This essay uses Lacanian psychoanalysis to explore the nuances of Edmund Burke’s prescient critique of the French Revolution. While Burke’s intervention is in some ways simply reactionary, it also predicts Lacan’s signature and perennial theme that repression readily adapts itself to iconoclasm and insurgency. An untimely confrontation with Burke promises to connect the Lacanian variety of left skepticism, whose protean politics at times evidences its own reactionary tendencies, back to the earliest moments at which cracks began to appear in the Enlightenment project of radical emancipation. If Lacan helps purge Burke’s nastier tendencies, so Burke helps draw out latent potentialities suppressed in Lacan due to his more elusive style of political engagement.

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