The Fourth Political Theory: An Interview with John Morgan by Natella Speranskaya
Natella Speranskaya (NS): How did you discover the Fourth Political Theory? And how would you evaluate its chances of becoming a major ideology of the 21st century?
John Morgan (JM): I have been interested in the work of Prof. Dugin since I first discovered English translations of his writings at the Arctogaia website in the late 1990s. So I had already heard of the Fourth Political Theory even before my publishing house, Arktos, agreed to publish his book of the same name. In editing the translation of the book, I became intimately familiar with Prof. Dugin’s concept. According to him, the Fourth Political Theory is more of a question than an ideology at this point. It is easier to identify what it is not, which is opposed to everything represented by liberalism, and which will transcend the failures of Marxism and fascism. In recent decades, many people have been heralding the “death of ideology.” Carl Schmitt predicted this, saying that the last battle would take place between those who wish to reject the role of politics in civilization, and those who understand the need for it. The death of ideology, I believe, is simply the exhaustion of those political systems that are founded on liberalism. This does not mean that politics itself has ended, but only that a new system is required. The Fourth Political Theory offers the best chance to take what is best from the old ideologies and combine them with new ideas, to create the new vision that will carry humanity into the next age. Although we can’t say with certainty what that will look like, as of yet. But it should be obvious to everyone that the current ideology has already run its course.
NS: Leo Strauss when commenting on the fundamental work of Carl Schmitt The Concept of the Political notes that despite all radical critique of liberalism incorporated in it Schmitt does not follow it through since his critique remains within the scope of liberalism”. “His anti-Liberal tendencies, – claims Strauss, – remain constrained by “systematics of liberal thought” that has not been overcome so far, which – as Schmitt himself admits – “despite all failures cannot be substituted by any other system in today’s Europe. What would you identify as a solution to the problem of overcoming the liberal discourse? Could you consider the Fourth Political Theory by Alexander Dugin to be such a solution? The theory that is beyond the three major ideologies of the 20th century – Liberalism, Communism and Fascism, and that is against the Liberal doctrine.
JM: Yes, definitely. The unsustainably and intellectual poverty of liberalism in Europe, and also America, is becoming more apparent with each passing day. Clearly a new solution is needed. Prof. Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory, as he has explained in his book of the same title, is more of a question than an ideology at this point, and it is up to those of us who are attempting to defy unipolar hegemony to determine what it will be. So, yes, we need a new ideology, even if we cannot yet explain exactly what it will be in practice. I think Prof. Dugin’s idea of taking Heidegger’s Dasein as our watchword is a good one, because we are so entrenched in the liberal mindset – even those of us who want to overcome it – that it is only be re-engaging with the pure essence of the reality of the world around us that we will find a way out of it. The representational, virtual reality of postmodernism which surrounds most of us on a daily basis has conditioned us to only think about liberalism on its own terms. Only by renewing our contact with the real, non-representational world, and by disregarding all previous concepts and labels, can we find the seeds for a new way of apprehending it.
NS: Do you agree that today there are “two Europes”: the one – the liberal one (incorporating the idea of “open society”, human rights, registration of same-sex marriages, etc.) and the other Europe (“a different Europe”) – politically engaged, thinker, intellectual, spiritual, the one that considers the status quo and domination of liberal discourse as a real disaster and the betrayal of the European tradition. How would you evaluate chances of victory of a “different Europe” over the ”first” one?
JM: Speaking as an American outsider, I absolutely see two Europes. The surface Europe is one that has turned itself into a facsimile of America – the free market, democracy, multiculturalism, secularism, pop culture, sacrificing genuine identity for fashions, and so on. The other Europe is much more difficult to see, but I have the good fortune of having many friends who dwell within it. This is the undercurrent that has refused to accept the Americanization of Europe, and which also rejects the liberal hegemony in all its forms. They remain true to the ancient spirit of Europe’s various peoples and cultures, while also dreaming of a new Europe that will be strong, independent and creative once again. We see this in the New Right, in the identitarian movement, and in the many nationalist groups across Europe that have sprung up in recent years. As of now, their influence is small, but as the global situation gets worse, I believe they will gain the upper hand, as more Europeans will become open to the idea of finding new solutions and new ways of living, disassociated from the collapsing hegemonic order. So I estimate their chances as being very good. Although they must begin acting now, even before the “collapse,” if they are to rescue their identities from oblivion, since the “real” Europe is fast being driven out of existence by the forces of liberalism.
NS: “There is nothing more tragic than a failure to understand the historical moment we are currently going through” – notes Alain de Benoist – “this is the moment of postmodern globalization”. The French philosopher emphasizes the significance of the issue of a new Nomos of the Earth or a way of establishing international relations. What do you think the fourth Nomos will be like? Would you agree that the new Nomos is going to be Eurasian and multipolar (transition from universum to pluriversum)?
JM: Yes, I do agree. In terms of what it will look like, see my answer to question 4 in the first set of questions.
NS: Do you agree that the era of the white European human race has ended, and the future will be predetermined by Asian cultures and societies?
JM: If you mean the era of the domination of White Europeans (although of course that comprises many diverse and unique identities in itself), and those of European descent such as in America, over the entire world, then yes, that era is coming to an end, and has been, gradually, since the First World War. As for the fate of White Europeans in our own homelands, that is also an open question, given the lack of genuine culture and diminishing reproductive rates of Whites around the world, coupled with large-scale non-White immigration into our homelands. While I welcome the end of White hegemony, which overall hasn’t been good for anyone, most especially for Whites themselves, as an American of European descent I do fear the changes that are taking place in our lands. As the thinkers of the “New Right” such as Alain de Benoist have said, if we stand for the preservation of the distinct identities of all peoples and cultures, then we must also defend the identities of the various European peoples and their offshoots. I would like to see European peoples, including in America, develop the will to resist this onslaught and re-establish our lands as the true cradles of our cultures and identities. Of course, in order to do this, White peoples must first get their souls back and return to their true cultures, rejecting multiculturalism and the corporate consumer culture that has grown up in tandem with neo-colonialism, both of which victimize Whites just as much as non-Whites. Unfortunately, few White Europeans around the world have come to this understanding thus far, but I hope that will change.
As for whether the future belongs to Asians, that I cannot say. Certainly India and China are among the most prominent rising powers. But at the same time, they face huge domestic challenges, demographically and otherwise. Whether they will be able to sustain the momentum they have now is uncertain. Having lived in India for the last four years, while it is a land I have come to love, I have difficulty seeing India emerging as a superpower anytime soon. The foundations just aren’t there yet. Likewise, I find it troubling that India and China continue to understand “progress” in terms of how closely they mimic the American lifestyle and its values. Until Asian (and other) nations can find a way to develop a sustainable and stable social order, and until they forge a new and unique identity for themselves in keeping with their traditions that is disconnected from the Western model, I don’t see them overtaking the so-called “First World.”
NS: Do you consider Russia to be a part of Europe or do you accept the view that Russia and Europe represent two different civilizations?
JM: As a longtime student of Dostoevsky, I have always believed that Russia is a unique civilization in its own right. Although clearly Russia shares cultural affinities and linkages with Europe that cannot be denied, and which bring it closer to Europe than to Asia, it retains a character that is purely its own. I have always admired this aspect of Russia. Whereas Western Europe sold its soul in the name of material prosperity in its rush to embrace the supposed benefits of the Industrial Revolution and modernity as quickly as possible, Russia developed its own unique path to modernity, and has always fought hard to maintain its independence. It seems to me, as a foreigner, that as a result, Russia retains a much stronger connection to the spiritual and the intangible aspects of life than in the West, as well as a more diverse, as opposed to purely utilitarian, outlook. The German Conservative Revolutionaries understood this, which is why they sought to tilt Germany more towards Russia politically and culturally, and away from England and the United States (such as Arthur Moeller van den Bruck advocated). Similarly, in today’s world, New Rightists, traditionalists and so forth would do well to look toward Russia and its traditions for inspiration.
NS: Contemporary ideologies are based on the principle of secularity. Would you predict the return of religion, the return of sacrality? If so, in what form? Do you consider it to be Islam, Christianity, Paganism or any other forms of religion?
JM: I think we already see this happening to an extent. In the nineteenth and for most of the twentieth century, the prevailing view was skepticism and scientism, with religion primarily relegated to its moralistic aspects. But beginning in the 1960s in North America and Western Europe, we have seen a renewal of interest in religion and the transcendental view of life on a large scale. This development was, of course, presaged by the traditionalist philosophers, such as René Guénon and Julius Evola, who understood modernity perhaps better than any other Europeans of their time. But unfortunately, this revival in practice has tended toward New Age modes of thought, or else mere identity politics and exotericism as we see with the rise of fundamentalist Christianity in America, rather than in genuinely traditional spirituality. As such, most spirituality in the Western nations today is an outgrowth of modernity, rather than something that can be used to oppose and transcend it. But the fact that more traditionalist books are being made available, and that we see more groups dedicated to traditional spirituality and esotericism than ever before, is a promising trend.
As for the form that this revival will ultimately take, that depends on the location. For much of the world, of course, people are likely to return to and revitalize the traditions that grew out of their own civilizations, which is as it should be. We already see efforts in this direction at work in some parts of the so-called “Third World.” But in Western Europe, and especially America, it is a more difficult question. The Catholic Church today doesn’t hold much promise for those of a traditional mindset. Guénon himself abandoned his native Catholicism and began to practice Islam because he had come to believe that Catholicism was no longer a useful vehicle for Tradition. And of course today, things are much worse than they were in Guénon’s time. Protestantism, besides being counter-traditional, is in even poorer shape these days. And while I am very sympathetic to those who are seeking to revive the pre-Christian traditions of Europe, or adopt traditions from other cultures, this ultimately isn’t a good strategy for those who are engaged in sociopolitical activity alongside spiritual activities. The vast majority of Europeans and Americans still identify with Christianity in some form, and this will need to be taken into account by any new political or metapolitical movement that emerges there.
In America, unlike Europe, we have no real tradition of our own. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because our culture has always been tolerant of allowing and even embracing the presence of alternative forms of spirituality. (Interest in Hinduism, for example, began in America already in the Nineteenth century with such figures as Thoreau and Emerson, and with the arrival of Hindu teachers from India such as Protap Chunder Mozoomdar and Swami Vivekananda.) But it is also a curse because there is no particular, universal spiritual tradition that underlies American civilization which can be revived. Christianity remains dominant, but certainly the popular forms of it that exist in America today are unacceptable from a traditional standpoint. At the same time, most Americans are unlikely to accept any form of spirituality which they perceive to be different from or in opposition to Christianity. So it is a difficult question.
The best solution may be to exclude advocating any specific religion from our efforts in the West for the time being, and leave such decisions to the individual. Of course, we should encourage everyone who supports us to integrate the traditional worldview into their own lives, in whatever form that may take, and to oppose secularism on the grounds of the resacralization of culture. Perhaps once the process of the collapse of the current global and cultural order is further along, and as the peoples’ faith in the illusions of progress, materialism and nationalism inculcated by modernity are shattered, the new form or forms of religion that must take root in the West will become more readily apparent.
Morgan, John. “The Fourth Political Theory: An interview with John Morgan.” Interview by Natella Speranskaya. Euro-Synergies, 3 June 2013. <http://euro-synergies.hautetfort.com/archive/2013/05/29/john-morg.html >. (See this article in PDF format here: The Fourth Political Theory – An Interview with John Morgan by Natella Speranskaya).
Note: See also the closely related interview with John Morgan on the Theory of the Multipolar World: <https://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/theory-of-multipolar-world-morgan/ >.