Schmitt, The Concept of the Political 35

!"#$ &'()*++, -.(/ !01'/2+ 03 +(/ 40$*+*'"$- !"#$%&
lrom: Carl SchmlLL. 2007. !"# %&'(#)* &+ *"# ,&-.*.(/-. 1ransl. wlLh an lnLroducLlon by Ceorge Schwab. Chlcago:
1he unlverslLy of Chlcago Þress. Þp. 26-32, 34-37, 43, 48f., 31, 33, 36f. llrsL publlshed as "uer 8egrlff des
ÞollLlschen" ln AugusL 1927.

1he speclflc pollLlcal dlsLlncLlon Lo whlch pollLlcal ac-
Llons and moLlves can be reduced ls LhaL beLween
frlend and enemy. 1hls provldes a deflnlLlon ln Lhe
sense of a crlLerlon and noL as an exhausLlve deflnlLlon
or one lndlcaLlve of subsLanLlal conLenL. lnsofar as lL ls
noL derlved from oLher crlLerla, Lhe anLlLhesls of frlend
and enemy corresponds Lo Lhe relaLlvely lndependenL
crlLerla of oLher anLlLheses: good and evll ln Lhe moral
sphere, beauLlful and ugly ln Lhe aesLheLlc sphere, and
so on. ln any evenL lL ls lndependenL, noL ln Lhe sense
of a dlsLlncL new domaln, buL ln LhaL lL can nelLher be
based on any one anLlLhesls or any comblnaLlon of
oLher anLlLheses, nor can lL be Lraced Lo Lhese. lf Lhe
anLlLhesls of good and evll ls noL slmply ldenLlcal wlLh
LhaL of beauLlful and ugly, proflLable and unproflLable,
and cannoL be dlrecLly reduced Lo Lhe oLhers, Lhen Lhe
anLlLhesls of frlend and enemy musL even less be con-
fused wlLh or mlsLaken for Lhe oLhers. 1he dlsLlncLlon
of frlend and enemy denoLes Lhe uLmosL degree of
lnLenslLy of a unlon or separaLlon, of an assoclaLlon or
dlssoclaLlon. lL can exlsL LheoreLlcally and pracLlcally,
wlLhouL havlng slmulLaneously Lo draw upon all Lhose
moral, aesLheLlc, economlc, or oLher dlsLlncLlons. 1he
pollLlcal enemy need noL be morally evll or aesLheLl-
cally ugly, he need noL appear as an economlc com-
peLlLor, and lL may even be advanLageous Lo engage
wlLh hlm ln buslness LransacLlons. 8uL he ls, neverLhe-
less, Lhe oLher, Lhe sLranger, and lL ls sufflclenL for hls
naLure LhaL he ls, ln a speclally lnLense way, exlsLen-
Llally someLhlng dlfferenL and allen, so LhaL ln Lhe ex-
Lreme case confllcLs wlLh hlm are posslble. 1hese can
nelLher be declded by a prevlously deLermlned general
norm nor by Lhe [udgmenL of a dlslnLeresLed and
Lherefore neuLral Lhlrd parLy.
Cnly Lhe acLual parLlclpanLs can correcLly recognlze,
undersLand, and [udge Lhe concreLe slLuaLlon and seL-
Lle Lhe exLreme case of confllcL. Lach parLlclpanL ls ln a
poslLlon Lo [udge wheLher Lhe adversary lnLends Lo
negaLe hls opponenL's way of llfe and Lherefore musL
be repulsed or foughL ln order Lo preserve one's own
form of exlsLence. LmoLlonally Lhe enemy ls easlly
LreaLed as belng evll and ugly, because every dlsLlnc-
Llon, mosL of all Lhe pollLlcal, as Lhe sLrongesL and
mosL lnLense of Lhe dlsLlncLlons and caLegorlzaLlons,
draws upon oLher dlsLlncLlons for supporL. 1hls does
noL alLer Lhe auLonomy of such dlsLlncLlons. Conse-
quenLly, Lhe reverse ls also Lrue: Lhe morally evll, aes-
LheLlcally ugly or economlcally damaglng need noL
necessarlly be Lhe enemy, Lhe morally good, aesLheLl-
cally beauLlful, and economlcally proflLable need noL
necessarlly become Lhe frlend ln Lhe speclflcally pollLl-
cal sense of Lhe word. 1hereby Lhe lnherenLly ob[ec-
Llve naLure and auLonomy of Lhe pollLlcal becomes
evldenL by vlrLue of lLs belng able Lo LreaL, dlsLlngulsh,
and comprehend Lhe frlend-enemy anLlLhesls lnde-
pendenLly of oLher anLlLheses.
1he frlend and enemy concepLs are Lo be under-
sLood ln Lhelr concreLe and exlsLenLlal sense, noL as
meLaphors or symbols, noL mlxed and weakened by
economlc, moral, and oLher concepLlons, leasL of all ln
a prlvaLe-lndlvlduallsLlc sense as a psychologlcal ex-
presslon of prlvaLe emoLlons and Lendencles. 1hey are
nelLher normaLlve nor pure splrlLual anLlLheses.
[. . .]
1he enemy ls noL merely any compeLlLor or [usL any
parLner of a confllcL ln general. Pe ls also noL Lhe prl-
vaLe adversary whom one haLes. An enemy exlsLs only
when, aL leasL poLenLlally, one flghLlng collecLlvlLy of
people confronLs a slmllar collecLlvlLy. 1he enemy ls
solely Lhe publlc enemy, because everyLhlng LhaL has a
relaLlonshlp Lo such a collecLlvlLy of men, parLlcularly
Lo a whole naLlon, becomes publlc by vlrLue of such a
relaLlonshlp. 1he enemy ls "&0*.0, noL .'.1.(20 ln Lhe
broader sense, !"#cµ$"% [)&-#1.&0], noL c&0po%
[#("*"3&0]. As Cerman and oLher languages do noL
dlsLlngulsh beLween Lhe prlvaLe and pollLlcal enemy,
many mlsconcepLlons and falslflcaLlons are posslble.
1he ofLen quoLed '"Love your enemles" (MaLL. 3:44,
Luke 6:27) reads "dlllglLe lnlmlcos vesLros," oyonõìc
ìoùç c¿!poùç úµuv, and noL 4.-.5.*# "&0*#0 6#0*3&0. no
menLlon ls made of Lhe pollLlcal enemy. never ln Lhe
Lhousand-year sLruggle beLween ChrlsLlans and Mos-
lems dld lL occur Lo a ChrlsLlan Lo surrender raLher
Lhan defend Lurope ouL of love Loward Lhe Saracens
or 1urks. 1he enemy ln Lhe pollLlcal sense need noL be
haLed personally, and only ln Lhe prlvaLe sphere only
does lL make sense Lo love one's enemy, l.e., one's
adversary. 1he blbllcal quoLaLlon Louches Lhe pollLlcal
36 Monsters and Scapegoats

anLlLhesls even less Lhan lL lnLends Lo dlssolve, for ex-
ample, Lhe anLlLhesls of good and evll or beauLlful and
ugly. lL cerLalnly does noL mean LhaL one should love
and supporL Lhe enemles of one's own people.
1he pollLlcal ls Lhe mosL lnLense and exLreme anLag-
onlsm, and every concreLe anLagonlsm becomes LhaL
much more pollLlcal Lhe closer lL approaches Lhe mosL
exLreme polnL, LhaL of Lhe frlend-enemy grouplng. ln
lLs enLlreLy Lhe sLaLe as an organlzed pollLlcal enLlLy
decldes for lLself Lhe frlend-enemy dlsLlncLlon. [. . .]
1he ever-presenL posslblllLy of confllcL musL always
be kepL ln mlnd. lf one wanLs Lo speak of pollLlcs ln Lhe
conLexL of Lhe prlmacy of lnLernal pollLlcs, Lhen Lhls
confllcL no longer refers Lo war beLween organlzed
naLlons buL Lo clvll war.
lor Lo Lhe enemy concepL belongs Lhe ever-presenL
posslblllLy of combaL. All perlpherals musL be lefL aslde
from Lhls Lerm, lncludlng mlllLary deLalls and Lhe de-
velopmenL of weapons Lechnology. War ls armed
combaL beLween organlzed pollLlcal enLlLles, clvll war
ls armed combaL wlLhln an organlzed unlL. A self-
laceraLlon endangers Lhe survlval of Lhe laLLer. 1he
essence of a weapon ls LhaL lL ls a means of physlcally
kllllng human belngs. !usL as Lhe Lerm #'#17, Lhe
word (&18/*, Loo, ls Lo be undersLood ln lLs orlglnal
exlsLenLlal sense. lL does noL mean compeLlLlon, nor
does lL mean pure lnLellecLual conLroversy nor symbol-
lc wresLllngs ln whlch, afLer all, every human belng ls
somehow always lnvolved, for lL ls a facL LhaL Lhe en-
Llre llfe of a human belng ls a sLruggle and every hu-
man belng symbollcally a combaLanL. 1he frlend, ene-
my, and combaL concepLs recelve Lhelr real meanlng
preclsely because Lhey refer Lo Lhe real posslblllLy of
physlcal kllllng. War follows from enmlLy. War ls Lhe
exlsLenLlal negaLlon of Lhe enemy. lL ls Lhe mosL ex-
Lreme consequence of enmlLy. lL does noL have Lo be
common, normal, someLhlng ldeal, or deslrable. 8uL lL
musL neverLheless remaln a real posslblllLy for as long
as Lhe concepL of Lhe enemy remalns valld.
lL ls by no means as Lhough Lhe pollLlcal slgnlfles
noLhlng buL devasLaLlng war and every pollLlcal deed a
mlllLary acLlon, by no means as Lhough every naLlon
would be unlnLerrupLedly faced wlLh Lhe frlend-enemy
alLernaLlve vls-a-vls every oLher naLlon. And, afLer all,
could noL Lhe pollLlcally reasonable course reslde ln
avoldlng war? 1he deflnlLlon of Lhe pollLlcal suggesLed
here nelLher favors war nor mlllLarlsm, nelLher lmperl-
allsm nor paclflsm. nor ls lL an aLLempL Lo ldeallze Lhe
vlcLorlous war or Lhe successful revoluLlon as a "soclal
ldeal," slnce nelLher war nor revoluLlon ls someLhlng
soclal or someLhlng ldeal. 1he mlllLary baLLle lLself ls
noL Lhe "conLlnuaLlon of pollLlcs by oLher means" as
Lhe famous Lerm of ClausewlLz ls generally lncorrecLly
War has lLs own sLraLeglc, LacLlcal, and oLher
rules and polnLs of vlew, buL Lhey all presuppose LhaL
Lhe pollLlcal declslon has already been made as Lo who
Lhe enemy ls. ln war Lhe adversarles mosL ofLen con-
fronL each oLher openly, normally Lhey are ldenLlflable
by a unlform, and Lhe dlsLlncLlon of frlend and enemy
ls Lherefore no longer a pollLlcal problem whlch Lhe
flghLlng soldler has Lo solve. A 8rlLlsh dlplomaL correcL-
ly sLaLed ln Lhls conLexL LhaL Lhe pollLlclan ls beLLer
schooled for Lhe baLLle Lhan Lhe soldler, because Lhe
pollLlclan flghLs hls whole llfe whereas Lhe soldler does
so ln excepLlonal clrcumsLances only. War ls nelLher
Lhe alm nor Lhe purpose nor even Lhe very conLenL of
pollLlcs. 8uL as an ever-presenL posslblllLy lL ls Lhe
leadlng presupposlLlon LhaL deLermlnes ln a characLer-
lsLlc way human acLlon and Lhlnklng and Lhereby cre-
aLes a speclflcally pollLlcal behavlor. [. . . ]
A world ln whlch Lhe posslblllLy of war ls uLLerly
ellmlnaLed, a compleLely paclfled globe, would be a
world wlLhouL Lhe dlsLlncLlon of frlend and enemy and
hence a world wlLhouL pollLlcs. lL ls concelvable LhaL
such a world mlghL conLaln many very lnLeresLlng an-
LlLheses and conLrasLs, compeLlLlons and lnLrlgues of
every klnd, buL Lhere would noL be a meanlngful an-
LlLhesls whereby men could be requlred Lo sacrlflce
llfe, auLhorlzed Lo shed blood and klll oLher human
belngs. lor Lhe deflnlLlon of Lhe pollLlcal, lL ls here
even lrrelevanL wheLher such a world wlLhouL pollLlcs
ls deslrable as an ldeal slLuaLlon. 1he phenomenon of
Lhe pollLlcal can be undersLood only ln Lhe conLexL of
Lhe ever-presenL posslblllLy of Lhe frlend-and-enemy
grouplng, regardless of Lhe aspecLs whlch Lhls posslbll-
lLy lmplles for morallLy, aesLheLlcs, and economlcs.
War as Lhe mosL exLreme pollLlcal means dlscloses
Lhe posslblllLy LhaL underlles every pollLlcal ldea,
namely, Lhe dlsLlncLlon of frlend and enemy. 1hls

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Schmitt, The Concept of the Political 37

makes sense only as long as Lhls dlsLlncLlon ln manklnd
ls acLually presenL or aL leasL poLenLlally posslble. Cn
Lhe oLher hand, lL would be senseless Lo wage war for
purely rellglous, purely moral, purely [urlsLlc, or purely
economlc moLlves. 1he frlend-and-enemy grouplng
and Lherefore also war cannoL be derlved from Lhese
speclflc anLlLheses of human endeavor. A war need be
nelLher someLhlng rellglous nor someLhlng morally
good nor someLhlng lucraLlve. War Loday ls ln all llkell-
hood none of Lhese. 1hls obvlous polnL ls mosLly con-
fused by Lhe facL LhaL rellglous, moral, and oLher an-
LlLheses can lnLenslfy Lo pollLlcal ones and can brlng
abouL Lhe declslve frlend-or-enemy consLellaLlon. lf ln
facL Lhls occurs, Lhen Lhe relevanL anLlLhesls ls no
longer purely rellglous, moral, or economlc, buL pollLl-
cal. 1he sole remalnlng quesLlon Lhen ls always
wheLher such a frlend-and-enemy grouplng ls really aL
hand, regardless of whlch human moLlves are suffl-
clenLly sLrong Lo have broughL lL abouL.
noLhlng can escape Lhls loglcal concluslon of Lhe po-
llLlcal. lf paclflsL hosLlllLy Loward war were so sLrong as
Lo drlve paclflsLs lnLo a war agalnsL nonpaclflsLs, ln a
war agalnsL war, LhaL would prove LhaL paclflsm Lruly
possesses pollLlcal energy because lL ls sufflclenLly
sLrong Lo group men accordlng Lo frlend and enemy.
lf, ln facL, Lhe wlll Lo abollsh war ls so sLrong LhaL lL no
longer shuns war, Lhen lL has become a pollLlcal mo-
Llve, l.e., lL afflrms, even lf only as an exLreme posslbll-
lLy, war and even Lhe reason for war. ÞresenLly Lhls
appears Lo be a pecullar way of [usLlfylng wars. 1he
war ls Lhen consldered Lo consLlLuLe Lhe absoluLe lasL
war of humanlLy. Such a war ls necessarlly unusually
lnLense and lnhuman because, by Lranscendlng Lhe
llmlLs of Lhe pollLlcal framework, lL slmulLaneously
degrades Lhe enemy lnLo moral and oLher caLegorles
and ls forced Lo make of hlm a monsLer LhaL musL noL
only be defeaLed buL also uLLerly desLroyed. ln oLher
words, he ls an enemy who no longer musL be com-
pelled Lo reLreaL lnLo hls borders only. 1he feaslblllLy
of such war ls parLlcularly lllusLraLlve of Lhe facL LhaL
war as a real posslblllLy ls sLlll presenL Loday, and Lhls
facL ls cruclal for Lhe frlend-and-enemy anLlLhesls and
for Lhe recognlLlon of pollLlcs. [. . .]
1o Lhe sLaLe as an essenLlally pollLlcal enmlLy be-
longs Lhe 920 8#--.: l.e., Lhe real posslblllLy of decldlng ln
a concreLe slLuaLlon upon Lhe enemy and Lhe ablllLy Lo
flghL hlm wlLh Lhe power emanaLlng from Lhe enLlLy.
[. . .]
1o demand serlously of human belngs LhaL Lhey klll
oLhers and be prepared Lo dle Lhemselves so LhaL
Lrade and lndusLry may flourlsh for Lhe survlvors or
LhaL Lhe purchaslng power of grandchlldren may grow
ls slnlsLer and crazy. lL ls a manlfesL fraud Lo condemn
war as homlclde and Lhen demand of men LhaL Lhey
wage war, klll and be kllled, so LhaL Lhere wlll never
agaln be war. War, Lhe readlness of combaLanLs Lo dle,
Lhe physlcal kllllng of human belngs who belong on Lhe
slde of Lhe enemy-all Lhls has no normaLlve meanlng,
buL an exlsLenLlal meanlng only, parLlcularly ln a real
combaL slLuaLlon wlLh a real enemy. 1here exlsLs no
raLlonal purpose, no norm no maLLer how Lrue, no
program no maLLer how exemplary, no soclal ldeal no
maLLer how beauLlful, no leglLlmacy nor legallLy whlch
could [usLlfy men ln kllllng each oLher for Lhls reason. lf
such physlcal desLrucLlon of human llfe ls noL moLlvaL-
ed by an exlsLenLlal LhreaL Lo one's own way of llfe,
Lhen lL cannoL be [usLlfled.
lf a parL of Lhe populaLlon declares LhaL lL no longer
recognlzes enemles, Lhen, dependlng on Lhe clrcum-
sLance, lL [olns Lhelr slde and alds Lhem. Such a decla-
raLlon does noL abollsh Lhe reallLy of Lhe frlend-and-
enemy dlsLlncLlon. [. . .]
lf a people no longer possesses Lhe energy or Lhe
wlll Lo malnLaln lLself ln Lhe sphere of pollLlcs, Lhe laL-
Ler wlll noL Lhereby vanlsh from Lhe world. Cnly a
weak people wlll dlsappear. [. . .]
1he Ceneva League of naLlons does noL ellmlnaLe
Lhe posslblllLy of wars, [usL as lL does noL abollsh
sLaLes. lL lnLroduces new posslblllLles for wars, permlLs
wars Lo Lake place, sancLlons coallLlon wars, and by
leglLlmlzlng and sancLlonlng cerLaln wars lL sweeps
away many obsLacles Lo war. [. . .] A league of naLlons
as a concreLe exlsLlng unlversal human organlzaLlon
would, on Lhe conLrary, have Lo accompllsh Lhe dlffl-
culL Lask of, flrsL, effecLlvely Laklng away Lhe 920 8#--.
from all Lhe sLlll exlsLlng human grouplngs, and, se-
cond, slmulLaneously noL assumlng Lhe 920 8#--. lLself.
CLherwlse, unlversallLy, humanlLy, depollLlcallzed so-
cleLy-ln shorL, all essenLlal characLerlsLlcs-would
agaln be ellmlnaLed.

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