Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Matthew Sharpe on Slavoj Zizek's demand for essential violence.
Populism is good enough in practice: unlike liberalism and species of radical or procedural democracy, it can fire people’s political passions, and this at least or above all is what Žižek wants. Yet an elementary ignorance or ‘refusal to understand’ lies at its heart: the desire to simplify things down to a simplistic ‘point of decision’, wherein the world is divided into friends and enemies. This is why, although Heidegger made the right step in 1933 by embracing fascism, according to In Defense of Lost Causes, he chose wrongly, so his violence was not ‘essential’ enough. Fascism aims to prop up the fantasy of an organic Gemeinschaft (in Lacanese, some big Other). Populism always at its base ‘harbors “in the last instance” a proto-fascist tendency’ in this way. Yet Heidegger is a key figure in Žižek’s closing case that we should move ‘from fear to trembling’ in Unbehagen in der Natur: '"we must first call for someone capable of instilling terror in our Dasein again"… (The thing to note here is that Heidegger uses the word “terror” and not “anxiety”)'.
Unbehagen: uneasiness, discomfort.
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