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8/27/2004

Zizek's Law

Slavoj Zizek, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?, 3: Throughout its entire career, 'totalitarianism' was an ideological notion that sustained the complex operation of 'taming free radicals', of guaranteeing the liberal-democratic hegemony, dismissing the Leftist critique of liberal democracy as the obverse, the 'twin', of the Rightist Fascist dictatorship. And it is useless to try to redeem 'totalitarianism' through division into subcategories (emphasizing the difference between the Fascist and the Communist variety): the moment one accepts the notion of 'totalitarianism', one is firmly located within the liberal-democratic horizon. The contention of this book is thus that the notion of 'totalitarianism', far from being an effective theoretical concept, is a kind of stopgap: instead of enabling us to think, forcing us to acquire a new insight into the historical reality it describes, it relieves us of the duty to think, or even actively prevents us from thinking.
Zizek's law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Communism or totalitarianism approaches one. When that point is reached, the discussion has outlived its usefulness, and the invoker has lost the debate.

A corollary to Godwin's law.

 

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