Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing

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A curious discussion was started on the Website of the Inter-American Institute between the Russian geopolitical theorist Aleksandr Dugin and the Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho. In this discussion Mr. Dugin argues against global capitalism and the “New World Order.” He foresees the ultimate victory of Eurasian land power over American sea power. It is difficult to say whether Dugin's rhetoric has real long-term importance or whether it will prove to be one of Moscow’s passing trial balloons. Whatever the case, Dugin's ideas appear to justify a future war against the United States; furthermore, his promotion within the Russian establishment indicates an observable strategic tendency. 

Dugin’s point of departure is simple: Western and Russian (or Eurasian) civilizations are incompatible. "The metaphysical basis of the West is individualism," wrote Dugin. Russian civilization, on the other hand, stresses "a collective entity." The collective entity in question is a Eurasian commonwealth, with its capital in Moscow. In Dugin's view America is the champion of a hyper-materialistic ethic, based on radical individualism. It is subversive of traditional human values. As an empire of "frenetic consumption," America threatens to remake the world in its own image. To prevent this, Dugin proposes an alliance between Russian/Chinese militarists and the Muslim Brotherhood. Appealing to the conservative sympathies of Professor de Carvalho and others, Dugin wrote: “every ... traditionalist should be on the Eurasian and Islamic side against materialist and capitalist decline....” He believes that all conservatives and traditionalists should join with Moscow and the Islamists in smashing the Bilderberg Club, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.

Here we encounter a central theme of Moscow’s old (and new) rhetoric: Western civilization is a den of iniquity ruled by a wicked money power. Within Western civilization the Left already represents a movement against capitalism. Now it is time to bring the political Right into the anti-capitalist camp. Dugin therefore extends a hand of friendship to all conservatives and traditionalists. We have the same enemy, he explains. And that enemy should be attacked. The globalist project, says Dugin, “is far more powerful ... [and] dangerous ... than the two other projects [i.e., Russian/Chinese militarism and Islamism].” The merchants of the West, and the financial oligarchy they build, can only be stopped by a combination of Russian-Chinese “national-militarism” and “Islamic religious fundamentalism.” The choice is clear, says Dugin, “and everyone is invited to make it by himself.”

Furthermore, as Dugin points out, the emerging neo-socialist trend in Latin America suggests that a new bloc of countries will soon join Russia, China and the Islamists. As a Brazilian, Professor de Carvalho should know that South America isn’t really part of Western civilization at all. The Latin Americans are, by nature, opposed to the West’s money changers. Though Dugin does not pose as a Luddite, he nonetheless suggests (however indirectly) that the fundamental technology of civilization (i.e., the technology of money) must be smashed; and those who handle money (i.e., bankers) are vile. He does not acknowledge that money (together with fire and the wheel) is one of those inventions responsible for getting man out of the Stone Age. Instead, he says that the world will never accept “the absoluteness of the free market, human rights, liberalism, individualism and parliamentarian democracy.” Such ideals only signify the hegemony of the Western financial elite. Surely, Western conservatives cannot align themselves with corrupt money interests. And they cannot remain neutral, either. For the reality is, they must choose one side over the other. It is either Rome or Carthage. And for Dugin, U.S. global power represents “the eternal Carthage, which became a worldwide phenomenon.”

This theory, by the way, implies that America is doomed. In the end, sea power cannot cope with land power. The great wealth that comes to sea power is ultimately corrupting and vulnerable. Athens, as a sea power, was defeated by Sparta. Carthage, as a sea power, was defeated by Rome. In the end, the land power can become a sea power. Inevitably, Eurasia defeats Oceania. Russia and China form the whole of Eurasia, together with its “temporary” Islamist allies. What can the United States do against this great combination? The Americans cannot possibly “impose” individual freedom and the market economy on such a vast territory. The entire American project is therefore doomed, and will be squeezed out of existence in the end. As for those Americans who do not serve the greedy financial oligarchy of the free market system, Dugin says, “There may be another America, but that does not change anything in general.” America apart from the CFR and the neo-cons (i.e., “World Carthage”) is a nullity.

Dugin is incredulous regarding de Carvalho’s idea that the globalist elite “is not an enemy of Russia, China or the Islamic countries” but a collaborator with them in efforts to “destroy the sovereignty ... and economy of the United States.” Because Dugin relies on a set formula for stigmatizing American policy-makers and their motives, he does not see the extent to which American leaders are themselves neo-socialists ready to hoist the banner of “holistic collectivism.”

In response, Professor de Carvalho noted the difference between Dugin’s mission and his own. “[Dugin’s] task is to recruit soldiers for the battle against the West and for the establishment of the universal Eurasian Empire. Mine is to attempt to understand the political situation of the world so that my readers and I are not reduced to the condition of blind men caught in the gunfire of the global combat....” To associate the globalist elite with America, argues de Carvalho, is an error. The globalist elite are following a course of their own, which does not coincide with American national interests. “I defend one-half of the West against the other half,” he says.

As a matter of course, de Carvalho’s claims that the Western financial elite has been working to establish its own worldwide socialist dictatorship, which is not to be confused with the dictatorship of Moscow or Beijing. The socialism put forward by the richest families in the West is a means for ensuring their ongoing influence – an effort to protect themselves against the ravages of free market competition. To prove his case, de Carvalho points to the work of Anthony Sutton. He also points to the “industrial blossoming of China ... and its transfiguration ... into the most powerful potential enemy of the USA....”

Here the question must be asked: What kind of brilliant scheme could entail the industrialization of China, and the arming of an implacable enemy? Setting aside Sutton’s misinterpretations of the data (where he completely fails to grasp the psychological realities of the capitalist milieu), the entire situation may be clarified by reference to a single fact: namely, the suicidal trajectory of the Western financial elite over the past half-century.  As James Burnham indicated long ago, liberalism is a philosophy leading to Western suicide. By industrializing and arming China, by rebuilding Russia’s position, by opening Europe to Islamic immigration, by adopting social policies which have collapsed Europe’s birth rate, we see the rush to suicide. What geniuses indeed! What leadership! Through intellectual superficiality, political shallowness, and arrogance, they cannot possibly hope to survive their own policies. If there is a plot to establish a universal socialist dictatorship the only people who stand a chance of establishing it are in Moscow and Beijing. I fail to see how Washington and London remain standing, let alone influential. 

The pre-war propaganda of Alexander Dugin merely provides a rationale for destroying something that has essentially weakened and undermined itself over a period of decades. The course of self-undermining is not conspiratorial, in my view. Wealth and power, combined with an overly rationalistic intellectual culture, tend to produce a mild form of insanity within elite groups.  Russian, Chinese and Islamic leaders are not free from their own special forms of insanity. It is the large, deracinated, non-traditional, highly bureaucratic structures of modernity that contribute to such insanity, along with the shift away from a culture based on books and serious reading to a culture based on images, television and slogans. The intellect in all classes, among the most advanced societies, has been declining for decades. Stupidity may be added to insanity, the one amplifying the other.  This is the real New World Order. We have left behind the greatness of the past, setting aside the classics. The vaunted elite are merely sheep. Or as Winston Churchill once described a representative specimen: “A sheep in sheep’s clothing.”

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