Liberalism's New Bogeyman

With the world seeming to settle into a neo-Cold War paradigm, it’s becoming clearer that America’s policymakers are desperate to turn Russia back into the evil empire in the eyes of the general public. During the Soviet days, this was easy task to accomplish with ready made villains like Stalin in charge and the all too visible problems of a communist economy.

The Russian Federation is a little trickier, as it has no definitive ideology, is led by a guy even diehard Russophobes think is a badass, and has no gulag system to point to and ponder in terror.

Enter Western media hysteria circling around a certain Russian intellectual and the radical ideology he promotes – Alexandr Dugin. If there is a single individual that could be used to frighten the policymakers and intelligentsia of America into irrationally hating Russia, it’s not Putin -- it’s Alexandr Dugin.

I wrote previously how National Review wailed about his presence within Russian intelligentsia and his apparent influence on current Russian foreign policy. Now the wails are shared by left wing publications who see Dugin as Putin’s “Neo-Fascist” ideologue who’s formulating the regime’s rejection of gay “rights” and aggressive foreign policy.

They’ve managed to find quotes of him praising fascism from the early 90s, bashing the liberal values that our intelligentsia holds so dear and stating positions are deemed “archaic” in the West of the 21st century. They’ve noticed his Eurasianist ideology is incredibly illiberal and promotes values and notions that liberalism will sweep away once the imminent “end of history” arrives.

Seeing an enemy with a coherent ideology and philosophy that they find repugnant – our more intellectually-inclined media outlets are now trying to make the connection between Dugin’s ideas and Putin’s actions.

Foreign Affairs published a piece that attempted that very same feat where they went so far as to call Dugin “Putin’s Brain.” In spite of placing the Russian president’s façade at the top, the only direct connection they could make between the philosopher and the leader is that Dugin has influenced Putin’s economic adviser Sergei Glazyev. No matter – they still go into detail about Dugin’s philosophy and why it should trouble their readers:

His ideas of conservative revolution are adapted from German interwar thinkers who promoted the destruction of the individualistic liberal order and the commercial culture of industrial and urban civilization in favor of a new order based on conservative values such as the submission of individual needs and desires to the needs of the many, a state-organized economy, and traditional values for society based on a quasi-religious view of the world.

Like the classical Eurasianists of the 1920s and 1930s, Dugin’s ideology is anti-Western, anti-liberal, totalitarian, ideocratic, and socially traditional. Its nationalism is not Slavic-oriented (although Russians have a special mission to unite and lead) but also applies to the other nations of Eurasia. And it labels rationalism as Western and thus promotes a mystical, spiritual, emotional, and messianic worldview.

This new attack on Dugin launched a flurry of coverage from other outlets – from The Daily Beast on the left and The Weekly Standard on the “right.” Not surprisingly, the Standard went the most extravagant in portraying Dugin as a neo-Nazi mystic hell bent on destroying freedom. All of the pieces on the author of The Fourth Political Theory were incredibly critical and designed to make the reader gain a negative impression of Russia and Dugin. I assume the US State Department should be proud of its efforts at journalism outreach.

If you want a good representation of the views of Dugin, don’t read this articles with an uncritical eye and instead, read his great post on Western hostility towards Russia that was published here at RadixJournal. You’ll see why he’s gone from an obscure figure in the West to a dreaded menace in our sphere following the escalation of tensions with his native land.

Disregarding the hyperbole and demonization of Dugin, the reason liberal internationalists want him in the same picture as Putin is to strengthen their desired mindset that Russia is the greatest threat against their ideology. He rebukes the mantra of human rights and promotes tradition and community over abstract notions of individuality that are revered by our leaders.

Just look at President Obama's speech before the European Union in Brussels for an example of this devotion to universal human rights:

Do not think for a moment that your own freedom, your own prosperity, that your own moral imagination is bound by the limits of your community, your ethnicity or even your country. You’re bigger than that. You can help us to choose a better history. That’s what Europe tells us. That’s what the American experience is all about.

Eurasianism (and Identitarianism) rejects that statement. The thought that Putin might also reject it gives the transnational elite jitters that the “end of history” might not be preferable to every major power. Putin, who’s not a Eurasianist and is simply promoting the power and influence of the state he governs, is becoming more of a hostile actor to the West as Russia's interests increasingly collide with those of the Davos set.

Foreign Affairs concluded with the primary worry that Dugin could become a major influence on the future leadership of his country and Eurasianism becoming the reigning ideology of Russia:

Dugin’s ideology has influenced a whole generation of conservative and radical activists and politicians, who, if given the chance, would fight to adapt its core principles as state policy. Considering the shabby state of Russian democracy, and the country’s continued move away from Western ideas and ideals, one might argue that the chances of seeing neo-Eurasianism conquer new ground are increasing. Although Dugin’s form of it is highly theoretical and deeply mystical, it is proving to be a strong contender for the role of Russia’s chief ideology.

We can only hope that becomes the case.