Robespierre’s defense of the French Revolution remains one of the most powerful and unnerving justifications for political violence ever written, and has extraordinary resonance in a world obsessed with terrorism and appalled by the language of its proponents. Yet today, the French Revolution is celebrated as the event which gave birth to a nation built on the principles of enlightenment. So how should a contemporary audience approach Robespierre’s vindication of revolutionary terror? Žižek takes a helter-skelter route through these contradictions, marshaling all the breadth of analogy for which he is famous.
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