Blog post

"This was madness": Slavoj Žižek vs David Horowitz with Julian Assange

Huw Lemmey27 April 2012


It was bound to end in disaster: two ideologues, one a communist and the other a neo-conservative, "do battle" over a skype link from a house in England where Assange is held under house arrest.

"You are a supporter of the closest thing we have to Nazism, which was a utopian idea, in the Middle-East! You support the Palestinians!" rails Horowitz in his opening statement. "I don't see anything to distinguish the Palestinians, who want to kill the Jews, from the Nazis." It becomes clear almost immediately that, perhaps, this debate will generate more heat than light. But Žižek is in no mood to get burned, at one point needing to be physically restrained by Assange. Both sides accuse the other of being Nazis, and further accusations flung at public figures. Horowitz doesn't hold his tongue:

"Europe is a cultural theme park. It is insignificant. That's what the welfare state did — it took Europe out of the picture ... The Swedes have no morals"

His choicest morsels of opprobrium are reserved for Obama, however: "You've got a leftist in the White House, a guy who was brought up and trained by communists, whose whole political career was in the communist left". This point is the most contested by Žižek: "In what meaningful sense is [Obama] a communist?"

Horowitz: "The United States is crippled in part because the Commander-in-Chief is a leftist!"

Žižek: "Here I respectfully disagree... if the United States still have a certain attraction and so on to the world, it is because of people like Obama!"

The circus continues, but perhaps the sanest moment lies in Žižek's last words, as the credits roll: "This was madness".