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Deconstructing Dugin:
An Interview with Charles Upton, Part 2

[1]5,184 words

Part 2 of 2 (Part 1 here [2])

Fróði Midjord: Another thing that you bring up here is to make a point that in attacking the American ideology, Dugin paints a ridiculous and cartoonish picture of Americans; and as you point out, correctly I believe, the same can be done about Russians. You can paint a picture of Russians as alcoholics with AIDS, but that would not be serious, because Russia has made invaluable cultural contributions, and Russia has many admirable qualities.

Charles Upton: Well, I would simply agree with that. We always caricaturize our enemies in order to justify doing whatever we want to them, but also in order to allay our own fears, because we were afraid to face reality. So it’s not a good idea.

Americans have a tendency, which I’ve always thought was quite dishonorable, of saying that all of our enemies are cowards. Someone comes and does a terrorist action, which obviously requires a great deal of raw bravery to do; but because innocent people are hurt, those who do this are called cowards. They’re not cowards. They are evil, but they’re now cowardly. This is something we have to understand.

Fróði Midjord: Exactly. There is this tendency to say that the flaws of the modern world in its entirety, during the era we’re in, are America’s fault, or that everything is the West’s fault. If we read Spengler, or someone else, we’ve seen similar kinds of social decline, or cultural decline, previously in history, and this is how societies die, basically, when they get old.

Charles Upton: Yes, and that decline affects Russia and China. China has, even though it’s still Communist in form, basically become a state of capitalism, which has imbibed Western capitalism in whole, and has become immensely inflamed. Imagine a nation where you can build a city capable of housing millions of people and no one moves in. This is insanity, and it has something to do with China losing its traditional grounding. The Chinese used to be very practical and canny people who would think about the future centuries down the road. No longer. We will make trillions of dollars overnight through real estate, through building cities, and no one moves in.

Obviously the problems of the West have been fully inherited by the East, and we can no longer say about the East [that] these are traditionalist societies. Dugin is still trying to get some mileage out of that myth, but I don’t think it’s going to work much longer.

Fróði Midjord: Right. Then we come to another of the more central questions. This question can be asked both about Christianity and about Right-wing views. Some people have said that Dugin is a form of a Russian neoconservative, and the thing that he has suggested he has in common with the neoconservative movement is of course that they use the banner of conservatism for an ideology that is the opposite of conservatism. So he shrouds his ideology in sort of Right-wing terms, or a Right-wing aesthetic, and it’s a form of deception in political terms.

Charles Upton: I think that’s one way to look at the deception. His deception is much more complicated and universal than that. But that’s one valid way to look at it.

Something I just recently began to understand is how — because in the United States, at least, and I’m sure elsewhere in the world — one of the bases of the neoconservative movement was Trotskyism. That did not seem possible to me! But then I began to understand that – and this is very simplistic terms — the Trotskyists were so anti-Russian, through their hatred of Stalin, that elements in this country like the CIA could appeal to them and just say, “Well, you’re anti-Russian? We’re anti-Russian, too!” And they could tap into what become an anti-Russian sentiment to bring Trotskyists into the neoconservative fold. That’s not a very thorough analysis, but at least I began to understand how that was possible.

Fróði Midjord: Yes, but the point being made is that he uses a form of Right-wing language while dressing up talking points that are essentially hostile to Right-wing issues, and the same thing goes for Christianity. You’ve mentioned Traditionalism; and so the question is, is he a fake Christian? I mean, is he insincere about the claim that he’s motivated by Christianity? You write that, “Dugin’s picture of Christianity is clearly heretical.” So, is he a fake Christian?

Charles Upton: My wife for some years was involved in Russian Orthodox Christianity. She’s now a traditional Sedevacantist Catholic, because we moved from California here to Kentucky, which is where we are now. In California, it was possible to be a traditional Russian Orthodox, because of the old White Russian influence of the people who had founded the churches there, whereas when you get to Kentucky, the Orthodox churches are essentially Protestant in feel. There are a lot of them that have been founded by Protestants who decided they want to be Orthodox because they liked the outfits, or something. The icons were pretty, I don’t know; but they have very much a Protestant feel. And yet, here is sort of the heartland of Sedevacantist traditional Catholicism. There are many different little house churches and some big churches in this area, so this is a change. Through her connection with Russian Orthodoxy, I was able to understand the depth of that tradition to some degree.

[3]

You can buy Greg Johnson’s Graduate School with Heidegger here [4]

You look at Dugin’s website, Katehon — that refers to the function of repelling the Antichrist. I don’t know exactly what it means, literally, in Greek, but katehon is our repelling of the Antichrist. There are some very wonderful meditations on Orthodox themes, apparently very Orthodox, on that website. There are some beautiful things. That’s where he presents himself as Orthodox, or as one of the Old Believers, which is supposedly his Orthodox sect. You say, well, maybe he’s a real Orthodox Christian. But you go to The Fourth Political Theory and other books, and you see that, following Heidegger, he simply says, “The era of logos is over, and now we’re entering the era of chaos, and so we have to change accordingly.”

Well, in Christian terms, logos is Christ. So if you say the logos is over, you’re saying — which certainly is something that Heidegger would, I’m sure, agree with –the era of Christ is over. Now we’re in the era of chaos, where we can adopt any ideology that is useful for the moment, and then change our stripes as quick as lightning and become something else tomorrow. This is what he’s really doing. He presents himself as a traditional Orthodox Christian, but in terms of his political ideology, he’s the furthest thing from that. In fact, I found a place where he actually makes a reference which seems to be a word, a covert word, to the Satanists. He’s spoken in some of his earlier writings positively about Aleister Crowley, the black magician and Satanist.

In The Fourth Political Theory, here’s the paragraph I found. He’s talking about prophets:

What else do prophets do? Restore the connection between reason and consequences. “Come to your sense as Edom; come to your senses, sire! You fell away from the worship of the true God, and therefore God punished you, destroyed your walls, your city. Where’s the kingdom of Babylon that stood strong? The Kingdom of Babylon is no more!” Why? Because they rejected the one God. In our time, this function corresponds to political analysis, the depths of political science.

Okay. Now, what is he saying here? He’s talking to Edom. Of course he’s referring to the Old Testament, where the protagonist is not Edom, but Israel. Edom was the enemy nation of Israel. He is inverting, he’s saying the prophets did not come here to Israel. No! They came to Edom, and they told Edom, “Come to your senses.” Well, the Old Testament says Edom shall be laid waste, and Israel shall triumph. So he’s inverting that completely without letting us know he’s doing that. And the interesting thing is that he calls Edom “sire.” Well, Edom is a nation, it’s not a king. So who is he calling “sire”? If you look into Edom, Edom is another name for Esau, who is the brother of Jacob, Jacob being Israel, and Edom, or Esau, being the counter-force to Israel, which in the Old Testament is looked at as the spiritual man versus the material man, who is Esau.

So Edom is also a nation, but why does he call the nation “sire”? According to Rabbinical sources, the guardian angel, or the guardian spirit of the Kingdom of Edom is Samael, and Samael is the angel of death, and is another name for Satan.

My question is, is he calling Edom “sire” after falsely inverting what the Old Testament prophets said for Israel, and turning it over and saying that they were exhorting Israel’s enemies instead? Is he calling Edom “sire” in a reference to Samael, who is Satan? I do not know, but there’s a question in my mind: Is this a covert wink at the Satanists, saying, “Yes, okay, guys, I’m one of you, too!”  This could be. This is a question worth asking Dugin.

Fróði Midjord: Right. Yes, it seems like he’s throwing out bait, left and right. I think it’s worth reading in connection to this other question from a listener. He says, “Please discuss the spread of Aleksandr Dugin’s ideas within Christian circles and how to combat it when outnumbered. I have noticed the spread of his ideas, particularly within Eastern Orthodox and traditional Catholic circles. Some people don’t even know of Aleksandr Dugin by name yet, but they use his talking points. For example, Russia is fighting the new world order, and Putin restored Russia to a strong Orthodox nation.”

I don’t know. We’ve already talked about this. Is there anything else you want to say about that?

Charles Upton: In my wife’s traditional Catholic mass group, this ideology has not invaded yet, so I don’t know about it first-hand. I’m not surprised that it’s there. One of my problems with Orthodoxy as it is today — and this is from taking the traditional Catholic perspective, and of course I was raised as a traditional Catholic until the age of 17 or 18. Vatican II had already happened some years before, but the changes had not yet percolated through the Church.

I was raised as a traditional Catholic, and received communion and confirmation as a traditional Catholic. That’s most of my education; all of my formal education is at Catholic schools. I went to grammar school and high school, and so from that point of view you can see the terrible destruction wrought by the Second Vatican Council in Catholicism, which essentially made the Catholic Church apostate.

Pope Francis made the statement, which was on the Vatican website for years, that God does not exist. He said, we have the three persons; we don’t have God. What’s this “God”? We have the three persons. So in other words, he turns the Trinity into a trio of pagan gods. He makes it a polytheistic Christianity, which is total apostasy; it’s denial of the Nicene Creed. That’s the end of Catholicism right there.

The fact that no one saw that, and no one was up in arms about it, just shows how much the Catholic faithful have lost the faith. They don’t know what the hell is going on. They haven’t heard actual Catholic doctrine since Vatican II. The idea was, “We’ll just let the people who know the actual Catholic doctrine pass on by attrition, and then we’ll have this new Church.”

My problem with Eastern Orthodoxy is that it has adopted many, many things from Vatican II, and doesn’t even know it. The Eastern Orthodox, in some cases, will limit their theology to, “We’re not the Catholics. We don’t believe in the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary.” Well, you call the Virgin Mary the [inaudible], the mother of God, and you have icons of her, and you dedicate churches to her, and you have feasts celebrating her. “We don’t believe in this immaculate conception.”

In other words, they’re quibbling about words, but the sense of the realities beyond the words is gone. This is how naïve the Eastern Orthodox have become, and so by the same token, in the same way, I wouldn’t be surprised that some Catholics would adopt Duginist ideology, not knowing where it comes from.

Fróði Midjord: Right. Somewhere else you write also about Dugin essentially calling upon Westerners to commit treason. You say here, “Since I consider many of the leaders of my nation to be guilty of treason, I would be throwing away my right to denounce them if I commit the same crime.”

It seems to me that many dissidents are eager to make common cause with a foreign nation on rather loose grounds. The hopes of rewards from this are rather vague. I haven’t really seen them explain . . .

Charles Upton: They might be rewarded by being bombed into oblivion, who knows?

Fróði Midjord: Exactly, but the point is that this can’t be taken lightly, and it seems like it is being taken very lightly. So it is like they’re treating this like a video game, and especially now that we’re entering into sort of a new Cold War, and even a hot war, this should not be taken lightly.

Charles Upton: Right! What I’m seeing is that a sense of basic patriotism, that I grew up with in the United States — I mean, even the hippies were patriots. Well, the hippies wanted to say, “We believe in the real values of this nation, not what our leaders have turned them into.” They would dress in American flags and this kind of thing. They said, “We’re the real Americans. We’re the heirs to the true liberal and libertarian impetus of the United States.” There was a patriotism, I would say, even among the hippies. Now I see very little patriotism on either the Left or the Right.

[5]

You can buy Francis Parker Yockey’s The Enemy of Europe here [6].

The Right will call themselves “patriots,” and yet they will say every state that voted for Donald Trump, that voted Republican, should secede from the union. The maintenance of the Unites States, as a nation, is of very little interest to them. What they want is their gang to triumph. The Left wants their gang, or gangs, to triumph. So patriotism is dying in the United States, and no good will come of this, because we are all in this together. Even though we will not admit that, because we hate the opposing ideology so much.

When the United States gets balkanized, what will come of it? We will lose our influence internationally. We will be the pawns and the colonies of any nations, large nation or superpower, that is able to maintain its political unity.

Fróði Midjord: Right. This is my problem with a lot of these voices that I hear in dissident circles. They lack seriousness. It’s very childish, and it’s very vague, and I’m the first to denounce whatever the Western establishment is doing. I’m most certainly opposed to it. But it’s foolish to just throw your chips in with whoever is on the other side, and just imagine, through wishful thinking, that they are somehow going to make things better for you. There’s no evidence for that.

Another point that you’re saying here, that I agree with, that a lot of Westerners go along with this narrative about Western aggression, NATO aggression and expansion, and so on, and say that everything that Russia is doing is in response to that. It’s just in self-defense, while ignoring what they’re actually doing.

Charles Upton: The unprovoked attack on Ukraine. That’s all we hear. It’s unprovoked. It came out of nowhere. No. It came out of a context and a history.

Fróði Midjord: Yes, but the point is, dissidents in the West are willing to acknowledge that sort of NATO provocation, but they’re not willing to acknowledge the fact that Russia is an imperialist nation, and they do have expansionism of their own, and agency of their own. So it becomes this very childish narrative.

Charles Upton: Yes, and there’s a childishness that has been, to a certain degree, engineered. The global elites want to be those who transcend ideology. They transcend ideology; they transcend ethnic identity. Like I say, the DNA of the rich is money. They want to have the power, like Dugin wants to have the power. We see him imitating and trying to steal a march on the Western globalist elites by also manipulating ideologies and while not holding to any of them himself, to be truly a transcendent power.

What’s interesting about Dugin is he comes and makes an ideology out of his desire to transcend ideology, and so it becomes more obvious, but what he’s doing is imitating the Western globalist elites.

I’m losing the thread here, so tell me your question again?

Fróði Midjord: Simply, that it seems like dissidents in the West go along with this pro-Russia narrative very lightly, and they don’t —

Charles Upton: Yes, it is childish. I don’t know what to say about the infantilism that I see all around. It’s absurd. People are living their lives through smartphones, computers, and video games, and —

Fróði Midjord: That’s how they interpret the world.

Charles Upton: Yeah. What I have found in Traditionalism, among other things, in the sense that there is a unanimous, although multifaceted, tradition of spiritual truth that has gone through the human race for as far back as we can see — if you establish yourself in that worldview, what you have done is gotten beyond the ideological, the contradictions in the ideological polarities. There’s an objectivity that is beyond the simple: “Whatever my enemy says is wrong; if I invert it, simply invert it 100%, then I will be right.”

You need a third standpoint beyond “us and them.” It doesn’t mean that you cannot take a stand from time to time on a particular issue, or in a particular context, but you’re not determined by worldly views. This is a better kind of objectivity and transcendence of worldly views than that of a cynical member of the globalist elite who believes he can use anything — a religion, a political tradition, whatever — as a pawn in his game to control the masses.

I remember I once found the Council on Foreign Relations, and this is very interesting. It’s an organization of the elite, but anybody can join. You can say, “I’d like to identify with the elites, so I will join the Council on Foreign Relations. Now I’m a major influencer. I’m a little Henry Kissinger, because I joined the Council on Foreign Relations.” I remember I was just talking to the lady who was the receptionist on the phone — I like to talk to people to elicit what they’re going to say — and I was talking about religions, and she referred to the religions of the world as constituencies: “Oh, yes, those various constituents.” That’s the way they look at all institutions: our constituencies of their influence, of their power.

And so we need to come from a standpoint beyond the polarities, and yet not the standpoint of the globalist elites, or of Dugin, either. That’s what, sociopolitically speaking, religion has given. What you have in the Book of Apocalypse, and also the Qur’an, in the Book of Apocalypse you have Gog and Magog, who are these forces which come forward at the end of the age to do damage; and in the Qur’an they’re called Yajuj and Majuj, and I see these as false alternatives. Vast collectives based on false alternatives who seem to represent a real choice, but are really working for the same end.

This is what, in the largest sense, I see what Dugin would call the Eurasian collective versus the Atlantean hegemony. It’s all going toward the same end, which is repression and destruction.

Fróði Midjord: I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s a false dichotomy. I don’t think that we have much to gain from this sort of Russian vision. I think it’s quite clear. Another element that you bring up is eschatology. So what is its significance, and what is Dugin essentially wrong about in dealing with it? There is a quote I want to read. You wrote something about your wife that I thought was quite on point, and that is the folly of dreaming of the collapse. You say here,

That as my wife Jenny comments, those most likely to survive this kind of war, if any survival is possible, would be the Luciferian global elites. The common man, who might still retain a shred of human decency and traditional sensibility, would likely be wiped out.

So that’s the point, that those people at the bottom of society, the sort of Internet warriors and the people most eager to fantasize about global disaster, and chaos, and “axial racialism” are the least likely to benefit from it. And so this brings us to an interesting conclusion about this.

Charles Upton: Yes. Well, I said that and I agree with it. I don’t quite know what to add.

Fróði Midjord: Right. I think that’s important. Well, we’ve been going for quite a while. I do have one final point that I want to bring up. I want to read a quote from your book again, and I think this is something that needs to be mentioned:

Aleksandr Dugin and others like him have weaponized deconstructionism by moving it out of the academies and into the world of governments, political cadres and strategic planning. They have gone beyond nihilism as an ideology to trans-nihilism as a method, a way of using any ideology, any belief-system, any religious faith to achieve their goal — in Dugin’s case, the deconstruction of American global influence and the rebirth of the Russian Empire. . . . Throughout most of this book I will be critiquing Aleksandr Dugin’s ideas as if I believed that he means what he says. I am not entirely convinced that this is the case, however. Possibly he believes in some or most of the ideas he transmits, but it’s just as likely that he is using language hypnotically or magically rather than descriptively. There is always an implied “escape clause” in Dugin’s writing. His ambiguity appears to be deliberate, and in any case it is congenial to his purposes.

So my question is, is there an element of a smokescreen? Does Dugin intentionally try to confuse his readers? You say that Dugin is “apparently relying upon the ignorance of his listeners.”

Charles Upton: Well, yes. I will just say, I once again agree with what I said there, which was — it’s probably better phrased than I could paraphrase it at this moment — I agree with that. We see that in all areas of political life. This isn’t just Dugin. Dugin concentrates certain practices of even the Western political elites and makes them a bit more obvious. He comes out and says it so many times, whereas we see the same thing going on in the Western global elites. They don’t try to make it into a manifesto. They keep it under wraps, but that’s what they’re doing. This is one place Dugin is useful, because he lets the cat out of the bag in many ways.

There’s one thing you were talking about: Whether Russia is a true, traditional, let’s say Orthodox Christian state, as some people would like to see it as. This isn’t true. I remember Dugin the strong man, Dugin the physical hero, which is one of his masks. He would do this thing of jumping into ice-cold Artic waters. It’s a common practice in Northern countries.

Fróði Midjord: You mean Putin, right?

Charles Upton: Did I say Dugin? Yeah, excuse me. I have heard this interpreted. I don’t know if Putin interpreted it this way, or whether it was someone else, but they say: “And this, this is a baptism! This is as good as a baptism! This is a new baptism; every year we have a new baptism.”

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You can buy Greg Johnson’s The White Nationalist Manifesto here [8]

If there’s anything that is more heterodox and heretical in Orthodox Christian terms, it’s that you can be baptized more than once. You’re baptized, and that’s that! Baptism is not a renewable sacrament, according to any traditional Christian view. Putin can say, “I’m baptized again, and every year I baptize myself again.” You call this Christianity? This is absurd! This is completely heretical and heterodox according to any Orthodox Christian doctrine. So the idea that Putin is a new czar, a new head of a traditional Christian Church, is absurd. It just isn’t true.

Fróði Midjord: I think that in connection with that quote that I read from your book it’s important to point out that just like the postmodernist movement, the French postmodernists and so on, they use language ambiguity and vagueness to manipulate readers. I also think that Dugin uses vagueness and contradiction as a tool to seem more profound than he actually is, in some cases, and people who are intellectually insecure, they are impressed by that, just as they were by the postmodernists.

Charles Upton: Yes, and contradiction is actually a hypnotic technique. If you can express two contradictory statements, statements which completely contradict each other, and not point out the contradiction, and simply glibly throw them out, so your reader or your viewer will accept them as part of the narrative without noticing the contradiction — what the effect this has on the mind is to stun the critical faculties into paralysis.

If you can’t say, “Wait a minute, you can’t have it both ways. Which do you mean? This is a contradiction.” If you let that go — “Oh, well, I’m just reading for entertainment.” This is the way people are taught to read; not critically, not in order to learn, but to be entertained and to be influenced. To say, “Oh, that’s interesting. Who cares if they contradict each other?” If you get into that state, then you can no longer evaluate any statement. You have become receptive. You can be influenced easily by ideologies or statements, but you will not evaluate them or learn from them. This is a technique.

Fróði Midjord: I think that’s true. I think we’ve had a great conversation, and I think we’ve brought up a lot of important and interesting points, and so I just want to ask you, is there anything that I haven’t brought up that you think should be mentioned before we wrap this up?

Charles Upton: Let me see the points I was going to talk about here. It’s important to understand that Dugin says this — in other words, he is a catastrophist. In a certain sense, he is calling for World War Three. You have to understand this.

He says, “How does our Traditionalism or new metaphysics relate to postmodernity? I consider them to be very close. We can say that Deleuze’s rhizome” — if you’ve read Deleuze, you’ll understand what rhizome means. I don’t quite understand what it means, but this is his paragraph: “We can say that Deleuze is a postmodernist, a post-structural mockery of Heidegger’s Dasein. They are alike; and they are often described in the same terms. But pay attention to the fact of how postmodernism solves the problem,” etcetera, etcetera. And then he says, “Remember Deleuze’s interpretation of Artaud’s ‘body without organs,’ his interpretation of the necessity of destruction, the leveling of structure. In his interpretation, man’s epidermis, his outer layer, is the basis of the screen onto which his image is projected.”

In other words, Dugin will refer from various standpoints to the idea that all will descend into chaos and be destroyed, and out of this will come the New Age. So, we just have to understand he’s got that theme going in his writings.

There’s just one thing I want to bring out about his willingness to work with ISIS. He says, “The most recognized form at present” — and I interpolate for the rejection of globalization — “is the Islamist world vision, which aspires toward the utopia of an individual state based upon a strict interpretation of Islamic law, or else a universal caliphate which will bring the entire world under Islamic rule. This project is as much opposed to the American-led transitional architecture” — this means transitional to globalism – “as it is to the existing status quo of modern nation-states. Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda remains symbolic and archetypal as such ideas. The attacks which brought down the towers of the World Trade Center in New York on 9/11, which was supposed to have changed the world, are proof of the importance of such networks.”

So he’s making an overture to these people in the takfiri terrorist world, and at one point, if I can find it, he said, “We don’t like ISIS, but we’re willing to work with them.” Because it’s more important to destroy the power of the West and the Atlanean hegemony than it is to — and then we’ll worry about ISIS later.

I remember I connected with Dugin briefly through Facebook at one point. I think it was during the Yellow Vest revolution thing in Europe, and he was reaching out, and we had an immediate and quick connection. I said, “Didn’t you say you’re willing to work with ISIS?” He said, “No, no, no, no, I never said such a thing!” Then he blocked me, and would never talk to me again. I just wanted to bring that out.

Fróði Midjord: Interesting. Thank you so much. I think this has been a great conversation, and I’m very grateful, and like I said, I’m definitely going to take a deeper look at your book and also publish a review of it. Can you tell the listeners where they can order your book, and how they can follow your work?

Charles Upton: Actually, you can get this through at least two Amazons. One is Amazon UK, or the United States, Amazon.com. Basically, with a book like this, we have to rely upon Amazon, though we would wish not to. We gotta do it.

Fróði Midjord: It’s published by Sophia Perennis, right? The publisher who also does René Guénon’s collected works, and so on.

Charles Upton: Yes, it’s definitely Sophia Perennis, and yes, James Wetmore has single-handedly kept René Guénon’s works in print in English. So, a great job. It’s from the same press.

Fróði Midjord: Excellent. Well, Charles Upton, I think this has been a great conversation. Thank you so much. I want to also thank everyone who’s been listening to this conversation, and like I said, this is the first of a series of recordings that I want to do about Aleksandr Dugin’s ideology, and I think this has been an absolutely excellent start. So, thank you so much for agreeing to do this.

Charles Upton: Glad to be here. Glad to do it.

Fróði Midjord: Thank you.

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