You guys know anything about it?
The Fourth Political Theory (Russian: Четвертая политическая теория, Chetvertaya Politicheskaya Teoriya) is a book by the Russian political scientist and theorist Aleksandr Dugin, published in 2009. In the book, Dugin states that he is laying the foundations for an entirely new political ideology, the fourth political theory, which integrates and supersedes the three past "theories" of liberal democracy, Marxism, and fascism. The book has been cited as an inspiration for Russian policy in events such as the War in Donbass, and for the contemporary European far right in general.
From the 4th Political Theory's own website:
The Eurasian movement, which seeks to restore Russian power and prestige, is a form of National Bolshevism based on the geopolitical theory that Moscow, Berlin, and Paris form a natural political axis and potential power center. Alexander Dugin, the founder of the Eurasian Party, writes: The new Eurasian empire will be constructed on the basic principle of opposition to the common enemy: Atlanticism and the American New World Order. A multipolar world must replace the current unipolar world currently dominated by the United States.
A lot of people believe this movement is what's shaping a lot of what is happening throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia (which most people incorrectly refer to as the Middle East). The movement is clearly grabbing people's attention and gaining followers. Wherever you stand, politically, it would be important to know about it. Here are some resources:
Sounds like to me that a Moscow-Berlin-Paris political axis will be a lot more popular in Moscow than in Berlin or Paris.
I can see the appeal for a Russian who is way too attached to Russian prestige. But I don't think it's at all in Russian -- and certainly not in French or German -- interest to generate a conflict with the rest of the West.
I think it's looking backward. All three countries have major demographic problems coming. Maybe that's the appeal of generating a conflict with the US: it feels nicer than looking at problems you don't know how to solve.
I think they've thought about it a bit deeper than that. Foregtting the Paris and Berlin angle, Russian Eurasians recognize that ethnic Slavs are a minority on the Eurasian continent yet accept this and want to work with the various Turkic ethnic groups that make up most of the Eurasian continent to make their vision a reality. This includes working with Iran, Afghanistan, etc.
Surely the barrier to that is not the USA or the Atlantic Alliance.
I've read a handful of articles on the 4pt site to get a better feel for what it's all about.
The post called 4TH POLITICAL THEORY AND POST-LIBERALISM is essentially a transcript of a TV interview with Alexander Dugin that happened on (what I presume is) a Russian current events show. The interview was very interesting. He explains how we (in more or less recent history) have experienced three political theories or ideologies: liberalism, communism and fascism. (Liberalism here is meant to label western society as a whole: democratic elections, humans rights, equality, the value and freedom of the individual, etc. So the label liberal also applies to conservative governments like the US under Reagan or the UK under Thatcher; they are conservative within the framework of western democracy.) Dugin goes on to explain what he believes are their various strengths and weaknesses. He also explains that, as theories or ideologies go, liberalism won. Liberalism and communism came together to defeat fascism in WW2 and then liberalism went on to end communism in 1991 (the end of the Cold War). One of his main points is that liberalism is now the one and only ideology or theory that people really know; all of our thoughts and opinions and values are unconsciously rooted within the framework of liberalism; we value human rights and freedom and equality and the separation of church and state and the free press and yadda yadda yadda because everything around us has told us that these are the things that are good. And, as a result of that, we assume that western liberalism is not only good but the only way to be good. And thus the west tries to spread western liberalism across the world, claiming that it's for reasons of developing, modernizing, and becoming good. So another one of his points is that, in this way, western liberalism has become de facto totalitarian. So while communism hinted at being totalitarian and fascism was blatantly totalitarian, western liberalism is totalitarian in the sense that it does not tolerate any other form of society; it assumes that only western liberalism is correct and good and therefore westernization is the only way to go. He doesn't really get into why too much but he says that western liberalism, which people associate with modernization, is not necessarily good or good for everyone and that it has it own faults. And even though some societies might not want to westernize or modernize, even if they resist, people aren't aware of any feasible alternatives since communism and fascism both failed. So he's proposing a 4th theory. In this interview, he doesn't get too into deeply into what that theory is but he hints around it being a rejection of westernization, of liberalism and of modernization; he proposes that the 4th theory would be based on the ideologies and ways of life that came before liberalism. I find this all very interesting because I've overheard and read bits and pieces from various authors in the past around the topic of societies' right to resists or reject westernization / modernization, and around societies' concerns about the west's paradoxical imposition of "freedom" on other societies.
TL;DR: Liberalism, communism and fascism all suck. We should be able to reject westernization / modernization. The 4th theory consists of looking to the past before the creation of these 3 other theories.
Recurring themes from the other posts I've read:
-The idea that Russians in particular or Slavs are rooted in European ancestry and history but have become completely distinct from it and can no longer be considered Europeans. He makes the comparison with societies like India and Iran, both Indo-European nations yet completely un-European at this point.
-The idea that the Great Schism between western (Catholic and Protest) and eastern Christianity (orthodox) illustrates and reinforces this point.
-The idea that control over the whole of the Eurasian continent is inevitable and desirable. Looking to the past, he points to Genghis Khan's empire, the Byzantine Empire (AKA Eastern Roman Empire) and the Ottoman Empire as examples.
-The idea that Russians in particular and Slavs in general are best positioned to start and run the new empire; essentially the New Byzantine Empire. This is their version of Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism. This is predestined and supported by Orthodox Christianity. Moscow is to become the third / final Rome and the new empire's ultimate goal is to trigger the the End Times and the second coming of Christ.
-The willingness to work with any society that rejects western liberalism and modernization.
-That the 4th Theory rejects liberalism, westernization, modernization and everything these things stand for. That the 4th theory is essentially the New Middle Ages and that elements like social castes and rigid hierarchy, the dominance of the Orthodox church in all aspects of life, the elimination of all values and mindsets associated with liberalism, communism and fascism (etc.) are all components of it.
-The paradox that, while the 4th Theory and Eurasianism are deeply rooted in and linked to pan-Slavism, nationalism is bad and will lead to separation rather than unity. (Hence the willingness to work with any society and ethnic group that rejects western liberalism and modernization.)
-I find this all very fascinating and frightening all at the same time.
I'll continue to read more posts and share whatever other insights I discover.
I'd argue the reason liberalism has "won" over communism and fascism is that it is a natural state, and doesn't try to suppress human nature by centrally planning society. The rise of liberalism has coincided with unprecedented prosperity and advancements in every aspect of society, while both communism and fascism have led to misery everywhere they've been tried. It couldn't be much clearer to me that we've already found something that works.
It's never a bad idea to consider new ideas, but Dugin's ideas don't stand up to the tiniest amount of scrutiny. I mean, liberalism is totalitarian? The thing about liberalism is that it theoretically allows for pretty much any kind of society to exist within it, as long as participation is voluntary. People have the right to voluntary live within a Marxist commune, for example, as long as there's no force involved. If a primitive tribe living in a remote corner of some rainforest somewhere wants to hold on to its traditions, it should be able to, and it theoretically can under a liberal society. But if it's under a liberal society, then people who don't want to live that way, but would otherwise have no other option, do have the option to leave and live how they want to. I know these rights often haven't been respected, but another thing about liberalism is that it allows society to recognize such things are wrong and to correct them, with the correction invariably involving more liberty. (Sorry if what I'm saying here is obvious, but I think it's unwise to merely proclaim that certain ideas are obviously wrong without explaining why, no matter how obvious. There are always going to be people who find those obviously wrong ideas attractive, so they can always use counter-arguments).
"Sorry if what I'm saying here is obvious, but I think it's unwise to merely proclaim that certain ideas are obviously wrong without explaining why, no matter how obvious"
I guess that's part of his bit: That we assume that some things are universally good because it's what the rule set of liberalism has told us to believe. And we have no reason to believe otherwise. It's certainly good to examine our beliefs and values from time to time to ensure that they still make sense rather than being platitudes that we simply repeat out of instinct. Or to make sure that we're not contradicting ourselves.
"The rise of liberalism has coincided with unprecedented prosperity and advancements in every aspect of society"
I don't know about every aspect of society. It has certainly elevated the average quality of life but, assuming we equate liberalism with capitalism, then you have to admit that there are a lot of people in capitalist western democracies that are economically suffering as a result of uncontrolled and/or predatory capitalism. If we remove uncontrolled capitalism as an element of liberalism then I certainly agree.
I guess that's part of his bit: That we assume that some things are universally good because it's what the rule set of liberalism has told us to believe. And we have no reason to believe otherwise.
The only reason liberalism has become so entrenched in how people in the west think is that, unlike communism and fascism (and absolute monarchy), it doesn't make people miserable. Therefore, they don't actively try to overthrow society to install a different system in large numbers, and most people aren't interested in other systems because they have no incentive to be.
I don't know about every aspect of society. It has certainly elevated the average quality of life but, assuming we equate liberalism with capitalism, then you have to admit that there are a lot of people in capitalist western democracies that are economically suffering as a result of uncontrolled and/or predatory capitalism.
I wouldn't say liberalism is the same thing as unrestrained capitalism. I'm a classical liberal, so I tend to be sympathetic to capitalism, but I would also acknowledge that some regulations are necessary and pure capitalism wouldn't be ideal. On the other hand, I would also argue that a lot of the problems you attribute to capitalism are more accurately attributed to government-created problems, like crony capitalism (for example, corporate welfare) and over-regulation, that hinder competition and allow corporations to become powerful.
The 4th Political Theory and Neo-Eurasianism seem to frequently be used as synonyms.
Multi-polarity VS uni-polarity: Dugin argues that it is in the world's best interest to have more than a single pole of power or major power player at any given time. His opinion is that the USA, generally but not always on behalf of western liberalism, is and has for some time been the single pole of power and influence for some time and that this is undesirable. I'm not yet sure if he feels that way because of the uni-polarity angle or because the uni-polarity is held by western liberalism. TBD as I continue reading.
"his means the emergence of a new information sphere, a symbol of which is Alex Jones’ Infowars, which has turned into the most powerful resource of true information in the US and whose audience has rapidly grown to 20,000,000 in a matter of days and bypassed the big-budget channels. This is not only the power of belief, this is the power of truth. In insisting that the truth does matter, Alex Jones expresses the position of real America, that America which saw its full representative in Trump. More than half of the US population believes only in itself, not the lying liberal globalist propaganda of the transnational elites. This is brilliant news. Dialogue can be held with this kind of America. Out of the shadows has emerged a second America whose symbolic information resources are now The Los Angeles Times and Alex Jones’ internet television."
Okay . . . so Dugin is supposed to be extremely intelligent, extremely well-read, extremely knowledgeable about history (etc.) so this statement surprises me. I don't doubt that the line between genius and madness is razor thin but, with the statement above, I can't help but wonder if he actually believes that or if he's making seemingly-positive statements about things that would actually work against western interests. I mean, he's clearly anti-west but does he actually believe that Alex Jones is a benefit to conservatives in the USA or does he believe that promoting Alex Jones is in Russia's interest? A form of disinformation, if you will. Curious, to say the least.
So here's something odd: Dugin constantly refers to "draining the swamp" of liberalism. I've noticed that Trump has used that same expression frequently in the past, too. It's such a specific image . . . is this a common expression where you're from or are both sides influencing one another?
When is Dugin's first known use of the phrase?
Depending on the timing, it is possible we can see in this phrase more of Russia's influence on Trump. "Drain the swamp" is not a common phrase in political rhetoric here in the States. In fact, while it's not exactly a neologism, I don't think it had any use in our politics prior to Trump. The singularity of the phrase and the fact that this Dugin has used it in the past makes me think it's worth investigating the phrase's history to see whether Trump likely borrowed it from him.