In Defense of Lost Causes

In Defense of Lost Causes Review

Is global emancipation a lost cause? Are universal values outdated relics of an earlier age? In fear of the horrors of totalitarianism should we submit ourselves to a miserable third way of economic liberalism and government-as-administration?

In this major new work, philosophical sharpshooter Slavoj Žižek takes on the reigning ideology with a plea that we should re-appropriate several ‘lost causes,’ and look for the kernel of truth in the ‘totalitarian’ politics of the past.

Examining Heidegger’s seduction by fascism and Foucault’s flirtation with the Iranian Revolution, he suggests that these were the ‘right steps in the wrong direction.’ He argues that while the revolutionary terror of Robespierre, Mao and the Bolsheviks ended in historic failure and monstrosity, this is not the whole story. There is, in fact, a redemptive moment that gets lost in the outright liberal-democratic rejection of revolutionary authoritarianism and the valorization of soft, consensual, decentralized politics.

Žižek claims that, particularly in light of the forthcoming ecological crisis, we should reinvent revolutionary terror and the dictatorship of the proletariat in the struggle for universal emancipation. We need to courageously accept the return to this Cause — even if we court the risk of a catastrophic disaster. In the words of Samuel Beckett: ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’

Title:In Defense of Lost Causes
Edition Language:English

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    In Defense of Lost Causes Reviews

  • Szplug

    Žižek is a hyperkinetic, entertaining writer who seems to bounce off of the walls in his enthusiasm to make his points. This was my first exposure to the Slovene philosopher and I ran into somewhat ...

  • Jonfaith

    “Ideology is strong exactly because it is no longer experienced as ideology… we feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.” In Defense of Lost causes is a difficult...

  • Hadrian

    Well. This is definitely something.Zizek is one of the more baffling modern philosophers I've read. It's tough to follow his mental gymnastics. I find myself agreeing totally with him, and then blanch...

  • Matt

    Incredible amount of energy- intellectual, verbal, imaginative.An inexhaustible amount of anecdotes, one liners, ribald jokes, historical parallels, ironic reversals by the gallon.That's part of what ...

  • Anna

    I think the time has come to give up on 'In Defense of Lost Causes'. Having worked my way through Living in the End Times and Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism, tha...

  • Chris

    'In Defense of Lost Causes' is Slavoj Zizek's longest and most sustained effort to develop the political consequences of his philosophical work. In a certain sense, this book is a companion volume to ...

  • Andrew Fairweather

    "OK, but where is your hamster—the fetish which enables you to (pretend to) accept reality "the way it is"?One may say we live in a world of contradiction. A struggle of multicultural tolerance vs h...

  • Liedzeit

    A pop-philosopher-Marxist. Why should I be interested in such a man? He was definitely on my to-ignore-list. But then I saw him in the debate with Jordan Peterson and although his tics (like constantl...

  • Diogenes

    "Where, then, do we stand today? How can we break out of the crisis of determinate negation and enact a subtraction in its authentic violence?" This book is dense: a cartwheeling cornucopia of topics ...

  • ?

    While Zizek's key weaknesses (a tendency to embark on page-long meanderings from one topic into analogous but wholly different spheres of thinking, cannibalization of earlier books/talks, the reliance...