Tavis: Let me ask you. Why do you think that so many good white folk on the left have the right values, but are disconnected from the everyday lives of everyday people?

Žižek: I think the reasons are mostly, simply economic reasons in what sense? I think that’s the lesson of Bernie Sanders for me. You know, even if they are these white liberals and so on, they may be sincere.

Tavis: Yeah.

Žižek: But, you know what always bothered me? Look at this politically correct people who claim not LGBT, LGBT+…

Tavis: They’re all politically correct. I get it, yeah.

Žižek: Yeah, yeah. The point is that what makes me so suspicious is this extra urgency, how they insist in all these — at least they secretly know that they are not touching the real problems. That’s why they have to exaggerate this [inaudible].
So there is something so terribly fake about all these white liberals who when I call my friends, like you’re Black and not African American, I’m already a racist and so on and so on. It’s such a comfortable position to focus on this problem and avoid true problems. You know who saw it? You must know this better than me. In the last years, Martin Luther King.

Tavis: Of course, of course.

Žižek: Again, I’m not arguing for this out of some crazy twisted radical leftist idea, no. I’m just saying that if we don’t move the whole scene a little bit towards the left, liberalism itself will not survive. We, liberalism, what was best in liberalism? All the lessons of tolerance, women’s rights and so on can only survive through a move to the left.

Tavis: I’ll leave it there. I feel like I’m just getting started on that last point, but I think you take his point. I am always honored to have you on this program, my friend.

Žižek: I’m very glad to be here.

Tavis: You must come again. We’ll do it again.

Žižek: I consider you — I’m not saying this in vain. Although we met just briefly, one of the few people whom I see as my authentic friend here.

Tavis: I appreciate that.

Žižek: I am so sick of this full of career-pursuing academia and so on and so on. Even if I am an atheist, I am praying to God that you will survive here [laugh].

Tavis: And that’s why we’re friends [laugh]. And that’s why you’re welcome back on this show any time.

Žižek: Thanks very much.

Tavis: We will always continue to have these conversations.

Žižek: I am so glad.

Tavis: That’s our show for tonight. Thanks for watching and, as always, keep the faith.

Announcer: For more information on today’s show, visit Tavis Smiley at pbs.org.

Announcer: And by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.

[Appeared on PBS on March 1st 2017.]

Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst, and a senior researcher at the Institute for Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London. He has also been a visiting professor at more than 10 universities around the world. Žižek is the author of many books; his latest are Against the Double Blackmail and Disparities.

Tell us what you think...

%d bloggers like this: