Russia, the Necessary Enemy
American conservatism is a scam. The “movement” exists to exploit the symbols, institutions, and figures associated with White America in order to get those same people to support an agenda that displaces and destroys them. The various elites governing the Hollow Empire based in Washington get to use the power of the United States to destroy their own enemies and the rent-seekers in the Beltway Right get to play the game, feel important, and make a living. Nothing positive is ever accomplished, but then, that is the point.
It’s a delicate balance, as White Americans have to be fed enough nationalism to be willing to fight for Old Glory, but not enough so that they actually have a sense of themselves as a people with authentic traditions or collective interests. The scam breaks down if White Americans are ever offered an alternative that allows them, for once, to fight in their own self-interest. Therefore, much of the resources of the Beltway Right are dedicated to stamping out anything that can’t be fully controlled and reframing it as a deadly threat to right thinking conservatives. Usually this takes the form of calling it “fascist” somehow. There’s Eco-fascism, Islamo-fascism, and of course, liberal fascism.
Of course, the best solution is a foreign enemy. Unfortunately for the noodle armed field marshals of American conservatism, credible enemies are getting harder and harder to find these days. True, Sunni Muslims under the banner of ISIS are carving out a mini-Caliphate in the area we were supposed to have “liberated.” But if the United States does anything about this, it will mean aligning with Iran, which Americans have been told for the last decade or so was the next Nazi Germany. Not surprisingly, most Americans are more disgusted with our own blundering leadership than outraged at the chaos in Iraq.
China is increasingly aggressive in the Pacific, but the same American business interests that own the conservative movement are not likely to welcome a Cold War with the country that makes all of their crappy products. Armed Mexican troops habitually cross into American territory but for obvious reasons, American conservatives don’t want to create a scenario that would create pressure to actually solve the immigration crisis by locking down the border Israeli style.
What is needed is an enemy that the Beltway Right can portray as fascist--preferably White--so that the Left won’t be able to deploy their usual taunts about “bombing brown people,” and an entity that doesn’t threaten the corporate interests that own the conservative movement. Putin’s Russia fits all of these characteristics. Glenn Beck can giggle about opposing “hetero-fascism.” Conservatives can flatter themselves that they are fighting a conventional White army, thus re-enacting the eternal drama of the “Good War” against the “tyranny” of militaristic Europeans wearing scary uniforms. And perhaps best of all, Russia’s reliance on energy supplies and consolidation of its assets under Gazprom means that American corporations actually can point to something they don’t control. If Putin’s Russia can be broken, American companies actually have something to gain.
If Putin’s Russia did not exist, the Beltway Right would have had to create it. The only thing that is missing is the ideological dimension. Russell Kirk famously defined conservatism as the “negation of ideology,” but American conservatives have largely ignored his teachings in practice. (After all, it’s not like they followed his endorsement of Pat Buchanan and his warning about Israeli influence.) Instead, the American Right has built a movement around a series of abstractions, “values” that can be professed as timeless while actually being readjusted to accommodate each new left wing cultural victory.
Similarly, enemies must also be defined in grand, sweeping terms and defined by ideological abstraction. After all, national interests and Realpolitik would concede that the American nation and identity is concrete and limited rather than abstract and open to everyone who shares in its universal values of freedom, liberty, and democracy. Therefore, we don’t just need an enemy, we need a creed to rally against. And it must be defined as absolute evil.
This is difficult to do. Vladimir Putin and his United Russia party lacks a systematic ideology, with the catchall of “sovereign democracy” losing prominence in recent years. Instead, Putin is falling back on traditional Russian patriotism and the desire of the Russian people to once again have a strong voice in international affairs. While Russian society has a certain degree of intellectual freedom compared to Europe when it comes to discussing issues of Tradition, Islamization, and White identity, the government persecutes dedicated White nationalists just as fanatically as any Belgian human rights council. Opposition to “fascism” is the stated justification given to Russia’s intervention in its near abroad. It’s hard to see Putin’s rule, characterized by an alliance with major business interests in the country as some kind of revolutionary nationalist regime. Instead, it is an autocracy far more mild than the regimes of Pinochet or Franco (both supported by American conservatives in their day) designed to provide stability, economic growth, and a vague, non-ideological patriotism.
Fortunately for the Beltway Right, they discovered Alexander Dugin. Dugin is one of the most important thinkers confronted by the American Dissident Right, and his complex and innovative theories are a constant source for inspiration and furious debate among English speaking traditionalists. While holding to a somewhat caricatured view of Americans and our political tradition, his Fourth Political Theory provides a framework for Americans to work out the flaws in our own overarching liberal tradition, and his Eurasianism speaks to the most important geopolitical issues of the day. Even those who radically disagree with him can help but rejoice to see serious ideas about Conservative Revolution entertained by men with institutional backing.
This is a threat to Conservatism Inc. which after a generation of repeating nonsense slogans has produced hacks who know nothing else. After all, as Jonah Goldberg (who passes for an intellectual in the Beltway Right) says, both the American Right and Left are part of the “tribe of liberty” constantly fighting to expand the “universality of human rights.” The scam is up if Americans figure out “conservatism” might mean something more than Big Gulps and Enlightenment slogans that were nothing but half-baked dribble when first penned. Therefore, when confronted with an alternative ideology of the Right, American conservatives react with far more frenzy and hostility than they can summon towards their supposed enemies on the Left.
So Much for Respectability
The job of stamping out Dugin’s influence among the Beltway Right has mostly (but not solely) fallen to Robert Zubrin at National Review. Zubrin is known as one of the more influential proponents of Mars colonization and was a 2012 campaign footnote in influencing Newt Gingrich towards his politically disastrous musings on moon bases. However, whereas Richard Spencer preaches space exploration as a kind of Faustian attempt to fulfill the Occidental imperative to be ever rising, Zubrin wants to do it to spread egalitarian humanism. In space, no one can hear you scream – especially if it’s something undemocratic.
Zubrin also writes on energy policy, urging the United States to mandate flex-fuled vehicles and reduce American dependence on oil exports. Obviously, this kind of approach is also eagerly embraced by conservatives angry at Putin’s ownership of gas and oil reserves and who want him to be enslaved to the financial establishment of London and New York.
He’s a ferocious opponent of environmentalism, placing an almost unlimited faith in human beings to overcome natural limits and population increase. He believes in global warming but calls it a “good thing” that will make the Earth “more fertile.” Of course, environmentalism also allows him to riff on the evils of immigration control, the Third Reich, and the why conservatives should welcome a Third World increase in population.
Naturally, like all good Beltway conservatives, Zubrin evidently believes that “freedom” resides in the dirt of North America (or, evidently, Mars) and therefore we can simply replace the American population with immigrants who will be taught to believe in whatever National Review comes up with this week.
In short, Zubrin is one of those cranks who enjoys the benefits of major media promoting his half-assed and superficial ideas about environmentalism, energy, and foreign policy because it serves the established order. Unlike those who shriek about peak oil, chemtrails, or the Illuminati, everything Zubrin writes perfectly fits into the concrete interests of the American conservative movement. The logical conclusion of what he writes is that we should continue to bring in as much cheap labor as possible, not worry about pollution, and basically assume everything will work out for the best. When he confronts something that challenges this, like Dugin’s ideology, he becomes hysterical and we realize how utterly unhinged he and his sponsors really are, channeling science fiction more than anything that exists in this reality.
In S.M Stirling’s alternate history The Pershawar Lancers, the entire Northern Hemisphere is all but destroyed by an ecological disaster. The British Empire relocates its capital to India and France shifts to Africa. However, in Tsarist Russia, things take a darker turn. Russia relocates to Samarkand, forming a dark empire based on mystical visions and human sacrifice that renounces the “Traitor Christ,” worships the pagan death god Chernobog, and seeks to bring about the end of the world.
Apparently, this is what Zubrin thinks is happening in Russia right now. The magazine of the “respectable right” allowed him to argue that “[T]his time, our cold-war opponents will not be secular Communists, but true believers of a death-worshipping cult that would like to bring about the end of the world.” Zubrin calls Dugin a “mad philosopher” whose work is marked by an association with “various Thule Society-like organizations,” the “anti-democratic European Nouvelle Droite,” and “Nazi theorists.” In Zubrin’s eyes, Dugin’s philosophy is a combination of the anti-liberal creeds of Communism, Traditionalism (which is designed to eliminate free thought), and “demagogic” Ecologism. “All the rest is straight out of Nazism.”
In fairness, Zubrin does accurately write that Dugin identifies the central enemy as the American, Atlanticist liberal world order which undermines more conservative forms of social organization. However, instead of giving us a reason why people on the Right should militantly defend liberalism (classical or otherwise), Zubrin just keeps calling Dugin a Nazi. When Dugin indulges in mysticism about the end of the age and the coming of new heroes, Zubrin says that this is an expression of Dugin’s willingness to literally end the world and kill us all.
But the piece de resistance is Zubrin’s identification of the Eurasianist symbol as the “eight pointed star of chaos.” Evidently pivoting from The Pershawar Lancers to Warhammer 40K, Zubrin speaks of “Dugin’s worship of Chaos, and the adoption of the occult symbol of the eight-pointed ‘Star of Chaos’ as the emblem (and, when inscribed in gold on a black background, the flag) of the Eurasianist movement.” In short, says, Zubrin, “Dugin’s Eurasianism is a satanic cult.” In a triumphant conclusion, Zubrin successfully triggers “Godwin’s law,” comparing Dugin to Hitler.
Of course, back in the real world, it is Vladimir Putin who actually defended the Christian character of Europe and some pretense of traditional morality. Dugin is not a worshipper of Nurgle, Lord of Decay or one of the other gods of Chaos that Zubrin picked up from his space fantasies -- Dugin is an Old Believer in the Orthodox Christian tradition. The Eurasianist logo is centered more on the idea of spatial expansion according to the laws of Geopolitics, not an occult sign of devotion to the dark gods. And when Putin speaks on international relations, it tends to be the same disappointing liberal pap and World War II agitprop everyone else offers, not a cry of “Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!”
But let us be fair. Zubrin is mostly quoting from a book hilariously entitled, “The American Empire Should Be Destroyed: Alexander Dugin and the Perils of Immanentized Eschatology” (The American conservative movement continues to use the same crappy slogans even after fifty years of overuse). The author is one James Heiser who is on the Board of Directors of the Mars Society (the “link,” as the SPLC would say). He is also a Evangelical Lutheran Bishop – and, interestingly, one of the featured speakers for the John Birch Society. This is the same John Birch Society that National Review can’t stop bragging about “excommunicating.”
Zubrin isn’t scared of conspiracy theories. He has some of his own. He accuses President Putin of being the “prime suspect” behind the death of 42 pro-Russian activists in Ukraine. This is not a conspiracy theory akin to 9/11 Trutherism, Zubrin says, because the FSB (Russian intelligence) exists to “oppress” Russians. In contrast, our own military-intelligence and police agencies exist to “protect” us. After all, if an open-borders National Review contributor is telling us that the Washington regime has Middle America’s best interests at heart, that’s good enough for me.
The Eternal Enemy to the Right
When it comes to policing the right, anything is permitted to Conservatism Inc. National Review would never dream of calling Barack Obama “Satanic” or “evil” as he protects abortion, aggressively pushes homosexuality into public institutions, and does his best to ensure that Christians throughout the Middle East are purged from their historic communities. However, these labels are gleefully deployed if they are directed against perhaps the leading Christian statesman in the world today, even if they are offered by cranks who seemingly base their work on Dungeons and Dragons. The respectable Right would never quote the likes of the John Birch Society or various eschatological speculations to attack the American Left – but when it comes to someone on the Right, the gloves are off. Anything is justified to make sure that White American Christians are convinced they are fighting the Antichrist instead of understanding that they have more in common with the Russian government than the one that rules the United States.
But conservatism is a scam and Zubrin is one of those quacks that found a way to profit off it. And the sad spectacle of degraded American patriotism, sophomoric phony theology, and egalitarian religion is proof enough that the scam is on its last legs. That is a hopeful sign to be taken from this unedifying spectacle. American conservatism can’t even fake an attraction for intelligent people anymore. And the long overdue end to this pathetic huckstering might not just open up room for a “Fourth Political Theory.” It could open up a Second Political Alternative in the United States to that tired Enlightenment liberalism that the conservative movement has been protecting for so long.