216. Conflict (IV)
Dugin holds that liberalism has defeated its nearest rivals—communism and fascism—and then eaten itself: we live in a technocratic post-political world where there is only a “mopping up operation”—the expansion of post-liberalism across the globe. This process has liquidated aspects of classical liberalism that conflict with post-liberalism’s egalitarian drive: every person should be an interchangeable part shorn of local particularities to ease economic exchange, all the better to function as a Starbucks barista or Apple programmer. You will all speak American English and hold post-liberal views about sexuality and the mutability of national identity.
Ideas that were central to classical liberalism—such as the contention that only property-owning males should have the vote—have been dispensed with, since these conflict with the transnational and transsexual world of post-liberalism, a system that cannot stand boundaries of any kind and justifies its destruction of boundaries with appeals to rationalism, technocracy, and science. Dugin sees this process as self-evidently negative and seeks to oppose it through aspects borrowed from the previous three political theories so as to create a fourth. This reflects his esotericism—esotericists seek “fours”, number of completion, to release the fifth element. Liberalism held that the individual was the historical subject; Marxism held that class was the historical subject; fascism held that the race or nation was the historical subject; and Dugin holds that for the Fourth Political Theory Dasein will be the historical subject—Russia’s destiny is to serve as the guardian of Dasein in the post-liberal era.
Dasein: all the objects in your bedroom are arranged in a particular order that cannot be reduced to coordinates, your room is an organic composition and its composition constitutes its “my roominess” and makes it distinct from other rooms; my roominess is constituted through the sum of the positions and dispositions of all the objects in your room. You are a steersman for the room that unites past, present, and future in a circle of perception—if an object is borrowed from the room, you become aware of its presence by its absence: past in the present future. You develop a language to describe my roominess; perhaps you call your red scarf that always lies over your bedstead, “reddie”.
My roominess is what Dugin means by Dasein, a term borrowed from Heidegger. Instead of a room, imagine a country: the dead ancestors are present by their absence; your national poets provide the “reddie” language to perceive the my roominess you inhabit; and if someone moved all your objects about into a “rational” technocratic order—“I’ve hung your scarf on the doorknob, so much easier to reach…”—then you would feel bereft, as if you had lost something precious—the my roominess of Russia.
On Twitter, trendy people display their colour-coded bookshelves: these people are Dugin’s technocratic post-liberal enemies. They are Cartesian rationalists who arrange their rooms in accordance with an abstract schema that has been developed as part of a fad to signal sophistication—submission to what Heidegger calls the inauthentic “they”. These people think it is “totally gross” and unsophisticated to allow a my roominess to subsist; everything should be submitted to rational order. In doing so, they veil Dasein—everyone has the same shallow colour-coded bookshelf, they are totally interchangeable and totally dead.
Dugin borrows liberally from the previous three political theories—aspects of Marxism rub shoulders with Savitri Devi’s neo-Nazi Hindooism in his thought; yet what he promotes is basically a Burkean conservatism, a defence of the little platoons and organic relations of place, in this case Russia, against Anglo-American mercantile post-liberal rationalism. Dugin thinks he can escape accusations of “racism” because he disdains biological appeals to race; Pushkin makes Russia for him, not DNA. Yet his post-liberal foes use “racism” to refer to any assertion of immutable difference—even if it is poetic Dasein. Ultimately, Dugin is quite reminiscent, for all his “sinister” esoteric references, of those conservative liberals in the West who lamely chant, “Democrats are the real racists.”