Slavoj Zizek and Tariq Ramadan on the future of Egyptian politics

Many American academics and pundits from thinktankland should study the way Slavoj Žižek expresses himself. Passionate, emphatic, uninhibited, eccentric, and humorous — above all, a man who knows what it means to speak your mind. This is a display that shows that deep analysis does not need the protection of cover-your-ass-caveats or manicured sobriety. It can be an act of genuine self-expression.

The pre-condition though is that to speak your mind, you must know your mind and that is a dangerous enterprise.

In relation to Žižek’s central point — that the loss of the Left has come at a hefty price — it’s worth considering the pernicious influence of the sporting metaphor as it shapes American political thinking. Which is to say: the effect of the assumption that that which is defeated must by its nature be inferior; that those who lose are lesser. Guided by such thinking, we would have no reason to be concerned about the loss of species or the loss of cultures. As though the perfect condition would be one of victorious homogeneity.

And note: if democracy was by its nature something truly Western, would we now witness so much Western ambivalence about the birth of Egyptian democracy? On the contrary, the West’s ambivalence exposes the degree to which universal and socialist values have been marginalized in the West. As though we should have reason to doubt that human solidarity is a good thing.

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2 thoughts on “Slavoj Zizek and Tariq Ramadan on the future of Egyptian politics

  1. BillVZ

    Paul,

    “The precondition though is that to speak your mind, you must know your mind and that is a dangerous enterprise.”

    An absolutely fascinating interview with these two guest commentators who do indeed know their minds and so clearly,each in his way, expressed their views and experience for the viewers. Thanks for bringing this interview to War in context and giving it top billing.

    I join with Slavoj Žižek in applauding the Egyptian pro Democracy masses, I applaud AlJazeera for its wonderful coverage and I applaud both Zizek and Tariq Ramadan for holding such views-as you say “acts of genuine self-expression are more than acceptable to explain ‘the real deal’.”

  2. Salim Samai

    The USA switched at last under Obama from the Triangle USA-Israel-Any M.Eastern Country to a simple and Straight Line USA-M.Eastern Country.
    Never was peace so near as since Tunisia.

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