On Žižek and Trilling
Abstract

J.S. Mill declares the true liberal prays for enlightened opposition. Slavoj Žižek's anti-liberal Kierkegaardian-Leninist philosophy, as presented in On Belief, is sized up as an opponent but fails to measure up philosophically. Žižek is not clear-headed; doesn't understand Kierkegaard; doesn't understand Lenin; or is too much of a soft-hearted liberal who only wishes he weren't. Žižek fears liberalism may threaten freedom. But the threats he sees — although real — are old news to liberals. Lionel Trilling-inspired hints concerning the proper care and feedings of the liberal imagination conclude the paper.