Carl Schmitt (/ʃmɪt/; German: [ʃmɪt]; 11 July 1888 – 7 April 1985) was a conservative German jurist and political theorist. Schmitt wrote extensively about the effective wielding of political power. His work has been a major influence on subsequent political theory, legal theory, continental philosophy and political theology, and remains both influential and controversial due to his close association and juridical-political allegiance with Nazism. He is known as the "crown jurist of the Third Reich".
Schmitt's work has attracted the attention of numerous philosophers and political theorists, including Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Susan Buck-Morss, Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, Waldemar Gurian, Jaime Guzmán, Friedrich Hayek, Chantal Mouffe, Antonio Negri, Leo Strauss, Adrian Vermeule, and Slavoj Žižek among others.
|Born||11 July 1888|
|Died||7 April 1985 (aged 96)|
|Alma mater||University of Berlin (1907)|
University of Munich (1908)
University of Strasbourg (Dr. jur., 1910; Dr. habil., 1916)
|Institutions||University of Greifswald (1921)|
University of Bonn (1921)
Technische Universität München (1928)
University of Cologne (1933)
University of Berlin (1933–1945)
|State of exception, the friend–enemy distinction, sovereignty as a "borderline concept", the legality–legitimacy distinction|
Schmitt was born in Plettenberg, Westphalia, German Empire. His parents were Roman Catholics from the German Eifel region who had settled in Plettenberg. His father was a minor businessman. He studied law at Berlin, Munich and Strasbourg and took his graduation and state examinations in then-German Strasbourg during 1915. His 1910 doctoral thesis was titled Über Schuld und Schuldarten (On Guilt and Types of Guilt).
He volunteered for the army during 1916. The same year, he earned his habilitation at Strasbourg with a thesis under the title Der Wert des Staates und die Bedeutung des Einzelnen (The Value of the State and the Significance of the Individual). He then taught at various business schools and universities, namely at the University of Greifswald (1921), the University of Bonn (1921), the Technische Universität München (1928), the University of Cologne (1933), and the University of Berlin (1933–1945).
During 1916, Schmitt married his first wife, Pavla[notes 1] Dorotić, a Serbian woman who pretended to be a countess. They were divorced, though an appeal to the Catholic Church for an annulment was rejected. During 1926 he married his second wife, Duška Todorović (1903–1950), also Serbian; they had one daughter, named Anima. Subsequently, Schmitt was excommunicated because his first marriage had not been annulled by the Church. His daughter Anima Schmitt de Otero (1931–1983) was married, from 1957, to Alfonso Otero Valera (1925–2001), a Spanish law professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela and a member of the ruling Spanish Falange party under the Franco régime. She translated several works by her father into Spanish. Letters from Carl Schmitt to his son-in-law have also been published.
As a young man, Schmitt was "a devoted Catholic until his break with the church in the mid twenties." From around the end of the First World War, he began to describe his Catholicism as "displaced" and "de-totalised". Consequently, Gross argues that his work "cannot be reduced to Roman Catholic theology given a political turn. Rather, Schmitt should be understood as carrying an atheistic political-theological tradition to an extreme." Schmitt met Mircea Eliade in Berlin during the summer of 1942 and spoke later of Eliade to his friend Ernst Jünger and of his interest to Eliade's works.
Apart from his academic functions, in 1932, Schmitt was counsel for the Reich government in the case "Preussen contra Reich" ("Prussia v. Reich") in which the Social Democratic Party of Germany-controlled government of the state of Prussia disputed its dismissal by the right-wing Reich government of Franz von Papen. Papen was motivated to do so because Prussia, by far the largest state in Germany, served as a powerful base for the political left and provided it with institutional power, particularly in the form of the Prussian police. Schmitt, Carl Bilfinger and Erwin Jacobi represented the Reich and one of the counsel for the Prussian government was Hermann Heller. The court ruled in October 1932 that the Prussian government had been suspended unlawfully but that the Reich had the right to install a commissar. In German history, the struggle resulting in the de facto destruction of federalism in the Weimar republic is known as the "Preußenschlag."
it is Hegel qua philosopher of the "bureaucratic class" or Beamtenstaat that has been definitely surpassed with Hitler's triumph... this class of civil servants—which Hegel in the Rechtsphilosophie deems the "universal class"—represents an impermissible drag on the sovereignty of executive authority. For Schmitt... the very essence of the bureaucratic conduct of business is reverence for the norm, a standpoint that could not but exist in great tension with the doctrines of Carl Schmitt... Hegel had set an ignominious precedent by according this putative universal class a position of preeminence in his political thought, insofar as the primacy of the bureaucracy tends to diminish or supplant the prerogative of sovereign authority.
After the Nazis forced through the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933, which changed the Weimar Constitution to allow the "present government" to rule by decree, bypassing both the President, Paul von Hindenburg, and the Reichstag, Alfred Hugenberg, the leader of the German National People's Party – which was one of the Nazi's partners in the coalition government, but was being squeezed out of existence – hoped to slow down the Nazi takeover of the country by threatening to quit his ministry position in the Cabinet. Hugenberg reasoned that by doing so, the government would thereby be changed, and the Enabling Act would no longer apply, as the "present government" that had been would no longer exist. It was a legal opinion by Carl Schmitt which prevented this political maneuver from succeeding. Schmitt, well known as a constitutional theorist, declared that "present government" did not refer to the specific make-up of the Cabinet when the Act was passed, but to the "completely different kind of government" – that is, different from the democracy of the Weimar Republic – which the Hitler cabinet had brought into existence.
Schmitt joined the Nazi Party on 1 May 1933. Within days, Schmitt was party to the burning of books by Jewish authors, rejoicing in the burning of "un-German" and "anti-German" material, and calling for a much more extensive purge, to include works by authors influenced by Jewish ideas. In July he was appointed State Councillor for Prussia by Hermann Göring and in November he became the president of the "Union of National-Socialist Jurists". He also replaced Hermann Heller as a professor at the University of Berlin, a position he would hold until the end of World War II. He presented his theories as an ideological foundation of the Nazi dictatorship, and a justification of the Führer state concerning legal philosophy, particularly through the concept of auctoritas.
In June 1934, Schmitt was appointed editor-in-chief of the Nazi newspaper for lawyers, the Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung ("German Jurists' Journal"). In July he published in it "The Leader Protects the Law (Der Führer schützt das Recht)", a justification of the political murders of the Night of the Long Knives with the authority of Hitler as the "highest form of administrative justice (höchste Form administrativer Justiz)". Schmitt presented himself as a radical anti-semite and also was the chairman of a law teachers' convention in Berlin during October 1936, where he demanded that German law be cleansed of the "Jewish spirit (jüdischem Geist)", going so far as to demand that all publications by Jewish scientists should henceforth be marked with a small symbol.
Nevertheless, in December 1936, the Schutzstaffel (SS) publication Das schwarze Korps accused Schmitt of being an opportunist, a Hegelian state thinker, and a Catholic, and called his anti-semitism a mere pretense, citing earlier statements in which he criticized the Nazis' racial theories. After this, Schmitt resigned from his position as Reichsfachgruppenleiter (Reich Professional Group Leader), although he retained his job as a professor in Berlin and his title "Prussian State Councillor". Although Schmitt continued to be investigated into 1937, further reprisals were stopped by Göring.
In 1945, Schmitt was captured by American forces and, after spending more than a year in an internment camp, he returned to his home town of Plettenberg and later to the house of his housekeeper Anni Stand in Plettenberg-Pasel. Schmitt refused every attempt at de-nazification, which effectively barred him from academic jobs. Despite being isolated from the mainstream of the scholarly and political community, he continued his studies especially of international law from the 1950s on, and he frequently received visitors, both colleagues and younger intellectuals, until well into his old age. Important among these visitors were Ernst Jünger, Jacob Taubes and Alexandre Kojève.
In 1962, Schmitt gave lectures in Francoist Spain, two of which resulted in the publication, the next year, of Theory of the Partisan (Telos Press, 2007), in which he characterized the Spanish Civil War as a "war of national liberation" against "international Communism". Schmitt regarded the partisan as a specific and significant phenomenon which, during the latter half of the 20th century, indicated the emergence of a new theory of warfare.
Schmitt died on 7 April 1985 and is buried in Plettenberg.
During 1921, Schmitt became a professor at the University of Greifswald, where he published his essay Die Diktatur (on dictatorship), in which he discussed the foundations of the newly established Weimar Republic, emphasising the office of the Reichspräsident. In this essay, Schmitt compared and contrasted what he saw as the effective and ineffective elements of the new constitution of his country. He saw the office of the president as a comparatively effective element, because of the power granted to the president to declare a state of exception (Ausnahmezustand). This power, which Schmitt discussed and implicitly praised as dictatorial, was more in line with the underlying mentality of executive power than the comparatively slow and ineffective processes of legislative power reached through parliamentary discussion and compromise.
Schmitt was at pains to remove what he saw as a taboo surrounding the concept of "dictatorship" and to show that the concept is implicit whenever power is wielded by means other than the slow processes of parliamentary politics and the bureaucracy:
If the constitution of a state is democratic, then every exceptional negation of democratic principles, every exercise of state power independent of the approval of the majority, can be called dictatorship.
For Schmitt, every government capable of decisive action must include a dictatorial element within its constitution. Although the German concept of Ausnahmezustand is best translated as "state of emergency", it literally means "state of exception" which, according to Schmitt, frees the executive from any legal restraints to its power that would normally apply. The use of the term "exceptional" has to be underlined here: Schmitt defines sovereignty as the power to decide the instauration of state of exception, as Giorgio Agamben has noted. According to Agamben, Schmitt's conceptualization of the "state of exception" as belonging to the core-concept of sovereignty was a response to Walter Benjamin's concept of a "pure" or "revolutionary" violence, which did not enter into any relationship whatsoever with right. Through the state of exception, Schmitt included all types of violence under right, in the case of the authority of Hitler leading to the formulation "The leader defends the law" ("Der Führer schützt das Recht").
Schmitt opposed what he termed "commissarial dictatorship", or the declaration of a state of emergency in order to save the legal order (a temporary suspension of law, defined itself by moral or legal right): the state of emergency is limited (even if a posteriori, by law) to "sovereign dictatorship", in which law was suspended, as in the classical state of exception, not to "save the Constitution", but rather to create another constitution. This is how he theorized Hitler's continual suspension of the legal constitutional order during the Third Reich (the Weimar Republic's Constitution was never abrogated, emphasized Giorgio Agamben; rather, it was "suspended" for four years, first with the 28 February 1933 Reichstag Fire Decree, with the suspension renewed every four years, implying a continual state of emergency).
On Dictatorship was followed by another essay in 1922, titled Politische Theologie (political theology); in it, Schmitt, who at the time was working as a professor at the University of Bonn, gave further substance to his authoritarian theories, analysing the concept of "free will" influenced by Christian-Catholic thinkers. The book begins with Schmitt's famous, or notorious, definition: "Sovereign is he who decides on the exception." By "exception", Schmitt means the appropriate moment for stepping outside the rule of law in the public interest (see discussion of On Dictatorship above). Schmitt proposes this definition to those offered by contemporary theorists of sovereignty, particularly Hans Kelsen, whose work is criticized at several points in the essay.
The book's title derives from Schmitt's assertion (in chapter 3) that "all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts"—in other words, that political theory addresses the state (and sovereignty) in much the same manner as theology does God.
A year later, Schmitt supported the emergence of totalitarian power structures in his paper "Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus" (roughly: "The Intellectual-Historical Situation of Today's Parliamentarianism", translated as The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy by Ellen Kennedy). Schmitt criticized the institutional practices of liberal politics, arguing that they are justified by a faith in rational discussion and openness that is at odds with actual parliamentary party politics, in which outcomes are hammered out in smoke-filled rooms by party leaders. Schmitt also posits an essential division between the liberal doctrine of separation of powers and what he holds to be the nature of democracy itself, the identity of the rulers and the ruled. Although many critics of Schmitt today, such as Stephen Holmes in his The Anatomy of Anti-Liberalism, take exception to his fundamentally authoritarian outlook, the idea of incompatibility between liberalism and democracy is one reason for the continued interest in his political philosophy.
In chapter 4 of his State of Exception (2005), Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben argued that Schmitt's Political Theology ought to be read as a response to Walter Benjamin's influential essay Towards the Critique of Violence.
Schmitt changed universities in 1926, when he became professor of law at the Handelshochschule in Berlin, and again in 1932, when he accepted a position in Cologne. It was from lectures at the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik in Berlin that he wrote his most famous paper, "Der Begriff des Politischen" ("The Concept of the Political"), in which he developed his theory of "the political". Distinct from party politics, "the political" is the essence of politics. While churches are predominant in religion or society is predominant in economics, the state is predominant in politics. Yet for Schmitt the political was not an autonomous domain equivalent to the other domains, but rather the existential basis that would determine any other domain should it reach the point of politics (e.g. religion ceases to be merely theological when it makes a clear distinction between the "friend" and the "enemy"). The political is not equal to any other domain, such as the economic (which distinguishes between profitable and not profitable), but instead is the most essential to identity.
Schmitt, in perhaps his best-known formulation, bases his conceptual realm of state sovereignty and autonomy upon the distinction between friend and enemy. This distinction is to be determined "existentially", which is to say that the enemy is whoever is "in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible." Such an enemy need not even be based on nationality: so long as the conflict is potentially intense enough to become a violent one between political entities, the actual substance of enmity may be anything.
Although there have been divergent interpretations concerning this work, there is broad agreement that "The Concept of the Political" is an attempt to achieve state unity by defining the content of politics as opposition to the "other" (that is to say, an enemy, a stranger. This applies to any person or entity that represents a serious threat or conflict to one's own interests.) Additionally, the prominence of the state stands as a neutral force dominating potentially fractious civil society, whose various antagonisms must not be allowed to affect politics, lest civil war result.
Schmitt's positive reference for Leo Strauss, and Schmitt's approval of his work, had been instrumental in winning Strauss the scholarship funding that allowed him to leave Germany. In turn, Strauss's critique and clarifications of The Concept of the Political led Schmitt to make significant emendations in its second edition. Writing to Schmitt during 1932, Strauss summarized Schmitt's political theology thus: "[B]ecause man is by nature evil, he therefore needs dominion. But dominion can be established, that is, men can be unified only in a unity against—against other men. Every association of men is necessarily a separation from other men ... the political thus understood is not the constitutive principle of the state, of order, but a condition of the state." Some of the letters between Schmitt and Strauss have been published.
The Nomos of the Earth is Schmitt's most historical and geopolitical work. Published in 1950, it was also one of his final texts. It describes the origin of the Eurocentric global order, which Schmitt dates from the discovery of the New World, discusses its specific character and its contribution to civilization, analyses the reasons for its decline at the end of the 19th century, and concludes with prospects for a new world order. It defends European achievements, not only in creating the first truly global order of international law, but also in limiting war to conflicts among sovereign states, which, in effect, civilized war. In Schmitt's view, the European sovereign state was the greatest achievement of Occidental rationalism; in becoming the principal agency of secularization, the European state created the modern age.
Notable in Schmitt's discussion of the European epoch of world history is the role played by the New World, which ultimately replaced the old world as the centre of the Earth and became the arbiter in European and world politics. According to Schmitt, the United States' internal conflicts between economic presence and political absence, between isolationism and interventionism, are global problems, which today continue to hamper the creation of a new world order. But however critical Schmitt is of American actions at the end of the 19th century and after World War I, he considered the United States to be the only political entity capable of resolving the crisis of global order.
Published in 1956, Hamlet or Hecuba: The Intrusion of the Time into the Play was Schmitt's most extended piece of literary criticism. In it Schmitt focuses his attention on Shakespeare's Hamlet and argues that the significance of the work hinges on its ability to integrate history in the form of the taboo of the queen and the deformation of the figure of the avenger. Schmitt uses this interpretation to develop a theory of myth and politics that serves as a cultural foundation for his concept of political representation. Beyond literary criticism or historical analysis, Schmitt's book also reveals a comprehensive theory of the relationship between aesthetics and politics that responds to alternative ideas developed by Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno.
Schmitt's Theory of the Partisan originated in two lectures delivered during 1962, and has been seen as a rethinking of The Concept of the Political. It addressed the transformation of war in the post-European age, analysing a specific and significant phenomenon that ushered in a new theory of war and enmity. It contains an implicit theory of the terrorist, which during the 21st century has resulted in yet another new theory of war and enmity. In the lectures, Schmitt directly tackles the issues surrounding "the problem of the Partisan" figure: the guerrilla or revolutionary who "fights irregularly" (p. 3). Both because of its scope, with extended discussions on historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong, as well as the events marking the beginning of the 20th century, Schmitt's text has had a resurgence of popularity. Jacques Derrida, in his Politics of Friendship remarked:
Despite certain signs of ironic distrust in the areas of metaphysics and ontology, The Concept of the Political was, as we have seen, a philosophical type of essay to 'frame' the topic of a concept unable to constitute itself on philosophical ground. But in Theory of the Partisan, it is in the same areas that the topic of this concept is both radicalized and properly uprooted, where Schmitt wished to regrasp in history the event or node of events that engaged this uprooting radicalisation, and it is precisely there that the philosophical as such intervenes again.
Schmitt concludes Theory of the Partisan with the statement: "The theory of the partisan flows into the question of the concept of the political, into the question of the real enemy and of a new nomos of the earth." Schmitt's work on the Partisan has since spurred comparisons with the post-9/11 'terrorist' in recent scholarship.
Through Walter Benjamin, Giorgio Agamben, Andrew Arato, Chantal Mouffe and other writers, Schmitt has become a common reference in recent writings of the intellectual left as well as the right. These discussions concern not only the interpretation of Schmitt's own positions, but also matters relevant to contemporary politics: the idea that laws of the state cannot strictly limit actions of its sovereign, the problem of a "state of exception" (later expanded upon by Agamben).
Schmitt's argument that political concepts are secularized theological concepts has also recently been seen as consequential for those interested in contemporary political theology. The German-Jewish philosopher Jacob Taubes, for example, engaged Schmitt widely in his study of Saint Paul, The Political Theology of Paul (Stanford Univ. Press, 2004). Taubes' understanding of political theology is, however, very different from Schmitt's, and emphasizes the political aspect of theological claims, rather than the religious derivation of political claims.
Schmitt is described as a "classic of political thought" by Herfried Münkler, while in the same article Münkler speaks of his post-war writings as reflecting an: "embittered, jealous, occasionally malicious man" ("verbitterten, eifersüchtigen, gelegentlich bösartigen Mann"). Schmitt was termed the "Crown Jurist of the Third Reich" ("Kronjurist des Dritten Reiches") by Waldemar Gurian.
According to historian Renato Cristi in the writing of the present Constitution of Chile Pinochet collaborator Jaime Guzmán based his work on the pouvoir constituant concept used by Schmitt as well as drawing inspiration in the ideas of market society of Friedrich Hayek. This way Guzmán would have enabled a framework for an authoritarian state with a free market system.
Some have argued that neoconservativism has been influenced by Schmitt. Most notably the legal opinions offered by Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo et al. by invoking the unitary executive theory to justify highly controversial policies in the war on terror—such as introducing unlawful combatant status which purportedly would eliminate protection by the Geneva Conventions, torture, NSA electronic surveillance program—mimic his writings. Professor David Luban said in 2011 that "[a] Lexis search reveals five law review references to Schmitt between 1980 and 1990; 114 between 1990 and 2000; and 420 since 2000, with almost twice as many in the last five years as the previous five".
Note: a complete bibliography of all English translations of Schmitt's books, articles, essays, and correspondence is available here.
Works in German
1985 in philosophyCarl Schmitt (artist)
Carl Schmitt (May 6, 1889 – October 25, 1989) was an American painter, etcher, pastelist, and writer.Chantal Mouffe
Chantal Mouffe (French: [muf]; born 17 June 1943) is a Belgian political theorist, formerly teaching at University of Westminster.She is best known for her contribution to the development—jointly with Ernesto Laclau, with whom she co-authored Hegemony and Socialist Strategy—of the so-called Essex School of discourse analysis, a type of post-Marxist political inquiry drawing on Gramsci, post-structuralism and theories of identity, and redefining Leftist politics in terms of radical democracy and context free grammars of power relations. Her highest cited publication is Hegemony and socialist strategy: Towards a radical democratic politics.Conservative revolutionary movement
The German conservative revolutionary movement (German: Konservative Revolution, lit. 'Conservative Revolution') was a German national conservative movement, prominent in the years following World War I. The German conservative revolutionary school of thought advocated a nationalism that was specifically German, or Prussian in particular. Like other right-wing movements in the same period, they sought to put a stop to the rising tide of liberalism and communism.Decisionism
Decisionism (derived from the German Dezisionismus, which is sometimes encountered untranslated in English texts) is a political, ethical and jurisprudential doctrine which states that moral or legal precepts are the product of decisions made by political or legal bodies. According to decisionism, it is not the content of the decision, but rather the fact that it is a decision made by the proper authority, or by using a correct method, which determines its validity.
In legal theory, decisionism had a notable proponent in the German law scholar Carl Schmitt. Schmitt held that it is not the actual precepts of the law which determine its validity, but rather the fact that it has been made into law by the proper authority. Later in life, when Schmitt became a member of the NSDAP, he used decisionism as a way of justifying Nazi policy, when he was quoted as saying "Der Führer has made the law, der Führer protects the law".George D. Schwab
George D. Schwab (born November 25, 1931) is an American political scientist, editor and academic. He was the president of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, an American non-partisan foreign policy think tank. He co-founded the organization in 1974 and served as its president from 1993 to 2015, and was the editor of its bimonthly journal, American Foreign Policy Interests.Gianfranco Miglio
Gianfranco Miglio (11 January 1918 – 10 August 2001) was an Italian jurist, political scientist and politician, founder of the Partito Federalista. For 30 years, he presided over the Political science Faculty of Milan's Università Cattolica (Catholic University). Later on in his life, he was elected as an independent member of the Parliament to the Italian Senate for the Lega Nord. The supporters of Umberto Bossi 's party called him Prufesùr (the Professor), a Lombard nickname to remember his role.
Inspired by Max Weber and Carl Schmitt, Miglio's works have analysed prevailing power structures in politics, parliamentarianism and bureaucracies. An advocate of federalism, Miglio grew even more radical in his later years, moving to a confederal or even secessionist and libertarian standpoint, in part due to his readings of Étienne de La Boétie and Henry David Thoreau.Some of Miglio's work has been published in English by the journal TELOS, but the bulk of his opus has never been translated from Italian.Gopal Balakrishnan
Gopal Balakrishnan is a professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, working on political thought, intellectual history, and critical theory.
Balakrishnan studied European intellectual history and historical sociology at UCLA during the 1990s with Perry Anderson, Robert Brenner, Rogers Brubaker, and Michael Mann.
Prior to moving to Santa Cruz, he was an assistant professor at the University of Chicago.
In 2017, a number of women published allegations that Balakrishnan had committed sexual assault on multiple occasions. UC Santa Cruz launched an investigation in 2017 that was extended in May 2018. As of October 2018, Balakrishnan remains on paid administrative leave. He was subsequently dropped as a member of the editorial board of the New Left Review.Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss (; German: [ˈleːo ˈʃtʁaʊs]; September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973) was a German-American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. He was born in Germany to Jewish parents and later emigrated from Germany to the United States. He spent much of his career as a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, where he taught several generations of students and published fifteen books.Trained in the neo-Kantian tradition with Ernst Cassirer and immersed in the work of the phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, Strauss later focused his research on the Greek texts of Plato and Aristotle, retracing their interpretation through medieval Islamic and Jewish philosophy and encouraging the application of those ideas to contemporary political theory.National Idea
National Idea (Czech: Národní myšlenka) is a nationalist group in the Czech Republic that promotes Catholic integralist ideas by way of its journal National Idea: an Independent Journal of Conservative Nationalism. It was established in 2001 in Prague and is currently based in the town of Hodkovice nad Mohelkou. It is associated with Mladá pravice, a right-wing political party led by the Eurosceptic activist Lukáš Petřík which has a strong Internet presence.
The journal features political and economic essays and translations, interviews with right-wing groups and music and literary reviews. The journal has explored contemporary and historic strains of nationalist thought including the patriotic ideology of Czech philosopher František Mareš, the integralism of Charles Maurras and the revolutionary conservatism of Carl Schmitt and Ernst Jünger on the one hand; and the clerical fascism of Léon Degrelle, the paleoconservatism of Pat Buchanan and the antiliberalism of the European New Right on the other.Nicolaus Sombart
Nicolaus Sombart (10 May 1923 – 4 July 2008) was a German cultural sociologist, historian and writer.
The son of Werner Sombart and his Romanian wife Corina Leon, Sombart was known, in particular, as an analyst of Wilhelmine Germany and a critique of Carl Schmitt. For nearly 30 years, Sombart benefited from an appointment as senior cultural civil servant attached to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, while also continuing his career as a writer and academic, principally in Berlin at the Freie Universität.Political theology
Political theology investigates the ways in which theological concepts or ways of thinking relate to politics, society, and economics. It has often been affiliated with Christianity, but since the 21st century, it has more recently been discussed with relation to other religions.Reactionary modernism
"Reactionary modernism" is a term first coined by Jeffrey Herf in his 1984 book, Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich, to describe the mixture of "great enthusiasm for modern technology with a rejection of the Enlightenment and the values and institutions of liberal democracy" which was characteristic of the German Conservative Revolutionary movement and Nazism. In turn, this ideology of reactionary modernism was closely linked to the original, positive view of the Sonderweg, which saw Germany as the great Central European power neither of the West nor of the East.
Herf's application of the term to describe fascism has been widely echoed by other scholars. Herf had used the term to denote a trend in intellectual thought during the era, what German novelist Thomas Mann had described as "a highly technological romanticism" during the interwar years. Herf used the term in reference to a wide range of German cultural figures, including Ernst Jünger, Oswald Spengler, Carl Schmitt, and Hans Freyer.State of exception
A state of exception (German: Ausnahmezustand) is a concept in the legal theory of Carl Schmitt, similar to a state of emergency, but based in the sovereign's ability to transcend the rule of law in the name of the public good. This concept is developed in Giorgio Agamben's book State of Exception.Telos (journal)
Telos is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal established in May 1968 to provide the New Left with a coherent theoretical perspective. It sought to expand the Husserlian diagnosis of "the crisis of European sciences" to prefigure a particular program of social reconstruction relevant for the United States. In order to avoid the high level of abstraction typical of Husserlian phenomenology, the journal began introducing the ideas of Western Marxism and of the critical theory of the Frankfurt School.With the disintegration of the New Left and the gradual integration of what remained of the American Left within the Democratic Party, Telos became increasingly critical of the Left in general. It subsequently undertook a reevaluation of 20th century intellectual history, focusing primarily on forgotten and repressed authors and ideas, beginning with Carl Schmitt and American populism. Eventually the journal rejected the traditional divisions between Left and Right as a legitimating mechanism for new class domination and an occlusion of new, post-Fordist political conflicts. This led to a reevaluation of the primacy of culture and to efforts to understand the dynamics of cultural disintegration and reintegration as a precondition for the constitution of that autonomous individuality critical theory had always identified as the telos of Western civilization.The journal is published by Telos Press Publishing and the editor-in-chief is Russell Berman (Stanford University). It is affiliated with the Telos Institute, which hosts annual conferences of which the proceedings are often published in Telos.The Concept of the Political
The Concept of the Political (German: Der Begriff des Politischen) is a 1932 book by the German philosopher and jurist Carl Schmitt, in which the author examines the fundamental nature of the "political" and its place in the modern world.
The book was an elaboration of a journal article of the same title ("The Concept of the Political"), published in 1927.The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy
The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy (German: Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus, roughly: "The Intellectual-Historical Situation of Today's Parliamentarianism") is a work of political theory written by a German jurist Carl Schmitt, originally published in 1923 by Duncker & Humblot in Germany with a second edition in 1926. The book was translated into English by Ellen Kennedy in 1985 and published by MIT Press in 1988, based on the 1926 edition. In this book, Schmitt provides a critique of parliamentary democracy – particularly as embodied in the form of the Weimar Republic – and calls into question one of its central political institutions, the Reichstag.Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political concept of a mode of government that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism. Political power in totalitarian states has often been held by rule by one leader which employ all-encompassing propaganda campaigns broadcast by state-controlled mass media. Totalitarian regimes are often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, restriction of speech, mass surveillance and widespread use of state terrorism. Historian Robert Conquest describes a "totalitarian" state as one recognizing no limits to its authority in any sphere of public or private life and which extends that authority to whatever length feasible.The concept was first developed in the 1920s by both Weimar jurist (and later Nazi academic) Carl Schmitt and, concurrently, by the Italian fascists. Italian fascist Benito Mussolini said "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state". Schmitt used the term Totalstaat in his influential 1927 work on the legal basis of an all-powerful state, The Concept of the Political. The term gained prominence in Western anti-communist political discourse during the Cold War era as a tool to convert pre-war anti-fascism into postwar anti-communism.Totalitarian regimes are different from other authoritarian ones. The latter denotes a state in which the single power holder – an individual "dictator", a committee or a junta or an otherwise small group of political elite – monopolizes political power. "[The] authoritarian state [...] is only concerned with political power and as long as that is not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty". Authoritarianism "does not attempt to change the world and human nature". In contrast, a totalitarian regime attempts to control virtually all aspects of the social life, including the economy, education, art, science, private life and morals of citizens. Some totalitarian governments may promote an elaborate ideology: "The officially proclaimed ideology penetrates into the deepest reaches of societal structure and the totalitarian government seeks to completely control the thoughts and actions of its citizens". It also mobilizes the whole population in pursuit of its goals. Carl Joachim Friedrich writes that "a totalist ideology, a party reinforced by a secret police, and monopoly control of [...] industrial mass society" are the three features of totalitarian regimes that distinguish them from other autocracies.