Behemoth and Leviathan: The Fascist Bestiary of the Alt-Right
If we want to fight the new fascism, we must not only organise against it politically, but also understand its ideology. Far from being a morbid curiosity, this is essential for understanding twenty-first century fascism’s inner dynamics. Beyond racist tweets, memes, and Richard Spencer’s obnoxious media appearances, we need to lay bare the images, concepts, and ideas that form the core of alt- right thought. We must lay bare the alt-right imagination.
This imagination is an unstable and fractured thing, torn between two opposing ‘animal spirits’. These are Behemoth and Leviathan. Originating in the Bible, these beasts gained philosophical meaning in Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy, and entered fascist thought through the writings of the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt.
Who are these monsters? Behemoth is a lumbering giant; it is usually mammalian, often an elephant or trampling bull, occasionally a Russian bear. Behemoth jealously defends its territory against incursions by the sea monster, the serpentine whale-fish called Leviathan. As Schmitt put it in 1942’s Land and Sea, ‘Behemoth exerts itself to rip apart the Leviathan with its horns or teeth, while the Leviathan, on the contrary, holds shut the mouth and nose of the land animal with its fins so that it cannot eat or breathe’. For Schmitt, this describes a naval blockade, and has its analogy in the conflicts between England and Russia in the nineteenth century, and England and Germany in the twentieth.
These beasts are a pair of opposites: Behemoth is autochthonous, representing the stable order of earth-bound peoples. Leviathan is thalassocratic, embodying the fluid dynamism of seafaring peoples. Behemoth signifies terrestrial empires, while Leviathan suggests commercial trade and exploration. The former stands for traditional, divinely sanctioned state authority, the latter for the spirit of pirate-capitalist enterprise (what Schmitt calls ‘corsair capitalism’).
Today, the ‘Traditionalist’ philosopher Aleksandr Dugin and the ‘neoreactionary’ philosopher Nick Land are the standard bearers of Behemoth and Leviathan, respectively. They are also the conduits by which these animal spirits have entered the twenty- first century alt-right imagination. It is for this reason that the alt- right mind is such a conflicted, contradictory thing. It is not that most reactionaries today engage much with Dugin and Land’s texts, let alone Carl Schmitt’s. But the seemingly opposed worldviews of Land and Dugin are the very ether within which alt-right thought is steeped. It is an ideology torn between technophilic Futurism and neo-Orthodox Traditionalism. Both positions reject Enlightenment modernity, but each of these fascist ‘postmodernisms’ represents its own distinct variety or brand. For Dugin, the break with modernity is accomplished through an ethno-religious apocalypse – a return to orthodoxy, and an activation of a mystical eschaton beyond time. Land imagines the break from liberal modernity will be accomplished through an accelerating techno-capitalism, superseding humanity itself. Despite these differences, both figures reject modernity as ending in the nightmare of cultural Marxism.
In a 2017 interview with the Daily Beast, Aleksandr Dugin expressed his outrage at the ‘unforgivable’ tomahawk missile strikes on Syria by the United States. But while he bashed Trump for becoming a ‘mad neocon’, Dugin praised his then chief strategist Steve Bannon as Washington’s ‘last hope’. He even affirmed Bannon’s role as the main architect behind the administration’s America First, anti- globalist policy: ‘the denial of globalism, rejection of America’s hegemony, the return of religious and national interests, his criticism of liberals and respect for traditional values’.
At a 2014 Vatican conference (leaked by Buzzfeed), Bannon criticised the Putin administration as a kleptocracy. He nonetheless showed sincere appreciation for Putin’s ‘Traditionalism’ and opposition to Islamic terrorism. Bannon’s praise was not mitigated by his knowledge that Traditionalism, as a theory, is specifically derived from the ideas of Julius Evola that later ‘metastasised into Italian fascism’. Bannon also cited an unnamed Putin adviser who ‘harkens back’ to Evolean ideas. This advisor was Dugin himself.
Bannon’s political fortunes have waned: he used to function as ‘Trump’s brain’. Dugin, however, appears to be at the apogee of his influence. In 2014, Dugin lost his professorship at Moscow State University over genocidal comments made about Ukraine (‘Kill them, kill them, kill them. There should not be any more conversations. As a professor, I consider it so’). But after his academic ouster, Dugin and the Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev launched the popular Russian news channel Tsargrad (Constantinople) TV. With its 20 million viewers, Tsargrad tries to be the Russian equivalent of FOX News, and is a mouthpiece for the Russian state and Orthodox Church. Dugin is a chief editor and commentator, while Malofeev serves as his benefactor.
Dugin’s influence on Kremlin policy has been a matter of debate. However, there is no question that he has intervened at key junctures as a diplomatic ‘fixer’. According to a Bloomberg report, in 2015 Dugin acted as a backchannel to ameliorate tensions between Turkey’s Erdoğan and Putin following the downing of a Russian plane over Turkish airspace. The main effect of this was to outmaneuver then-president Obama in Syria by solidifying Turkish support for the Russian-backed Assad regime. In Dugin’s mind, this was not only a matter of realpolitik, but the first step in a Russo- Islamic alliance against the liberal West. Today, Dugin and Putin’s geopolitics are essentially indistinguishable.
Dugin’s Traditionalism is a tendency of extreme right-wing ideology, first conceived by interwar thinkers René Guénon and his disciple Julius Evola. Traditionalists derive their name from the eponymous ‘Tradition’, which Marlène Laruelle defines as ‘a world that was steady in its religious, philosophical, and social principles and started disappearing with the advent of modernity in the sixteenth century’. In Revolt Against the Modern World of 1934, Evola specifically traces how the advent of Renaissance humanism threatened the Tradition’s social hierarchy. According to Guénon, all true religions participate in this now-extinct primordial Tradition, which is best preserved in those cultures relatively untouched by Western modernity (especially Islamic cultures).
Dugin’s enthusiasm for ‘The Tradition’ began early in life. Despite coming from a Soviet military family, he saw Traditionalism as a means of escape from the gradual collapse of the Soviet system. He was expelled from the Moscow Aviation Institute for possession of Traditionalist and occult literature. Dugin translated Evola’s 1933 Pagan Imperialism, which urges Italian fascism to embrace pagan elitism, into a samizdat. After the USSR’s collapse, Dugin briefly joined the ultranationalist Pamyat’ (Memory) organisation, an echo of the antisemitic Black Hundreds. By the early nineties, he drew closer to nationalist and Eurasianist circles, and founded the Arctogaia Association. He also associated with Gennady Ziuganov’s fascistic Russian Communist Party, which mixed Stalinist nostalgia with ultra-nationalism. Dugin found this eccentric ‘red-brown’ combination of Communism and fascism congenial, and later sought out Traditionalist circles in Western Europe, such as Alain de Benoist’s Nouvelle Droite.
Dugin then became a chief ideologue for the fascist National Bolshevik Party, but later left that organisation to become an adviser for Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party (incidentally another poorly named party given its far-right stance). This was his stepping stone to Putin’s inner circle. After writing The Foundations of Geopolitics (widely read by both generals and university students) Dugin made the transition from political crank to political player.
Dugin’s ‘Armed Doctrine’
Dugin claims that Eurasianism is the ‘armed doctrine of Traditionalism’. It is how Traditionalist ideas get cached out in the realm of international relations. While he is known for his geopolitical interventions, author James Heiser explains how Dugin conceives of international relations as mirroring a mystical- cosmic battle, a Manichean struggle between the forces of light and those of the antichrist. The primordial Tradition was the original wisdom of the Hyperboreans, the supposed denizens of a now submerged polar continent, sometimes called ‘Arctogaia’ or ‘Hyperborea’. This idea is very similar to that of the Ariosophist (i.e. Aryan supremacist) doctrines of Guido von List and Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels. The Tradition, per Dugin, entered our present world through the Hyperborean diaspora; they were the ‘white teachers’ of human civilisation. Miscegenation with the ‘more primitive and earth-bound dark-skinned peoples of the tropical south’ resulted in a dilution of their superior racial stock. Eventually, this led to the emergence of a non-Traditional society in the West – the Atlanticists. The interwar-inspired racism of this mythos is certainly palpable.
The geopolitical contest between Russia and the United States is understood through this meta-historical narrative of ‘sacred geography’. In Dugin’s cosmology, the present, observable world is not explainable through empirical causes. Instead, international relations are but an echo of a primordial spiritual warfare, between the virtuous Arctogaians of the North and the demonic Earth peoples of the South and West. The stakes of this contest are no less than the salvation of humanity, as opposed to mere resources or territory.
Dugin’s ‘sacred geography’ ruptures the dualism between the worldly and the transcendent. On the one hand, the ‘North’ in this Tradition refers to a submerged continent whose civilisation no longer exists. These ‘men of Arctogaia’, these ‘white teachers’, are not reducible to Northern Europeans or ‘Aryans’ as understood by nineteenth century ‘scientific’ racists. Indeed, Dugin goes to great pains to explain that every civilisation has benefited from ‘white teachers’ among them, and perplexingly, that ‘white’ doesn’t actually refer to skin pigmentation at all. Nevertheless, sacred geography entails that Arctogaia was, at some point, a physical location, and consequently, that the present-day world has some physical relation to that long-lost continent. We see Dugin constantly valorising the Polar North, and those parts of the Russian Federation closest to it (especially Siberia). It’s no coincidence that Dugin’s publisher in the English-speaking world is called Arktos Media, as the mythic concept of Arktos (North) is central to Dugin’s myth-making. Like Schmitt’s political symbol of the Behemoth, Arktos refers in Greek mythology to a great Bear, and sometimes a Centaur, who defeats the spear-throwing Lapiths people of Southern Europe.
Dugin is canny when it comes to professions of pluralism and equality amongst peoples. What appears at first blush to be a universalism is actually an ethnopluralism. Dugin affirms that each genuine culture has the right to persist in its uniqueness, and derides Enlightenment modernity as genocidal, disrespecting distinct cultures, particular histories and customs. Enlightenment obliterates all of these in favor of a global humanity. However, Dugin’s ethnopluralism is always expressed through a Traditionalism- inspired hierarchy. The coming Eurasian Empire will be integrated, first and foremost, by the ‘guardian angel spirit’ of the Russians, and all other Eurasian peoples will retain their cultural identity at the price of dissolving all claims to national sovereignty.
This ethnocentrism defines Dugin’s ‘Fourth Political Theory’, which supersedes the ‘failed’ theories of liberalism, communism, and fascism. It imagines a federated Eurasia where only communal, rather than human or individual, rights are respected. The biological corollary to this is that the Eurasian Empire will be one of permanently distinct ‘peoples’ who combine under Russian tutelage to oppose the West, but avoid a culture-diluting miscegenation at home. This Empire will not be democratic, since only a martial elite are fit for rule. Dugin invokes the need for a ‘party of death’, along the lines of Hezbollah, praising sharia law and the clericalisation of society (especially the subservience of women and internet censorship).
Dugin’s ethnopluralism starkly reveals its true colors when it comes to the Jews. In a manner reminiscent of Carl Schmitt, Dugin distinguishes between ‘authentic’ and ‘inauthentic’ Jewry. As is made clear in the 2008 introduction to Leviathan, Schmitt thinks that the good Jews are the Israelis. For they have regained connection to their ancestral soil and so resolved to live as a geographically delimited people, as opposed to seeking either a nomadic life or assimilation. Dugin sees Eastern European Jews as the deracinated, historic enemies of Russian nationalism.
Again, this is explicable through spiritual, not material reasoning. For Dugin, the Jews are metaphysically ‘indigestible’ because of their peculiar ethno-religious worldview. To use the Evolean term, the Jewish religion is one of ‘counter-tradition’ because of its linear, as opposed to cyclical, conception of time. Whereas mythic traditions affirm endless repetition of heroic struggle, Jews according to Evola and Dugin affirm linear progress, material advance, and accumulation. Besides, the Jewish rejection of Christ, on Dugin’s view, means the rejection of salvation through the Earth. This is an interesting theological contortion on Dugin’s part; it places Christianity within the Pagan earth-tradition through emphasising the bodiliness of the incarnate Jesus. Conversely, it places Judaism (along with the materialist West) as the hostile ‘other’ to this grand pagan inheritance.
Dugin claims that Russian Orthodoxy is closest to the Tradition, with its stubborn preservation of baroque ritual ‘where each gesture has a symbolic meaning’. This is not to mention the non-humanist emphasis on the End of Days which activates a ‘new beginning’. As such, even the criticism of Judaica ends with Russian- Orthodox chauvinism. Dugin’s mythic determinations are explicitly racial: He contrasts the spirit of ‘Judaica’, not only with Christianity, but also with the Aryan. This echoes Otto Weininger in denigrating the Jewish mentality as effeminate and weak, as opposed to the warrior ethos of the Aryan. Jews are slave moralists, ‘masochists’, while Aryans are aristocratic and ‘sadistic’. In this perverse mythos, the spirit of Judaica must be ‘vanquished’ by the Aryan.
Jewish materialism’s highest expression is what Dugin refers to as ‘Trotskyite neo-conservatism’ in the US. The neoconservative is the political vanguard of Atlanticism – a system of Western hegemony and consumerism that dominates the world through markets and technology, backed by force. The internet has become the ultimate ‘thalassocratic’ tool, promoting borderlessness and replacing reality with its own simulacrum. Dugin even went so far as to say that the internet should be banned. In a 2012 speech entitled ‘God is against [the] Internet’ he explains, ‘I think that Internet as such, as a phenomenon, is worth prohibiting because it gives nobody anything good’. In Dugin’s recent book on Heidegger, he complains that the internet takes the place of God as a ‘clown- killer from Mars’.
On his blog and on Twitter, Nick Land accepts Dugin as his ‘best enemy’, and also accepts Dugin’s appellation of ‘Atlanticist’. ‘We agree exactly about what the war is. We’re just on opposite sides of it’. But in modifying the term as ‘Atlantean’, Land also modifies its meaning. He accepts the basic division between terrestrial and sea power, and between statist traditionalism and modern capitalism. Land is even aware of the irony of affirming ‘sea-power’ given his terrestrial last name.However, he wants to cleanse Atlantean identity of any associations with liberal democracy and egalitarianism. On Xenosystems.net, Land’s blogsite, he enthusiastically predicts the end of NATO, the EU, and other institutions hostile to the emergence of a hegemonic Anglosphere.
Land rejects the populist, collectivist, and even pro-Trump elements of the North American alt-right as too ‘organicist’ and evocative of continental Europe (‘The alt-right has at its core an alien, Anglophobic ideology.’) He prefers the Tea Party’s brand of populism, which promotes right-libertarian ideas of free-markets, over what he calls collectivist ‘fascism’. But even Tea Party style populism does not quite capture Land’s aristocratic disdain for the unwashed and ‘unproductive’ masses.
Notwithstanding Land and Dugin’s differences, there is a shared rejection of liberalism, democracy, and Marxism, and a common affirmation of hierarchy, authoritarianism, and violence. This fascist ethos is also expressed in racist terms, with Dugin promoting a veiled antisemitism and Land issuing virulent Islamophobic screeds. Regardless of Land’s reservations about Richard Spencer’s alt-right politics, Land finds himself part of the ‘Outer-Right’, and was a guest on the premier alt-right channel Red Ice TV. As he told host Henrik Palmgren, his conception of the ‘Dark Enlightenment’ derives from a strain of libertarianism hostile to democracy; a retooled ‘classical liberalism’ that embraces authoritarian government to ensure capitalist profits. Land’s heroes are Mencius Moldbug (aka Curtis Yarvin) and Peter Thiel, Bay Area tech-capitalists. Here, we transition from the piracy of Elizabethan times, that Schmitt describes in Land and Sea, to the pirates of Silicon Valley. The high seas have given way to cyberspace as the dynamic site of accumulation.
Lines of Flight/White Flight
Land’s libertarianism should not be mistaken for a natural-right individualism. Instead, it is partly founded upon a right-wing reconstruction of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, the seminal work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. In Volume One of Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze and Guattari advance several interrelated theses. First, that desire is not based on a lack of some object, but rather is a positive/productive force innate to existence itself. Second, since desire is inherently multifarious, it cannot be limited by the stable nature of a human subject. Third, as a result of this, capitalism cannot be criticised according to transhistorical human norms. To the contrary, capitalism mirrors the pluralising tendencies of desire itself. It abolishes traditional social conventions through the anarchic flow of commodities in an increasingly global marketplace. Deleuze and Guattari argue that capitalism will only be surpassed through an acceleration of its own processes; by contrast, Land asserts that capitalism is the end game. An accelerated capitalism does not surpass itself, even as it abolishes the historical factors (the liberal state, the bourgeois family, etc.) which originally allowed it to flourish. Despite this difference, Land takes from Deleuze and Guattari what must be considered their most unique innovation: making desire itself, and not the human being, the locus of all meaning and action.
For Land, desire is incarnated as a world-conquering technology. It is both the means of accelerated accumulation, as well as the variegated result of said accumulation – the mass of self- expanding capital. The techno-capitalist spirit is decidedly Faustian, and not Promethean: it does not seek to emancipate human beings and better their estate, but rather to dominate and distinguish itself from the merely human. Technology is Terminator’s Skynet, not Star Trek’s replicator; it’s the T-1000, not Data.
At Warwick University in the 1990s, Nick Land and Sadie Plant founded the Cybernetic Cultural Research Unit (CCRU), co-authoring tracts such as 1995’s Cyberpositive and promoting a William Gibson-inspired techno-futurism. In the autumn of nineteen ninety-seven, pending a negative departmental review, Land left his post, and eventually moved to Shanghai, there writing Chinese state propaganda (as well as travel guides).
In 2012, Land wrote Dark Enlightenment, his neoreactionary manifesto. The document’s main thesis is that not all people are worthy, or even capable, of liberty. Indeed, some racial groups are positively toxic to freedom.
The words ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ according to Land have a narrowly negative meaning. Instead of connoting a positive human flourishing or agency, his libertarianism is about individualistic, uninhibited creativity. While Dugin wants a Traditionalist hierarchy to combat Western individualism, Land’s valorisation of the Faustian spirit implies its own form of rank-ordering. Unfettered creativity cannot, by definition, be equally expressed by all. Only the most productive sectors of humanity will have an interest in freeing up capitalist innovation, while the less productive will seek the welfare state’s protection. The government regulated workplace and means-tested social benefits are, for Land, expressions of resentment. Ignoring the material causes for systemic inequality, Land racialises class division, and treats democracy as a form of thievery against allegedly more productive (often white) citizens by lazy non-whites. Democracy is a racial zombie horde that seeks to cannibalise its betters.
‘The Left’ is defined as operating according to a Hegelian logic, dialectically ‘sublating’ what is other to itself. Therefore, traditional conservatism (or even mainstream libertarianism) can be nothing more than a controlled opposition, a mere prop for the permanent liberal ruling elite – what Land and Moldbug term ‘the Cathedral’. This is nothing new on the fringe-Right, paralleling Alex Jones and David Icke’s association of the Illuminati with the ‘Hegelian dialectic’.
The term ‘Cathedral’ is borrowed from Eric Raymond’s 1997 cyberlibertarian essay ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’. It has a dual meaning: originally, it meant a ‘top-down’ rather than ‘bottom- up’ (i.e. open source) method of software development. In neo-reactionary discourse, the Cathedral is suggestive of the blind faith and anti-empiricism which imbues liberal/Marxist hegemony over modern society. The Left cannot be combatted through debate – lest the reactionary be sucked into the ‘hubbub’ of interminable, progressive discourse. Land thus makes a hard distinction between a democratic ‘Voice’, which he rejects, and ‘Exit’ which he sees as the only viable alternative for surviving the Cathedral. This is exemplified in ‘school choice’, ‘gun rights’ (stand-your-ground laws), and especially ‘white flight’. These are all examples of white secession from what Land sees as an increasingly inhospitable polis. For the logic of the Cathedral ends, on this view, with white genocide, as nothing short of this will be able to impose the sort of artificial equality that progressives desire. ‘Violence on a genocidal scale is required to even approximate to a practical egalitarian program’.
We see in Land an odd fusion between a neo-confederate politics, which looks to the past, and a futuristic post-humanism. The mirror image of the Cathedral is the white rebellion of what Land calls the ‘Cracker Factory’. This, too, comes with a double meaning: it is racial, but also physical. ‘“Crackers” break codes, safes, organic chemicals – sealed or bonded systems of all kinds – with eventual geopolitical implication’. ‘They anticipate a crack- up, schism or secession’. Secession is the ultimate form of white- flight and ‘anti-dialectics’. But secession can no longer be confined to the American South. As Land puts it, ‘there’s only one place to build it – right here’ (the Anglosphere). Land, the consistent libertarian, does not merely desire to limit the power of the state; he wants to privatise the whole thing. The state is no longer to be the redistributionist fetter upon capitalist creativity, but capital’s most complete expression.
The Leviathan is not to be caged, but radically transformed into a capitalist enterprise. Shares will be sold, and distributed to stakeholders according to their relative productivity. All others will be granted narrow, personal and economic freedoms, but no ‘voice’ in the running of this firm. Such authoritarian capitalism was well anticipated by the Singaporean statesman Lee Kuan Yew, who Land hailed as the greatest ‘neoreactionary’ of his age because of his undemocratic practices and ‘racial realist’ opinions. In all this, one should not forget that it is the politico-capitalist machine that remains sovereign, rather than any definition of ‘the people’. Shares in GovCorp can be bought, sold, and inherited, but the business itself remains supreme. This idea resembles the Weyland- Yutani corporation from the Alien movies, which is ubiquitous and essentially indistinguishable from the government. Perhaps it is no coincidence then that Land’s blog is named Xenosystems.net, evoking the Xenomorph alien from the same franchise.
This system of government, no longer tied to humanistic considerations of welfare, or the outdated moralising of the Cathedral, will be capable of transcending the ‘bionic horizon’. For the fields of techno-science and bio-technology will render us ‘technoplastic beings’. Hence, the old nature-nurture debate loses all meaning. Genetic manipulation, and the financial means to access this, will become indiscernible from having come from good genetic stock. The alleged disparities of talent between the races are only magnified by the unrestricted accumulation of capital, and its subsequent use for the biological overcoming of the human. If Dugin is frightened by ‘clown-killers from Mars’ reaching out to us on earth, Land proposes white-flight to Mars, the ultimate act of secession. While the Russian Behemoth jealously defends its territory from alien influence, the Anglo-Leviathan finds a new ocean in deep space.
The Marxist Bestiary
Our aim here is not to shock the conscience of the alt-right by highlighting the bizarre features of Dugin and Land’s thought. That would be a losing battle. It is rather to show the incompatibility of their ideas with socialism. There are, in fact, those on the Left who have found aspects of Dugin and Land attractive. Dugin’s Traditionalism has long sought allies in the post-industrial working classes of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as France. According to Alexander Reid Ross, in his book Against the Fascist Creep, Dugin’s message of combatting American imperialism, NATO, and the flattening effects of global capital have found measurable support amongst those most acutely threatened by neoliberalism. Dugin’s thought connects to Left consciousness by opposing American consumerism with a recalcitrant, cultural identitarianism. But this misses the point. Behind his phony anti-imperialism is a project to rehabilitate the Russian Empire. As we have seen, this scheme would be no less hierarchical or violent than the current world order.
The Left enthusiasts of Nick Land appear to come from tonier climes. They are often clustered within academia, the tech sector, venture capitalism, or the media. Sometimes calling themselves ‘Left Accelerationists’, they produce political tracts such as the ‘#AltWoke Manifesto’. Keen to harness the disruptive power of technology and global capital, they nonetheless try to superficially distance themselves from Land’s reactionary conclusions. They want to be futurists without being fascists.
Such enthusiasts are dazzled by the shiny new future that Land promises, ignoring the fundamentally ‘Randian’ conception of productivity implied by Futurist thought. Land’s anti-materialism severs productivity from the socially-necessary human labour which actually brings it about. Instead, production is equated with a frictionless ‘creativity’, conjuring up images of the Silicon Valley guru who independently create their miracles ex nihilo. That is why Land’s neo-confederate ideology is not as sanitised as presented to left audiences. For ‘white exit’ (comparable to Ayn Rand’s ‘capital strike’) purposefully ignores the actual human labour which will be required to keep these libertarian ‘utopias’ running. It will be a labour force with ‘no voice’, hardly distinguishable from slavery itself.
To be sure, Leftists may appreciate Dugin and Land for seemingly different reasons; cultural ‘authenticity’ in the former, and techno-futurism in the latter. What they fail to notice, however, is the deep commonality between Dugin and Land’s underlying positions. It is a commonality which precludes the application of their thought to any emancipatory program.
Both Traditionalism and Futurism share an explicit rejection of Logos, i.e. reason. Even before Land transitioned to neoreaction, his early, ostensibly Leftist, writings were filled with invective against humanism, Hegelian dialectics and what he referred to as the ‘senility’ of Marxism. His entire work is an elaboration of what the editors of Fanged Noumena call an ‘anti-Logos’ program, and Land equates Logos with the ‘voice’ of ‘despotism’. Dugin shares this animus towards universal reason as despotic, and asks us in The Fourth Political Theory to go beyond the Logos that undergirds modernity (and Marxism) towards a ‘metaphysics of chaos’. According to Dugin, ‘chaos can think’, and deeper than reason.
Because of this, Dugin and Land pursue the occult and the ‘otherworldly’ for a cure to the sickness of modernity. Land’s ‘bionic horizon’ and Dugin’s mythological ‘land before time’ ultimately serve the same function: a total break from modernity, rather than its dialectical completion. This irrationalist strategy is well- complemented by the fascist bestiary of Behemoth and Leviathan. For these monsters are authoritarian creatures that dominate the human subject rather than seek its progressive emancipation.
It is worth noting, by contrast, that the traditional Marxist bestiary serves an entirely opposite function. Hegel’s Owl of Minerva stands for world-Logos, reflected in the human mind. Marx’s ‘Old Mole’ signifies the material struggles of a yet-to-be emancipated working class. These animals are not terrifying negations of humanity, but signify its powers. If the fascist bestiary is dehumanising, then the Marxist bestiary represents what humanity needs to realise its essence in history. The Owl is philosophy and science, the ‘head’ of Marxism, while the Old Mole is the insurgent proletariat, its ‘heart’.
If Marxism wants to confront fascist fables, then it must come to grips with its own animal spirits.
Harrison Fluss is a lecturer of philosophy in New York City and corresponding editor for the journal, Historical Materialism. Landon Frim is an associate professor of philosophy at St Joseph’s College, New York.