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The strange anti-liberalism of Carl Schmitt
Online Publication Date: 01 November 1998
To cite this Article: (1998) 'The strange anti-liberalism of Carl Schmitt', Economy
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Review article by Charles T u r n e r

The strange anti-liberalism
of Carl Schmitt
Texts reviewed
Carl Schmitt (1996) Roman Calholz~zsmand Polztzcal Form, trans. and annotated
G. L Ulmen, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, xli + 68 pp., k35.95
Carl Schmitt (1996) Leciathan in the State Theory /$Thornas Hobbes: Meaning
and Failure of' a Political Sj~mbol, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press,
xxxi + 121pp., k44.50
Heinrich Meier (1995) Carl Schmitt and Leo Stncuss: The Hidden Dialogue,
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, xvii + 136 pp., L15.95
John P. McCormick (1997) Curl Schnzitt:~Critique of' Liberalism, Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, xii + 352 pp., L30
The only difficulty was that what he wrote one day he could not see the next. This
was because the pages were written without conviction
(Borges 1975)'

Introduction
T h e work of Carl Schmitt is known to English readers primarily through translations of four books: Political Roma~zticism([l9191 1985), Political Theology
([l9221 1985), The Crisis of' Parliammtarj~Democrac)~([l9281 1985) and The
Concepl of'the Political ([l9331 1076, 2nd edition, 1997). In addition, in the last
. ~ would like
decade a number of essays have appeared in the journal T e l o ~One
to think that the publication of two more translations, Roman Catholicism and
Political Forrn of 1923 (hereafter RCPF) and Leciathan in the S l a ~ e7heor.y of
Thomas Hnbbes of 1938 (hereafter L S T H ) , will be an opportunity to deepen
acquaintance with the thought of one of the century's most enigmatic legal and
political theorists. As matters stand, within Anglo-American scholarship the
debate over Schmitt's significance, and over his invol\rement in the Third Reich,
E ~ o n o m yund So~zet)lLGlurne 27 hurnber 4 ,Voz'ember 1998 434-437

0Routledge 1998

0308-5 147

led Schmitt to emphasize in the third. according to Meier. and in so doing challenge the view of Heinrich Meier who. and for this reason alone John McCormick's comprehensive and careful account is welcome. an indication of how his thinking changed. Schmitt has been better served than most German Hobbes scholars. is such an accommodation at odds with the unity of his thought.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 The strlznRe antz-lzberulzsm of' Carl Schnzztt 435 remains in its infancy. TGnnies. in his Carl Schmitt und Leo Strauss. T h e effect of this dialogue was. These texts are separated by a period of fifteen years in which Schmitt accommodated himself to both the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. and whom Schmitt dcscribed as the best Hobbes scholar in Germany. attempts to deny any substantial affinity between Schmitt and Hobbes. a clarification which. Meier's book reconstructs what he calls 'the hidden dialogue' between Schmitt and Leo Strauss over Schmitt's best-known work. that Schmitt was forced to clarify his position regarding the metaphysical basis of politics. mendacious pragmatism or the consistent expression of a thinking whose 'unity' and coherence are of a peculiarly flexible character? Hobbes. it is published here fully ten years after a translation of the first edition of Politicul Theologj~. The Cotzcept of the Polztzcal. T h e most significant product of this clarification was a clear distinction (1) between his own foundation for 'politics' . get himself called the Hobbes of the twentieth century? In what follows I will attempt to make sense of the degree and nature of Schmitt's debt to Hobbes. theological and juridical aspects of Schmitt's thought. and 2) as a work which. and is still pervaded by a context of polemic in which Schmitt is either castigated or praised by North American conservatives for his anti-liberalism or treated as the source of concepts and formulations which might lead the post-Marxist left out of a theoretical impasse. still awaits an English translator for his 1896 book Thomus Hobbes: Leben und Lehre. indeed its theological foundations."~ be sure. Indeed. the theological dimension of his political thought. and that of whether Georg Schwab's description of him as 'the Hobbes of the twentieth century' is accurate. r o m a n t i c i s m . Catholicism How could an avowed Catholic. l'he first noteworthy point about the Hobbes book (apart from its ludicrous price) is that it has taken so long for an English version to appear. 1933 edition. whose English editions of Elemenls of Lam and of Behemoth are used by scholars to this day."ttempts at a balanced assessment of his work as a whole are rare. If he could do so.and that of Strauss .revelation . published alongside a translation of Roman Catholicism and Politir-ul Form (even more ludicrously priced).one of whose chapters is devoted to such forgotten figures as de Bonald and Donoso Cortes. even allowing for the vagaries of commentary. so it is claimed.' T h e translation of L S T H is welcome because the book is significant in at least two respects: 1) as a contribution to Hobbes scholarship which emphasizes the relationship between myth and politics. raises the question of the relationship between the political.

politics.and (2) between either of these pre-modern accounts of politics and a mechanistic-rationalist conception of the state associated with liberal modernity in general and with Hobbes in particular. The concept of - Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 Charles Turner . positive concept of the political in the fateful year 1933. to a mature. Strauss had noticed that. T h e basic argument was exemplified by Rickert. rather than being governed by an ultimate value. economics. while Schmitt's insistence upon 'basic questions' appears radical. beautiful/ugly and so on. the first edition of T h e Concept o f the Political remained within the orbit of a basically liberal. and thus neither was able to reach a position at which an understanding of politics can be said to be central to an understanding of the human condition. intellectually and practically failed to treat politics in anything other than instrumental terms .good/evil. who argued that each domain was governed by a timelessly valid value such as beauty (art). neo-Kantian philosophy of culture. non-political friend-enemy relationship and the utopian vision of an end to all friend-enemy relationships.436 reason-based philosophical reflection on the best regime .are assigned to domains or spheres each of which is 'governed' by a basic norm which gives that activity its character. according to which different human activities . defensive concept of the political in the first edition of 1927. then. Neither liberalism nor Marxism was able to comprehend the specificity of the friend-enemy relationship. Liberalism moves between the poles of a deontological subjectivity of rights protected by a constitutional state and an individuality which is rendered determinate only through economic competition. Marxism moves between a conception of class struggle grounded in an economic. the friend-enemy distinction merely reminds us of the existence of a political relationship between constituted. though they differed in the degree of cultural pluralism they thought such a vision implied. ethics . the point of the opposition was to allow Schmitt to argue that the dominant 'political' doctrines of his day. profit (economics) or goodness (ethics). This then enabled him to define the political domain in terms of the notorious opposition between friend and enemy. liberalism and Marxism. Schmitt argued that. from an account of how liberalism had failed to develop a political theory which takes 'the political' seriously to an account of the political which no longer has any need to establish its anti-liberal credentials because liberalism now belongs to a bygone 'liberal age'. for Marxism it is a means to transform the production process. politics. religion. Schmitt's critique of liberalism moved. According to Meier. T h e largely protestant South-West German school and the mostly Jewish Marburg School of neo-Kantianism were both committed to a philosophy of culture of this type.art. Meier's point is that. Schmitt takes this up in the first edition and notoriously tailors his formulation to suit what appears to be an anti-liberal purpose.for liberalism the state is a ventilating mechanism for problems which arise elsewhere. each domain is governed by a value opposition . Leaving aside the absence of any reason for elevating enmity above friendship rather than friendship above enmity. Meier argues that the course of this clarification took Schmitt from an immature. despite its anti-liberal claims. sovereign states.

who seeks not merely self-preservation but the annihilation of others. In a famous passage Strauss argued that. man in the state of nature is prepared to kill. to 'a place of honour' (Strauss. T h e reason for this has to do with an argument about just what the state of nature consists in. For Schmitt. while in 1927 Schmitt describes Hobbes as 'the greatest systematic political thinker'. and to the need of a state to protect its citizens in the face of an external threat. but only for the sake of his self-preservation. T h e advantage of this view is that the Schmitt of anti-liberalism and anti-Hobbesianism is easier to reconcile with Catholic counter-enlightenment and counter-revolutionary theorists such as de Maistre. and that. On this account. in short. Man's natural desires are akin to those of beasts. warfare. since these domains are not defined in existential terms and therefore cannot become political. while Schmitt restored the state of nature. T h i s life would be 'secure' because in pursuing it the individual would not be reminded of the reality of the human situation. had he understood his own thinking aright. all Schmitt is doing here is taking seriously a domain of human action which liberalism and Marxism do not. of the apolitical bourgeois. and that therefore the friend-enemy distinction is existential rather than normative. and to argue that. Despite his insistence that enmity implies 'the real possibility of physical killing'. there cannot be economic or aesthetic or religious enmity. Where they both go beyond Hobbes is in linking this dangerousness to man's capacity to engage in . Schmitt would have to strike at the 'founder of liberalism'. as the founder of liberalism Hobbes was 'the anti-political thinker' in Schmitt's terms. more explicit account of the theological basis of his own thinking. in order to complete the critique of liberalism. however. that both Schmitt and Strauss initially admire Hobbes for not holding to such a view. he would have recalled that. and h/leier stresses this in order to remind us that it is also Hobbes's view. Meier points out. remains a liberal vision. in Schmitt [l9331 1997: 92-3). Hobbes. a protection which is the primordial condition of possibility for the economic competition or class struggle on the basis of which liberalism and Marxism ground a theory of society. by 1933 he is merely the thinker who 'keeps political understanding alive' (Meier 1995: 36). a cooling off which Meier interprets as significant evidence that Schmitt has taken on board Strauss's critique. Schmitt in a liberal world undertakes the critque of liberalism' (Strauss. he moved away from Hobbes and towards a clearer. Strauss pointed out. the state of nature was overcome and suppressed by the political society. when Schmitt later moved away from this position.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 Thestrange anti-liberalism of Car1 Schmitt 437 enmity refers. enmity pertains only to the political sphere. For Hobbes. in Schmitt [l9331 1997: 90). to foreign policy. Thus. conventionally. and its consequences for the civil condition. According to the more genteel of English Hobbes scholars. 'Whereas Hobbes in an unliberal world accomplishes the founding of liberalism. and for founding his political philosophy on an anthropology of man as 'a dynamic and dangerous being'. It would be the life. de Bonald and Donoso Cortes. This. and it is this which necessitates a technical or mechanical device as the 'political' framework within which a brutish but pacifiable creature might lead a commodious life.

For this critique not only conceives of the state as something which. in their accounts of the metaphysical assumptions behind the need to found a state .Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 438 Charles Turner extended chains of reasoning. this drives Schmitt's critique of liberalism to its limits. and therefore the reasons behind the original need for a state cannot be hidden from man in the way they are in Hobbes's construction of the state. .knowing evil versus innocent evil. as we will see) of a being for the sake of whose self-preservation the state was established in the first place. A state which arises on the basis of 'original sin' would remind its subjects of the proximity of the human situation and the constant possibility of the emergence of a friend-enemy relationship. this is something a state cannot demand (and it is not the only thing. By this stage in Schmitt's career. . For Hobbes.felt and feared not as an end in itself.6 For Meier. at one point Schmitt makes an explicit distinction between the agonal and the political. It also extends the scope and import of the friend+nemy relationship. beyond being a mechanical device making a commodious life possible. As John McCormick has put it: Schmitt seeks to make the threat of conflict . such that the significance of war is that it remains a 'mere potentiality' whose 'function' is the preservation of the internal peace of a determinate political community. confronting a real friend-enemy situation and the real possibility of death. by 1933 Schmitt. the political relationship does not define a type of relationship opposed to other types of relationship. (McCormick 1994: 626) The Schmitt of politics as foreign policy is manifestly not a theorist of 'total mobilization' of the sort exemplified by Ernst Junger. then. That Schmitt aestheticised violent conflict to generate the fear necessary to prevent disorder is not contestable . but the degree of intensity of any associative or dissociative relationship of any type. However. but a knowing evil. both may be reconcilable with a foreign affairs account of 'the political'.of war . and more importantly. Schmitt did part company with Hobbes in two respects. but rather so as to make war's outbreak all the more unlikely domestically. Indeed. Human nature is infinitely dangerous because human evil is not the innocent evil of beasts. Second. and its prosecution more easily facilitated abroad. emerge in any domain. The emphasis upon warfare and upon the fundamental character of the friend-enemy relationship does not issue in the glorification of the warrior. potentially. he pushed the idea of 'politics as fate' to the point where the state as a compulsory organization could legitimately demand of the individual that he sacrifice his life for it in war. and would do so in accordance with a very specific belief in what the state's metaphysical foundations were. This evil in turn is a consequence of original sin. T h e difference between Schmitt and Hobbes would lie. None the less. was confident enough of his antiliberalism to argue that the political was not only foundational for the state. .that he did so for its own sake is. and thereby restricted to a particular 'domain'. First. but entailed a relationship which could. encouraged by Strauss's commentary. reminds man of the metaphysical grounds of its existence.

it is the constitutive horizon jor action. one of which Schmitt endorses. of course. The one he rejects is 'total enmity'. the integrity of political authority. and civil war. in which the overriding purpose of political authority is the securing of internal peace and the prevention of civil war. when.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 The strange anti-liberalism o f Car1 Schmitt 439 By turning away from the conception of domains. is Leninism. from the earliest essays to the Hobbes book of 1938. and opens up the prospect of beating liberalism on its own turf. as a critic of his age. the bloodiest and most destructive of which was the Thirty Years War. which destroys the integrity of the political community. which Meier would deny. A concept of the political which embraces civil war as well as war between states conceived of as amoral enemies threatens to degrade the enemy to a criminal and to contaminate politics with moral categories. he was seeking to restore a concept of the political which had been realized through the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. In Schmitt's terms. The apotheosis of the partisan idea. (Meier 1995: 24) The problem with this interpretation. I think. of the unity of the polity. is that it draws our attention away from the fact that at the centre of most of what Schmitt wrote. It gives the impression that for Schmitt 'the political' might be an all-pervasive j i ~ t u r eof human action. Schmitt renders his concept of the political 'capable of encompassing civil war'. for the sake of which individual sacrifice may be demanded because it reminds man that politics is fate. domestic politics. was the problem of sovereignty of the polity. can be made sharper by referring to two concepts of enmity associated with them. even in late formulations of it in The Concept of the Political. Der Nomos der Erde is a laudatio for the concept of relative enmity and the modern European states system which was the basis of the Jus Publicum E ~ r o p a e u mThe . the other of which he emphatically rejects. ~ end of the nineteenth century and World War I were seen by Schmitt as threatening this states system. part of Schmitt's Aktuulztat was that. The one he endorses is 'relative' enmity. between external warfare. which brought to an end the confessional wars of the later Middle Ages. contra Meier. the class struggle entails an international civil war in which the enemy is degraded to the status of a criminal. however. in which the enemy (or foe) can be degraded to the status of a criminal or a morally inferior being. Thus. and not the anti-liberalism of the third edition of The Concept of the Political. It was threatened by the reemergence of a system of both international and domestic politics in which total enmity threatened to triumph over relative enmity. Moreover. the age of the partisan and the terrorist has arrived. The rise of the 'total state' makes one's vision keener for the 'potential ubiquity' of the political. in which the enemy is conceived of as a moral equal akin to an opponent in a duel. T h e distinction. that it is this. which is the more enduring theme in . and then in later works such as LSTH and Der Nomos der Erde of 1950. When this occurs. the attempt by some contemporary commentators to see Schmitt as more sympathetic to Marxism than to liberalism because of the former's acknowledgement of the inescapability of violence and the inevitability of the friend-enemy relationship is wholly misplaced.

including. Either that. If it was. for the unity of his thinking is a unity centred less on the metaphysical grounds of the political than on his jurisprudence. Schmitt could see in both the . It is also. the human being is confronted directly with the consequences of original sin. human evil or reason-versus-revelation. its 'compromise with the world' as Max Weber called it. technocratic age. The reason for this is that. It is significant that Meier devotes little space to either of these works. Indeed. clarification-inducing interpretation in 1932. written in 1923. a critique I will discuss below. sovereignty. but much on the institutional and sociological character of the Catholic church and its mysteriously formulated 'capacity for form'. This stress upon the flexibility of the Roman Church and of Catholic culture generally towards worldly authority. and the charges of opportunism which accompanied both Schmitt's appointment to the Prussian State Council in 1933 (from the left) and his dismissal from it in 1936 (from the right). is most at home. Meier's mistake is to formulate Schmitt's political theology in terms of the content of Catholic belief and to see this as the metaphysical foundation for his attack on the modern. It is here that Schmitt seemingly both wishes to attack a modern age which is illegitimate because it is no longer the Middle Ages and at the same time stresses the flexibility and adaptability of the historical Roman Church's relationship with constituted worldly authority. and authority and power. Catholicism is relevant less in terms of the content of Catholic belief than in its consequences for and relationship with worldly political authority and power. Meier's stress upon the content of belief as the foundation of Schmitt's concept of the political is unhelpful for comprehending Schmitt's active involvement with regimes of very different character. or the alleged extension of the concept of the political to include civil war would have to imply that. in Meier's terms this accommodation would have to be interpreted as either careerism or a remarkable capacity for changing one's mind. It is these themes which figure in both the Catholicism and the Hobbes books. and which allow us to discern a consistency of theme across fifteen years.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 440 Charles Turner Schmitt's work. liberal. by implication. and that. by Karl Lowith. both in a situation of possible internal civil war or anarchy and in one of possible attack by a foreign enemy. and the relationship between legitimacy and legality. was remarkably poignant in the light of Schmitt's subsequent collaboration with National Socialism. While there are rather obvious grounds for stressing the 'Catholic' dimension of Schmitt's political thought. here. there is nothing here on original sin. To be sure. Roman Catholiczsm and Political Form takes us on to quite different terrain. both are pieces of cultural criticism as well as systematic treatises. the figure of the 'Catholic Hobbes' might be less perplexing. and the suspicion remains that the English-speaking world is still not ready for the rigours of Yerfassunsglehre. representation. terrain which Schmitt occupied before he had had the benefit of Strauss's helpful. it should be noted. the worldly authority embodied in and by modern states. terrain on which an earlier critique of Schmitt. Contra Meier.Legalitat und Legitzmztnt or Der Nomos der Erde. for these reasons. work which centres on the modern state.

which at numerous points claimed to be 'decisionistic'. . in which all phenomena are accorded equal weight. I. T h e romantic merely . T h e dualism . but an avoidance which. the romantic's attitude to reality is an ironic one which plays off one reality against another in order to paralyse the reality that is actually present and limited. and Schmitt's critique of the latter a case of the narcissism of small differences. secular-existentialist. He ironically avoids the constraints of objectivity and guards himself against becoming committed to anything. interpretation of this collaboration was given by Lowith in 1935.soul and body. internal and external. (Schmitt [l9191 1985a: 71-2) T h e effect of this is that Neither the cosmos nor the state. and it is one worth discussing here. concrete reality. nor historical development has any intrinsic interest for him. man and woman . it might be the community. His was not a political theology at all but a form of political romanticism. But this overcoming is another avoidance of reality. or suicide. . are equally significant instances of a given other-worldly principle.6with accounted for Schmitt's collaboration by arguing that the structure of Schmitt's political thought.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 The strange anti-liberalism of Curl Schmitt 441 Weimar republic (anarchy) and the Third Reich (external threat plus internal pacification) a theological^^^ significant raising of the stakes for man. Everything can be made into an easily managed figuration of the subject that is occupied with itself. T h e structure of romantic thought is one of pure effectivity in which there are no causes. Everything which happens in the world is an occasion on which a force external to that world manifests itself. (Schmitt [l9191 1985a: 75) This subject might be the individual. history. What is the romantic attitude which Schmitt purports to despise. In other words. and how can an understanding of it contribute to an understanding of Schmitt's complicity? It is characterized by Schmitt initially as an avoidance of present. 'occasionalism'. T h e characteristic romantic attitude is to claim to have overcome such dualisms. or retreat into mystical contemplation. manifests itself in the search for an altematize reality 'that does not disturb and negate' the individual (Schmitt [l9191 1985a: 71). far from taking the form of flight. nor the people. humanity. no calculable relationships between independently identifiable phenomena. subject and object. bore all the hallmarks of what Schmitt himself claimed was its opposite. A different.is allowed to remain. because it contrasts with Meier's in crucial respects. But if Schmitt believed this he took the opportunity to say so remarkably infrequently. He regards being taken seriously as a violation because he does not want the actual present confused with his infinite freedom. . This style of thinking was exemplified by the politically insignificant German romantics. who treated political reality in terms of forces which were pre-political. This attitude is nowhere better expressed than in romanticism's approach to metaphysical dualism. a theme prominent in RCPF.

Schmitt's own history is one of accommodation to Wilhelmine Germany. the nature of the legal does not lie in itself. the state.8 This contrasted with the anti-modernism of. In other words. political romanticism is revolutionary. the nature of money as an economic factor lies in the domain of law. (Schmitt [l9191 1985a: 115) In Political Romanticism Schmitt's combative rhetoric is sharper than anywhere else. 'For [Adam] Miiller. He attacks Adam Muller for failing to respect the integrity of domains. but rather in the theological' (Schmitt [l9191 1985a: 91). he abandons the attack in favour of a reduction of the political to the theological. later.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 442 Charles Turner makes it 'illusory' 'by shifting it to a comprehensive third sphere' (Schmitt [l9191 1985a: 87). say. even when he theoretically postulates tumult and chaos' (Schmitt (19191 1985a: 98). the opposition between individuals in the higher organism. he is as likely to endorse revolution as reaction: As long as the revolution is present. the romantic accepts the world's 'nomological order' even as he believes he is changing it. Second. so the argument goes. In this way. the discord between states in the higher organisation. the higher factor is not genuinely transcendental. because he had a clear commitment to a set of principles which went against a liberal 'age of neutralisations and depoliticisations' in which a mechanistic-rational conception of the state was dominant. but rather any other domain. The opposition between the sexes is suspended in the 'total human being'. Schmitt was not a romantic. to be sure. the church. On the other hand. partly in favour of a concept of the political which 'potentially embraces every domain'. it becomes conservative. (Schmitt [l9191 1985a: 88) But the resort to a higher third is merely a search for the nature of things in a domain different from the one to which those things belong. Romanticism was 'anti-positivist'. . But it is directed at a style of thinking which is closer to his own than any other. With the termination of the revolution.reactionary or revolutionary which can be seen as the embodiment of concrete order. and in a markedly reactionary restoration it also knows how to extract the romantic aspect from such circumstances. a thoroughly liberal argument. but lacked the means with which to be anti-positivist in practice. The Schmittian response to the second charge would be that there is a significant difference between the passive acceptance of a reactionary restoration and the active endorsement of it on the basis of clear criteria of what is right and just. since he operates without substantive criteria of truth and justice and merely plays off different realities against one another. in fact to any regime . the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. but. and ended in what today would be regarded as pragmatism. 'whatever happens to be different'. not in the domain of the economy. the intellectual revolutionary loves external order. and combined with occasionalism. 'In commonplace reality.

not a politician. an interpreter. each of which is based on principles of historical or divine right. In Political Romanticism Schmitt clearly tries to align himself with these thinkers. Schmitt cites Burke. the need had arisen for the law to be honed into a unified and objective force independent of the legislative coercion which parliament had made possible. but were instead obligated to decide in favour of what they regarded as right' (Schmitt [l9191 1985a: 116). Schmitt's principles are nowhere to be found. because they 'were always filled with the sense that they were not elevated above the political struggle. the charge of occasionalism would be false. l0 But it was precisely in this role that Schmitt showed himself an occasionalist. but active in the role of one who is freed of the responsibilities and risks of political office which his heroes had to undertake. be they republican (1929-33). the apolitical romantic and the interpreter. employed officially as an interpreter of the constitution. T h e best example of Schmitt's attempt to identify his own fate with that of a group which was 'always filled with the sense that they were not elevated above the political struggle' was the 1943 essay 'The plight of European jurisprudence'. the active character of Schmitt's relationship with these regimes which marks him off as a political romantic. in Schmitt's case: . Yet Lowith's charge was that he failed to do so in practice. Political Theology.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 The strange anti-liberalism of Curl S ~ h m i t t 443 Burke's traditionalist conservatism or counter-revolutionary theories of the state (de Maistre). Since German unification in 1871. while Marx decided for scientific socialism and Kierkegaard for a theologically defined 'one thing needful'. Here Schmitt gives a self-legitimating account of the relationship between the legislator. however repugnant his views. as World War I1 was destined to end in Germany's defeat and a post-war European settlement. Had Schmitt been a straightforward reactionary for whom the Weimar republic was to be actively resisted. not a legislator. identifying his own subjectivity with the forces of the age. the European Spirit. national socialist (1933-42). the legislative process had become hitched to planning and administration and allowed to run out of control in a flurry of laws which amounted to decrees. But Schmitt himself was a legal scholar. Schmitt describes Marx and Kierkegaard as the first to oppose a decisionist style of thinking to bourgeois or romantic existence. for Lowith. or. as Prussian State Councillor appointed by Goring. Yet. Schmitt saw jurisprudence in general and himself in particular as the agent of this unification. It is. not even in the place in which one would most expect them. paradoxically. He was active rather than passive. de Bonald and de Maistre approving13 and seeks to align himself with them. There. he helped draft the legislation legalizing the Nazi seizure of power. In the face of this development. then. and who later in 1933 endorsed a regime which was more to his taste. This 'motorized legislation' was the product of a system in which the law enacted within a modern parliament 'is the majority decision of a divided legislative body' (Schmitt 1990: 48). Moreover. as long as the Weimar Republic lasted. Later. interpreting and commentating for whatever regime would have him. made every effort to preserve it. Schmitt. But the fact is that.

' So: Lowith sees Schmitt as a secular existentialist. and therefore contains no implications concerning the rights and obligations of members of constituted polities. Here. between the Schmitt of domains in which the enemy threatens a form of existence. founded on a doctrine of original sin. but 'my naked existence' (Lowith 1995: 143). the possibility of having one's own being negated by another being in war. he can invoke only the 'capacity for form' from RCPF or the capacity to decide. military or constitutionalist. but instead has faith only in the power of decision?. to one in which Schmitt's existentialist criteria of the political betray his formalism. 'it cannot be specified what this intensity is an intensity o f (Lowith 1995: 150). determinate mode of being. man's 'infinite evil' and a faith in revelation. communistproletarian. mattered less than 'that the state in question is an "authoritative unity"' (Lowith 1995: 150). of the event which must occur now and of the event that has already authoritatively occurred. with having to relate the particular case to the universal principle and act. so that when Schmitt is confronted with the contingency of having to display judgement. For Lowith. to an anti-liberalism founded upon substantive theological commitment. Unlike his two decisionist forebears. liberal and formalist concept of culture and politics. Schmitt offers nothing more than the capacity to be decisive. theocratic. the decisive criterion for 'the political' was one of extreme situations. this is the difference between the first and the third editions of The Concept of the Political. Here. There are problems . it moved from an understanding of politics which might have allowed room for substantive differences between different modes of recognizably political Being. the enemy seeks to destroy not a particular. A theory of political Being which might accommodate questions of the best regime and the differences between democracy and dictatorship is reduced to a theory of political existence. (Lowith 1995: 141) As we have seen. Marx (a Jew) and Kierkegaard (a Protestant) who opposed their age with substantive principles. Expressed in Meier's terms. Schmitt's thought shifted from a neo-Kantian.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 444 Charles Turner It will remain to be asked: by faith in what is Schmitt's demanding moral decision sustained. Whether that given state was imperialist. For Meier. and the Schmitt of an intensification model applicable to all domains. Both of these accounts. The latter might imply equally an anarchic insistence upon the need to decide now or a claim that the decisive decision has already been taken and that an existing state is the result of such a decision. were part of a devalued German intellectual currency in those 'Years of Decision' following the First World War. The concept of the political does not refer to the maintenance of one realm of determinate Being among others. Note here that Lowith's and Meier's interpretations of this intensification model are diametrically opposed. Meier sees him as a Catholic whose concept of 'the political' is Catholic. if he clearly has faith in neither theology of the sixteenth century not the metaphysics of the seventeenth century. and least of all in the humanitarian morality of the eighteenth century.

nature evil' and 'by nature good' . the antithesis of man 'h!. as the heir to the Roman Empire. 'This limitless ambiguity combines with the . namely. however. however. Lijwith's remark that The Concept of the Political belongs to a middle phase is surely correct. Crucially. so that the political and jurisprudential dimension of his Catholicism is underplayed in favour of questions of death and human finitude. Schmitt remarks on an accusation frequently lel-elled at Catholicism by 'the parliamentarist and democratic nineteenth century'.Schmitt formulates this cumplerio oppositovum thus: 'Old and New Testament alike are scriptural canon. political form and the juridical R C P F opens with a passage which alerts the reader at once to the question of his collaboration. weakened or troubled. Against Meier. and ironically. an aristocracy which in turn is potentially open to anyone.445 Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 Tlze strange anti-lzben~lzswt of'Curl Schmztt with both of these approaches. the Roman Church has historically shown itself able to accommodate itself to a wide variety of worldly powers. 15): 'its history knows examples of astounding accommodation as well as stubborn intransigence. as the Catholicism book and the Hobbes book make clear. the manly ability to resist and womanly compliance' (p. 7). Roman Catholicism. given Lowith's comments on decisionism of the Kierkegaardian sort and Schmitt's later reference to Kierkcgaard in Political Theologj~. 7)' ruled autocraticall!. nre have: T h e fundamental thesis to which all dogmas of a consistent anarchistic philosophy of state and society return. those opponents who see this as its most distinguishing feature are missing an opportunity to deepen the anti-Catholic mood. But Liiwith himself reads Schmitt through the lense of a Heideggerian problematic. There seems to be no opposition which it will not embrace' (p. It is sandwiched between what he calls the 'extreme normativism' of the earlier phase and a 'thinking about order' after 1933. this Creed speaks of human nature as only wounded. yet ruled by a leader elected by an aristocracy of cardinals. the centrality of the question of the state's authoritative unity to everything Schmitt wrote. T h e translations of RCPF and LTH make clear. Where they differ is in the account given of the grounds of political authority. and sees it as part of a widespread 'antiCatholic temper'. On the contrary. 4). namely that of 'limitless opportunism' (p. (Schmitt RCPF: 7-8) - Yet Schmitt insists that this both-and formulation is consistent with what later comes to be called decisionism. They fail to grasp 'how much the Catholic Church is a compiexio upposztosum. In contrast to the protestant doctrine of the total depravity of natural man. And. he accepts that. and the Marcionitic either-or is answered with an as-well-as' (p. In response. In relation to these powers it has not shown itself to be a 'universalism' against which local or national powers have developed legitimate grievances. contru Meier.this decisive question for political theory is in no sense answered by a simple 1-esor no in the Tridentine Creed.

they are rejected because. Protestant and/or romantic move. and a mechanistic world-view: . in contrast to Protestants (and by implication Jews) who are able to live 'anywhere on earth' by negating nature through work. as we saw. where culture and nature are continuous rather than discontinuous. concomitantly. has nothing to do with the Lutheran 'Here I stand I can do no other'. If liberalism and Marxism are rejected on the grounds of their failure to develop a political theory. to Schmitt's 'oeuvre'. Confronted with the realization that this dualism has robbed it of the capacity for decision. This is exemplified by the Catholic attitude to nature. a continuity which is suited to the life of peoples with a peasant past. Freedom as the negation or transformation of such dualisms. Small wonder that the question of Schmitt's Catholicism has perplexed commentators.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 446 Charles Turner most precise dogmatism and a will to decision as it culminates in the doctrine of papal infallibility' (p. which is necessary only because it accepts in the first place a modern reality which Catholicism refuses to accept. negation of the negation. 8). is one of the great figures of modern thought to which Schmitt's critique of modernity was resolutely opposed. to overcome dualisms. a reality pervaded by the sorts of opposition which modern thought expresses through dualistic categories. 8). namely its strict adherence to what he calls the principle of representation. Even to ask whether all this can be united through reference to an allembracing principle of unity. to resolve contradictions in a 'higher third'. and that Meier seeks to answer it through the circuitous route of Leo Strauss's review of The Concept o f the Political. is a typically modern. 'despite its formal character. for imprinting upon it a form. even more explicitly. in the space of the opening few pages. And. Schmitt states that this capacity for shaping the world. or 'work' upon one side of them. R C P F defines the political import of Catholicism in terms of: the both/and character of its reasoning the capacity for form the capacity for decision its existential ethos its strict adherence to 'representation'. The very effort to reconcile opposites. having noted that from a political point of view Roman Catholicism is distinguished by a 'formal superiority to the material of human life' which makes for a substantial shaping of human historical reality. then. modern thought exhibits decisiveness in the only manner left open to it. retains its concrete existence at once vital and yet rational to the nth degree' (p. Thus. they combine metaphysical dualism. This contrasts sharply with the Catholic principle of decision which is referred always to a realm beyond all dualisms and oppositions. a remark which is followed immediately by an advertisement for Catholicism's political peculiarity. or with the pragmatic choosing of sides by parties to dispute. The Catholic in exile never overcomes feelings of homesickness. a modern ideology of transformative work. risks misunderstanding his claims about the Church as complexio oppositorum. His decisionism.

only that which is 'personified' is representative. Here. functionaries.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 The stncnge untz-l~beralzsnzof Curl S~hmztt 447 The world-view of the modern capitalist is the same as that of the industrial proletarian. and the Catholicism with which Schmitt will oppose modernity is not one which is open to the mythical. If the Church has political significance it consists in 'a pathos of authority in all its purity'. it represents in every moment the historical connection to the incarnation and crucifixion of Christ. the lord. T h e same was true of other rcpresentative figures. 13). It represents the civitas humana. 'When the territorial ruler convened about him ecclesiastical and worldly lords. . But it has the power to assume this or any other form only because it has the power of representation. nor in the Church's having accommodated itself to a mechanistic age by becoming ever more centralized and bureaucratic. Today's modern representatives. This authority derives from the Church's status as a legal person.lies one of its sociological secrets. . Catholicism counters modern rationalism with a superior nltionulitjl. 16). knights.in its capacity to assume juridical form . this was not a matter of an assembly of delegates that was someone else's representative' (Habermas [l9621 1989: 7 ) . Therein . Therein lies its superiority to economic thinking. the Church's position is marginal. As such. . prelates and cities .an 'electrified earth'. juristic principle of which modern 'representation' is a pale imitation. . and its continuity or lack of it with the Hobbes book. (Schmitt RCPF: 13) Crucially for the question of Schmitt's Catholicism. . irrational or mystical aspects of the transcendent. In contrast to the objectifying logic of economism. or prince. it is a concrete personal representation of a concrete personality All knowledgeable witnesses have conceded that the Church is the consummate agency of the juridical spirit and the true heir of Roman jurisprudence. 14). representing sectional . (Schmitt RCPF: 19) This ecclesiastical principle of representation had its parallel in the secular principle of representation which partly shaped feudal lordship. but stood before a populace as the representative or embodiment of a higher principle. T h e big industrialist has no other ideal than that of Lenin . drawing explicitly on Schmitt. 'Catholicism is eminently political' (p. Thus the shortcomings of liberalism and Marxism do not consist in the fact that they lack an understanding of radical human evil. . In relation to the contemporary struggle for world domination. . he opposes this economistic-mechanistic world view to that of 'politicians and jurists' (p. as if the one were the twin brother of the other. As Jiirgen Habermas put it. . by contrast. but a capacity which 'resides in institutions and is essentially juridical' (p. which manifests itself in what he calls a 'capacity for form'. did not 'stand for' another body. Political in what sense? Not in a Machiavellian capacity to confront the vagaries of international diplomacy and power politics. According to this principle. are delegates.T h e medieval ecclesiastical principle of representation is essentially a Catholic.

to be sure. The modern state which is merely a power organization is permanently . This early hostility to Hobbes will be modified in 1938 when Hobbes is identified as a theorist of order who understood that the primary function of the state is to put an end to civil war. a remarkable concession. And indeed. according to the doctrine of Papal government. in 1938. however. which according to Schmitt reduces authority to power. the virtue of a concentration of power capable of putting an end to civil war. since the activity of such a state has the character of permanent crisis management.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 448 Charles Turner interests rather than the worth associated with a particular estate. regardless of its English or 'continental-absolutist' character. It is precisely because it is a power organization. manifested in representation and a capacity for form (the source of legitimacy in R C P F ) and putting an end to civil war (the higher power of Leviathan). as a machine. that the modern state can fall prey to other power organizations. not an indivisible authoritative unity. The emphasis upon authority at the expense of power is crucial. regardless of its embodying a higher principle or not. justice or 'the people'. in a way in which he did not in 1923. regardless of its being in accordance with or contrary to Catholic principles. For a Catholic political theorist this is. are brought to the surface. the key difference between authority and power is that authority (auctoritas) is one and indivisible. while power (potestas) is not. is also one in which the state is conceived of and operates as a mechanism: 'once the state becomes a leviathan. the tensions in Hobbes's work. A world dominated by production and consumption. following the Nazi establishment of their own version of concrete order. for Schmitt leaves open the possibility that the possible objects of representation include not only God but freedom. the world of liberal-marxist modernity. In the end. Schmitt found a complete political theory adequate to the modern age in neither legitimist Catholicism nor modern state theory. T h e expression 'the authoritative unity of the state' covers both these pillars. mean that a modern state is incapable of representation in principle. the point at which the command-obedience relationship established by a concentration of power falls short of demanding a determinate set of beliefs. putting an end to civil war is virtually the definition of the political in that book. it disappears from the world of representations' (p. that the modern state inaugurates a permanent preventive counter-revolution. and as the sea monster Leviathan. This does not. and it is this which makes reading R C P F and L S T H such a bewildering and rewarding exercise. between the state as person. Thus the two main pillars of political authority for Schmitt are legitimacy and power. For. Schmitt comes to recognize. Schmitt brings this distinction to the fore in an account of the main point of weakness in Hobbes's system. leaving the individual person free to believe whatever he likes as long as this belief finds no public expression. What cannot be represented is production and consumption. The German distinction between Re@rasentatzonand Vertretung captures this shift of meaning. Indeed. In the Hobbes book. regardless of its capacity for representation. Here. 21). because it contrasts sharply with Leviathan. towards the end of the Hobbes book. The sea monster Leviathan symbolizes a concentration of power which can never be anything other than provisional.

Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 Thc strllng-r antz-lzbcralzsm of'Cu1. not to the exception (/lusnahme) which lies permanently beyond all organizational and legal order. continuities of which Schinitt saw himself as the custodian. and here Catholicism can seize its chance. just as Arendt attempted to avoid classicist nostalgia for the polis. are the continuities of a juristic conception of concrete human order. the clzurch wozlld remain the only ~cgencyqf political thinking and poIitU. T h e continuities of a European understanding of politics. so the Hobbes book is far from an anti-Hobbesian tract. Neither liberalism nor Marxism is able to generate a theory of concrete human order. 30). 'There are. Just as Schmitt argues for Catholicism's relevance to a liberal age. whether or not he ceased to be 'the greatest systematic political thinker'.of power than the statement that 'every order is a legal order. Should economic thinking succeed in realizing its utopian goal and in bringing about an absolutely. emphasis added) But. tasks whose 'political' character can be obscured but not eliminated. The problem with Hobbes was not that he was a possessive individualist liberal thc relation between state and subject is one of command and obedience .gopposed to the modern age. - T h e domination of capital behind the scenes is still no form. so Schmitt does not conclude that liberal modernity has wholly triumphed over Catholicism.1Schmzll 449 oriented to the emcrgcncy (h'otstnnd which can always intervene. any thinker. a constitutional state' (p. Rather.alj)rm. on the grounds that Catholic political theory is oriented towards 'The Idea' while jurisprudence is oriented to any power complex which displays 'a sufficient minimum of form' (p. And. (Schmitt RCPF: 25. that Catholicism can create new law while . who can 'keep political understanding alive' is regarded bj. a conception which unites RCPF and LSTH. precisely because liberalism and Marxism are so powerful. by the same token and conlrrl Meier.but that his conceptual construction of the state was not secured firmly enough against the more pernicious versions of liberalism which subsequently developed it in a distorting fashion. But the point of Schmitt's political theory was to show that the secularization which had brought with it a mechanistic-rational modern state implied something other than that the Catholic Church was obsolete. something more than that Catholicism \\-as a mere m/ta~zschauun.Schmitt as an indispensable resource. including the anti-Papist Hobbes. passages at the end of RCPF in which Schmitt insists upon a hierarchical relationship between Catholicism and jurisprudence. 25). though it can undermine an existing form and make it an empty facade. to be sure. Schinitt shares with writers such as Hannah Arendt the belief that to the extent that they are modern. Perhaps nothing summarizes more precisely Schmitt's compromise between a Catholic theory of authority and a modern theorj. Catholicism might still adapt itself to a situation in which powers whose basis is economic take on the tasks of political responsibilit!. modern states are anti-political. every state.unpolitical condition of human society.

31). The reasons have been rehearsed elsewhere. there is the context of anti-Semitism. LSTH contains numerous gratuitous references to the 'Jewish' background of certain thinkers. In Schmitt's later work. all of whom have contributed to the destruction of a principle of an old European. the link between a degenerate modernity and a set of privatizing institutions appears all the more polemical for Schmitt's refusal to give a causal account of it. and to the Jewish-liberal character of modern institutions and practices which would earlier have been called merely liberal. a perplexity which has him retreating from an appeal to Christ triumphant and invoking 'the West European tradition' more generally. as a jurist rather than a Catholic. By 1938 and despite his appalling blindness to what was happening around him. machine. There is probably little point in asking whether this amounts to a genuine hardening of Schmitt's anti-Semitism over fifteen years. even describes Schmitt himself as a political mythologist and the Hobbes book as 'the puzzling key to his life's work' (LSTH p. is the history of a representative of 'Christ reigning. ruling and conquering' (p. and Thomas Mann saw projects such asJoseph und his Brothers as an attempt to save myth from its misappropriation by Nazism. First. Third.secret societies. of course. in the afterword to the German edition of LSTH. Gunther Maschke. Hobbes' Leviathan: person. m o n s t e r In RCPF. among German liberals as well as the Nazis. because a) if it did. This renewed sensitivity to political myth was common currency in the late 1930s. Schmitt was ready to write a critical yet sympathetic account of the anti-Papist Hobbes. Catholic. it would not be exceptional for the times. The agents of this freedom are the institutional bearers of private rights . juridical principle of publicity. Three aspects of the immediate context are relevant. esoteric associations. his conception of the source of the state's unity was too jurisprudential and notvolkish enough for the Third Reich. even in its most institutional and bureaucratic phase. The history of the Roman Church. however slippery his principles. however. freemasons. trade unions and. he had witnessed the effect of an attempt to found a modern state on substantive principles. Second. the turn to Hobbes is less an exercise in political theology than an account which purports to take seriously the mythological dimension of Hobbes's political theory. By 1938. Cassirer's The M-yth of the State is an obvious example. the Christology is subordinated to jurisprudence as the defender of a principle of publicity against a modern world split between a publicity which has degenerated into mechanistic externality and a privatized liberal freedom. which inspired the wrath of Dostoyevsky. and b) there is strong evidence that Schmitt's appeal to the juridical left him open .). Jews. 202 orig.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 450 Charles Turner jurisprudence can only make existing law appear as a coherent unity. two years earlier Schmitt had been dismissed from the Prussian State Council. but it is clear from Schmitt's other writings that.

This search. helped confer upon the Nazi seizure of power 'a modicum of form'. the only guarantor of peace. in effect for a way of reducing authority to power. T h e nearest he comes to it is in his transfer of the Cartesian idea of man as a mechanism with a soul to the 'great man'. Schmitt's purpose is to show that Hobbes's conceptualization of the state's unity is ultimately an heroic failure. but partly because it left a space open which subsequent Jewishliberal thought and practice was able to exploit. T h e anti-Semitism is no less awful . whether it has guaranteed itself as a political-mythical image in the struggle against the judaeo-Christian destruction of a natural unity. But in the course of the search he appealed to a mythological image of a Biblical sea monster. It is a matter not of the representation through a person. but on the occasion of consensus. Schmitt seizes on this because it shows Hobbes being unable to maintain a consistently secular. No traditional or customary conception of monarchy was available to him. but to a machine. Yet his philosophy is inconsistent with such beliefs. it is the mythical sea monster Leviathan.in its consquences for coming from the pen of an opportunist jurist rather than from that of a principled Catholic anti-Semite. partly in its own terms. towards the construction of the state as a power mechanism devoid of all political-theological elements. Thus: - the question must be whether the myth of leviathan created by Hobbes is a genuine reestablishment of an original life unity. In this sense it is a prototypical work o f a new technical age. T h e personalism which seems to lie at . (Schmitt LSTH: 22-3) Moreover. 21) took Hobbes away from the Catholic personalist principle of authoritative representation. the state. the sovereign representative person. Hobbes's failure was the failure of an attempt to restore a unity between politics and religion which the JudaeoChristian tradition had destroyed. He had after all. 52-3). for 'an original political unity' (p. according to the second. LSTH places Hobbes's political theory in a field of tension defined by three rival images of the state's authoritative unity. despite his mechanistic construction of the state.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 The str~rngeantz-lzbesaltsm of Curl Schmztt 451 to the opportunism with which he has most frequently been charged. the state is a person. But this ensoulment is the antithesis of the genuinely personalist idea of representation. in the true spirit of European jursiprudence. But 'the inner logic of the artificial product "state" leads not to a person. comes into existence not through. which he could defend only through agnosticism. mechanistic state construction. according to the third. T h e sovereign representative person is incomparably more than could be generated by the accumulated force of all participating individual wills. Here. It is true that: That which emerges beyond the social contract. Hobbes holds to the belief that Jesus is the Christ and that the monarch is God's Lieutenant. the state is a machine 'beseelte' by a sovereign representative person. it is a machine. According to the first. and whether it is fitted to the hardness and malevolence of this struggle. but of the factual present achievement of real protection' (pp.

trade unions. earthly powers upon whom. In Hobbes's case. The privatization of religion gives rise to the sacralization of the private. secular. interest groups in general. Hobbes too is seen as having to draw upon pre-modern symbolism. whose unity was assured by the personalist principles of authority and representation. society-shaping capacity Schmitt attributed to the Catholic Church. is not its mechanistic-neutral character alone.began to promote sectional interests and threaten the unity of the state. then. introduced into an essentially mechanistic construction from the outside. but the fact that it grants to its subjects freedom of conscience. and it is repeated here in 1938 with an anti-Semitic twist. for from the start Schmitt alerts us to the fact that Hobbes did not have available to him a symbolism with the modernity to match the modernity of his conception of the state. Israel is destined to feast. the problem was exacerbated by the fact that Leviathan treats religious belief as a purely private matter. While the kabbalistic tradition anticipates this banquet. was the long-term consequence of an attempt to reduce authority. There. A concentration of power is only ever provisional. of modern. which is indivisible. Even the soul is only a component of a machine created by man. employed as its state symbolism the hammer and sickle. To read Schmitt's Hobbes book is to read an account of the internal decay of the thought of the one modern thinker who came closer than anyone to a genuinely political conception of human order. was not only pre-modern. A state conceived of in these terms lacks the form-giving. with the help of technical ideas. however. the origin. it was drawn from an Old Testament myth which had as much resonance in the kabbalist tradition as in seventeenth-century Puritanism. Which brings us to anti-Semitism. This foreign element. private freedoms. to power.associations. at a final messianic banquet. Finally. T h e decay seems inevitable. for Schmitt. striving for an electrified earth. Jews .Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 452 Charles Turner the heart of the idea of the state as a man does not halt the process of technification. it was mythological. Schmitt argues that the nineteenth century made it a reality when the forces or 'indirect powers' of contemporary civil society . Moreover. instruments appropriate to a medieval mode of production. T h e problem with Leviathan. This. This argument had already been made in RCPF. which is not. . according to Jellinek and Weber. (Schmitt LSTH: 62) But it is only a factor. In the book ofJob. a general 'neutralisation' occurs and the state in particular is turned into a technical neutral instrument. The relationship between state and subject is one of external protection and external obedience. Here there are palpable continuities of theme with RCPF. forever at the potential mercy of those powers which might oppose it. one of the strongest pieces of evidence that the modern age was 'incapable of representation' was the fact that the future-oriented Soviet Union. his concept of the state therewith becomes a factor in the great four century process in which. but completes it. the sea monster Leviathan and the land monster Behemoth appear as pagan.

but whether it is in 'masonic lodges. It is of the essence of an indirect power that it blurs the clear connection between state command and political danger. as set down in the chapter of Leaiathan devoted to miracles.y the state. is that Hobbes's great man has become something inhuman and subhuman. was turned on its head. A worldly god which is merely a public power has only the simulacra of divinity on its side. and above all here once again the shifting spirit of the Jew. in which miracles are whatever the state says miracles are. T h e bearers of the inner freedom which had been allowed to remain surreptitiously were: secret societies and organisations. T h e absolute state can demand everything. Spinoza. Any recognition of the opposition between inner and outer is already a recognition of the superiority of the inner. was the crack in Hobbes's ostensibly gapless system. but only externally. since the eighteenth century. Thus 'a small switch of thought deriving from Jewish existence. behaviour and conviction. His writings gave rise to 'the first great and true opposition between German wisdom and the Jewish tactic of making distinctions'. in a few years seals the fate of Leviathan' (pp. T h e effect of this. pietists.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 The strange anti-liberalism cf C a d Schmitt 453 Freedom of conscience. and out of the irresponsibility of a . a state open to the legislative coercion which Schmitt described in 1943 as 'motorized legislation'. rosicrucians. Such legislation coincided with the triumph of Leviathan's old opponents. It was 'the first liberal Jew'. but was to be thefi)undation of the state. 95) they are all opponents of Leviathan. who knew most precisely how to assess this situation to the point where the relationship between public and private. according to Schmitt. a basic principle which was not be protected b. sectarians of all sorts. protection and obedience. This superiority has many forms. and carried with plain consistency. destroyed from the inside by parasites. 88-9). conventicles. between power and responsibility. illuminists. Reinhardt Koselleck's Critique rrnd Crisis is. for all the priase heaped upon it. (Schmitt LSTH: 92) It was Moses Mendelsohn who understood that the undermining of the state meant the emancipation of his people. It was this gap. but only in the form of the positivist Gesetzstaat. indirect powers which threaten the state's unambiguous power to provide protection in return for obedience. mystics. the many 'silent in the country'. which subsequent liberal and Jewish thought exploited. synagogues or literary circles' (p. who seized upon the Hobbesian separation of inner and outer and reversed the priority. It lived on in the nineteenth century. developing out of it the basic principle of freedom of thought and expression of opinion. an extended elaboration of the Schmittian point that the history of enlightenment is the history of the expansion of this crack within an absolutist state to the point where a morality of private conscience becomes the criterion from which to judge and possibly condemn existing political arrangements. but only for public purposes. freemasons.

In earlier works Schmitt had referred to him.ll Stahl is described here as merely the cleverest of those members of a nineteenthcentury 'Jewish Front' which includes Marx. Conclusion There is not the space here to enter into the complexity of Schmitt's position in 1938. according to Schmitt. non-Catholic world is incapable of representation and has reduced authority to power is proof enough of Schmitt's enigmatic status. But by the 1930s he had become Stahl-Jolson. but also with entree into the sanctuary of a German state which was still highly stable [sehr solzde]. to trace the relationship between his Catholicism and his anti-Semitism. enjoys all the advantages and faces none of the dangers of political power. Heine and the Rothschilds. Stahl. Perhaps his work is best summed up by saying that his account of the modern world is pervaded by a sense of what the modern world lacks. for which the problem of authority is largely non-existent.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 454 Charles Turner domination which is no less intense for being indirect. and it was. that this relationship between the modern state as a power organization and those powers which act in a state-related fashion in a competition for resources is the staple diet of modern political sociology. not least because Schmitt was at his most anti-Semitic when he was least Catholic. It was a search which sometimes led him to contrast the modern . 118). Unlike them. and by his search for the next best thing. From the position of high office he was able to ideologically deceive and spiritually paralyse the innermost workings of this state . Stahl defended the monarchy against parliamentarianism. The organizations which now represent that freedom have come to resemble the guests at the kabbalists' messianic banquet. Stahl (1802-61) was a Bavarian Jew who converted to Protestantism. conventionally. baptism provided him not only with entrke into society. an advocate of Prussian conservatism grounded in the idea of a Christian state. who had changed his name from Jolson. The anti-Semitic tone continues with Schmitt's treatment of Friedrich Julius Stahl.monarchy. constitutionalism which ultimately weakened the 'Prussian military state' from within and led to the defeat of 1918. and the Lutheran Church. (Schmitt LSTH: 117) The upshot was that Leviathan broke apart on the distinction between state and individual freedom. That a positive reference to the solidity of a Prussian state founded upon Lutheranism could have come from the pen of one who had written that the modern. too. But the monarchy he defended was a constitutional monarchy. as E J. They are merely 'the knife with which anti-individualist forces cut up Leviathan and divided the flesh amongst themselves' (p. It is worth noting. (Schmitt LSTH: 108) Believing himself a conservative. aristocracy.

as he does implicitly in Der Nomos der Erde. in A Unioersal H2stor. With no reference at all to the sociology of social groups. 'The age of neutralizations and depoliticizations'. he attempts to write the empirical history of the modern state as though it can be understood in terms of elements of Hobbesian political philosophy. it also makes him one of its Rousseaus. Schmitt simplistically maps one type of group o n to another. 'Appropriation/distribution/producrion:toward a proper formulation of the basic questions of any social and economic order'. But in Hobbes Schmitt saw a political theory which. what Hobbes called the equivalent of 'wormes in the entrayles of a natural man'. this was the way matters appeared in 1938. but which also produced a theory of secularization in which pre-modern theological concepts live on in modern secularized form. 'The plight of European jurisprudence'. according to Hobbes. 103. a theme which has obvious continuities with medieval Furstenspzegel literature. while it mistakenly reduced authority to power and made of the state a preventive mechanism. nor to the magisterial work of the legal historian Gierke o n these matters. 'The constitutional theory of federation'. Telns 95 (Spring 1993). At least. T h e suppression of civil society organizations is thus an act which ensures 'concrete order'. constituted a threat to the state's unity. His interest in Hobbes does not make him the Hobbes of the twentieth century. saw the ultimate purpose of the state as the prevention of civil war and the maintenance of peace. 1975. Hobbes himself was thinking of sects of one sort or another.y of Injamy. and to this extent Heinrich Meier is surely right. London: Penguin. Glos 52 (Summer 1987). Elos 9 1 (Spring 1992). than upon those forces which. T h u s any intermediate organization or association is a potential threat to the unity of the modern state. Moreover. Glos 96 (Summer 1993). p. if it makes him the twentieth-century's Hobbes. For a Catholic conservative the great irony of this is that. . the reference to 'failure' in the title would have been omitted. But Schmitt chose to focus. in 1938. 7210s 83 (Spring 1990). clubs and interest groups which both liberal democratic and social democratic theorists have long seen as central to the unity and stability of a modern polity.~mof Car1 Schmitt 455 with the pre-modern political world. in such a way that the development of nineteenth-century liberal institutions and interest groups is theorized as the cruel exploitation by Jewish-liberal thinkers of weaknesses in Hobbes's system. Had Schmitt restricted his account of Hobbes to this theme. less on the theme of maintaining peace as such. 2 'The legal world revolution'. Schmitt meanwhile drew an analogy between threats to the unity of the state in the seventeenth century and the sorts of associations.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 The strange anti-liberali. University o f Warwick Notes 1 'A theologian in death'. T h e consistent if not social-philosophically acute conclusion of this kind of reasoning is that the suppression of such organizations in a world in which the pursuit of power is a zero-sum game is to be welcomed.

H. (1995) Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism. (1975) A Universal H i s t o ~ y of Infum)~. (1974) Donoso Cortes. Graham.2). McCormick. Leo Strauss and the revival of Hobbes in Weimar Germany'. client and service staff. economic. Cambridge. just as in the public realm there is a legal. Holmes. New Haven. (1993) The Return of the Politzcul. preserving the unity of the law's will. Gottfried. von Krockow. (1919) Authority in the Modern State. Lowith. J. Laski. pp. artist and patron. J. von Krockow (1990). see Der Nomos der Erde. CT: Yale University Press. J. Thomas Hobbes: Leben und Lehre. Schmitt. Cambridge. see Laski (1919: ch. teacher and pupil. 471-88. Mouffe. Gottfried (1991). Cambridge: Polity. For Schmitt's remark on Tonnies as a Hobbes scholar. 11 Embarrassingly. Dublin. Plessner [l93 l] (1981: 194-5) 7 On this. 10 For an account of this distinction. C. ([1931]1981) 'Macht und menschliche Natur'. C. 8 See. Cambridge: Polity. 3rd ed. and a social politics alongside that of state and party. Borges. 12343. C. J. H. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. New York: Columbia University Press. one of a series of anti-liberal. Graham (1974). as for the 'motorized' legislator. Liberalism and Socialism. Brighton: Harvester. (1950) Der Nomos der Erde. Nisbet (1986). and. cultural and religious politics. from the left. 1925. References Bauman. Richard Rorty's advice (1982) to 'accept the metaphysics of the day'. MA: Harvard University Press. R. Zeitschr!ftfur Vulkerrecht 12 (1923).([1919]1985a)Political Romanticism. Polztical Theory 22(4). in Gesammelte SchriftenV. -([1922]1985b) Political Theology. Bauman's position implies as much disdain for the juridical interpreter. K. MA: MIT Press. Habermas. and in whatever private relationship we care to mention. (1982) Consequences of Pragmatism. S. . 'Hobbes und das Zoon Politikon'. in his introduction to Political Romanticism Guy Oakes refers uncritically to Schmitt's apparent resurrection of 'the obscure Jewish figure Stahl-Jolson' (see Schmitt 1985a: xxxiv).2). see 1950: 65. London: Verso. see Zygmunt Bauman's Legislators and Interpreters (1987). 200-12. Cambridge. doctor and patient. Z. which is at the same time an appeal to the continuities of European history. (1987) Legislators and Interpreters. (1986) Conservatism. MA: M I T Press. Plessner: There is politics between husband and wife. F! (1991) CarlSchmztt: Politics and Theory.Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 456 Charles Turner 3 See Holmes (1993: ch. for instance. pp. Nisbet. ---. Koln: Greven. Rorty. His elevation of the postmodernist-pluralist interpreter above the modernistlegislator is quite different from Schmitt's appeal to jurisprudence. (1994) 'Fear. 9 See Spengler (1928). Stuttgart: Frohmann.-L. (1993) The Anatomy of'AntiLiberalism. Donoso Cortes (1988) Essay on Catholicism. 4 On Donoso Cortes (1808-53) see Cortes (1888). London: Greenwood Press. Plessner. (1990) Die Entscheidung. Ulmen (1991) and Mouffe (1993). Frankfurt am Main: Campus. 5 E Tonnies. for instance. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. J. T. on De Bonald (1754-1840). ([1962]1989) The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. whose laws amount to decrees. technology and the state: Car1 Schmitt. See. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. 6 This is in itself hardly original.London: Penguin. R. anti-modernist texts which have marked Bauman's later years.

Ulmcn. Telos 91. ---. Telos 83. Weinheim: Acta Humaniora.Miinchen: Beck.Cambridge. Spengler.T h e strunge antz-lzberulzsm (?f Curl Schmztt Downloaded By: [NEICON Consortium] At: 15:38 15 May 2008 -([l92811 9 8 5 ~ The ) Crtsis of Parlimentarj~Democmr:)~. ---.(1987) 'The legal world revolution'. Telos 72. -(1992) 'The constitutional theory of federation'. (1928) L)ie3ahre der Entsrheidz~ng. New Brunswick: Rutgers. 7210s 96. --. M A : M I T Press. .([l93311997) The Concept cif'the Political. G. --. ---. (199 1) M a x IVeber unrl Curl Schmitt. 0.(1990) 'The plight of European jurisprudence'. Telos 95.(1993) Appropriation/distribution/ production: toward a proper formulation 457 of the basic questions of any social and economic order'.(1993) 'The age of neutralizations and depoliticizations'.