Žižek sounds off on a variety of questions: Is democracy a good-in-itself? Is freedom of choice a good-in-itself? How important is “legitimacy” of authority? Is Rawlsian liberalism naive and utopian? What’s the value of Obama’s health care reform plans? Žižek talks to John Derbyshire in the New Statesman.
I don’t despise democracy, but for me, although democracy, in the formal sense, is precious, it is not in itself a measure of ultimate truth or authenticity. We shouldn’t fetishise democracy – after all, you can have democratic elections where the majority votes for a rightist populist, and when it does, you have the right to treat the government as illegitimate. I don’t think that this formal electoral procedure should be taken as equalling legitimacy.
A large majority of the left doesn’t question liberal democracy and capitalism as such. In the same way that when we were young we wanted socialism with a human face, what a large part of today’s left want is capitalism with a human face.
And (wisest of all):
In capitalist relations today, envy is crucial. Never underestimate the power of envy.