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Tucker Carlson Asks Dugin How We Got From Classical to Woke Liberalism

This is a short comment on Tucker Carlson’s interview with Alexander Dugin on April 29: (17) Tucker Carlson on X: “Ep. 99 Aleksandr Dugin is the most famous political philosopher in Russia. His ideas are considered so dangerous, the Ukrainian government murdered his daughter and Amazon won’t sell his books. We talked to him in Moscow.” / X (

Dugin’s claim that there is a “logic” from classical to woke liberalism is one conservatives dislike for it undercuts their wish to return to the classical liberalism of the 1970s or the 1990s. The Dissident Right also feels uneasy with this claim for it fractures their belief that there are no problems with classical liberalism as long as one adds race realism to it.

In this interview, however, Dugin barely explains Carlson’s important question as to how we reached our current woke liberal restrictions on freedom of thought from the earlier classical commitment to personal freedom and limitations on the authority of the state.

Still, Dugin does connect these two versions of liberalism (1.0 and 2.0) by arguing that the same emancipatory “logic” of individualism we saw in the classical struggle for equal rights (religious freedom, democracy, freedom of the press) has now culminated in the effort to undermine sexual and national identities, and our human identity itself. The goal of liberalism as such is to liberate people from “any kind of collective identity.”

“That has led to transgender [people], to LGBT and new form[s] of sexual individualism. So, sex is something optional,” Dugin replied to Carlson, calling LGBTQ+ lifestyles “not a deviation, but a necessary element of implementation and the victory of this liberal ideology.”

But in this interview Dugin is not clear why woke liberalism seems “authoritarian” in its political correctness and cancel culture. This woke quality seems to contradict the classical principle of freedom of thought, leaving the impression that woke liberalism is a complete deviation from classical liberalism; and that we are in fact living in an illiberal, cultural Marxist order. It is for this reason that dissidents are invariably advocates of free speech and “true democratic rights”. This is what conservatives like Christopher Rufo and James Lindsay believe, and most dissidents as well. In Canada in Decay I also argued that we are living in a cultural Marxist order.

Now I side with Dugin that we are still living in a liberal order. But it is not enough to say that we have a “new” version of liberalism (2.0) that happens to have become “authoritarian” or even “totalitarian” (as Dugin actually argues in his writings). My view is that a key to understanding the “logic of liberalism” is to recognize that value pluralism, not individualism on its own, is at the heart of this ideology.

Liberalism, including its current woke version, promulgates that no one knows what the ultimate meaning and purpose of life is, or what the common good for humanity is; and that, therefore, individuals, as rational and naturally free beings with a capacity to make their own decisions, should be allowed to decide for themselves their values.

Woke liberalism still adheres to value pluralism (and indivdiual liberty) in allowing individuals the right to choose their own lifestyles. It grants equal rights of expression to multiple doctrines and lifestyles, including to “traditional” worldviews such as Confucianism, Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam, as long as those who follow these doctrines adhere to the principle of pluralism in their interactions with those who hold different views in the public sphere. You can be “close-minded” in your religious values, in the way you raise your children, and in your everday habits and ways of being, as long as you don’t seek to undermine value pluralism in the political sphere. Seeking to create a new political order based on “illiberal” beliefs goes against the principle of liberal tolerance, and this cannot be tolerated in a woke liberal order.

A criticism that can be made against my view that woke liberalism remains liberal, one made by Dugin himself, and some Catholic critics of liberalism, is that the liberal woke state does enforce a comprehensive or substantive theory of what constitute the proper way of life, in the way it socializes children in schools and in the very reality that liberalism permeates the public sphere as a whole. It only allows traditional doctrines as long as they restrict themselves to the private sphere, with only a marginal influence in the public sphere, as local affairs, not as nation-wide doctrines, with full blown political parties. This is true. We do live in a liberal order. But this does not negate the reality of value pluralism, and the reality that if we are to defeat woke liberalism we must defeat liberalism itself.

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