French translation here
The End of the Present World conference was held on October 12th, 2013 at a prestigious London venue. The three speakers were all luminaries of the European New Right: Laurent James, Alain de Benoist, and Alexander Dugin. The conference was themed around the idea of the waning of American power and the rise of a multipolar world.
The first speaker was Laurent James, and his talk was entitled “Eurasianism and Spirituality.” He described the western, post-modern condition as being the nadir of evolutionary achievement.
He sees the inauguration of post-modernity occurring in 1945 with the first nuclear attack by America on Japan. This was the act par excellence of the anti-Traditional forces, demonstrating their utter contempt for humanity and their nihilistic urge for universal dominance. This has created the conditions we live in today where man is worse than Satanic, where in fact, “Man dirties Satan.”
Spirituality is non-existent in post-modernity because a screen has been erected between man and the sacred. Due to liberalism, finance, and journalism there are no longer hierarchical relationships that are capable of putting man in touch with the sacred. There is instead a chaotic leveling of all men so that equality becomes an equality of meaninglessness and estrangement.
For James, there can be no possibility of rehabilitation within the present system. The existence of democracy (the tool of plutocracy) is itself sufficient to ensure the corruption of all political elites. So it is not so much a revolution of the political system that is in order as a revolution within the souls of the political elite itself. Exoterically, this needs to be expressed in a clear division between spiritual and temporal rule, the latter being the “vassal” of the former.
James sees a form of Celtic Christianity as the essential spiritual orientation for Eurasia. To re-engage with this current is to continue the work of the Knights Templar who, “constituted a powerful link between Celtic Europe, Rome and the Near-East.” The Templars are seen as a model, initiatory, society which acted against the rise of modern nation states and which established a supra-national brotherhood. James sees the Templars as purveyors of a form of Celtic Christianity but also receptive to the other traditions they came across in their exploits through Eurasia. Their heirs will similarly follow a Celtic form of Christianity and recognize the legitimacy of other spiritual traditions: “This Kingdom will be blessed by the inner circle of Priests, this Cenacle of Priests, the guides of the main religions which irrigate all the Continent in the manner of burning pulmonary veins: Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Hyperborean and Celtic spiritualities, all of them deeply animated by a similar celestial rhythm whose dominion is the cosmic coronation of the Supreme Goddess Mother, the Blessed Virgin up in Arms, the founding Mother of the deep spirituality of the heartlands of our continent.”
The distinct use of “Celtic Christianity” is presumably intended to point to its European identity in contradistinction to Catholic Christianity. In his recently published Dharma Manifesto, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya makes a similar distinction between Pauline Christianity and Paleo Christianity, with the Pauline version being associated with the anti-Dharmic, Abrahamic forces, and the Paleo version being a Dharmic-aligned type of Gnostic Christianity.
These sorts of distinctions demonstrate the pressing need for a new and vigorous form of European spirituality to arise at the present time. Any spiritual formulation that hopes to escape the nullity of post-modern assimilation should return to the originary foundations of European spirituality for its source. Whether such a spiritual awakening can be accommodated within Christianity, however renewed it might become, remains to be seen.
My concern would be that in the same way that democracy corrupts the political elites (as James perceptively pointed out) Christianity would be a corrupting force on the spiritual elites. The liking of the Eurasian movement for forms of Orthodox Christianity is pronounced but it is far from clear that those religious forms are intrinsically free from the sort of decline that has undermined other Christian sects.
Alain de Benoist
Next to speak was Alain de Benoist whose talk was entitled “Geopolitics Today.” He argued that taking a geopolitical view of world affairs allows deeper imperatives to emerge into the field of consideration. In particular, he focused on the distinctions between sea powers and land powers. This focus is intended to illuminate the geographical constraints that apply to political powers and so to allow for an analysis that runs deeper than the ideological, economic, or sociological level. The geopolitical perspective is used to delineate genuine constraints rather than presupposed constraints.
The present global order is defined by the dominance of America as the great sea power, a position once occupied by Britain. As such, America is the pre-eminent exponent of free trade and the concomitant erosion of borders and identities that goes with it. By contrast, the Eurasian landmass is the locus of the great land power and is characterised as a place of borders, distinctions, and politics. These characteristics are seen as properties of the respective geographical situations. A sea power’s natural character is dictated by the rootless, free flow of the sea, and Benoist identifies this character with postmodern globalisation. The American situation is such that it naturally tends towards a state of flux and exchange, whilst the Eurasian situation tends to rootedness and centeredness. These tendencies are deep properties that exist beneath the level of conscious political action but have a direct influence on it.
America’s primary aim continues to be the suppression of a Eurasian bloc that might challenge its unipolar dominance. This aim is pursued largely through America’s attempted containment of Russia. Benoist notes that the ongoing “color revolutions” supported by CIA fronts should be seen in this context.
He concludes by stating, “There are now only two possible positions: either being on the side of the American sea power or being on the side of the Eurasian continental power. I’m with the latter.”
The final speaker was Alexander Dugin, author of The Fourth Political Theory, and his speech was entitled, “The End of the Present World — Eurasia: the perspectives of multipolarity and Fourth Political Theory.”
Citing Heidegger, Dugin argues that the world is present only to human beings because only humans can conceptualise death, and such foreknowledge is necessary for Being to be authentic. Authentic Being exists in the presence of the sacred, in full knowledge of the presence of death. Post-modernism refuses to acknowledge the sacred and hides from death. It thus refuses to bring the world into presence, and delivers a purely inauthentic being. This enervation of being renders the world absent to us and replaces it with the simulacrum of the virtual. With virtuality the absence of the world is not readily apparent because the void is filled with inauthenticity, and the end is never experienced as finality but only as a lapse. At this point Dugin’s philosophical remarks become almost Gnostic, with the pseudo-world of the virtual resembling the demiurge’s realm. This demiurge is opposed not by the real, but by the sacred. The virtual is below the real, the sacred is above it.
He goes on to argue that the collapse of the United States is inevitable because the toxic debts that would have destroyed the banking system in 2008 were taken on by the American state. So, while the collapse of the banking system has been deferred, the debt has passed to the state which will not be able to service it. The United States is doomed because it has become saddled with the debts generated by the billionaire global oligarchs. “The future is already sold and eaten.” With the collapse of the US, other countries will follow suit, even those rising economies that may seem to be in a position to benefit from such a collapse. All of the growing economies have been infected with capitalism, and the collapse of the US will be their undoing as its effects spread through the globalised financial markets.
The death of the US equates to the death of (post) modernity. What will come after it? Dugin posits the Fourth Political Theory as the new political philosophy that will be able to completely transcend modernity. The Fourth Political Theory recognises Dasein as the fundamental political agent. The three preceding political theories of modernity (Marxism, Fascism, and Liberalism) all defined their political agency in ways that Dugin sees as rooted in modernity: respectively, class, race, and the individual. He regards class, race, and the individual as being conceptualised notions, and therefore embedded within the virtual simulacra of modernity. In Dugin’s view, Dasein is a non-conceptual agent that will be able to facilitate the re-emergence of the sacred. So, the collapse of America is seen not primarily as an economic or political event, but rather as the emergence of the possibility of a new political metaphysics.
Despite the diversity of the subject matter, it is interesting that all three speakers chose to delineate the spiritual bankruptcy of post-modernism and to place this deficiency at the heart of their critiques of America. For Laurent James post-modernism is a screen that divides man from the sacred and thus destroys the possibility of hierarchical relationships. We are all in the gutter but none of us are looking at the stars. For Alain de Benoist, the dominance of the sea power necessarily erodes borders and distinctions and, through the importance of free trade for such a power, it becomes the engine of globalization and the destroyer of all distinctions. For Alexander Dugin the virtuality of post-modernism is a negation of Being, a dead time in which we are estranged from the sacred.
Three facets of the same problem. When this is taken into consideration it becomes clear that the Eurasian idea (as expressed here) is not primarily focused on the aggrandisement of a new Russian Imperium at the expense of a declining America. While it is true that a strong Russia is good for taming some of America’s wilder foreign adventures there is a deeper aim to the Eurasian project. And this deeper aim is the victory of the sacred, of life itself, over the negating involution of the American Moloch.
It is certainly the case that Eurasianism and the Fourth Political Theory are viewed with some suspicion by elements of the Anglophone world (see Greg Johnson’s cautionary tale and Michael O’Meara’s championing of the Third Political Theory, for example). And the nebulous interpretations that could be applied to the notion of Dasein as a political agent would seem to invite a plurality of manifestations that seems . . . well, quite post-modern. But it is surely still the case that Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory remains one of the best articulated arguments for a non-totalitarian, identitarian political theory that seeks to position itself beyond the redundant ideologies of the 20th century.