The Fourth Political Theory and the Problem of the Devil
Clarifying the nature of 4PT
The Fourth Political Theory (4PT) is a conceptual matrix which describes the possibility of an alternative to the political tendency that became dominant in the epoch of modernity.
The three main political ideologies of the epoch of modernity, which include liberalism (the first political theory), communism (the second political theory), and nationalism (the third political theory) in effect exhausted and embodied different aspects of the modern paradigm of political philosophy.
These political concepts clashed with one another in the 20th century and determined the structure of the world wars, the Cold War, alliances, unions, etc. If the First World War was a clash between a number of major national European powers, then the Second World War exhibited a conflict between all three ideological forces: liberals in the face of the West (the US and England), communists in the face of the USSR, and Nazis/fascists in the face of Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany, and other closely-related movements.
Accordingly, after the third political theory (fascism and National Socialism) suffered defeat, two political theories remained - the first and the second - and confronted each other in the Cold War until the first political theory (liberalism) beat the second (communism) in 1989 and particularly in 1991.
Three versions of modernity
The entire history of modernity passed under the sign of these three political theories which embodied the very matrix, the very paradigm of modern political philosophy. All of them were built according to the logic of the political philosophy of the Mother - all of them were materialistic, evolutionist, progressivist, and all of them considered the structure of the earth to be from the bottom up, not the top down, i.e., built on the foundations of an immanent materialist doctrine.
As follows, the order of these theories’ appearance and the order of their disappearance (or marginalization) also reflected a certain logic insofar as the battle between these three political theories was a fight over which of them was most consistent with the paradigm of modernity.
These three versions of modernity fought amongst each other over the most important conclusion. At stake was discovering which of these ideologies embodied the essence of modernity. Communism claimed this and believed that it would come after the liberals; liberalism itself claimed this, believing itself to be an expression of modernity as such, while - this is an important point - nationalism (fascism, National Socialism) also claimed this and considered itself a revolutionary doctrine reflecting the spirit of modernity, albeit in a different context, in different proportions, and with different guiding values than liberalism and communism.
The liberals’ victory: the first became last
At any rate, all three of these ideologies fought so that one of them could embody the spirit of modernity. Each of these ideologies believed that it was modernity. After the defeat of Nazism, two ideologies, liberalism and communism, were left vying for the right to embody modernity, but after 1989-1991 it turned out that only one ideology had won this lengthy struggle - liberalism.
In other words, only one of the paradigm of modernity’s three ideologies was genuinely paradigmatic. Tied to this is the process of globalization and the universalization of liberal ideology which has become the only global ideology today, having won according to the “results” of history.
Herein is also revealed the connection to Francis Fukuyama’s assertion of the end of history. The “end of history” meant the victory of liberalism not as one of three ideologies, but as the ideology of modernity overall.
The atoms attack
Capitalism (liberalism) considered itself to be the embodiment of modernity from the very beginning, but this was not obvious to everyone besides liberalism’s proponents themselves. This claim was challenged by both communists and fascists, and in principle was not even entirely clear for several centuries. There was always the possibility of a different pivot in history, and communism seriously claimed that it was the epitome of modernity as the “end of history” as opposed to liberalism.
Only at the end of the 20th century was the unconditional matrix of world political history decided as the spirit of modernity won in the form of liberalism. Liberalism defended its right to be not only one ideology, but the Ideology with a capital letter. Thus, it is the first and last political theory of modernity. It was with the victory of liberalism that we reached the political philosophy of post-modernity. After all, it is the domination of the individual as an atom that allows for the transition to the subatomic level.
Modernity, having won in the face of liberalism, transitioned into post-modernity as the next, post-liberal stage. But this was possible only thanks to all forms of collective identity - those predominate in the second political theory (communism) and the third political theory (Nazism) - being abolished.
Liberals assert the individual to be the last atomic and credible ontological form of being. The individual as an atom became the anthropological foundation upon which liberalism was built. Yet only after the victory of this ideology and the triumph of the individual - expressed in the ideologies of civil society, human rights, globalization, the global liberal capitalist market (the transition from global politics to global economics entailing the end of history, as Fukuyama wrote) - only at this moment did the door to post-modernity really open.
Once the atom is affirmed as the main point of being, then all further movement turns towards the subatomic level. The phenomenology of political post-philosophy, or the political philosophy of post-modernity, is linked to this.
Thus, without the victory of liberalism, the victory of post-modernism would have been impossible. Political post-modernity is based on the accomplished absolute of liberal ideology, the first political theory which completely defeated the second and third.
It is in this approximate context that global society now finds itself. Global society is not yet a reality, but a project, that of the “global West.” When we speak of the West, we understand it not as the geographical West but, for example, as including even Japan and China’s Pacific coast where Western models in economics, culture, and society are predominant as well as some countries in the Pacific region which are following the Western path of development. In other words, the West is a global concept. Of course, the West has not fully penetrated the flesh and blood of all of the societies, peoples, and civilizations of the earth, but it is nonetheless in the process of penetrating them. The West is the process of globalization, post-modernization, and the expansion of Euro-American/Euro-Atlantic culture across the entire planet.
Today’s agenda for global processes in politics accordingly entails the domination and affirmation of the victory of liberalism on a global scale, the liquidation of nation-states (what we are seeing in Europe), and the destruction of all forms of collective identity (such as nation, religion, gender).
The transition from modernity to post-modernity: the highway
The question arises: is there any alternative to this process? Let us recall that the global political process today itself represents a transition from the political philosophy of modernity (in the form of victorious liberal ideology) to post-modernity. This is the agenda of Western society today.
To what extent is this agenda universal? This question is very complicated. The West thinks of itself as global (globalization is, after all, the spread of the West’s “stain” to all space). Therefore, the question at hand is the extent to which we are a modern society and are undergoing modernization and Westernization and to what extent we are part of the European world or Euro-Atlantic civilization. All other nations too, after all, practically silently accept the imperative of modernization and recognize the West as global destiny, even as the fate of non-Western peoples and societies. If we unreservedly recognize the West as universal, then we are left with accepting the first political theory and its scale which, in the current moment, means recognizing the transition from political modernity to political post-modernity as fate, and through this lens assessing the processes occurring in our society.
In this case, we acquire a normative model for comparing and assessing everything that is happening in Russia on the basis of how much everything resembles the West, according to which the more homosexuals we have in government, the more Western, modernized, and progressive of a country we are. The more tolerance and purely individual and even post-individual identities we have in society, the more elements we have tying us closer to the West and making us part of this universal process.
At the heart of the matter, the proposal to modernize Russian society means the final entrenchment of liberalism in our society and the transition to post-modernity. The universalism of the West and the ideological process prevailing therein (the triumph of the first political theory and the transition to the post-atomic society of post-modernity) are thereby tacitly recognized as an axiom and dogma.
The West acts globally and, as follows, all societies (even non-Western ones) are under its influence. This vector is embedded in the global agenda. Insofar as we are part of a global world, it is also on the agenda of Russian politics (as well as Chinese, Indian, and Islamic politics, the latest manifestations of modernization and democratization of which we have seen and are still observing in the violence of Wahhabis in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, etc.). The civil wars in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine are in fact forms of such modernization featuring death as a means of modernizing, especially since the political philosophy of post-modernity is openly nihilistic and dissipative. In essence, it is a philosophy of death. The philosophy of civil society, brought to its logical conclusion with the absence of the state, order, vertical authority, and any other common elements and values, leads to human loneliness reaching such an extent that nothing besides the death of one’s self or a loved one can entertain human beings.
The dispute over rate and trajectory
As a matter of course, there are people in the world who, looking at what is happening before them, feel some kind of, to put it mildly, uneasiness. The Fourth Political Theory is based on the observation that “something not right” is happening in a global sense - something wrong with the very foundation of the society in which we live today.
4PT begins with a distancing from the self-evident processes unfolding on a global scale. 4PT is a result of disagreement with the course of change and the internal evolution of these political paradigms. The 4PT’s first move is radically rejecting liberalism and its post-modern, somehow already post-liberal subatomic version which has become today’s political mainstream.
But this rejection is coupled in 4PT with a clear understanding of that fact that both communism and fascism today are, firstly, incorporated into liberalism in a withdrawn form and, secondly, are no longer real alternatives for two fundamental reasons:
1. The second and third political theories historically lost to liberalism (on the level of political philosophy they were less consistent with the pure paradigm of the political philosophy of modernity than liberalism);
2. The second and third political theories were products of the political philosophy of modernity, which means that even if they had won, they would still ultimately express the matrix of the political philosophy of the Mother.
In fact, if communism would have claimed victory over liberalism and therein demonstrated that it is the communist paradigm that is the most modern and therefore only through communism can post-modernity be entered, then it would have led to approximately the same paradigmatic results which we face now. Even if fascism had won on a global scale, sooner or later, insofar as it is also an ideology of modernity, it would have led to the same consequences which lie at the heart of the common materialist approach.
Racism and the West
One of the characteristic attributes of National Socialist ideology was racism.Yet racism was originally part of the early liberal worldview characteristic of the epoch of Anglo-Saxon colonial conquest. In fact, racism in its cultural (not biological) form has won on a global scale today as the West has imposed its own criteria on the whole world, declaring its values to be universal and demanding that its interests be recognized as universal.
In the context of the domination of liberalism, however, Atlanticist, pro-American fascism is only a secondary, sub-liberal element. Imagine, relatively speaking, that if Hitler had won the proportion would only be different - racism would be the dominant element and liberalism latent or sub-fascist.
In short, hypothetically speaking, if other political ideologies had won the battle for the essence of modernity, then they would have nonetheless expressed the same paradigm that liberalism does today.
“No” to post-modernity
4PT proceeds from encouraging humans, groups, peoples, civilizations, and religions to say “no” to post-modernity whose matrix is liberalism. The question therein arises: if you are not a liberal, then who are you? A communist? Or perhaps an adherent of the third political theory?
In other words, critical distance in relation to the basic “trend” of today on the level of political philosophy naturally brings us to the second and third political theories or to their mix - National Bolshevism. All of this would indeed be in opposition to liberalism, but nevertheless within the framework set by modernity.
Thus, our opposition to liberalism once again inevitably ends up appealing to peripheral forms of modernity. In this case, we merely declare that we do not like the essence of modernity in its pure form (liberalism) and stand in opposition to modernity from its periphery. This is conservatism. It offers only to “slow down” modernity while still moving in the same trajectory towards the same goal, only significantly slower. And here is what we get: once we stand at a distance from the dominant “trend”, the political philosophy of post-modernity, as only the result of the global rule of the first political theory (liberalism), then we are but “modernist conservatives.”
Even within liberal circles, there are vanguard-minded liberals who rejoice at the transition to post-modernity like those who say: “Perhaps not so fast, not so quickly, shall we slow down?” Consequently, all three political ideologies of modernity in view of the “vision of the future”, the face of post-modernity, can stand on conservative positions. Communism and fascism are themselves conservative in view of liberalism in any form. Liberal conservatism exists to the extent to which liberals fear the ultimate expression of their own ideological platform.
Nevertheless, today humanity is moving, “drifting” towards post-modernity. There are those who understand that this is not only too fast of a current, but that this current is not flowing “there”, but in a bad direction. The “river” should flow back. This is the point of 4PT.
The murderous mother
The essence of 4PT lies in that it rejects not only one of the political ideologies of the epoch of modernity, but all of them. The three political theories exhausted the spectrum of what modernity has to offer. 4PT tells them “no” and is discontent with the flow of the river in the direction of the political philosophy of the Mother.
4PT is a theory of global, absolute, and radical Revolution aimed not only against the domination of the West in particular, against the current state of European civilization, the hegemony of the United States of America, or liberalism, but against modernity itself, against the political paradigm of the Logos of the Great Mother, against the metaphysics in which the world is viewed from the bottom up.
Here is where the political philosophy of the Father (or political Platonism) and the political philosophy of the Son (political Aristotelianism) acquire enormous importance. We went through the epoch of modernity over the course of which the Father was killed and the Son was castrated. The victory of modernity and the transition to post-modernity has been described in myth has the double gesture of the Great Mother, a point which has been deliberated in the traditions of different peoples. Mother Earth kills her Father/Husband, i.e., the figure who is the fundamental axis of the vertical topology of the political philosophy of Platonism, and she castrates her Beloved Son, i.e., denies the Aristotelian model its “unmoved mover” of the spiritual (eidetic) component.
This is materialism. In order to attain the domination of living matter from the bottom up, it is necessary to uproot two possible alternatives - the political philosophies of the Father and the Son. Both are incompatible with the political philosophy of the Mother.
Modernity is none other than the political philosophy of the Mother, materialism, living matter, or ὕλη.
Accordingly, all the foundational ideological and political-philosophical processes of the modern era are realized in the framework of this political philosophy of the Mother. According to the results of the political-ideological history of the modern era, liberalism turned out to be closest of all to the matriarchal view of the world, and political post-modernity even more sharply generates liberalism’s initially feminoid structure, since it is through it that the very matrix of modernity as the political philosophy of the Mother most fully and clearly exudes.
Stone or bird?
4PT presents itself as an appeal not to variations or combinations of the political philosophy of modernity, but to radical paradigm change. This change can be described negatively as a rejection of the political philosophy of the Mother in its metaphysical basis, i.e., simply as the liquidation of modernity altogether. The beginning of modernity already bears the meaning, content, and logic of its end.
Such a beginning of the modern era could not have led to anything other than contemporary liberal hegemony. In order to really part ways with this path today, we need to move in the opposite direction. But this does not mean that all that is necessary is to simply “not move” in the direction of modernization. After all, we are talking about setting a radically different goal - moving in a different direction, not forward, but backwards. The sky is behind us. We are descending from the political philosophy of the Father through the political philosophy of the Son to the political philosophy of the Earth.
Going right or left is a matter of choice when standing on a horizontal plane. But if we are a stone that is thrown, then we are falling, and our time is a time of fall, descent, Untergang. And if we are birds, then we have the chance to discover that falling from the nest is not the fall of a stone, but the fall of a chick who learns to fly through such a harsh experience.
It is at this point that a radical change in consciousness takes place. This is the beginning of 4PT. As long as the chick, thrown out of the nest, does not fly, then he does not know whether he is a stone or a bird. He who is used to falling is incapable of moving backwards along the only possible gravitational trajectory (movement in the direction of the abyss is not movement on a plane, but falling).
As follows, only “winged creatures” can accept 4PT. Here we can recall Plato’s teaching on what a human is. For this Greek philosopher, man is a winged creature who finds himself within his body as a result of the fall, due to a certain catastrophe. Man’s task is to cultivate his wings to learn to fly and so that death becomes a celebration of birth/resurrection just as death for a butterfly is the end of existence as a caterpillar. It is better still to “die while alive” and take off vertically - back towards our heavenly home. This is the point of 4PT.
4PT means striving to radically extend the logic of world history in the opposite direction. Insofar as this history is one of falling (moving from top to bottom, from the Logos of the Father to that of the Son and then to the Logos of the Mother), 4PT is a fundamental mission. It is not conservatism! In order to return “back”, we need to go up, where the machine of modernity cannot go.
Modernity is akin to a hearse descending down from a mountain. A hearse does not fly. In order to genuinely change the situation, it is necessary to principally reconsider our approach to all those things which are absolutely evident under the domination of the political philosophy of the Mother.
The devil as a metaphor, and not only…
There are no alternatives within the political philosophy of the Mother. Thus, the first political theory (liberalism) and its sub-ideological forms in the dissipative program of modernity are fate. This is not an accident, deviation, or dead end. It is fate. We have come here, and were called here. The greatest cunning of the devil is to get us to deny God. People think that there is no God, which means that there is not devil, to which the devil responds: “Right, there is no me.” This is his second trick. But who, in this case, inspires all of this in us? The devil himself.
At the end of the process of secular modernity - tempered, consistent, and coherent satanism - the devil appears again, only this time without God.
At first modernity was the shadow of God, but then it became neither God nor his shadow. Then there was no God and only shadow. Correspondingly, the discovery of the devil, his incarnation, and his manifestation constitute the essence of the final phase of the political philosophy of modernity’s transition to the political philosophy of post-modernity. The devil (the Antichrist) becomes apparent, reveals himself. From the point of view of political philosophy, we can examine this as a metaphor (the Antichrist as a political-philosophical figure). From the religious point of view, this may very well be interpreted literally.
Turning away from the fully revealed devil of post-modernity, 4PT proposes to take the flight/transition to those paradigms which were discarded, liquidated at the first stage of modernity.
In other words, we need not “slow down”, but move in a different direction altogether. 4PT starts with man disagreeing with, denying, and rejecting the present program of evolution of political history, and makes a cold and in-depth semantic analysis of all the previous semantic points of political history.
Without this analysis, everything would remain on the level of emotions, reactive patterns, and appeals to the peripheral forms of modernity or its previous stages which have by and large been inscribed in the “global trend of conservatism.”
And here is the most interesting part: 4PT is counter-conservative. Conservatism, after all, is but the aspiration to move in the same direction at a reduced speed. 4PT proposes neither acceleration nor braking, for it does not think in these terms. 4PT insists that the whole path from the very beginning to the very end has led and is not leading there…
Refusing the Mother’s hypnosis
A radical break with the hypnosis of the political philosophy of the Mother is the first fundamental gesture of 4PT. Further, we know that the political philosophies of the Father and Son exist. This is not a convention. In history, they boast a number of examples of effective realization. This is not an abstract dream or daydream. These political systems have existed throughout human history and partially retained their influence to this day in the contemporary world.
When we reject the political philosophy of the Mother, we do not fall into nothingness and chaos. We still have two very effective political-philosophical models. If we did not know the political philosophy of the Father and the political philosophy of the Son, then flowing along this “river” might not be so repulsive and, perhaps, we might agree to it given the absence of the very capacity to choose another direction - there is nothing out of the horror.
If not modernity, then nothing - thus the proponents of modernity and post-modernity want to tell us. But fortunately we know that there is the paradigm of the Father and the Son. This is the second, positive, and creative half of 4PT’s program.
The most important point is that 4PT is based on the fact that the choice of paradigm is not within the three political ideologies (the Logos of the Great Mother), but within the three Logoi of the political philosophies of the Father (Platonism), the Son (Aristotelianism), and the Mother (materialism). This is a free choice in which modernity is nothing more than one option, and far from all.
The political philosophies of the Father and the Son (or their alliance) are objects of free choice. This is a task, not a given. It appears that we ended up in modernity because we forgot that the political philosophy of the Father and the political philosophy of the Son need to be constantly affirmed anew with each new generation and new person. We took them for something guaranteed, something taken for granted.
As soon as even a vertically-oriented political system becomes inertia or something ready-made and given, then it begins to fall, to collapse. If instead of as a free establishment we take the monarchical, imperial, traditional, and caste vertical to be a fact, something given, and once we no longer re-affirm such at each stage, then sooner or later we will fall into the dustbin of modernity and its last logical accord - the political philosophy of the Mother.
The black double
Thus, the essence of the political-philosophical dignity of man as a species is opened in 4PT - the dignity of the humanity that is now moving, whether faster or slower, in the direction of modernization, Westernization, and progress as if nothing is happening. This is the black double of mankind - the humanity which, by choosing freedom, chooses non-freedom, and while having the right to dignity, flight, and heroism, throws itself into slavery, misery, and in the service of matter.
Returning to the political philosophy of the Father or the Son is more difficult today than ever. But it is now that this choice carries all the fullness of its primordial, patriarchal, heroic meaning. Man differs from his black double in that he is a philosophical being capable of free choice. He has been given the freedom to choose his own political philosophy on a paradigmatic level (not on the basis of what the “menu” offers).
We can say that 4PT is an invitation to restore/reconstruct the political philosophy of the Father and the political philosophy of the Son. We know that these alternatives exist and we can freely choose them, thus destroying the hypnosis of the matrix of the three modern ideologies, the hypnosis of the matrix of the political philosophy of the Mother. We can choose an alternative political philosophy beyond what we are offered as exhaustive and complete. If such is really anything complete, then it is but the complete assortment of the devil’s temptations.
Translated by Jafe Arnold