Zizek: The worst impostor of the Left.
Yellow Vests movement.
For Zizek the Yellow Vests protester “signal that we are approaching a deadlock.” Yet, Zikek one more time fails to tell us who that “we” is. Is it France, Europe, the entire world? We get no answer as to why a particular incident happening in Paris, all of a sudden and without any credible explanation, concerns the entire world?
This can only point to the fact that Zizek wished that in his nostalgia for the universality of political affairs back in the ’60s and in particular, Paris May 68, we could still be able to make such slippery generalizations like in yesterdays.
Zizek’s most relevant statement goes like this:
“The solution is not just to change the system a little bit so that these demands will be met, these demands cannot be met. We have to change the entire system.”
The words to keep in mind here are: “We have to change the entire system.” Zizek, apparently, has discovered the contradictory nature of the demands of the protesters. On the one hand, they want better care for ecology, but on the other hand, they want lower taxes on fuel for cars.
Obviously, it is only in Zizek’s head that these demands are contradictory. As Zizek usually does, one of the demands is made deliberately too vague and general. Zizek does not tell us what is “better care for ecology.” If it meant reducing the intake of meat, it would not contradict lowering taxes on fuel for cars since methane gas from cows’ flatulence and belching are actually more polluting than cars’ emissions. But Zizek does not tell us that since he loves to fabricate “contradictory demand” through general armchair philosophical “paradoxes.”
And Zizek goes on into his second manufactured contradiction: “the demands cannot be met.” The protesters want lower taxes on their income but they want better healthcare. This is not really contradictory unless we define clearly what is meant by “better healthcare.” Some Americans actually prefer lower taxes on their income so that they can pay for affordable healthcare. Zizek invents his own contradiction by forcing the demands for lower taxes on income to be connected with the government providing better healthcare, and of course, such demands cannot be met by the government.
Zizek cherry picks to create his own dialectical Hegelian-Marxist contradictions in which the Yellow Vests protesters are just ignorant populous who don’t know what they want, but Zizek, the intellectual savor without leadership, happens to understand then very well.
Zizek is convinced that they don’t know what they want, meanwhile, we really know what Zizek wants: Manufacture a narrative for a bunch of imaginary idiots invented in his head who satisfy his fanciful dialectical and Marxist schematics always based on unresolved and unresolvable contradictions unless the entire system is changed.
Sorry Zizek, the Yellow Vests protesters do know what they want. The system, however, is too complex for them, or anyone for that matter, to directly trigger the satisfaction of such demands, let alone understand how to get them.
No Zizek, their demands can be met, at least some of them and within the existing system. And not Zizek, the existing system is not at its best, in fact, it is a system overtly bureaucratized.
No Zizek, Macron is not the best today’s establishment can offer. Is being a good banker and a technocrat with social democratic sensitivity the best a system can offer? What system, under which standards, French, European, American, globally?
Zizek just keeps talking in a very abstract and vague way so that he can accommodate his fanciful “contradictions” to his flimsy generalizations and simultaneously fit his conceptual night in which, as Hegel once said, all cows are black.
As if all the above weren’t enough Zizek continues to couch potato in his armchair of useless “controversial” reflexions. He wants us to imagine that protesters coming to power. Really? But that would mean chaos since Zizek’s protesters only have impossible demands.
For Zizek, the main clash is between impossible demands and what the system can offer. Two brilliant examples come to the rescue, which do not make clear if they are saving Zizek’s already existing conceptual shipwreck or stranding him into visible meaningful shores. The examples? Ford’s car and Steve Jobs’ gadgets contrasted with Zizek’s own caviar: “Bureaucratic socialism”.
Can we really compare Zizek’s “bureaucratic socialism” with Ford’s car or Jobs’ gadget? Of course, no. Zizek’s “bureaucratic socialism” is as much obnoxious speculation as saying that alien lizards will govern us.
The comparison becomes ridiculous since, unless Zizek tells us clearly what bureaucratic socialism it will be hard not to see it as much part and parcel of capitalism as Ford’s and Jobs’ offerings were.
Zizek’s deadlock of the system and its dreamed bureaucratic socialism would just be like a coughing flu in a system that is willing to swallow its own mucus, then defecate it and keep going, just business as usual.
Zizek insists on changing the entire system…gradually, but how valuable in that respect his Ford’s and Job’s examples would be? Was that what Ford or Jobs did? Is that what Zizek bureaucratic socialism would do?
Under Zizek’s logic any social demands would have to be no longer meaningful in the same way looking for a better or more efficient horse was no longer meaningful considering thar cars completely replaced horses.
Is that what bureaucratic socialism would do? Zizek insists, following Job’s footsteps, that we have to offer to people something that they don’t even know that it may serve them.
But wait, what are the differences between a “creative capitalist” like Steve Jobs and Zizek’s imaginary “creative politician”? We might never know since what Zizek wants, as if by magic, is that his bureaucratic socialism meets all those demands for us, while the “how” remains completely black-boxed to us and we, well, we remain alienated.
Zizek most certainly doesn’t seem to know the differences between a despot like a Steve Jobs and a despot like Mao Zedong.
He is happy to tell us about Mao’s distinction between “principal” and “secondary” contradictions, but it is hard to find a good reason as to why he has chosen to reference Mao instead of anyone else.
Is it because he sympathizes with Mao or because he wants to cynically lecture us that even communist despot can be very clever? Zizek, as usual, borders with nauseating and distasteful intellectualism.
Zizek is not willing to tell us the differences between a despot like Steve Jobs and a despot like Mao even when he has the guts to put both of them side by side. I could inform Zizek what are exactly the differences between a despot like Steve Jobs and a despot, for instance, like Fidel Castro.
Fidel Castro’s character wasn’t any different to that of Steve Jobs in terms of wanting everyone to do things his way else you were fire.
Steve Jobs was a despot. The difference between the two leaders, however, was that Steve Jobs often surrounded himself by very smart people that could prove him wrong in ways he couldn’t refuse because he deeply believed in innovation.
Fidel Castro, on the other hand, had more chances to refuse to be proven wrong even by smarter people than him because he believed more in revolution than in innovation.
The difference between revolution and innovation is that even when revolution (to radically reinvent the wheel) can open the chances for innovation (creating something new and birthing it in other people or products) it can also promote self-destructive forces. Revolution creates a blank slate, but it doesn’t necessarily know how to create the new from the past and fill it up.
The difference between innovation and revolution is that even when innovation can open the chances for revolution it can also promote stagnating forces by complacency. Innovation brings novelty, but it doesn’t necessarily know how to break up from the past and create the new without filling it up with the old.
Steve Jobs was an innovator and in small ways, he also was a revolutionary. Steve Jobs left a material legacy in the world of computers which I appreciate, but he left at a spiritual level a legacy which I detest for being that of a ruthless entrepreneur.
Steve Jobs might have not become an innovator when he was fired from his own company Apple, but somehow he came back and gave us the Apple products we got today.
Fidel Castro was a revolutionary, but in no way, he was an innovator. Fidel Castro left a material legacy which is rather that of misery and devastation and he also left at a spiritual level a legacy which I too detest for being that of a resilient dogmatism and complete mono-politicization of the Cuban society.
Fidel Castro could have had become a political innovator by having a better reconciliation with Cuban history and promoting independent forces in Cuba and delegating a great deal of the power he amassed to different independent sectors of Cuban society, but at the end, even when he sporadically show the willingness to do so he ended up with virtually every Cuban doing things exactly the way he wanted.
I should point out that even when I am giving Steve Jobs more historical credit for what he did with technology than credit to Fidel Castro for what he did in politics, I do not admire nor take Steve Jobs as a mentor.
Fidel Castro’s failure was not only a lack of innovative political spirit but the resilient despotic stubbornness he shared with Steve Jobs.
So, there we have it, Zizek failed miserably to detail what kind of “creative politician” could be the leader of his disenfranchised Yellow Vests protesters. It is not definitely Mao, but his ghost roams in all of Zizek’s gelatinous Marxism.
Coming back to Mao’s contradictions, it is actually true that the transgender and #MeToo struggle are often overdetermined by the “principal contradiction” of class struggle, but this could have been elucidated without Marx nor Mao. In every complex network of relations, there are often systemic problems, which persistently end up having more relevance. This applies as much to nature and computer system as to social systems.
The fact that a complex system can virtually always outgrow itself if the correct input is given to it is at the heart of complexity theory, Deep Learning and Neural Network in computer science.
The kind of problem Zizek is badly hinting at, which he obnoxiously keeps blaming on capitalism, is related to the self-manageable nature of large unregulated system within a certain threshold of entropy which keeps them away from total collapse.
Let’s put Zizek’s capitalism to the test as a computational problem in complexity theory. Let’s also make abundantly clear that human societies are not reducible to computational operations.
In computational theory, Steve Jobs’ statement: “A lot of time, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them” is translated as a question: “Does being able to quickly recognize correct answers mean there is also a quick way to find them?”
If the ease to check that a solution to a problem is correct were the same ease to solve that problem, everyone who likes an iPhone would be able to create one.
People are faster at selecting what they want when specific choices are given to them than answering what they want when not specific choices are given.
If the French capitalist system, out of its limitless ways of self-preservation had a group of choices to meet the demands of the Yellow Vests protesters similar to that of Ford’s car or Jobs’ iPhone, they, by all means, would perpetuate Zizek so much hated capitalism. Hence, Zizek analogies do not help his case.
Reversibly, if the kind of solutions Zizek has in mind do not perpetuate anything of the previous system, how exactly is that Zizek’s bureaucratic socialism is going to achieve that in a world driven by global capital? Zizek is just a conceptual buffoon.
Of course, the solution is within that very system and the fact that he mentioned Ford and Jobs is proof that he knows it, but he has to drop Mao so that for his leftist crowd he can get away with such mea culpa.
Zizek wants “to change the entire system”, but he never tells us if “entire” means the car industry, France or the world. In fact, specifying so would determine if his theory is consistent or not. So far, he has not given sufficient input to understand the possible output from what he has expressed.
Zizek is naive or bluntly cynical when saying:
“The designation of political correctness as “cultural Marxism” is false. Political correctness in all its pseudo-radicality is, on the contrary, the last defense of “bourgeois” liberalism against Marxism.”
Either Zizek has never lived in any of the former Socialist regimes or he is bluntly ignoring some valuable facts. Socialist countries produced countless of Marxists and many of them, if not virtually all of them, participated in the same “bourgeois” liberalism Zizek is so much differentiating Marxism from.
What is inconceivable in Zizek own puritan vision of Marxism is that “bourgeois” Marxism is not possible. Zizek has never understood nor cares to understand the realpolitik of Socialism.