Alexander Dugin, the man sometimes called “Putin’s brain,” outlines a “fourth political theory” in a book of that title. Communism and Fascism have collapsed, and liberalism, the final twentieth-century ideology, turned into libertine postmodernism as soon as it triumphed.

The collapse of modern ideology opens space for what modernity excluded, theology included. But for Dugin, the theology that returns isn’t necessary the theology of Christian orthodoxy:

“nothing limits the possibilities for an in-depth readdressing of the ancient archaic values, which can take their place in the new ideological construction upon being adequately recognised and understood. Eliminating the need to adjust theology to the rationalism of modernity, the adherents of the Fourth Political Theory are free to ignore those theological and dogmatic elements in monotheistic societies which were influenced by rationalism, especially in their later stages. The latter led to the appearance of deism upon the ruins of Christian European culture, followed by atheism and materialism, during the phased development of the program of the modern age. Not only the highest supra-mental symbols of faith can be taken on board once again as a new shield, but so can those irrational aspects of cults, rites, and legends that have perplexed theologians in earlier ages. If we reject the idea of progress that is inherent in modernity (which as we have seen, has ended), then all that is ancient gains value and credibility for us simply by virtue of the fact that it is ancient. ‘Ancient’ means good, and the more ancient — the better.”

Dugin’s conclusion raises a question mark over his claim to have transcended ideology: “Of all creations, Paradise is the most ancient one. The carriers of the Fourth Political Theory must strive toward rediscovering it in the near future.” It’s been tried. It’s not pretty.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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