Living in the End Times According to Slavoj Zizek

(eagainst) Slavoj Zizek is a political theorist and psychoanalyst. His supporters call him “Elvis of cultural theory” but most of the reactionaries blame him for being “the most dangerous philosopher in the West”. But what makes Zizek so different is that his way of thinking doesn’t stop to triviality. Zizek has published over 30 books of philosophy criticizing everything from global capitalism to Islamic fundamentalism.

In this book, Zizek criticises conservatism claiming that the moral values that most of the conservatives are seeking do not exist in the first place: ” Try analyzing pretty much any aspect of the moralistic agenda of the Conservatives and you will see how they are trying desperately to “preserve” a system that – unlike what they would have us believe – isn’t time-hallowed in the least”. However, he points out that most of the conservatives are very successful in channeling the growing popular dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in a way to justify their own agendas. There is a massive danger that this anger will be appropriated by nationalist populists. Therefore, progressives have to do everything possible in order to defeat this rise of the right wing we see nowadays. He also blames the progressives for having lost their radical way of approaching a situation while many of them have been absorbed by liberal ideologies.

Zizek insists that the only way to move forward is to provide a different alternative, based on new ideas and principles. We can’t go back to the old authoritarian communism. What we really need is an anarchic model of radical left, perhaps libertarian communism but we must always have in mind that the old world is over. Despite that he chalenges the “suspicious word tolerance”, he points out that the old left has become very dogmatic but on the other hand the reformist socialists do not differ from political parties that follow the well known neoliberal political line which has failed as well. We have to recognize also that any attempt to modify the existing system, in order to make it somehow “better”, “fairer” or “more just” would not work, as capitalism is the core of many problems and in fact it faces threats that it is hard to know if it will survive or not at the end. As he states in the “Liberal Utopia”, the veil is slowly falling and it clearly shows that capitalism is not democratic and liberal but it gets more and more authoritarian day after day in order to secure the interests of the few rich at the expenses of the vast majority.

Recently, Zizek hosted an engaging television documentary in the Netherlands, in which he discuses—through his critical perspective—current geo-political conflicts, global warming, and the financial crisis, among other relevant topics.

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