Interview with Alexander Dugin – ‘Welcome all newcomers!’
Prof. Dugin, in your latest essay you wrote about “Liberalism 2.0”. Is liberalism changing?
Dugin: Of course! Every ideology is a subject to constant change, including liberalism. Right now we are witnessing a dramatic shift in liberalism. It is now becoming even more dangerous, even more destructive.
How do you even recognize such a change?
Dugin: We can observe a certain “rite of passage”. As such, I interpret the situation in which Donald Trump’s presidency culminated, namely in his fall by hand of the globalist elite, represented by Joe Biden. This is nothing more than a “rite of passage” – embodied by gay parades, BLM uprisings, imperialist LGBT + attacks, the worldwide uprising of extreme feminism and the spectacular arrival of post-humanism and extreme technocracy. There are profound intellectual and philosophical processes going on behind all of this. And these processes have an impact on culture and politics.
You write that liberalism has become “lonely”…
Dugin: Modern liberalism seems to have lost its enemies after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is fatal for this ideology, as it is primarily defined by its demarcation. In my “Fourth Political Theory”, liberalism is defined as the first theory to fight the two “main enemies” – communism (second theory) and fascism (third theory). Both had challenged liberalism: for liberalism claims to be the most modern and progressive theory. But both communism and fascism made the same claim. In 1990 communism and fascism were considered defeated.
This is usually called the “unipolar moment” (Charles Krauthammer) and it was prematurely, as we now know – even raised by Francis Fukuyama to the “end of history”. In the 1990s, however, it seemed that liberalism no longer had any opponents. Smaller burgeoning anti-liberal right, left, and “national Bolshevik” alliances were no real challenge. The absence of its “enemies” for liberalism also meant that it had lost its self-affirmation. Here we see very clearly the “loneliness”, which of course I don’t mean in a melancholy sense. Therefore, the transition to Liberalism 2.0 with a “new impetus” was almost inevitable.
How would you describe that?
Dugin: An opponent had to come back. But actually only the weak, illiberal alliances that can be described as “national Bolsheviks” were offered – even if the so-called movements themselves do not see it that way. Perhaps it is more understandable if one divides the new political camps into globalists (Liberalism 2.0) and anti-globalists. One must not forget: Liberalism 1.0 will not be “reformed”, it will also become the “enemy” of Liberalism 2.0. We can perhaps even speak of a “mutation”. Because there are also old-style liberals who are now more drawn to the camp of anti-globalists because they reject the limitless, hedonistic and total individualism of Liberalism 2.0.
So liberals against liberals?
Dugin: [laughs] Liberalism 2.0 can be seen as a kind of “fifth column” within liberalism. And the new liberalism is brutal and unyielding, it no longer discusses, it does not invite debate. It is a “cancel culture”, it stigmatizes its opponents, it excludes them. “Old” liberals also fall victim to this, as can be seen almost regularly in Europe today. Who are the victims of the “cancel culture”? Maybe fascists or communists? Most of the time it is artists, journalists and authors who have been completely in the mainstream waters – but who are now suddenly targeted. Liberalism 2.0 lets the hammer go round.
Your country, Russia, is seen today as a great opponent of globalism – especially under President Vladimir Putin…
Dugin: The resurgence of Putin’s Russia can be understood as a new mix of the Soviet-style strategy of anti-Western politics and traditional Russian nationalism. On the other hand, the Putin phenomenon remains a mystery – even to us Russians. Certainly, one can recognize “national Bolshevik” elements in his politics, but also a lot of liberal elements. Incidentally, this also applies to the Chinese phenomenon. Here we see again the special Chinese communism mixed with perceptible Chinese nationalism. The same can be said of the growth of European populism where the distance between the left and the right is increasingly disappearing to the point of the symbolic creation of the left-right alliance in the Italian government: I am talking about the agreement between the “Lega Nord” (right-wing populist) and the “5-star” movement (left-wing populist). We see the same phenomenon prefigured in the populist revolt of the “yellow vests” against President Emmanuel Macron in France, in which the supporters of Marine Le Pen fought together with the supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon against the liberal center.
The “left-right” alliances you mentioned only existed for a certain period of time, often they fought each other again more than the liberal center…
Dugin: That’s a key point. Since the anti-globalist, right-left alliances are the greatest opponents of Liberalism 2.0, it must constantly fight them, keep them small and also infiltrate them. If anti-globalist left and right in Europe fight each other more than the center, then liberalism 2.0 is the laughing third party. What is more: there is even a certain tendency on the part of the fringes to make pacts with the center in the fight against the other fringe. I think you can see such a situation in all European countries. Thus, Globalism fragments the camp of its opponents and prevents a possibly powerful alliance.
What could such a “powerful alliance” look like?
Dugin: If Putin from Russia, Xi Jinping from China, the European populists and the anti-Western movements in Islam, the anti-capitalist currents in Latin America and Africa had been aware that they are opposing liberal globalism from a somewhat united ideological position and would have adopted left/right and integral populism as their basis, this would have increased their resistance considerably and even multiplied its potential. So in order not to let this happen, the globalists have left no stone unturned to prevent any ideological movement in this direction.
In your essay you refer to Donald Trump as the “midwife of Liberalism 2.0”. What do you mean?
Dugin: I have already said: a political ideology cannot exist if the “friend-foe antagonism” is erased. It loses its identity. To have no more enemy is to commit ideological suicide. So an obscure and undefined external enemy was not enough to justify liberalism. By demonizing Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China, the liberals could no longer be convincing. More than that: the assumption of the existence of a formal, structured ideological enemy outside the liberal zone of influence (democracy, market economy, human rights, universal technology, total network, etc.) after the onset of the unipolar moment in the early 1990s on a global level would have been tantamount to acknowledging a serious mistake. Logically, an enemy from within had to appear. This was a theoretical necessity in the development of ideological processes during the 1990s.
This enemy from within appeared just in time, at the exact moment when it was needed most. And it had a name: Donald Trump. He embodied the boundary between Liberalism 1.0 and Liberalism 2.0. Initially, attempts were made to establish a connection between Trump and “red-brown Putin”. This seriously damaged Trump’s presidency, but was ideologically inconsistent. Not only because of the lack of real relations between Trump and Putin and Trump’s ideological opportunism, but also because Putin himself is, in fact, a very pragmatic realist.
Much like Trump, Putin is a poll populist, and like Trump, he’s most likely to be an opportunist with no real interest in a worldview. The alternate scenario portraying Trump as a “fascist” is just as ridiculous. Because it has been used by his political rivals too often, it has caused trouble for Trump, but it has also been inconsistent. Neither Trump himself nor his staff consisted of “fascists” or representatives of any right-wing extremist tendency which had long ago been marginalized in American society and only existed as a kind of extreme libertarian fringe or kitsch culture.
How can you then ultimately classify Trump?
Dugin: Trump was and is a representative of Liberalism 1.0. If we put aside all foreign regimes that oppose liberal ideology in their political practice, there will only be one real enemy of liberalism left – liberalism itself. So in order to move forward, liberalism had to carry out an “internal cleansing”. And it is precisely this old liberalism that has been identified with the symbolic figure of Donald Trump. He was the ultimate enemy in the election campaign of Joe Biden, who stands for the new liberalism 2.0. Biden spoke of the “return to normal”. Liberalism 1.0 – national, capitalist, pragmatic, individualistic and to a certain extent libertarian – was thus declared an “abnormality”.
Liberalism focuses on individualism, that is, the individual human being. Other ideologies speak in terms of collectives like the people or the class. What does Liberalism 2.0 do?
Dugin: Right. The figure of the individual plays the same role in the social physics of liberalism as the atom in scientific physics. Society consists of atoms/individuals, who are the only real and empirical basis for subsequent social, political and economic constructions. Everything can be reduced to the individual. That is the liberal law. So the struggle against all kinds of collective identity is the moral duty of liberals, and progress is measured by whether or not this struggle is successful.
A look at Western societies shows that the struggle was largely successful…
Dugin: At that point, when Liberals began to realize this scenario, despite all their victories, there was still something collective, some kind of forgotten collective identity that also needed to be destroyed. Welcome to gender politics! To be a man and a woman means to share a collective identity which dictates strong social and cultural practices. This is a new challenge for liberalism. The individual must be liberated from biological sex, since the latter is still viewed as something objective. Gender must be purely optional and seen as a consequence of a purely individual decision.
Gender politics starts here and changes the very nature of the concept of the individual. The postmodernists were the first to show that the liberal individual is a masculine, rationalist construction. Simply equalizing social opportunities and functions for men and women, including the right to change gender at will, does not solve the problem. The “traditional” patriarchy still survives by defining rationality and norms. Hence, it has been concluded that the liberation of the individual is not enough. The next step consists in the liberation of the human being or rather the “living entity” from the individual.
Now the moment is approaching for the final replacement of the individual by the gender-optional entity, a kind of network identity. And the final step will eventually be to replace humanity with creepy beings – machines, chimeras, robots, artificial intelligence and other species of genetic engineering. The line between what is still human and what is already post-human is the main problem of the paradigm shift from Liberalism 1.0 to Liberalism 2.0. Trump was a human individualist who defended individualism in the old style of human context. Perhaps he was the last of his kind. Biden is a representative of the arriving post-humanity.
So far, it all sounds like a smooth march for the globalist elite. Can one counter that?
Dugin: One cannot avoid the realization that both old-fashioned nationalism and communism have been defeated by liberalism. Neither right-wing nor left-wing illiberal populism can win the victory over liberalism today. To be able to do this, we would have to integrate the illiberal left and the illiberal right. But the ruling liberals are very vigilant about this and always try to prevent any movement in this direction in advance.
The short-sightedness of the radical left and radical right politicians and groups only helps liberals to implement their agenda. At the same time, we must not ignore the growing chasm between Liberalism 1.0 and Liberalism 2.0. It seems as if the internal cleansing of modernity and postmodernism is now leading to brutal punishment and excommunication of new species of political beings – this time the liberals themselves are being sacrificed.
Those of them who do not consider themselves as a part of the Great Reset strategy and the Biden-Soros axis, those who refuse to enjoy the final disappearance of good old mankind, good old individuals, good old freedom and the market economy. There will be no place for any of these in Liberalism 2.0.
It will become post-human, and anyone who questions such a new concept will be welcomed to the Unity of Enemies of the Open Society.
And then we, Russians, will be able to tell them: “We have been here for decades and we feel more or less at home here. So we welcome you to hell, newbies!” Every Trump supporter and ordinary Republican is now seen as a potentially dangerous person, just as we have been for a long time. So let Liberals 1.0 join our ranks! To do this, it is not necessary to become illiberal, philo-communist or ultra-nationalist. Nothing like that! Everyone can keep their good old prejudices for as long as they want. The “Fourth Political Theory” presents a unique position where true freedom is welcomed: the freedom to fight for social justice, to be a patriot, to defend the state, the church, the people, the family – and to remain a human.
Prof. Dugin, thank you very much for the interview.