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Darren Beattie is stirring the pot again, this time with a deep dive into Tucker Carlson’s interview with the controversial figure, Alexander Dugin, which can be seen here:

Hats off to Tucker Carlson for not shying away from tough conversations.

Darren doesn’t hold back in his analysis (reprinted below); he’s talking about everything from the philosophical makeup of nations after World War II to the tricky balance of individualism and collectivism in today’s world.

Here is a lightly-edited version of what Darren had to say on X:

Some have asked me about this, so I figured I’d go against my better judgement and say a few words.

First, I commend Tucker for his courage and open-mindedness in having such discussions with controversial figures. Nothing I say should be interpreted as a criticism of Tucker’s laudable efforts.

This conversation reinforces in my mind two priors: one is that while Russians are a great literary and musical people, they are not a philosophical people (well, no people really is a philosophical people post-WWII).

The second prior I had reinforced by this talk is that it is very difficult, next to impossible, and rarely optimal to connect “deep-level” philosophical diagnoses with diagnoses of more surface-level political and cultural phenomena.

Let’s take Dugin’s example of what went wrong—the rise of “individualism.” Dugin perfunctorily gestures toward various “deep level” accounts of individualism in his reference to the “subject” and to theological nominalism, respectively.

This already gets into problems because the diagnosis of modernity as flowing continuously from nominalism and the diagnosis of modernity as discretely emerging from the self-grounding Cartesian subject are different and competing diagnoses.

The “purpose” of nominalism was not to liberate the individual but rather to liberate God. The structure of the self-grounding Cartesian subject, moreover, analogizes much more easily to other identifiable features of modernity (Rousseau’s and then Nietzsche’s self-grounding will).

Things get even more confused when we bring in the third, implicit, and most important aspect of individualism—its implicit contrast with collectivism. This seems to be the dominant version Dugin focuses on, as in his telling, the key feature of “liberalism” is the liberation of the individual from collective entanglements (tradition, culture, gender, humanity).

The relation of this version to nominalism is incomplete, as nominalism has to do with the liberation of God from man’s cognitive categories.

As to the Cartesian subject, the emergence of subjectivity exists at a deeper layer than and is presupposed by the more superficial distinction between individual and collective (at least according to Heidegger’s telling).

Enough for a moment about the “deep level” diagnostic problems. Now let’s turn to the political/cultural diagnostic problem.

In short, the “liberation of the individual” seems to be a very poor description of the present political moment. Dugin’s focus on the liberation of the individual might account for a “dystopian” society that was social Darwinistic, pathologically dedicated to scientific progress and advancement, and elevation of the individual over all else (including his gendered and all biological constraints).

There are confused hints of this, of course, that we see in our philosophically impoverished tech elite (and what do you expect from a society that confers such powers on glorified software engineers). But this is hardly the dominant thrust of the present moment, and if it were, notwithstanding the philosophical childishness of the tech class, it would actually be a very welcome and profound improvement from what we have today.

No, what we have today in “wokeness,” the political weaponization/empowerment of women and minority special interest groups, is far from the liberation of the individual. If we must use the “individualism” vs. “collective” dichotomy at all to account for what is going on, it can hardly be described as the liberation of the individual. Wokeness and intersectionality are all about group identity. The purpose of censoring individuals is to assuage the collective inferiority complexes of politically weaponized groups (mostly women and minorities).

The whole thing is about pandering to the emotivism, unfounded indignation, and undeserved pride of resentful, underachieving, and independent groups. Politically, the transsexual phenomenon is so much less a trans-human liberation from biology and much more an empowerment of a politically favored GROUP identity (sexual degenerates).

Thus, one can much more easily buy a trajectory from liberalism to transhumanism (elevation of the individual decision-maker, individual choice) than one can see between liberalism and “wokeness.”

One can imagine a line from the epistemological grounding of things in the self-knowing subject (Descartes) to the political grounding of things in individual choice and consent (Locke) to a kind of hyper-liberated individual apotheosis in transhumanism.

Finally, in the discussion, Tucker raises a point about so-called “classical liberalism,” mentioning that this is about individual choice, freedom from slavery, etc. This is more or less Locke.

I was somewhat surprised that Dugin didn’t respond that Locke (via Descartes to Hobbes) and, by extension, classical liberalism represent a profound step toward the liberation of the individual that he decries (a politics based on choice and consent rather than heredity, tradition, etc.).

Instead, Dugin simply embraces the classical liberal vs. bad liberal distinction without noting that, as explained above, the bad “degraded” liberalism is not really liberalism in any sense of the word—the political dystopia we see today is in every sense post-liberal.

Perhaps I should polish this up at some point, but those are some immediate thoughts. And as mentioned in the beginning, my prior sense is that it is very difficult to have a discussion that gets into deep-level philosophical diagnoses and more surface-level political diagnoses without impoverishing both.

This is a thought-provoking post that’s bound to spark a lot of conversation and bring some interesting ideas to the table. Big thanks to Tucker and Darren for diving into these deep discussions and giving us all some food for thought.