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Did Slavoj Žižek Plagiarize Jared Taylor's "American Renaissance?"
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Deogolwulf has solved the mystery of why superstar Marxist academic Slavoj Žižek’s famously opaque prose suddenly became so much more lucid when Žižek summarized psychologist Kevin MacDonald’s controversial theories about Jewish influence.

Žižek simply lifted, with only minimal rewording, sizable parts of Stanley Hornbeck’s review in the June 1999 issue of Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance of MacDonald’s 1998 book The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements.

Deogolwulf observes:

The reason for the cat’s barking, the dog’s meowing, or rather, this obscurant’s lucidity, is simple: it is someone else’s summary, namely, Stanley Hornbeck’s, from a review that appeared in American Renaissance over seven years beforehand.

Much of the plagiarism is word-for-word. Some passages are lightly rephrased.

At his With Endemanndom blog, Deogolwulf compares side by side passages from Žižek’s 2006 essay in Critical Inquiry with Hornbeck’s 1999 review in American Renaissance.

To take one example out of eight, Žižek wrote in 2006:

One of the most consistent ways in which Jews have advanced their interests has been to promote pluralism and diversity—but only for others. Ever since the nineteenth century, they have led movements that tried to discredit the traditional foundations of gentile society: patriotism, racial loyalty, the Christian basis for morality, social homogeneity, and sexual restraint.

Hornbeck wrote in 1999:

Prof. MacDonald claims that one of the most consistent ways in which Jews have advanced their interests has been to promote pluralism and diversity – but only for others. Ever since the 19th century, they have led movements that tried to discredit the traditional foundations of gentile society: patriotism, racial loyalty, the Christian basis for morality, social homogeneity, and sexual restraint.

In some of the other examples, Žižek changes a few more of Hornbeck’s words, but Žižek never even bothers to recast Hornbeck’s clear prose into his own style.

I don’t see any citations by Žižek of Hornbeck, although I don’t have access to all versions of Žižek’s essay A plea for a return to Différance (with a Minor Pro Domo Sua). Using Google, I don’t see any citation of Hornbeck by Žižek, or, for that matter, that anybody online before Deogolwulf this week has noted Žižek’s debt to Hornbeck and American Renaissance. (But perhaps Žižek attempted to give full credit to the true author of this text, but the citation was lost due to editorial fumbling?)

Deogolwulf offers seven additional side-by-side comparisons of passages. Read them at his blog and you can judge for yourself whether you agree with Deogolwulf’s claim that this rises to the level of “plagiarism.”

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