Quote of the Week: Slavoj Žižek

Quote of the Week: Slavoj Žižek October 20, 2008

The danger represented by the Iraq War can be best exemplified by the actual role of the populist Right in Europe — namely, to introduce certain topics (like the foreign threat, the necessity of limiting immigration, etc.) that can be silently taken over not only by conservative parties, but even by the de facto politics of ‘socialistic’ governments. […]

What we have here is a kind of perverted Hegelian ‘negation of negation’: in the first negation, the populist Right disturbs the aseptic liberal consensus by giving voice to passionate dissent, clearly arguing against the ‘foreign threat’; in a second negation, the ‘decent’ democratic centre, in the very gesture of pathetically rejecting this populist Right, integrates its message in a ‘civilized’ way — between these two movements, the entire field of ‘unwritten rules’ has already changed to the extent that no on even notices and everyone is simply relieved that the anti-democratic threat is over. And the true danger is that something similar will happen apropos of the ‘war on terror’: so-called ‘extremists’ like John Ashcroft will be discarded, but their legacy will remain, imperceptibly interwoven into the invisible ethical fabric of our societies. Their defeat will be their ultimate triumph: they will no longer be needed, since their message will have become incorporated into the mainstream.

–Slavoj Žižek, “The Iraq War — Where is the True Danger,” pgs. 289 – 303 in The Universal Exception (New York: Continuum, 2007):301-302.

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