: Absolutely. Postmodernity openly affirms that the history is a kind of great narrative, that is controlled by ruling estates, so that they can continue exploitation. However, the history is something that creates us. So, according to liberals, by liberating from history we can liberate us from ourselves. Pursuing the pure individuality, they are tearing out things that constitute our identity and that is a mass destruction. I think that liberalism is genocide. It is a philosophical, technological and social genocide. Moreover, liberals are doing that consciously, they know what they are doing because they are maniacs, they belong to the anti- church, and they are pursuing their agenda by not following any objections. They don’t think, they just do. When we are dealing with liberals, we are dealing with possessed people. They are demonically possessed. Modern liberals don´t even tolerate any discussion with the opponents -- unlike liberals of the past, who were somehow sensible the real the freedom of speech. They have become much more totalitarian and liberal totalitarianism is worse than fascist or communist one, because unlike them it still exists. There are no fascist regimes to be found and almost no communist regimes left, but the liberal regime is everywhere. It is something we are still living in and that is why it is worse.
Comparing it to other regimes, I could recognize some advantages of it, but I won’t do it now. Now all masks are off, and we can see what Hannah Arendt has shown, that totalitarianism doesn’t belong to Middle Ages, it is a modern phenomenon.
That is why it finds its place in communism, fascism and liberalism as well. That is why Hannah Arendt has helped Heidegger to avoid persecutions, to be judged and maybe executed by this new liberal totalitarianism.
Russell: Yes, I agree entirely, I don't know if the audience will though. How the great atrocities of the 20th century such as nazism, communism etc. are modern to you? How are those modern phenomena? Because of course there's a big argument about this among political scientists. Many argue that they're pre-modern phenomena. Some like you and me argue differently but what's the argument from your perspective on why those things the worst things in history were modern?
Dugin: In my opinion, in 20th century all three main political theories, main political ideologies were totally modern. However, they were modern in different proportions and two world wars as well as all other political processes in the 20th century are to be viewed as a kind of competition with a goal to find out which ideology is “the most modern”. Once Nietzsche has said that “I see the future when main, global wars will be dedicated to ideas” and nobody believed him. Everyone considered wars in terms of capturing material resources, defending nation and its egoistic interests. However, when we look back onto the 20th century, knowing everything that has happened, we see, that the main war, the main political confrontation was the fight for clarifying who is the most modern among liberals, communists and fascists. The question was which of them represents yesterday and which one represents tomorrow. All three ideologies were claiming to be the closest to the day of tomorrow and this can be applied to fascism as well. That is the reason why Heidegger, in his “black notes”, has criticized national socialism, it was also modern. I think that the 20th century was a fight for ideas and the conclusion is that the liberalism has prevailed by proving itself to be the most modern of all and it was one since the very beginning. Communism was more modern than fascism, but less modern than liberalism. In communism there are things to be identified as traditional and pre-modern. That was the case of national bolshevism. National-bolshevist interpretation of the soviet experience by Agursky or Ustryalov was exactly about the recognition of the soviet phenomena as hidden and implicit continuation of the Russian sacred and collectivist identity. It is an interpretation of Russian communism as something modern and pre- modern at the same time. The failure of the communist idea in the Cold War was precisely the confirmation of that. Fascism has also fallen because it was modern, but not modern enough. Now we are left to deal with the pure modernity – liberalism. Radical new form of totalitarian, globalist, sub-individualistic, absolute crazy paradigm represented by Kamala Harris, George Soros, Bill Gates, Big Finance, Big Pharma etc. I have talked to Francis Fukuyama on democracy on the Canadian TV and he said to me that “the old democracy was the rule of the majority, and the new democracy is the rule of minorities directed against the majority “. It was a formal recognition of the essence of the modern liberalism. Minorities there are in power and fighting against majorities, what invokes an abyss between elites and society. That was the last stand of the modernity and now, I think we are approaching the end of it, that will strike either as a global catastrophe or as a great uprising of the reality against the hallucination represented by the modern, globalist power.
Russell: That was quite an analysis of the three major regimes of the 20th century: liberalism, fascism and communism. I think you're right, if you look at the 30s. 40s and 50s, you'll see those regimes always competing about which of them was more industrialized, which of them was more efficient, which of them was more scientific and rational, which of them was more developed. These are all modern standards, so the modern was the standard for all three of them and it produced the greatest killing fields in human history
Russel: What people first hear about you, as in this country, as in the west that you are opposed to certain things that we all love. We hear that you're opposed to democracy, you're opposed to feminism, you're opposed to gay rights etc. Do you wanna take those on individually or do you wanna group them together and talk about them? These are sort of totems of the western liberal mind, these are the things that no one can question, but you straight up counter them, you oppose them outrightly. Do you want to talk about them as a group or individually go through them?
Dugin: First, I should say, that I oppose these things as universal norms. I don’t oppose democracy, homosexuality or feminism on theoretical or individual levels. For example, I think that democracy is something applicable for a small, autonomous community. However, by neglecting the direct democracy we fall into the trap of political manipulation and alienation from the real democracy, so in these terms I am in solidarity with Russo, rather than with the concept of parliamentarian democracy. Concerning feminism, to me there is a clear separation between liberal and stand-point approaches to that. I am in favor of stand-point feminism. I think that men’s and women’s universes are different. Women’s universe has been underrated during the history and that is a great failure and misfortune. I believe that we need to pay attention to the women’s universe and recognize its dignity. We should not judge by ourselves, instead we should love, cherish and respect the sovereignty of the woman´s mind and the woman`s soul. We should not impose our men´s principles as universal on that. Concerning homosexuality, I don’t like it aesthetically, because I support the concept of traditional family and to me homosexuality is a sin. However, things happen, I think that it would be a hypocrisy to consider one sin as more serious than the other. I put homosexuality on the same scale with other sins and as God’s creations we should repent and try to avoid that, yet we are all sinners after all. Nevertheless, I strongly reject the obligation to accept homosexuality, liberal feminism, liberal democracy etc. as social and political standards inflicted on our Russian society.
These are not standards; these are side effects of the western history. Some of them can be considered as sympathetic, other, such as homosexual marriages or legalization of incest, as awful, however we should be able to make a distinction and decide whether to accept them or not by ourselves. We are different, we have family values, we totally deprecate sins, we don’t want to follow ideas of liberal feminism, that tries either to make women identify themselves as men, which is a perversion, or, as Donna Haraway insists, to destroy all genders in order to achieve true equality among post-human robots, which is techno-feminism.
Thus, when people from the West come to us and say that “you must accept that” and “that is the only way how your culture, politics and art can be established”, I think we are legitimate to punch them in ears and throw out by the collar. On their territories they may promote everything that they want, in case if my beloved, pragmatic, old- fashioned America accepts that. It´s up to you to decide and if you don´t want to accept liberal totalitarianism, then we would not only tolerate you but we would consider and support you as real friends. Anyway, on the border of our Russian Civilization all aforementioned intentions must be stopped. We are free to choose democracy, but we are also free to not to choose that. Usually, when I say to liberals that democracy is optional, our conversation immediately concludes and they start yelling and proclaiming me as fascist, demon etc. It happens, because liberals consider themselves as promoters of universal values, that, in their opinion, fit to everyone. That is a pure totalitarian universalism, that obliges all civilizations, cultures and people to accept only one truth, which is scandalous. That’s why not only me, but all our Russian society, including our president and army rejects this pretension on the universality of gay rights. We are not against gay rights, though we want to be free to choose whether to accept or reject them on our land. We understand it this way.
Russell: What do you think is the first thing that a most Americans learned about Vladimir Putin? What do you think they were told about him?
Dugin: I think that the West conceives Mr. Putin as a conservative, authoritarian politician, but most importantly as a person, who has returned Russia back to the history and dealing with Russia is always a great obstacle. We have spectated this numerous times in Russian history, as during the period of the Russian Empire, as in times of the Second World War, as during the Cold War. Russia is the keeper of the alternative order, which is its katechontic destiny. Katechon, which is a Greek word, means something, that doesn’t allow the reality to fall into the abyss. Putin has restored the katechontic identity of Russia and that’s why representatives of the opposite power are being hostile towards him. Globalists depict him as a monster. I think we have something in common.
Russell: I can tell you though, that it was just before the social olympics, that there was a media campaign in the United States directed by the Democratic Party to depict Putin primarily as an anti-gay bigot. There was a massive campaign for a good year and most American liberals, who are not highly educated, first knew about Vladimir Putin was that he was anti-gay. I think that basically proves your thesis, Professor Dugin, they were weaponizing essentially this idea of universal values and the embrace of homosexuality being one of them. They're putting that forward and saying that ”Putin is the one person, who's not going along with this and that's why he must be removed”. It is what the Clintons said and have always said, but they use things like gay rights and feminism as the justification, because most Americans don't care about Nato, they don't care about geopolitics, they care about these abstractions for some reason or another. That's what was used to attempt to dislodge Putin by the liberal regime here, that's why I brought that up.
Dugin: I agree, but there is no easy answer on why the homosexuality has been so widely promoted, because those people who do that are frequently not homosexuals themselves. That is an ideological aspect, that logically can be justified in a way that it is a continuation of the liberation of an individual.
Individuality is the freedom from any kind of collective identity, that´s how it has been since the beginning, since the Protestant rebellion against the Catholic church, what can be viewed as the alienation from the collective identity. Same can be applied to the rejection of the sacred concept of the Empire, reduction of all political processes to sovereign national states, that was the foundation of the Westphalian state system and the rejection of the national collective identity. When communism has failed, the time has come for the gender politics. When liberals have neutralized all its aforementioned contrary concepts, they stumbled upon 2 more collective identities, that were still present in the western progressive society and that is belonging to either male or female gender. They have made the gender optional in the same manner, as they did it with religion, nation, race etc. Thus, it is a pure ideology, an ideal to be imposed, that anything that can be considered as collective identity, including sexual preferences or sexual identification, is optional. It is the same old pursuit for the individuality. Though it is not enough.
There are still horizons of progressivism to be reached and all of that is far from the end. Promotion of the homosexuality is just a bullet-point in this agenda. The liberalism of tomorrow will include post-human species, artificial intelligence, cyborgs and those people, who are against cyborgs and believe that they are different from humans, must be depicted as Nazis, punished and cancelled by the system. We can already see the anticipation of what may happen in contemporary films. Today Putin is being demonized because he is against gay rights, but tomorrow another Russian leader will be demonized because he denies the equality between human and post-human species, what will happen with the same indignation in The New York Times, The Washington Post and so on. That is a logical continuation of what is happening rightnow.
Russell: I want to talk a little bit more about collective identities. I think your argument is brilliant, that liberals attempt to ”liberate” or ”cut off” people from their collective identities like gender, national, religious etc. I don't think you've really said this directly, but to me it's in part, because it makes them easier to control a person who is not rooted in their community, in their history, in their locality, in their identity. Such person is going to be more subject to the winds of change. Now there are some collective identities, Professor Dugin, that I've heard you say you oppose the establishment of them, because they're imposed on people. I'm thinking of categories of race that have been also imposed on people. You've called yourself an anti-racist or at least that you said you're opposed to racism.
Why is it bad to be ”cut off” from one's collective identity if it's national or religious, but why is it good to be ”cut off” from your racial identity?
Dugin: Good question. First and foremost, I would like to say that as racial as class identities are both artificial constructs of the modernity. Same can also be said about the individualist identity, that is common for liberalism. All of them have nothing to do with sacred, traditional, pre-modern concepts. The class, for
example, didn’t exist before the modernity. There were various estates and relations between them were built not only on the material exploitation of one another, they were structurally much more sophisticated. Answering your question, I should say that I am in favor of the organic, traditional, historical identity, which is not artificial. In these terms, strict belonging to either male or female gender is also a part of this pre-modern collective identity, that has been in our political structure, which should be more diligently explored. We need to return to traditional institutions that existed in Ancient Greece, Roman Empire and other countries as well. There are many keys to be found in the origins of our civilization, that may help us solving nowadays problems. Many beliefs, that seem to us as traditional, in fact were injected to our society by the modernity and capitalism. It hasn’t happened much time ago, though we should be able to make a distinction between pre-modernity and modernity, which is the source of all our current problems and misfortunes we are dealing with.
Russell: Brilliant! I can confirm that race is a modern construct and now that you say it of course classes too. You very famously or infamously talked about human rights being opposed to them as an attempt to impose western ideas of human rights as a universal value. Is that right?
Dugin: Exactly. Here is the same thing as with promotion of homosexual marriages. Human rights are a construct that completely relies on the liberal understanding of what is a human. So, if a human is first and foremost an atomized individual, then this concept is rather about individual rights, which is eventually directed against the citizenship. The hidden purpose of the human rights theory is to play individuals and citizens off against each other cultivating the nature of pure individuality. In the end, it is just a political manipulation, that stands by neither morality, nor foundational understanding of human nature. Liberal globalists don’t even question themselves what a human is, which is not an easy question, because they are assured, that they already know the answer. It is some sort of a totalitarian sect, that utilizes in particular the human rights theory as its weapon. In contrary to that, what we Russians consider to be human is different from what Joseph Biden or Kamala Harris think it is. We don’t think that a human being could exist without collective identity, origins or roots. Billions of Muslims refuse to accept humanity without relation to the God. Thus, all cultures that don’t accept this western school of thought, including half of the American population, who support Trump, get
cancelled and labelled as “fanatics”, “Putin’s agents”, “fascists” etc. You are not considered as a human anymore, if you don’t believe in the individualism, homosexual marriages and still defend your obsolete identity. Liberals have been following their agenda quite coherently excluding and dehumanizing everyone, who does not fit in their model of society. That is why, they don’t really care about outcomes of American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, about hundreds of thousands of civilians, that were killed there. For them it is nothing. However, if Putin puts some minor political activist like Navalny to the jail, it is disproportionately much more terrible. That is simply immoral and hypocritical to be talking about human rights wearing globalist shoes. We need to come up with new terms instead of “human rights”. How about “people rights” or “culture rights”? I am standing for that.
Russell: It's fascinating that you support civilizational identity, but you're also very much for the diversity and pluralism. You're essentially for the freedom of communities to express and determine themselves. I don't know if that's paradoxical or not, but it's interesting. You're both a collectivist and anti-globalist.
Dugin: Absolutely, I am an anti-globalist collectivist. German philosopher Carl Schmidt, who has introduced the concept of pluriversum in contradiction to universum, applied this concept to the state, but I would like to broaden the context. According to Schmidt, the state makes sense only when there are also other states, that can be recognized as either allies or rivals. Thus, the relationships between them are weaving the canvas of international politics. Therefore, one collectivity makes sense only when there is the other and that “other“ is perceived here as something positive, because even though there may be conflicts, the other forms us and we form the other. Our true collective identity is concealable only in pluralism, where we can distinguish ourselves from the other. The other is not supposed to be better or worse or just like us, it is just the other, that is what the West doesn’t understand.
Russell: What the West doesn’t understand is that the other can be respected.
Dugin: Yes, but respected not in the same manner as we respect ourselves, our ideals or something that wants to be like us. It is interesting that the West has been ethnocentric only in its politics and it is purely pluralistic when it comes to, for example, Franz Boas, Claude Levi-Strauss and their genial anthropological science. They propose us to try to sympathetically explore and understand the other, however the western politics demands the opposite. It demands us to measure the other by ourselves and if there is a difference, if the other doesn’t satisfy our criteria, we must convert it to be the same with us, which is a pure racism and assimilationism. Nevertheless, in contrast to that, the western anthropological tradition is brilliant, and I am a big fan of Levi-Strauss, Boas and all American anthropology, because it is quite opposite to American politics, it is really open.
Russell: Franz Boas and his students introduced the concept of cultural relativism, which you need for your work.
Russell: You have talked about what you call the cultural racism of western liberalism against all the others. Putin is maybe the most famous other. Recently you could say Trump and his supporters. These days it is there, this annihilationist attitude towards the other. ”We must either convert them totally through assimilation or remove them through war”.
Dugin: Exactly, including so called “critical race theory”. It is just a racism in disguise. I think that racial slavery is a modern phenomenon and not just a continuation of the Dark Ages. It was introduced with the beginning of the Modernity after the Christianity was rejected. Now the liberals feign to repent it, but they are still the same racists as before. Now they are trying to impose the feeling of guilt even on innocent cultures that never practiced slavery. For an instance, we Russians never practiced racial slavery or slavery as such after the Christianization and still we are being accused by them. Generally speaking, the core problem with Afro-American population is that they are victims of the total loss of the cultural, collective identity and most distinctively it can be seen in North America. In South America, slaves were settled down as communities, so they were able to preserve some of their cultural, religious, traditional identity, what is completely different from how it was in North America. There slaves were purposefully separated from one another and mixed with representatives of absolutely different cultures. Liberals considered them all as individuals neglecting the fact that they were also human beings, which is an absolute crime. Thereafter, they applied same principles to everyone else, so that everyone became a slave, an individual, who is easy to manipulate. The problem of Afro-Americans is that they need to rediscover their own collective identity, what is very challenging after 300 years of purposeful cultural genocide and repression. Meanwhile globalists, instead of repenting for their mistakes and crimes, are blaming Putin. Apparently, he is also responsible for the Atlantic slave trade.
I think that the problem of master-slave relationships is the core problem of our Western Civilization. We need to revise and rethink that. For sure, some kind of the social hierarchy must exist, but it is not supposed to be based on skin color or culture, it should be something totally different. It should be based on soul capacities. There are contemplative souls, that are represented by priests and philosophers. Simultaneously there are military people, who are born and educated this way, so they should execute their function. Finally, there is peaceful working population, that should be respected as such and not according to what is their skin color or how much money they have earned. I think that the modern civilization is obsessed with money. It is a parasite, that created the modern economy, which is just a great bubble that destroys the meaning of the real economy. I believe it is an absolute evil, however if you think otherwise, you are fully legitimate to promote that within original boundaries of your civilization.
Getting back to the point of Afro-Americans, I think it’s very serious and demands honest consideration, meaning that it shouldn’t be approached as Democrats did, creating political manipulation out of that just to overcome Trump. It is humiliating for Afro-Americans to be used and thrown away in such manner as Biden did to them, who is a pure racist I think, who is supported by new conservatives of the worst kind. It is just the worst-case scenario for Afro-Americans, for White Americans, for everyone.
Russell: A lot of my work is on the American Civil War and reconstruction, which followed the Civil War and that story, as I tell it, is very much an Alexander Dugin story. I mean, most historians of the United States agree now that slaves, once they got here, developed their own distinctive culture, which was neither African nor American. Then after the Civil War though, this is where your analysis fits perfectly, what happened was they filled the south with 2000 schools. Those schools were established by the northern imperialists and there they trained the ex- slaves to speak with the proper New England accent, to dress properly, the way that New England men and women dressed, to work in factories with industrial discipline, to get married and have a nuclear family the way that good white Northerners did etc. It was an act of pure imperialism and that's why I have said that the south was the original Afghanistan. It does make a lot of sense there but it's a little more complicated than I think you're describing it in terms of the history of African Americans, but that attempt to assimilate them coercively and to make them universal subjects fits exactly with your thesis.
Dugin: Exactly. Nobody asked them what they wanted. Everything was decided apart from them in advance and now globalists are trying to pull the same trick with Afro-Americans, neglecting what they truly want. It is a Freudian problem “what a woman wants”. Even the occurrence of this question in men’s minds is already something ridiculous and suspicious. So, we should not hesitate and ask
Afro-Americans what they truly want themselves. Considering the story, you just told about the victory of the North in the Civil War, then Northerners pretended to know what Afro-Americans wanted. In their opinion, Afro-Americans wanted to be exactly like them, like Whites, but trying to make the other exactly like you and deciding for the other is an act of pure racism. Nobody asked slaves or ex-slaves what their identity was because they were considered to have no identity, no will, no subjectivity. It is a subtle art to be able to recognize the other as a subject, not as an object. Amusing, that the early Protestant community of American settlers has also faced such problem of pluralism and the state system of the United States is an attempt to handle with English domination in the hierarchy. However, they haven’t managed to completely get over that. In case of Afro-Americans, I am totally by their side, I support their absolute legitimate claim to have their own identity. It won’t be easy, and this is where we need to invest our time and endeavor to find out more about African society, states, cultures etc. I have dedicated two volumes to African civilization and at the beginning of my research I thought that it is going to be easy, that I will be dealing with archaic tribes, but nothing of that sort. In Africa I have stumbled upon great empires, rich cultural diversity, dialectic relationships between cults. All that come together as a constellation, that has nothing to do with post-colonial states. To me the African world was a great discovery, and I am sure that nobody among liberals knows anything about diverse African ontologies, but without these knowledges is impossible to engage into a proper dialog with Africans, because lumping them all together and justifying it in a way that “they are all black” is not enough. Africa is black, but incredibly versatile. No matter whether one is black or white, it doesn’t tell anything about the true meaning of one’s culture.
Russell: Certainly. I guess I want to finish by talking a little bit more about contemporary politics and in particular Russia. Some people might have said that you are contradictory in simultaneously being a champion of diversity and pluralism and multiplicity and letting a million different cultures bloom etc. while you also call for the reunification of the former Soviet republics. In particular, you want Ukraine to be reunified with Russia under Russia's terms, am I right? Is that a contradiction with your commitment to diversity?
Dugin: Well, let’s suppose that we live in the geopolitical vacuum along with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In that case, I would be more likely defending the Ukrainian identity. However, in the current geopolitical situation anything that globalists tear off of Russia comes out as a Russia’s enemy. Maybe you are right and there is some kind of contradiction, but I think that Slavic, Orthodox, relative to us population should live with us in the same civilization on equal rights. I don’t call it “Russian Civilization” because Ukrainians are Russians as well, but not Russians like us, I recognize their difference. In Russian language there are three sub-groups: Great Russian, Little Russian and White Russian (Belorussian). Once these groups were united forming East Slavic people, but thereafter we have divided into three branches. Thus, what we usually refer to as “Russian”, frequently means “Muscovite”, “Great Russian” and not “Russian” in general, what may sometimes be confusing.
Ukrainians and Belarusians are based on the same cultural and historical foundation as Great Russians. I stand for reunification of these three Russian branches not under conditions of Great Russians, but preserving all minor Russian identities, as Ukrainian as Belarusian, in order to create the pan-Russian civilization. This arrangement is aiming at the defense of our political and geopolitical independence. In multipolar world, where everyone, as Trump suggested, including America, Europe, countries that belong to the Islamic World is occupied by solving one´s own problems at first, then the independence of Ukraine could be tolerated and accepted, nevertheless, simultaneously Ukraine is an artificial modern creation. This state has existed for only 30 years and was formed accidently by two people: Eastern and Western Ukrainians. Traditionally, Western Ukrainians have been against Great Russians and Eastern Ukrainians have historically been oriented towards Russia because Eastern Ukrainian territories have mostly been populated by Great Russians since Tsarist times. Those territories were taken not from Ukraine, it never existed as a state, but from Ottoman Empire and Russians acquired them in battle with Turks. Thereafter we have liberated the Western part of Ukraine and Belarus from Poland, though they never existed as independent states. So, out of two identities of Ukraine, pro-Russian and anti-Russian, the West supports only the anti-Russian one, what creates inner tension. I advocate Ukrainian identity as well as I am radically opposed to Great Russian nationalism or hegemony. I think that, if we will liberate Ukraine at some point, we should create new model of civilizational entity, uniting people from different origins such as Slavic, Turkish and others as well in the context of the geopolitical great space, which will contribute to the harmonious multipolarity of the world. At this point, there are three poles: China, Russia and the West. However, there are many poles to be born such as Europe, South America, Africa etc. They all should be recognized as great pluralistic civilizations.
My ideas have been gradually spreading through various civilizations and I have many great friends in them all, in contradiction to the demonization of me in the West. Maybe this perverted image even helps me a little, because the worst thing in publicity is to be totally unknown and to be demonized is the first step towards acknowledgement.
Russell: That's right. All news is good news. Last question for you, what do you think of Donald Trump?
Dugin: I think that he is an extremely interesting phenomena, because I would never suspect that a leader like him could appear in the United States of America. Half of his political agenda coincides with mine, particularly such aspects as “America first”, returning to tradition, political realism, paleoconservatism, canceling the globalization, stopping friendship with neo-conservatives etc. He has been a brilliant pragmatist lead by the principle “it works or it doesn’t work”, which is a totally different mentality than ours, yet I have a great sympathy for Trump, because he is much better than his opponents, he has mobilized American consciousness concerning main issues of the history and he was the first American president in many decades, who didn’t start any new war, so I would say that at least for that he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize much more than Obama or Biden, who is just a walking catastrophe. In order to understand my opinion on Trump more precisely, one needs to keep in mind my understanding of differences and Trump is exactly the case, he is totally different. Nevertheless, there are many ideas of his that I don’t share like for example islamophobia, pro-Israeli politics or anti-Chinese attitude. However, I believe that he is the best candidate for what America needs right now. Even intuitively he understands changes in the world much better than those paranoid globalists and democrats, because today they have gone totally crazy having no reality check whatsoever. Maybe Trump´s business background has taught him to be such pragmatist. In any case he never was pro- Russian or pro-Putin, there was absolutely no collusion with Russia.
Russell: I know.
Dugin: He has rather been an American patriot. I think that dealing with him would be significantly more difficult than with Biden. Biden is a creature we shouldn’t respect or take into an account, he is an old, crazy, sectarian globalist. Trump himself was a subject. I would say that Biden´s America is just a threat and Trump´s America could be a dangerous partner.
Russell: Interesting, very interesting. Thank you for that! Are you currently allowed to visit here?
Dugin: No, I am under American and Canadian sanctions, because of my opinion on Crimea during the Russian Spring. I can’t be accused of participating in war or helping those who participated financially, but maybe for the first time in the modern history, I am sanctioned for my views, for my words and not for my deeds. I never visited Crimea, so I haven’t participated in the Russian Spring physically, however I have been an advocate of the unification of Russia and Ukraine. I wasn’t that much in favor of the integration of Crimea, I would rather prefer to liberate Ukraine or at least a half of Ukraine and create a special Eastern Ukrainian state, which would be different as from us as from Western Ukraine. My views have been quite differentiated, it is not just about total support of Putin’s actions, to some of them I have been very critical, but I was censored and cancelled on YouTube, Gmail, Twitter. I am prohibited from going to America and doing many other things just for my words and ideas. That demonstrates how crucially important words and ideas are.
Russell: It also again proves your thesis that the West claims to be for openness, but they are sanctioning you for ideas and words. They're for coerced assimilation and until you assimilate Professor Dugin, until your ideas confrort with theirs you will be punished.
Dugin: You know once I have been to United States, and I have met Brzezinski. He has presented his book to me with a sign “I wish, Mr. Dugin, you will change your mind to complete opposite”. That is an example of a pure racist mentality, I think. “Stop being yourself” in other words.
Russell: Are you ever going to change your mind, are you ever going to be westernized?
Dugin: I don’t know, I think I am fascinated by the Western culture more that Western people themselves. I have dedicated many years to studying Heidegger, Nietzsche, Plato, Aristotle, Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas, Hegel, Fichte, Kant etc. I am much more familiar with the Western culture, than most of Russian liberals. I am not a westerner, but there are aspects of Western culture I am really admired by, so I have written many books on them. It is impossible to be more Western being Russian patriot, Slavophile and defender of our special Russian identity than myself.
Russell: I hope that one day I can meet you in America, I hope that it will be possible.
Dugin: With great pleasure. With Trump or some other unexpected events, it could be possible.
Russell: However, we can make it happen. Professor Dugin, it´s been a great honor and a pleasure and thank you so much for doing this.
Dugin: Thank you for the invitation. Best wishes and I hope that we will be in touch in future.
Russell: That would be wonderful. Thank you, Sir.