It is possible to argue that the first world is presently living through a period of radical global reaction against the social democratic consensus of the twentieth century. In this context, the use of Slavoj Zizek's Lacnaian theory of ideology to critique the traditions of thought which inform this reaction becomes a vital task. In this paper, I use Zizek's Lacanian theory of ideology to critically analyse de Maistre's remarkable work: particularly his 'Considerations on France'. Zizek's emphasis on the role of the Real in ideology, it is argued, allows us unique purchase on de Maistre's ideological position. It allows us to show, furthermore, how reactionary conservatism does not 'conserve' the symbolic Other of the discourse of the master, since it is animated by fear and trembling that the symbolic can no longer hold in conditions of secularisation. In this context, the proximity of de Maistre with de Sade emerges as something that goes beyond superficially similar celebrations of the role of violence in human affairs. What is minimally at stake in reactionary thought per se, this paper argues, is the attempt to reground lost authority in the unmediated Real, a procedure in which the laying down of the law verges into the need to divide and sacifice others for the Jouissance of the Other. In this way, Lacan's comment that right-wing intelectuals are knaves who, if pushed, are willing to do whatever it takes to preserve power is vindicated and also elaborated. For De Maistre, the paper shows, was nothing if not a collosally royal knave
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