The Fourth Political Theory – A Review
By Olivia Pistun
Professor Aleksandr Dugin is Head of the Centre of Conservative Researches at the Faculty of Sociology at Moscow State University and leader of the International Eurasian Movement.
What is perhaps initially most appealing about this publication – aside from the promise of an offer of a fresh, viable alternative to the present stagnant political void, this “end of history” in which we find ourselves – is the comprehensive critique of the prevailing liberal ideology from a perspective which neither wholly aligns itself with the traditional positions in opposition to liberalism, nor stations itself against these.
The principal aim of Professor Dugin’s work is not simply to deconstruct the previous failed political theories, which he lists as fascism, communism, and liberalism, but to fashion a new fourth theory, utilising what may be learnt from some of the previous models after their deconstruction rather than dismissing them outright on the basis of particulars worthy of rejection. That is not to say that the Fourth Political Theory is simply a synthesis of ideas that in their singular form have seen their day. Dugin is conscious of the necessity to bring something new to the table, with one of the principal of these novel ideas being the rejection of the subjects of the old ideologies, such as class, race, or the individual, in favour of the existential Heideggerian concept of Dasein (roughly Being or being-in-the-world. Literally da – there; sein– being) as the primary actor.
Arguably this is the greatest difficulty in Professor Dugin’s book. Whereby the subject of class or race may be conceived of on the scientific, quantifiable level, the metaphysical idea of Dasein as the cardinal actor in the Fourth Political Theory is significantly more difficult to grasp in an age which overvalues the scientific method. This said, the title of the book itself serves to suggest that the contents will not be free from abstract concepts. This is, after all, a work of theory.
Those hoping for a comprehensive outline of a route to salvation will be disappointed. At least initially. The Fourth Political Theory does not seek to form a rigid ideological structure founded on an exhaustive set of axioms, but rather to serve as an invitation to further build upon what is an initial guiding framework.
Traditionalists who ascribe to a more conservative world view need not be put off by Dugin’s avant-garde approach towards historically enemy ideologies. His boldly honest examination – unhindered by any concern of how he will be received – of the previous political theories is illustrative of the principle which is prevalent throughout his work, namely the opposition to the sort of reflexive reaction that stems from ingrained preconceptions, and advocating instead a willingness and ability to acknowledge the positive parts within an overall negative whole.
With this in mind, it may serve to benefit any to cast aside suspicions and scepticism towards this Russian thinker and to refrain from dismissing this innovating work on the basis of the presupposition that seemingly disagreeable notions act as principle maxims within the Fourth Theory.
Regardless of where one stands in relation to this seminal work, the Fourth Political Theory is a valuable contribution to the alternative political discourse and, I suspect, will be quick to gain even greater momentum.
Copies of Aleksandr Dugin’s The Fourth Political Theory can be purchased from ARKTOS
Pistun, Olivia. “Aleksandr Dugin: The Fourth Political Theory: A Review.” Traditional Britain Group, 26 May 2013. <http://www.traditionalbritain.org/content/aleksandr-dugin-fourth-political-theory-review-olivia-pistun >.
Publication notes: Aleksandr Dugin’s book The Fourth Political Theory (London: Arktos, 2012) is the English translation of the original Russian work Четвёртая политическая теория (Санкт-Петербург & Москва: Амфора, 2009). The book under review, The Fourth Political Theory, has also been translated into many other languages. We will note that it is also available in Spanish translation as La Cuarta Teoría Política (Molins de Rei, Barcelona: Nueva República, 2013), in German translation as Die Vierte Politische Theorie (London: Arktos, 2013), in French translation as La Quatrième Théorie Politique (Nantes: Éditions Ars Magna, 2012), in Portuguese translation as A Quarta Teoria Política (Curitiba: Editora Austral, 2012), in Romanian translation as A Patra Teorie Politică (Chișinău: Editura Universitatea Populară, 2014), in Greek translation as Η τέταρτη πολιτική θεωρία (Αθήνα: Έσοπτρον, 2013), and in Serbian translation as Четврта политичка теорија (Београд: MIR Publishing, 2013). Other books or essays by Dugin may be available in these languages and many others. For more information, see the offical Fourth Political Theory website: <http://www.4pt.su/ >.
Notes on further reading: For a better summary of the Fourth Political Theory, see also especially “The Necessity of the Fourth Political Theory” by Leonid Savin and “The Fourth Political Theory and ‘Other Europe'” by Natella Speranskaya. We also recommend that our audience look at the other articles by Alexander Dugin on our website for a further clarification of the nature of his political philosophy (Fourth Political Theory, Eurasianism, Multipolar World Theory): <https://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/tag/alexander-dugin/ >.
Also of note in English is Dugin’s book Eurasian Mission: Program Materials (Moscow: International Eurasian Movement, 2005 [2nd edition: London: Arktos, 2015]). For those who know French, an important book by Alexander Dugin has been published as Pour une théorie du monde multipolaire (Nantes: Éditions Ars Magna, 2013), the French translation of the Russian original: теория многополярного мира (Москва: Евразийское движение, 2012). There is also a Portuguese translation of this work known as Teoria do Mundo Multipolar (Iaeg, 2012). On the theory of the multi-polar world in German, see Dugin’s Konflikte der Zukunft: Die Rückkehr der Geopolitik (Kiel: Arndt-Verlag, 2014). Also worth noting in French is Dugin’s books Le prophète de l’eurasisme (Paris: Avatar Éditions, 2006) and L’appel de L’Eurasie (Paris: Avatar Éditions, 2013). A Spanish version of the latter has been published as ¿Qué es el eurasismo? Una conversación de Alain de Benoist con Alexander Dugin (Tarragona: Ediciones Fides, 2014). It should also be noted that a deeper clarification of the Fourth Political Theory has also been published by Dugin (in Russian), titled Четвертый Путь (Москва: Академический проект, 2014).
Further information on Dugin and his ideas in the Spanish language can be found in Sebastian J. Lorenz’s Elementos, N° 70, “Alexander Dugin y la Cuarta Teoría Política: La Nueva Derecha Rusa Eurasiática” (Mayo 2014), <http://urkultur-imperium-europa.blogspot.com/2014/05/elementos-n-70-alexander-dugin-y-la.html >. (We have made Elementos Nº 70 available for download from our site here: Elementos Nº 70 – Dugin). For Spanish readers, the book ¿Qué es el eurasismo? (previously cited) also serves as a good introduction to Dugin’s thought, which augments the Elementos publication.
Commentary: We should also note that Dugin’s position on the matter of race and racism is somewhat unclear and questionable. Some have interpreted Dugin’s works as implying the view that race is unimportant to ethnic identity, and that rejecting racism necessarily means rejecting belief in racial identity and difference. It is not yet clear whether this interpretation is valid or not, and Dugin himself may actually believe that race has some importance, but no clear position on the matter is expressed in either The Fourth Political Theory or his essays on Eurasianism that we have seen thus far. If the former interpretation is in fact true, then his position is partly incompatible with that of the New Rightists, Identitarians, and Traditionalists. Although Dugin respects Alain de Benoist and has published some of his essays in Russian (collected in Против либерализма: к четвертой политической теории [Санкт-Петербург: Амфора, 2009]), it is significant to note that Benoist holds a clear ethnic and racial separatist – although strictly non-racist – view, as expressed in many of his works, such as “What is Racism?” (available on our site along with more information through the hyperlink) and Les Idées à l’Endroit (Paris: Libres-Hallier, 1979). Furthermore, Julius Evola, another thinker whom Dugin respects, held a view of race in which the biological race and heritage still held a degree of importance among traditionalist values, as expressed in, for example, The Path of Cinnabar (London: Arktos, 2010) and Revolt Against the Modern World (Rochester: Inner Traditions, 1995).