Virtue and Terror
Robespierre’s justification of the Terror in the French Revolution.
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? Zizek takes a helter-skelter route through these contradictions, marshaling all the breadth of analogy for which he is famous.