A Comment on Alexander Dugin’s “Liberalism is more Dangerous than Ukrainian Nazism.”
The immanent untruth within liberalism, even at its finest, which is to say classical liberalism, was always its idolization of abstractions, beginning with the unassailable primacy—the fundamental rights—of liberty and property. Ideologies may single out aspects of life to valorize them, but life is ever dependent upon relationships, most of which we simply do not recognize (but take for granted) or fathom tacitly, and hence only vaguely notice. The collision of an abstraction with reality always requires remaking or redefining reality to fit the still certainty of a fixed principle. Hence as liberal societies have evolved over time, the founding principles had to be adjusted to the real relationships and the various conflicts of interests that are built into the division of labour, necessary for economic prosperity and development and the diverse claims made by individuals and groups for the protection and accruement of resources (including recourse to the law and police force) provided by the state.
Liberty as such and the right to property are, in other words, abstract absolutes whose reach is modulated by the claims and powers, brought into play by various social actors and political authorities. Liberal democracy certainly solved one major political problem, of succession being handed peacefully, that had frequently played out in wars, unleashed by different claimants to the throne, when disputes occurred over the legitimacy of an heir (and dynasty).
But the various disputes over what liberty means and who should get what have created the modern liberal state which has increasingly used the law and political authority to reach into almost every aspect of our lives. That expansion of the state has been legitimated through sufficiently organized and/or powerful groups, including the pedagogical class, demanding that it protect us from acts, once considered “liberties,” which harm us and others (i.e., acts that do not emancipate us).
Likewise it has become increasingly accepted within liberal states that our property—including our own lives—must be subjected to the power of corporations working in conjunction with the state—the COVID response completed a process that has been developing at least over the last two generations, as the state, inter alia, has provided contracts (most notably in the area of defense, and health) and bail outs for corporations and financial institutions which are vital to national interests. What, in other words, began as a developing constellation of abstract absolutes, predicated on liberty and protection of property, the freedom of the individual, freedom of speech, voluntary association, and so on, has turned into its opposite.
Thus, identity trumps the individual. Protocols punishing those who use hate speech and the curtailment of access to social media platforms for those who spread information that the state and its educators, media mouthpieces, and intelligence operatives deem as misinformation—trump free speech. The rule of law has once more resorted to “show me the man and I will show you the crime,” and pertinent factors in what is deemed a crime, as the show trials against the “insurrectionists” of January 6 and the money handed out to Antifa “victims of police brutality” have illustrated, are based upon political factors.
If one supports or opposes the tapestry of interests and socio-political objectives that bind the contemporary alliance of identity group “victims” and oligarchs in tearing down the traditional bulwarks of social cultivation to replace them with a globalist, libertine “utopia” of the ultra-wealthy and their clients and economic dependents, one will be politically protected, (unless one’s past misdemeanors are seized upon by a grievance group or in media frenzy, caught up in some new tidal wave of outrage, as the once invincible Harvey Weinstein discovered to his great surprise, as women who once were prepared to do anything to be famous dealt with their shame and regret by finding a new form of celebrity—as defiant voices against the patriarchy.)
In sum, as liberalism has mutated, its abstractness has become ever more socially destructive because what is, is re-presented as something not only different from what it is, but as something that it is not.
Thus today, the truth of liberalism’s denial of life is conspicuous in the denial of biological reality in favour of abstract ideas of the will, so that now a man who deems himself to be a woman, or vice-versa, must be completely accepted as identical to a woman, and vice-versa. To appeal to a biological reality, a natural, or, for those who still can hear the spirit of more ancestral powers, a divinely imposed, limit who prefer their willed identity to their biology, which after all can be changed by entrusting oneself into the hands of professionals who are also bound to accept the willed self as the true self, and who are dependent upon the corporate powers which enable their surgery and drugs to fashion nature. To oppose this, is to be endorsing “genocide.”
The politics of civility, a politics in which diverse interests can argue vigorously for their contrary desired ends, has been buried by the language of moral hyperbole. The great social concordance which was said to be another of liberalism’s greatest political benefits has collapsed into a culture of complete discord, in which there are no longer any traces of political civility. One is a “phobe” or an “-ist,” if one does not accept the latest demand or narrative regarding justice by a representative of a victim designated group.
Indeed, on the home front, it seems that the issue of the right of children to change their sexual organs and be “entertained”/”educated” by twerking, lap-dancing drag-queens and transexuals is the most pressing of all issues in Liberal America, and other Western countries.
A couple of days ago a woman who identified as a man stormed into a school to kill children and adults to drive home how important identity is. She/he was just the latest in a line of other trans/ non-binary people shooting out their frustration – see https://www.revolver.news/2023/03/if-you-tell-mentally-ill-kids-that-people-disagreeing-with-them-is-genocide-eventually-theyll-pick-up-weapons/ .
While some trans activists blamed her decision to kill on her intolerant Christian upbringing, other trans activists are publicizing a “Day of Vengeance” as they pose with semi-automatic rifles, while Joselyn Berry the press secretary (she has now resigned) to Katie Holmes, only hours after the shooting, posted a picture of a woman with pistols drawn to the ready, bearing the captions: “Us when we see transphobes.” Meanwhile a professor at a university was proclaiming that those who espouse conservative values should not be cancelled but shot.
All these people, killers and advocates of killing, believe themselves to be creating a better and more peaceful future in which all will be emancipated—provided they do not get in the way of the march of liberal progress.
The wrath of the trans movement is but one part of a far larger push by progressives to burn down the world and replace it with one of their own morally superior making. Even if there is a contagion of gender confusion being cultivated amongst children, the far greater threat, if we are to take demographics seriously, to the USA is what happens when the liberal pyre of race hatred, more often than not stacked higher and higher by white educators, as they identify ever more things, from the use of a word to clothes and hair styles and musical taste (“cultural appropriation”) to non-segregated spaces and educational curricula in which reading, writing and the cultural heritage of Western societies is set aflame.
The present, and economically unviable, demands for reparations are not the means for bringing races together but one more step in the direction of dispossessing whites, who inevitably will no more part with their property and livelihoods without a fight, than those whites urging other whites are prepared to give up their privilege by giving up their careers, bank accounts, houses and cars to random black people they claim to be helping by telling how racists all (other) whites are. What black “conservatives” call the plantation of welfare dependency is, indeed, a breeding ground of impoverishment, discontent, crime and drug dependency, and broken homes.
But it is the universities that are cultivating narratives of violent dispossession and race hatred in the name of equity and diversity, at the expense of inculcating habits like love of learning, civility and independent-mindedness and strong moral character. The hood provides the crack addicts, drug dealers, gangsters, and squalor of broken lives—the universities provide a professional class of blacks who live middle class lives by trading on their blackness. The latter class while representing blackness by speaking “truth to power” and calling out racism wherever they see it (which is everywhere) can do absolutely nothing—and are not in the position to have the slightest idea of offering anything other than abstract absolutes, far away from anything real—for those in prisons, the hood, or in the family home.
There are also the race grifters in the political class; but the decent, hardworking people rearing children, whether working in lower paid jobs, or running businesses, or having a profession hold no interest for the race-baiting Liberals because they are not their clients.
The riots of the summer of 2020, in which white college kids, who will go on to be lawyers, judges, business professionals, financiers, doctors and educators, cheered on members of the black underclass to burn and loot businesses is the reality of contemporary race relations in progressive Liberal America. None is happy, and nor can they be. Because its abstract view of social justice drives out the convivial relationships that occur when people love things more than themselves and love doing things with other people who share the same loves. In addition to the working class and middle class black Americans who contribute to making their way in the daily realities of triumph, and suffering, love and loss, despair, hope and faith, the real triumph of American race relationships is not to be found in any political program based upon racial identity, but upon shared practices in which a natural identity is dissolved into becoming something more, something better. No greater example exists than in the areas of popular music and sport.
But the pedagogical class only takes an interest in an area of human activity in so far as it confirms the abstractions and the narratives that are their own will to power. They cannot understand how someone who loves the great black jazz players and bluesmen and women realizes without any need for theory that racism is stupid and destructive. But then again people who know this also know that all real solidarity comes from sharing common commitments, in which the differences of potential grievance are simply dropped as one gets on with creating something far more beautiful and important in our lives than simply returning over and over to a natural feature such as skin.
This does not mean pretending there have not been injustices in which race has featured; but the past cannot be removed, nor undone, nor even compensated for because the people who would deserve recompense are dead. The new reparation is a trick in which one group purports to assuage its guilt by paying anyone it thinks might relieve it, and another group can receive cash for who they are rather than what they have done. It is, in other words, just one more example of Liberalism’s substitution racket of the untruth and the unreal, for the truth and the real; in my eyes, made even more disgusting by the smug moral phonies who clamor loudest about their doing justice.
If the idea of the march of liberal progress representing emancipation is a delusion based upon an abstraction, the reality is that faith in complete emancipation is based upon a preference for death. Modern liberalism’s most vital moments are moments of collective wrath and destruction, like the race riots of the summer of 2020, or straight-out war.
The world’s foremost liberal state, at least in its own eyes, has had one President who did not take his country into a new war—and he was the President liberals most hated, and the one who was insufficiently astute to the neo-cons who had no interest in his base or in anything more than having him do their bidding. Of course, Liberals believe they stand for peace, but what they do and what they believe they do no longer have any correspondence to reality. The marriage of Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland is the perfect symbol of the marriage between the neo-cons and the liberal progressives—what the one does through bombs, the other does by cultural destruction. They still end up under the same roof, and both have given us American imperialism as globalist hegemon destroying anything in its way.
The liberal West’s attack upon its own self is driven, albeit not exclusively, but still substantively enough, by its educators whose abstractions also require denying any reality which does not neatly enfold to the narrative that consolidates and enhances the authority of the pedagogue and the “knowledge” they have accumulated by their studies.
The most conspicuous abstraction of all is that those who “critique” the privilege and wealth that has been created out of an imperial and colonial past morally transcend their past reality, even though they still accrue material benefits from that past, and find ever new ways to receive professional appointments on the basis of their moral purity, and the knowledge they must impart to the ignorant who do not know the vast amount of things they know, whether it be about gender fluidity or race or capitalism being bad—and not much else, I’m afraid.
If justice is traditionally represented as blind, social justice of the liberal variety is based upon blindness to one self and one’s own motives, as a culture of unbound appetites (the thrill of transgression now the norm for children) is presented as justice incarnate. That blindness is manifest in how the same people who insist that children should choose their gender, that gay experiences be taught in school, also believe that they stand up against Islamophobia, and that Muslims would all love them for their liberal largess.
But these internal substitutions of the non-real for reality, and the learnt blindness which enables the substitution, are almost as naught when compared to the greatest act of willful blindness and self-delusion of the present historical moment, and it is this delusion that Alexander Dugin in his essay addresses (“Liberalism is more Dangerous than Ukrainian Nazism”). The great delusion is that World War III is not taking place and that we—the collective West—are not fighting it, even though we build weapons and send them along with supplies to troops “we” train, whilst providing logistics of targets to be hit.
We in the West are on the side of peace: the war in Ukraine is the fault of Vladimir Putin’s psychotic imperial ambitions, while the European Union exercises soft power and the United States respects and fights for diversity. All of this is a lie.
And if most of our intellectuals are too blinded by their own self-importance and intellectual inability to see what is happening, Alexander Dugin sees it. And when he says that Liberalism is more dangerous not only to Russians but to world peace than the Ukrainian Nazis, that have been weaponised by the West, he is telling the truth
I do not like what Alexander Dugin is saying in this essay—for it drives home the fact that we are in a World War; that the West’s insistence on its innocence and the innocence of the Ukrainians has helped support in turning Russians into “monsters” who do not deserve to live—is a lie. Dugin, in other words, is repeating Vladimir Putin’s observation that the West is an Empire of lies. And they are both right.
Dugin also makes the salient point that we are witnessing the collision of empires.
When I taught International Relations, while still working in a university, I would regularly be asked to consider the textbooks that various publishers were trying to sell—and they were all dreadful testaments to the pedagogical failure in Western universities for its academics to see beyond its own imperial purview whether that be in the various “-isms” (feminist IR, environmental IR, queer IR, Marxist IR, etc.) and US led IR theories that it wishes its students to imbibe, or in the way that it promoted international institutions working toward a unipolar world—in which democratic institutions marching in step with the UN will solve all our problems, as if democracy is something really working well in the West, and as if it is not a cultural product formed over multiple experiences and generations, which is now in its death throes.
Dugin is right to notice that great conflicts are conflicts of empire—a little history, of the sort so conspicuously lacking in so much IR theory and textbooks, would confirm that—e.g., what came out of the French and Russian revolutions? What fed into and out of World War I? And what came out of the ostensible ideological Second World War?
Dugin is also right to urge his fellow Russians to embrace their past legacy of the Soviet Union as an empire, which it was. And unlike the Western students who are taught to denounce their history as they denounce each other for being too white, straight, cisgender or God knows what the next new academic in-thing will be in the West as it consumes itself in its own flames—possibly taking the rest of the world with it—Dugin knows that people with a future must live up to the terrible burdens of their own past, not because that part was all good, or pure, but because it was and still is an inescapable part of the real of a people.
Also terrible in Dugin’s essay is the choice he lays down—it is the choice of all those in a war unto the death: be with us or die. I can easily imagine my “good natured,” morally benign academic friends in the West agreeing how blood thirsty and mad and bad Dugin is and pointing to this—and yet we in the West have made exactly this point. The only reason that some people who are critical of the West’s war against Russia are able to be critical is because we are in such a tiny minority that we are barely worth the trouble of imprisoning or shooting, but that day may well and truly come. In the tumult, all things are possible, and we in the West have manufactured that tumult.
There is though one point of disagreement I have with Mr. Dugin. It is not obvious to me that a multipolar world will suffice to stop the oligarchical globalist interests which benefit from the war and the West’s self-destruction. They are more than capable of dealing with different poles. But this is a very minor point in the context of World War III and what is transpiring before our very eyes, but which is simply invisible to a society which is based on the modern metaphysical grounding which laid the basis for what would ideologically evolve into liberalism, communism and fascism and our current globalist corporatist-statist fusion of these and other ideologies in the new world order, due to ideas in the heads of men replacing the multigenerational experiences of peoples.
As those ideas have become ever more inane and as the numbers of people who swear and live by and off inane ideas in the West has expanded and who have become sources of authority in our social, political and judicial and even commercial structures we now find ourself in a World at War that most in the West do not have the ability to see or call it out for what it is. Mr. Dugin sees it and calls it. If that is distressing so be it—anyone who does not realize the distressing nature of our time is no longer amongst the living.
Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen books. He also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.
Featured: The Blind Leading the Blind, by Sebastian Vrancx (Antwerp 1573-1647).