The Social Philosophy of Russian Orthodox Nationalism: Ivan Alexandrovich Ilyin

IlynTBR’s Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson presents a podcast on Russian nationalist and royalist philosopher Ivan Alexandrovich Ilyin, refuting the Council on Foreign Relations defamation of him in their article “Putin’s Philosopher Ivan Ilyin and the Ideology of Moscow’s Rule”, while exploring some of his ideas about the relationship between the nation and the state.

The CFR claim that Ilyin was a “Eurasianist” and that he admired Hitler, when it was really the National Socialist economic and social theories that he admired, he did not care much for his anti-Slavic ideas. The authors of the article have clearly never read anything by him.

Ilyin was a “right Hegelian” and  a nationalist. Freedom was a central concept to his writings and it was always an inner fact – it was freedom from self-interests and appetites, and freedom as the ability to act arbitrarily.

Nations and states are often opposed even though they should not be. The totalitarian state exists when the state is separate from the nation and even hostile to it. If the state has no cultural buttress, then it must control everything by force. The state should really only ever be a compliment to the nation and only there does its laws take force – from national history and the basic facts about human nature.

The USSR was a state and a party radically alien from the nations that it ruled. As everyone said at the time, the USSR was a Jewish ethnic experiment. It was literally an alien force using the wealth of Russians and others for its own parasitic enrichment.

Reason is a part of human nature but is not the whole of it, faith and love must come first. Reason needs facts to work on and therefore, these facts must be present before reasoning about them. The culture of the nation provides these facts in the form of the faith, aspirations and loves of a people. Reason then arranges them into a rational order in law. In fact, Ilyin actually defines “justice” as “making values and meaning into law.”

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