Slavoj Žižek​. Photo: Columbia University Press

Recent links of note:

“Clown Prince of the Revolution”
Roger Scruton, City Journal
Sniff around the pages of today’s political scholarship for long enough, and you’ll notice the resurgence of a long-forgotten smell. The communist theories that were widely understood to be discredited after the collapse of the Soviet Union have regained much of their popular favor—not so much for their perceived public benefit as for their alluring scent, irresistible to young academics and amateurs alike. In an investigation of communism’s resilience published this week in City Journal, the British philosopher Roger Scruton focuses on Slavoj Žižek, the Yugoslavian scholar whom Scruton sees as a skilled exploiter of the leftwing’s willingness to self-delude. Scruton dissects long excerpts of Žižek’s writing, stripping away the rhetorical framing and psychoanalytic theory to show that Žižek’s purpose, at its root, is to detach the self-justifying idea of communism from all the sordid examples of its implementation. The essay amounts to a warning to readers, lest they allow the perfume of sophisticated prose to muffle the stench of expired ideas.

“Europe’s Immigration Fatigue”
Andrew Michta, The American Interest
Last week as the United Nations General Assembly hosted a nearly-full pantheon of world leaders, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel remained in Berlin, too caught up in domestic troubles to risk the poor optics of a trip to New York. The crisis that Merkel took the podium to address last Monday was largely one of her own making: the fallout from her open invitation to North African and Middle Eastern migrants to resettle within her nation’s borders. Andrew Michta’s latest essay in The American Interest is a status check on the outlook for Merkel and her fellow European leaders who remain committed to accepting an ever-larger number of new arrivals from overseas. As you might have guessed, the outlook isn’t great—on top of the immediate problem of negotiating migrant acceptance rates for Turkey and each E.U. nation, the pro-immigrationists must now face down the specter of resurgent nationalist movements within their own parliaments, like Germany’s upstart “Alternative for Deutschland” party. To her credit, Merkel did confess to wishing that she could “go back in time” to prepare for the migrant crisis with more promptness and vigor. But her original promise of total openness, heard by every German citizen and millions of desperate travelers from far abroad, was simply too large to ever retract—and too bound up with the identity of an E.U. establishment which has trouble changing course.

From our pages:

“The Palmer way”
Jay Nordlinger
On the late, great golfer.