Fourth Political Theory: Some Suggestions for the American People
by Alexander Dugin
People as Existence
Fourth Political Theory refuses three major forms of political Modernity – liberalism, (first political theory), communism/socialism (second political theory) and fascism/nazism (third political theory). So 4PT considers itself as essentially non-modern or counter-modern. That can signify it could be considered Pre-Modern as well as Post-Modern (but this is another Post-Modernity – not purely deconstructive but also re-constructive).
The three main political theories of Modernity deal with their central subject. The subject of liberalism is the individual; that of communism is a class (or rather two antagonist classes); that of fascism is the national State or Race (in national-socialism). 4PT suggests a quite different subject – a fourth Subject. It can be identified as the concept of People (in its easy political version) and as Heideggerian Dasein (in its philosophical version). Alain de Benoist prefers People. Myself, I am inclined toward Dasein. But the sense of two terms in the semantic context of 4PT is not so divergent. People in 4PT is conceived as an existential category. The People is existence. Heidegger said: Dasein existiert völkisch (Being t/here exists as people, through people). To be for concrete human being means first of all to be German, French, Russian, American, Chinese, African and so on. Without this identity the human is deprived of language, culture, mentality, traditions, social status and roles. The People is the reality closest to the very essence of man. Thinking, acting, willing, creating, fighting as man one always thinks, acts, desires, creates and fights as a German, French, Russian, American, Chinese, African and so on.
So people in 4PT is not a formal and explicit category as nation, but an informal and implicit category, that lays below any concretization. So 4PT is dealing with People and regards the world as a multiplicity of peoples, each one of them representing a particular and incommensurable horizon of being.
Such an approach evokes the problem of identity that is in the center of 4PT.
Three Kinds of Identity
In order to clarify 4PT let us delve into the problem of identity. We propose a methodological schema. We can represent the identity of a certain society or community as having three dimensions.
1. Diffused Identity. That is a vague feeling of a common belonging to the certain whole that is proper to every member of given society. It is somehow confused, uncertain, unconscious and weak. It could be activated only in extreme situation – such as wars, revolutions, natural disasters and so on. Diffused identity doesn’t make a direct impact on political or ideological decisions or options. People with the same diffused identity can freely choose quite different ways, values, solutions and strategies, can belong to different and concurrent parties, share different positions on concrete issues and so on. Such identity is weak, unconscious and in the calm times almost nonexistent because it doesn’t affect the person in its everyday life.
2. Extreme Identity. That is an arbitrary and artificial creation of some rational formula that pretends to express and manifest the diffused identity in the intellectual realm. Here the identity becomes ideology, a conceptual framework, a theory. The example of such identity is nationalism. But there can be other types – socialist or class identity, liberal cosmopolite identity and so on. It tries to convince the bearers of diffused identity that it represent their essence. It is not so popular in time of peace and prosperity but usually gains popularity in periods of wars and troubles. Extreme identity is often a perverted, disfigured and exotic creation that contrasts with the diffused identity emphasizing certain features and neglecting others. Extreme identity is often the caricature of diffused identity. This identity is much more clear and conscious and influences formal decisions, adherences, solutions and options of people who accept and cultivate it.
3. Deep Identity. The third type of identity is the precisely privileged one in 4PT. Deep identity is an organic existential basic identity that lays below diffused identity giving it its content, meaning and structure. It is a kind of language (in structuralist context of Ferdinand de Saussure) that contains all kind of possible discourses. It is not a superstructure that is constructed above diffused identity (as extreme identity) but infrastructure that is beneath diffused identity, giving it reality, sense and inner harmony. Deep identity makes this people to be what it is. It is the essence of the people, something that transcend the collectivity in its actual state. That is transcendence of people being in the same time immanent and present in every person belonging to this people. The people is not what exists in the present time. The language, the culture, the tradition, the gestures and psychological features don’t appear in the present, they come from the past and head to the future through present time. The actually existing people is not people as such but only its moment, its section. The people includes those who are dead and children yet to be born. It is a kind of music that can be perceived as such only if we remember the previous note and divine the next one. The deep identity is the whole that is expanded in time and space. So deep identity is people as existence.
4PT is dealing with people as existence. So the question of deep identity of each people is of primordial importance.
American Deep Identity
So thinking of the application of 4PT for North America we need to first of all to find the subject, to discover deep identity, to affirm the North-American people as existing. There we arrive immediately to some serious problems. The USA were founded as the pure conceptual society conveying the very essence of Modernity. The modern anthropology is based on the equation of the man with the individual. The individual is a concept constructed on the atomistic vision of nature and society. The individual is a social atom. But we know now that in the field of modern physics there are more and more sub-atomic entities discovered. But the meaning of the words a-tom (Greek) and individual (Latin) is precisely “what cannot be divided any more”. But there is not such an entity in nature, it is no more than a concept. So natural science progresses n search of more and more sub-atomic levels. The social science of Modernity has stopped on individual, operating with this concept as central for all human sciences. Socialist doctrines tried to think in the social systems of individuals. Post-Modern theories delve into sub-individual spheres. But Modernity deals with the man as individual anthropology. In liberalism it became the core of the political and economic, as well as juridic theory.
So North-American society was constructed on the basis of this concept. It is a very individualistic society and a very liberal (in all senses) society. It is strictly coeval to the European Modernity, it was born Modern. That is important. To be born Modern means that the USA never became Modern, it never has been Pre-Modern. It is not relatively Modern. It is absolutely Modern. The USA doesn’t know what it is like to be non-Modern. Pre-Modern tribes of Indians were fully destroyed and annihilated by European settlers and most of them during the war for Independence (majority if Indians fought of the side of Englishmen). For European people Modernity was an epoch that came after the Pre-Modern Middle Ages. So the roots of European people are Pre-Modern. That is their past, their semantic prelude to Modernity. The Modernity is the negation of Pre-Modernity. The secularism against theocracy, national State against Empire, human against divine, person against estate, ethos, religious community and so on. The positive Modern values were constructed on the denial of superseded obsolete Pre-Modern values.
North America lacks a Pre-Modernity at all. It has never been an Empire, theocracy, caste society. So it misses such deep dimensions. There is a difference between North America and Latin America. Latin America was never cut off so radically from Mother Europe. It was conceived as a peripheral part of Europe, with strong ties. Latin America was part of European history, so it has inherited European Pre-Modernity – Catholicism, Empire, caste society and so on. The Modernity for Latin America has the same sense as for Europe: it is one step ahead from Pre-Modern roots. So South America is much more European than North America and its deep identity is much easier to discover. The roots are Latin – Spanish, Portuguese, Catholic, Mediterranean.
The only root of North-American society is the Modern concept of the individual. There is no other low level beneath individual. There is no Pre-Modern dimension, no deep roots. All began here in North America too late for roots, for the soil, for the space.
That poses the real problem in the search of deep identity and thus makes application of 4PT into American society difficult.
The Soil That Lacks
The question of roots in the search of deep identity evokes the concept of soil and space, landscape. The people lives in space. Heidegger dixit: “Dasein existiert räumlich” Dasein exists as space, through space. People exists through space. The landscape is the living image of the country and people that dwells there. The soil is sacred for the deep identity as the basic vegetative level of the soul. The soil of Europe is a kind of visual material manifestation of culture. German archeologist and anthropologist Leo Frobenius used to say: “the culture is the earth manifesting itself through the man”.
Deep identity is linked to the soil. It is the dimension of eternity, of everlasting stability and immutability.
Noth America has no soil. The soil that is here doesn’t belong to Americans. The soil is essentially Pre-Modern. The North American society was constructed fully neglecting the soil. The real living space belongs to the humans who peopled the continent before the whites, to the Indian. For them the soil does matter. It is the basic level of the Indian soul. Noway with white settlers. They settled in the middle of nowhere, in the voice in order to create Utopia, the place that has no spatial identification. North America was from the beginning a mobile highly dynamic nomad society sliding on the surface of minimized almost non-existing space. There is no such thing as North American earth. There is no earth, there is America, the country without soil, without roots, open to all and letting to no one the place to exist – only place to move, endlessly, always, developing, progressing, changing. Pure dromocratic society (P. Virilio), successfully realized rhizomatic smooth surface dear to G. Deleuze.
So the space in North America doesn’t let the roots grow. It is an asphalt world. The space of North America was virtual from the very beginning of this civilization. And discovery of cyberspace was only a delayed awareness of the long ago achieved reality.
So T.Negri and M. Hardt who see in the USA the clearest example of Post-Modernity as the achievement of the most purified form of Modernity are quite right. The American Empire is deeply Post-Modern. Its only root is Modernity, so it is free to growth without roots – without space in the middle of a fully artificial landscape under an electric sky.
The absence of soil is a dramatic obstacle for the search of deep identity. That prevents the projection of 4PT on North American society. So we need somehow to resolve this problem. So accepting that in the very structure of North American society misses the profound dimension of the existential depth that is present in all other cultures and civilizations (Modern ones as the European and Pre-Modern – as the Russian or Asian) we can suggest nevertheless some paths to explore.
The liberalism that is at the heart of American society, the individualism as the core values of the USA should be accepted as basic features of North American identity. That is the birth mark of the artificial construction of American society as the laboratory project of Western Modernity.
So liberalism and individualism represent two main characteristics of diffused identity. To be American means to be liberal, individualist, progressist, Modern. It is not a fixed state it is a process. The USA is not being but becoming. Above this diffused identity there are two parallel mainstream ideological narratives – Democrat and Republican. They are the summary of diffused identity, conveying and deforming it at the same time in the rational approximations. Liberalism is the center – democrats are a little to the left, republicans — a little to the right. But both forms of extremal identity are based on consensus. All other proposals for formulation of diffused identity are marginal because there is not sufficient social circles to grant the support for alternative formulations. The North American bipartite political-ideological structure is almost a mathematic expression of the American identity oscillating around its main vectors – liberalism, individualism, freedom, progress, process, development, efficacy and so on.
So in such conditions there is no deep dimension. Asphalt and smooth virtual surface don’t let the depth exist. North America is a very shallow, hollow society . Its superficiality is the reason for its troubles but also, as well for its victories.
In its normal state we arrive at the conclusion that there can not be deep identity, because North Americans lack soil, Pre-Modernity, fixed level, depth and roots. So 4PT is closed to North Americans. It seems that that goes for the majority who are fully satisfied with the status quo. But at the same time existence in Heideggerian sense presupposes awareness of being t/here. To live without roots means to turn to ritual, to dehumanize himself. To be happy with conceptual individualism without ground is the same as to agree with purely mechanical functioning, to become machine, not human. Without the depth there is not existence, so there is no human being. And that is the reason why 4PT is very important to North America. It is the only way to save the human core in the process of total dehumanization, mechanization and Post-Modern trans-humanization. 4PT is destined to American human beings not to individualistic robots.
But dealing with the American society we need to keep in mind that we are dealing with organic liberals and individualists. We can not change it, we need to accept it and try to install existential politic in the core of such a special and particular society. The People is the whole that is more than part. The American people are the parts that think that they are whole in themselves and that there is no need of any other whole. Americans are parts without the whole. That can seem strange but that is so.
American human beings are also liberal and individualist. That is a real challenge for 4PT – to resolve this difficult equation.
There are three solutions for the American existential no-soil problem.
The first one is obvious. It is the invitation to discard proper North American identity and pass to another existential camp. The simplest way to do so is to return to European roots. That means that the American stops consider himself as American and begin to regard his historic and spatial situation in the light of Mother Europe. Thus the American become anew European, but a European placed incidentally out of European space. So the USA is no more the New World, but the Western periphery of the Old World. So to be American is the same as to be a European in exile. One can recall the ancestors and revive national or ethnic as well as religious identity of European forefathers. One becomes American German, American Italian, American Russian, American Pole and so on. One can freely choose their European identity. For example Eugene (Seraphim) Rose of purely Anglo-Saxon descent has converted to Orthodoxy and has nearly become a Russian Orthodox Saint fully accepting traditional Russian identity. The other example is the greatest American poet Ezra Pound who identified himself with European culture, lived for many years in Europe and stood on the side of the Central European powers against the USA. Finally it is quite simple for an American to make such a step re-actualizing or creating artificially a European cultural and intellectual self.
That step changes immediately all existential horizons. Obtaining European identity the ex-American receives the most important existential dimension – he obtains roots, soil, history. He obtains depth. That is most important. In Heideggerian terms it means the re-acquisition of History of Being, Seynsgeschichte. The man is situated in the European space (on its periphery) and in the European time. So he immediately obtains a Pre-Modern basis of his own presence. He becomes the bearer of European destiny, a part of the European Logos.
This situation assimilates the ex-American who became European to other Europeans and in this case the 4PT based on the Heideggerian concept of Dasein, Ereignis and Last God acquire all its meaning. The Deep identity of Europe is its being the West, the dark side of the ontology, the place of Descent (Niedergang). So Europe is the space of final tragedy, of Ragnarok, the last battle of the gods.
Europe is the place where the eschatology of being is consumed. The point of the Turn (Kehre). So 4PT in this case is quite clear: it is the invitation to destroy Modernity, resolving its nihilistic enigma and pass to the New Beginning. The individual, the class and nation (race) are all artificial constructions of the perverted and nihilistic metaphysics of Enlightenment. They are forms of unauthentic existence, they mislead the real Self of being t/here and promote by one way or another the totalitarian dictatorship of das Man, of impersonal mechanical power.
So 4PT for American Europeans is just the same as for native Europeans. And the fact that the American European is situated more to the West, in the Extreme West adds eschatological tension in this existential awakening of authentic Dasein. Heidegger is the Destiny of European America, its most important author.
In this case all periods of Heidegger are equally valuable from early texts, Sein und Zeit as well as Beiträge zur Philosophie and other writings on History of Being.
Much harder is the second suggestion. It demands some philosophical explications.
Let us take the pure American liberal individualist person. Its diffused identity has formed him in whole and he has no inclination to become European. He wants to stay American. But he asks about his deep identity. He isn’t satisfied by a proposed bipartite model, deceived by many marginal alternatives and can not accept a mechanical style of living sharing with the American majority the innocence of ultimate idiocy. He tries to discover the depth. But there is no such dimension in America. All is covered by asphalt. No roots, no Nature, no past. The artificiality of ever lasting present is omnipresent. Such man needs soil, asks about the reason of his personal individual existence and no answer around, nor beneath. What is there to do?
In such circumstances one can try to repeat the Cartesian experience. There is ego, an individual that thinks. This ego is here, is present. There is no past in the society, only an ephemeral moment. No ground beneath. But the man exists, so there should be the ground, soil. He couldn’t spring from the pit in the asphalt. And here he decides: if there is no soil beneath myself, there should be soil above myself. It is heavenly Earth (H. Corbin) imaged or rationally discovered by the individual. The American culture demands that the human would conceive himself as individual. So being American and thinking on the direct cause and reason of ones own existence one comes to the concept of Heavenly Motherland and individual god (or individual spirit) that is fully responsible for the presence of the concrete individual. The mainstream culture doesn’t mention such an instance, but letting everybody be free and think free it is quite logical for it to do so. Every individual should discover this god and this heavenly soil by himself. That is the rule of the American society. If he doesn’t seek the causes he could be free in that not-seeking. If he seeks he should get the answer by himself.
So we are arriving to a very important conclusion: there is premiss to a very special American theology, inverted individualist platonism that discovers the transcendence of god creating it from himself.
American theology is comparable to the rain where there are flows of falling water – each drop is the American soul created by American rain, spirit rain. Such a theology is individually monotheistic, socially polytheistic (there are many drops of rain), normatively secular or atheistic. Each one can discover their personal god/spirit. Such an instance is pragmatically necessary for everyone. But it can not be imposed from outside, it should be sought and found starting from the inside.
The individual god/spirit creates individual not once and forever. That would mean the impossibility of change. But American diffused identity is based on the change. So the American theology should be a process theology. The multiplicity of strictly individual gods/spirits are creating and recreating Americans always anew. The American individuality is becoming, dynamic. It is open individuality, but not horizontally rather vertically. The USA is a community of deeply individualistic mystics. It can be proved but it can be denied nonetheless. It represents an American secret. You can presume that You are dealing with fool, but may be he is the fool of god (or spirit).
So American theology presents a new version of deep dimension. The 4PT in such case addresses not the superficial side of American mentality (purely mechanical one), but directly to this secret side of American personality, its dimension of spirit rain. The American exists creating its personal god as own cause. So it is reversed rain falling up, not down. This voluntary transcendence serves as depth that can and should arise from the banality of Modern ideology. It is a kind of secret side of liberalism where its limitations are transcended by heroic efforts of the absolute loneliness. The USA is the only place where the absolute loneliness is possible. More than that here is obligatory.
So the human in the process of creating his creator, installing thus the dimension of depth in the anthropology, imagining the past and the History is quite a possible target for 4PT. Such an effort is too dramatic for Modernity. So individuality is brought and imposed by the Modernity. But living in such conditions the American human being who tries to grasp his cause and meaning of his presence in America (America isn’t the world – so Heideggerian existential should be corrected here in-America-being, in-America-sein) provokes self-implosion. He constitutes tragically the absent vertical axis and is ready to receive the 4PT.
American Way of Death
The last path for deep identity in the USA’s society is that of classical American existentialism represented in American literature and art. The case is that of a lonely individual loosing his usual way of living, going out from the closed circle of the meaningless dynamism. The American is rejected by America. Now he is in trouble. There is no way out of America. If You couldn’t find the way to be in the USA, You will pay for that. In-America-being is fateful. The society gives You only one thing – an absolute individual freedom, but confiscates all others. So You are from all. At the same time You are free for nothing. So the outsider finds himself out. But America is the universal out. So find Yourself out of the camp of being and to live in America is just the same. Those who understand that are more American than those who don’t. The real American is the lost American, the confused American, the fallen American…
Seeking in such situation the soil leads, as we have already seen, to nowhere. There is no soil, no roots, no past. The American can only slide in the smooth surface of lasting present. And if one falls, he continues to exist sliding – falling, fallen. There are cases when the individual can not look upward, in the direction of the Heavenly Earth. No drop of rain. There is no will, nor might to create a personal god/spirit. So there is only one option – death. In America death is individual. It is antisocial. It doesn’t concern anybody except the dead himself. All those who are gone astray begin to be-in-front-of-death. Without hope, or sense. Pure liberal death. The essence of liberty. The heroes of J. Sallinger, J. Updike, W. Faulkner or beatniks are examples of such types of American outsiders who are real insiders, because they have arrived at the core of American identity that is death itself.
4PT is based on the Dasein that exists authentically. That means that we exist in front of death, looking straightly in her eyes. That is the needed dimension. Confronting death we awaken the content of our being. We are human not always, but when we assume our mortality and finite nature. When there is the end just in front of us, there is a moment for beginning. American outsiders are ready subjects for 4PT. They discover the nucleus of liberalism and the center of individuality – it is death. But death, descent, Niedergang should be taken as a starting point for 4PT. The death of subject of all classical political theories of Modernity is the birth of real Dasein, its manifestation.
Three Paths for America
So we have made the survey of three ways to discover the deep identity of the American people. First is the invitation to abdicate American Modern identity and to return to the European one. In each case the American people is considered as the prolongation of the European people.
The second one is the idea to affirm a special American theology, rain spirit, with artificially created transcendence that would prepare a new concept of American people as gods/spirits creating mystical individualists. Some examples of such a kind of identity we clearly see in different American spiritualistic sects – Mormons, the Church of Process and Process theology, diverse Protestant denominations and so on. Here we see the implosion of Modernity that prepares the route for acceptance of the counter-Modern essence of 4PT.
The third way is the direct death confrontation and the discovery of the nothingness in the center of individual as such. The nihilistic essence of liberalism becomes here evident and starting from this black spot we can further consider the propositions of 4PT on how to overcome it.
Edited by James Porrazzo for Open Revolt.