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One For the classical Greek authors of political theory, it was inconceivable that anyone outside of the polis could be a human. A human could be human only in a society, and this society could only be one that was both permanently established and internally consistent—that is, it could only be a constitutional and thus political society. The resulting deﬁnition, that the human is essentially a political being, became problematic with the expansion of a religion that did not conceive itself as a political theocracy or as a religion of political virtues and observances— but rather deﬁned itself as being disinterested, indiﬀerent, and structurally neutral with regard to social and political matters. Nobis nulla magis res aliena quam publica—this sentence, from the Apologeticum of Tertullian, states that nothing is more alien to Christians than public matters of the empire.1 The statement was not just an assurance of the harmlessness of an apolitical sect, it also contained a declaration of independence from the prerogatives of the sphere of politics and introduced a new distinction into the determination of being human—a distinction that
The South Atlantic Quarterly 103:2/3, Spring/Summer 2004. Copyright © 2004 by Duke University Press.
a social being.’’ that is. . That public. The prominent political theories of modernity are political theologies of a democratism of Protestant provenance. compared to the distinction that had been introduced between the political community and the community of faith. as universal and equally valid for ‘‘all peoples. This becomes clear in the works of Hobbes. It was of secondary importance that the community of the faithful organized itself in the ecclesia as civitas according to the model of the imperium—secondary. between the public sphere and the sphere of interiority. moreover. Tocqueville describes it in detail in his ‘‘La démocracie en Amérique. however discreetly. or linguistic belonging. which can be seen in heretical and reform movements no less than in the dogmatic and orthodox tendencies—and which became especially prominent in the most successful of these reform movements. ethnic. but. however. the Protestant Reformation. The Christian religion was not a civil religion for the citizens of a nation-state. since Christian apostles and teachers proclaimed their Evangelium as ‘‘catholic. This movement. It presented itself as universal anthropo-theology. following the path of a paradoxical conformism.’’ and the structural Christianity of the modern state is the basis for the universal polemic that Marx directed against the state-theology of the political emancipation of the bourgeoisie in his brief and still scandalizing text ‘‘On the Jewish Question’’ (1844).344 Werner Hamacher has been a constant source of disturbance in the political and theological aﬀairs of European and Near Eastern cultures ever since. on the other hand. Hegel systematizes it as a political theology of history. put into eﬀect its principle of the universal equality of individuals (that is. led to the democratic revolutions of the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. This claim to the universality of human interiority and internal sociality led. political matters were matters alien to Christians meant nothing other than that the human was henceforth not only a political being. between political constitution and psychic participation. and above all. It introduced itself with the claim that it was the religion of humans in general. Politics. and clearer in those of Rousseau and of Kant. and assumed the form of modern democracy—a form that we still inhabit today. The split was widened further.’’ without consideration for national. of the individual’s unmediated bond with both God and the community). to a particular kind of politicity. transformed into the sphere that was able to guarantee the neutrality of the constituents of the state with regard to the political. nor was it the religion of a transnational imperium. between res publica and res intima. was thereby. and of the divinity of man as such.
but just religion in general. whatever religion it may be’’ (154). unsocial aspect. and. because in it the human—and not just one man but every man—counts as the sovereign and supreme being. democracy pursues the structural deprivileging of Christianity as a confession. Democracy is the political form par excellence of Christianity. and more painfully the rift. still remains between political state and human society. he follows the argumentative schema of Hegel and Feuerbach when he ﬁnds this sovereign human within the political organization of his time to be a mere fantasy construction and dream: ‘‘The political form of democracy is Christian. The Christian distinction as declared by Tertullian thus dominates. . The ‘‘sovereignty’’ of man. the political emancipation—and therefore the political absorption—of religion is still not the same as the social emancipation—and absorption—of religion. This means. but has become the res publica christiana. because it abstracts. even when the res publica is no longer res aliena. however. Essentially Christian. Marx continues his argument. and thus it need not make the Christian religion the required state religion. since democracy knows the human only as the . within it. ‘‘it is a state that abstracts itself from the religion of its members’’ (155). while put into eﬀect in the political state. the religion of religiosity itself. in a word. as he is given beneath the domination of inhuman conditions and elements—this man is. political democracy is Christian and the sovereignty—that is. Democracy itself is religion—the religion of the religion and the religion to end all religions—therefore. now brought to virtual universality in the form of political democracy. But the human in his . the divinity—of man is a secular maxim within democracy. But.’’ 2And yet. in his contingent existence. that Christianity for Marx is not one among a multitude of historical or possible religions. according to Marx. religion must become a private matter. and proves itself as such ‘‘by grouping the most diverse kinds of worldviews within the form of Christianity—and even more so in that it never demands Christianity from its followers. however. ‘‘The perfection of the Christian state is achieved in the state that confesses itself as a state’’ (‘‘der sich als Staat bekennt’’). . but is instead of universal religious signiﬁcance—‘‘von universalreligiöser Bedeutung (154)’’ Christianity is the religion of all religions. the human who is not yet a real being of the species.The Right to Have Rights 345 Two Marx takes as his starting point that the fundamental postulate of Christianity is the sovereignty of man. for the most part. and absorbs itself in its confession as a state. is not yet a social reality. This distinction. withdraws.
The double title ‘‘rights of man and of the citizen’’ is thus pleonastic: it deﬁnes the one term (man) in terms of the other (citizen) and thus determines the human not in human terms but in political ones and. of determining at once the ‘‘essence’’ of man—his principally rational essence—as well as the status of man prior to civilization. of birth and naturally grown authenticity. knows the human only as ‘‘the human in opposition to the human. has the double meaning here. ethnic. and linguistic properties. consequently. in all of the constitutions quoted. belief. The state. deﬁnes the human as being against another human. and opinion. The constitutive gesture of the nation-state lies in its deﬁnition itself. while being structurally Christian. Marx gives evidence for this structural rift in the concept of Man in his analysis of the French Déclarations des droits de l’homme et du citoyen (Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen) of 1791 and 1793.346 Werner Hamacher citizen ‘‘estranged’’ and ‘‘alienated’’ from the human. as the political being who is separated from himself as a social being. the political being of man is. In the concept of nation as well. expressly determined as a naturally political being: the concept of nature. Essentially homogenizing and conformist. is the political form of the undoing of Christianity. The structurally Christian democracy deﬁnes who is human and as such ‘‘free’’. the democratic state form comes to its perfection by instituting an unbridgeable rift between the human and itself—thereby dissolving the very concept and the very essence of the human that it continues to promulgate.’’ and knows man only as antiman. Moreover. But this human right of faith is nothing other than a civil right: it is the right of a member of political society. All of these documents accord faith (as the free practice of a religious cult. that of freedom. a precivil right within a nation-state. and of the constitutions of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. as freedom of conscience and of opinion) with the privilege of being a human right. its . This is either stated explicitly in the documents or is argued as a consequence of another human right. guaranteed in these declarations as human and civil rights—human as civil rights—of freedom therefore constitute only a natural. The freedom of conscience. as it does in the long tradition of natural law. however.and national-political right. that deﬁnes itself above a diﬀuse amalgam of territorial. as the human who stands in opposition to every other human—and thus democracy. in the so-called autonomous selfdeﬁnition by which it deﬁnes—by deﬁning them as the members of its system—who qualiﬁes for the rights of man and qualiﬁes as human. although dedicated to the idea of an undivided. universal humanity. the mythical concept natio is present.
neither Christian nor rigorously atheist—a state. however. as human-counterhuman. and at every moment. It is a state against itself. from its very beginning. Civil society is a society against society. the proprietor of his freedom—and. property’’). in its totality. a political state against the societal state. but rather upon the separation—‘‘der Absonderung’’—of man from man. as owner and proprietor. and. la propriété’’ (‘‘These rights etc. with a sovereignty that. outside itself. The man of universal human rights is the owner of his own goods. And he cites the sixth article. The human is thus determined as a human against his own essence. just as with his natural qualities. with its deﬁnition of freedom: ‘‘La liberté est le pouvoir qui appartient à l’homme de faire tout ce qui ne nuit pas aux droit d’autrui’’ (‘‘Liberty is the power.The Right to Have Rights 347 deﬁnition is. he deﬁnes himself as the enemy of every one of his fellow men. as he calls it—the second article: ‘‘Ces droits etc. but instead the limit—‘‘die Schranke—of his freedom’’ (157–58). Marx quotes from the Déclaration des droits de l’homme from 1793—the most radical one. the owner of his rights. la sûreté. The presumptive humanism of modern anthropo-theological democratic politics is in fact a structural antihumanism and an essentialist antiessentialism. (les droits naturels et impréscriptibles) sont: l’égalité. It is the right of this separation—Das Recht dieser Absonderung—the right of the limited individual who is limited to himself. neither state nor human community. According to Article 2 from the Declaration of 1791—‘‘Le but de toute association politique est la conservation des droits . but an exclusion. And this limit poses itself. The Christian state is. it is neither political nor societal. [Civil society] does not allow every man to ﬁnd the realization of his freedom in other men. since it can be a political state only if it is the state of a society. therefore. of man in general and thus also as the enemy of himself. in his property and in the arbitrariness with which he may dispose of this property at his own discretion (à son gré ). not only a predicative determination. la liberté. The naturally and nationally political man is thus constituted as a human whose limits are deﬁned by other humans that exist both within and beyond a given political organization. consists in the permanent undoing of every form of sovereignty whatsoever. to do anything that does not harm the rights of another’’). a state of exception. security. an association of dissociated egotisms. [the natural and imprescriptible rights] are: equality. like every deﬁnition. belonging to man. if at all. And Marx comments ‘‘The human right of freedom does not base itself upon the tie of man to man. in its own self-declaration. excepting itself. that it is indeed merely the means of the conservation of natural egotisms. and it states. . . .
which makes external all national. there is no possibility. to whom executive power is entrusted de jure. and 2) ‘‘The splitting of man into the public and the private man . The universal rights of man are the rights of the policeman: they are rights that every individual must apply to himself and to everyone else in order to be able to become and secure the human being of democratic-Christian. and the executive—thus deﬁning political society as policed society. Politics is essentially national and international police politics. ‘‘Security is the highest social concept of bourgeois society. no more than it even seeks to eliminate it’’ (150). Three Thus Marx insists on two points: 1) ‘‘Only under the domination of Christianity. as guardian of nature and of the diﬀerence of society from society—the police rule. . of topping this political emancipation with social emancipation. And further that 4). ethical and theoretical relations of man. the de facto point of convergence for all essential state functions—the legislative. . and opposed individuals’’ (168). Democracies indeed invoke universalist principles valid for all humans. the concept of the police’’ (158). . is the completion of political emancipation. tearing apart all species-connections of man. according to Marx who on this point can draw on Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. the judicial. anthropotheological. antisocial political society. was civil society able to completely separate itself from the life of the state. Politics is the perpetuation of nature by the means of the rights of freedom. At the center of this politics— as guardian of the constitution. dissolving the human world into a world of atomistic. but rather the essence of diﬀerence (quoted in Marx 150).348 Werner Hamacher naturels et impréscriptibles de l’homme’’ (‘‘The purpose of every political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man’’) (quoted in Marx 159). Thus it follows that 3). . antagonistic. The police. which thus does nothing to eliminate the actual religiosity of man. the possibilities of Christianity as a political form are exhausted in the establishment and enstatement of the sovereignty of the individual in the democratic nation-state and in the democratic international. and who deﬁnes himself— . natural. The spirit of democratic society is thus the presocial and antisocial bellum omnium contra omnes of Hobbes’s state of nature—a condition in which it is not the essence of society that is realized. but the principles are those of universal human egotism. are. internal to this political form. . of the human who is split from his own universality.
His diagnosis proved disastrously correct and. What is universal is only the split from the universal and the rift within it: this is the principle of politics in general. Marx calls it ‘‘the essence of diﬀerence’’ (150). and that was restated and relegalized in the United Nations (UN) charter on human rights in the middle of the twentieth century. diﬀerence. furthermore—including those incorporated in the UN charter. but there is also not a single universally recognized transnational executive for the implemenation and enforcement of these rights. He held fast to the idea that this essence of diﬀerence—capital—would cease to separate society from civil society. Only capital—the agent of social. which are conceived according to private law—are paradoxical. that international capital is being put to use for a select few. things are not any diﬀerent. not national. but that has been apparent for almost a century. and they are therefore conceived not as public rights but as private rights. the distance from a human society—a distance that was already formalized in the human rights declarations of the French and North American constitutions. and the situation will not change for as long as not all states have at the very least submitted themselves to an international penal court. a little less than a hundred years later. however. capital. human rights are only conceived in national state laws. that thus democratic state ‘‘societies’’ have not become human societies. and he never ceased to speak for the possibility that this essence of diﬀerence might be put to use by society. because it is the principle of the transcendental empirical divinity ruling over it. and . According to Marx’s diagnosis.3 Fifty years later. had to be sharpened by Hannah Arendt. international.The Right to Have Rights 349 structurally psychotic—as human-against-human and not as the human-forhuman of the universal social man. in fact. political. to divide ends from means and sever individuals from themselves and each other. and similarly global. This was the situation when Arendt published The Origins of Totalitarianism in 1951. however. that political systems still have not become socialized. still remains uncertain. According to her ﬁndings. and strife—is global. Something that no longer remains uncertain. Human rights. What will become of this essence and its abominations. is the brutal fact that all Hegelian-Christian prognoses concerning the course of history are further than ever from their fulﬁllment. and economic separation. This is not only due to the lack of a universally binding institution that would be able to determine deﬁnitively what might precisely constitute human rights beyond all private-legal claims. self-contradictory. or global ones. anyone who is stateless is also without rights.
for themselves and their citizens. France in 1927. Arendt explains this catastrophic turn of national governments against the universalism of human rights by pointing out that a global power to guarantee these rights was lacking (279). said to be inalienable and thoroughly independent. was done according to due legal procedure and thus in the ﬁnal instance under the perverse sanction of the human rights themselves. forced deportation. on the other hand. has become a political mass phenomenon since the First World War at the latest. which had been programmed into the structure of human rights itself. a paradox that allows Arendt to speak of ‘‘the perplexities of the rights of man’’ (290). placed under the legal and executive sovereignty of exactly the same historical powers—the powers of national governments. Egypt and Turkey in 1926. These governments thus can claim. Her argument implies the further explanation. and the refusal of the rights of asylum—all of these have been enacted by ‘‘sovereign’’ nation-states with the rights of man written into their constitutions. or government. as well as able to depict themselves as particular representatives of the regulative idea of ‘‘humanity. Russia in 1921. to be sure. This loss. Italy in 1926. Belgium in 1922. nation. are thus de facto made dependent on a particular. All this. Portugal in 1916. since their validity is not permitted to depend on any historical or empirical instance. thereby producing millions of people who belonged to no state and had no civil rights and thus no human rights. But these rights are. Laws of denaturalization and denationalization. And she goes further and speaks of an ‘‘end of rights of man’’ (267). Referring to rulings in France in 1915. that this perversion is made possible by the internal structure of . The identiﬁcation of human rights with the rights of ‘‘sovereign’’ national governments leads to the inescapable consequence that the loss of civil rights is identical with the loss of human rights. and Germany in 1933.350 Werner Hamacher possibly self-defeating in their deﬁnition: they are determined as natural and inalienable rights.’’ Human rights. that is. however. especially in light of Marx’s critique of the ﬁrst human rights declarations. alien power to guarantee them. enforced emigration. Herein lies the fundamental and unresolvable paradox of human rights. that they are able to deﬁne the standard of human rights within their own borders. Those robbed of their legal status were then able to be deprived of their minimal human right—the right to live—and could become subject of stateorganized murder. on any particular people. and are thus exposed to the arbitrary will and the special interests of this power. the deprivation of civil rights.
a ‘‘rogue. the aim of which would be the annihilation of rights and freedoms introduced in this declaration. their own use toward the destruction of precisely these human rights. Not only were the so-called denaturalization laws enacted by the same powers that had included human rights in their constitutions. without this contradiction causing the slightest legal or political consequence. The authors of the 1948 human rights charter of the UN may have been the ﬁrst technicians of international law to whom this horrendous paradox was clear. extending to the withdrawal of the right of life itself. in which the enemy can be declared to be a criminal.’’ or ‘‘scum of the earth. But. for the defense against every attack (and even every presumed attack) on the integrity of the private person or the nation-state. the ‘‘rights of man’’—as private rights and rights of property and protection—are thus elements of a law of international civil war. Human rights themselves cannot prevent. the end. not only of human rights and thereby of rights in general. In the thirtieth and ﬁnal article in their declaration. The withdrawal of civil rights.’’ In the concentration and extermination camps. but also the end of the possibility of conceiving of what is called ‘‘man’’ within legal concepts. it was the human rights themselves that sanctioned this ﬂagrant contradiction in that they allowed. . according to the authors of the article. the article expressly concedes that every individual human right can be used toward the annihilation of human rights. the essential content of human rights—its antisocial and antihuman and thus suicidal content—made itself manifest. in every meaning of the word. moreover. as rights of property and security. It cannot be prevented. group or person is given the right to exercise a capacity or take an action. was legitimated and indeed legalized—this is the epitome of the structural perversion of these rights—by the so-called human rights themselves.The Right to Have Rights 351 human rights themselves.’’ 4 With this hermeneutic protection clause. for anyone to portray the self-destruction of law as a legal occurrence. a nonhuman. they included the following sentence: ‘‘No determination contained within the present declaration may be interpreted in such a way that any state. as well as the concomitant withdrawal of human rights. These camps are. and that it is a matter of the interpretation and application of human rights alone—and thus a matter that pertains to something other than a merely legal power—that keeps the double bind of legal rights from becoming suicidal. according to this article. but it would nonetheless be wrong. According to their internal structure.
and this remains nevertheless as a structural and historical fact. We became aware of the existence of a right to have rights (and that means to live in a framework where one is judged by one’s actions and opinions) and a right to belong to some kind of organized community.’’ (296–97) These considerations. the universalist concept of the legally ‘‘civilized’’ ‘‘One World’’ is structurally laid bare and historically brought to its end. but. and following the introduction of the more concrete concepts of the rights of action and of opinion as the politically and socially decisive rights. indeed. The trouble is that this calamity arose not from any lack of civilization. that it could not be repaired.352 Werner Hamacher Four Hannah Arendt rejects every attempt to tie hopes—of correction. only when millions of people emerged who had lost and could not regain these rights because of the new global political situation. In them. which are clearly decisive for Arendt’s work. these rights may continue to exist and produce certain salutary eﬀects—and. Here only two remarks must suﬃce: 1) The explusion from humanity can only be understood as a legal-administrative and political operation by which the legal logic of human rights deﬁned as natural and private rights reveal their implications. on the contrary. Thus Arendt can speak of ‘‘the end of rights of man. or mere tyranny. require an extended commentary. This One World is the world that can ﬁrst exterminate in every sense of the word the One Humanity—by bringing this humanity to its furthest limit. backwardness. A fact that may still be capable of bringing forth far more terrifying epochs . because whether we like it or not we have really started to live in One World. by excluding it from the limits of its own concept. because there was no longer any ‘‘uncivilized’’ spot on the earth.’’ Following this end. she continues. or to supranational powers or to a global government. Only with a completely organized humanity could the loss of home and political status become identical with expulsion from humanity altogether. and by conceptually and physically annihilating it. After energetically keeping her distance from the (supposedly) fundamental rights of freedom and justice. they still today invite and demand their deployment and further implementation—but they are unredeemable as merely national or international political rights. of an improvement in or political surpassing of the legally codiﬁed human rights—to a progress in legal culture.
may not be handled like a piece of data—since this right would be able to be granted by humanity itself in its entirety alone—it must rather be treated as a principally open right. Every given determination of man breaks with his right of belonging to humanity. of humanity. a prelegal premise. a right that does not belong to the catalog of human rights. since these determinations could not but bind this right to certain predicates. for instance. because it is the unconditional condition of all rights. . and paradigms (to the concept of the person. and indeed inalienable and unrelinquishable. the right to a future community and the right of this unpredictable. freedom and security of his person. It must be. whether it be given by the vague power of nature or by particular historical-cultural powers and habits. with the end of human rights. Arendt calls it ‘‘the right to have rights. Therefore. for every present time. and barely belongs to juridically deﬁnable rights at all. that is. this privilege is preceded neither by a natural nor a historical determination of man. because only the humanity and humaneness that are not yet given would be able to determine what or who a human is. unprogrammable future itself—a right. another right announces itself.’’ She characterizes it as ‘‘the right of every individual to belong to humanity’’ (298). the right to have rights is a privi-legium in the strictest sense. in which it is left open. The right to have rights therefore suspends all given. It simply cannot belong to them as one of their series. who a human may be. would restrict the right to have rights. This right of having rights and of belonging to humanity is not contained in any historical declaration of human rights: every existing declaration starts out with the descriptive or prescriptive deﬁnition of what man is—by nature and according to his essence—and seeks to elaborate speciﬁc rights beﬁtting him on the basis of this being. The charter of 1948 states in this sense that ‘‘All men are free and equal in dignity and rights by birth. It must be the right of the cessation and ex-position of . This right. The end is not over yet. . equality.The Right to Have Rights 353 than the one we would like to claim lies behind us. and therefore limit its absoluteness. a protoright. qualities. open to humans and open to their humanity. all posited rights that claim to deﬁne the substance of man. and which rights may be granted to him aside from this unique one of belonging to humanity and of formulating his rights correspondingly. to come. And 2). Every given determination. nor to that of state and civil rights that are supported by them. (.’’ In distinction to such rights.) Every human has the right to life. naturalness). properties. what a human may be. and its humaneness. of security. therefore legally uncodiﬁable. of belonging to humanity and of having its rights.
in any essentialist sense. a state. that Arendt speaks of here. deprived of expression within action upon a common world. for those who exist in ‘‘the abstract nakedness of being human’’ (299) as ‘‘a human being in general—without a profession. or even just a language. ‘‘The right to have rights’’ is a right that gives rights their possibility. Arendt therefore speaks of ‘‘unqualiﬁed mere existence’’ (301). predicates. however. the right of rights claims the belonging to humanity independently from every natural or political legitimation. as either beneﬁcial to life or life-threatening. sovereign nation-states and their federations. and property—as well as in its impossibility of being substantially determined by these particular rights or those predicates or this property. transforming. she or it may be. alienated in every sense of the word. ‘‘Unqualiﬁed mere existence. While the classical human rights are only valid for the citizens of political organizations. . whoever or whatever he. but a naked existence without further qualiﬁcation. is—as being excluded from the shared world. of using. can be a being that is capable of nature and open to history. without. representing nothing but his own absolutely unique individuality which. This right is thus valid for all of those who were in the past excluded from civil rights and human rights or who were able to be excluded de jure because they were not viewed as humans. And alone out of its freedom from predicates is mere existence capable of becoming a social existence that is not determined in advance by the appurtenance to a species. Only such a being. without a deed by which to identify and specify himself—and diﬀerent in general. however.’’ which also comprehends the being of animals and of natural and artiﬁcial things. being. without an opinion. and expanding them. The right to have rights is therefore primarily and above all valid for those whom Arendt characterizes as absolutely deprived. is the only universal that is at once utterly singular. machines. The only reality that is laid down in this right is that of this very possibility—of having rights. a group. This mere existence is the only source of law for the right to rights. It is the possibility oﬀered to the existence of each and everyone. exploited and divested. it is existence without qualities and thus mere being in its possibility of claiming the right to qualities. without nature and without history. This bare human existence. loses all signiﬁcance’’ (302).354 Werner Hamacher positive rights. and the right of transforming the so-called human rights in view of the rights for humanity. the source of a gift. but rather— whether metaphorically or not—as animals. without citizenship. distanced from social action and foreign to every signiﬁcant common language—no longer a naked human existence. a nation.
’’ Accordingly. It is the language that claims something—for instance a right—that is not yet given. the euché is—present in every Now of speech— the language of ‘‘unqualiﬁed mere existence. desiring it: he would only be a zoon logon echon as a zoon euchèn echon. Or it may be only an alien world or another world. This euché. which decides whether something is to be connected with something else or not. predicative. vow. pleading for it. The right to have rights—which also means to have political rights—is itself evidently not a political right. not an accomplishment of the logos in general. a protopractical—language at the minimum of its existence. it is the language of a claim to a future that is not yet present and perhaps never will be. What remains of political theory and political anthropo-theology would be just the sheer . and that he is the one only because he is the other. wish.The Right to Have Rights 355 a hapax legomenon. but rather a genuinely practical—indeed. Aristotle’s Politics formulated the double determination of man as a political being and as a being capable of language. it may also be said. plea. a world open to its own alterity. this universal singular could manifest itself—and thus it may not be a world at all. And a Half How is it possible to speak of it? Or to speak it? The classical political theories start by assuming that man is always both a zoon politikon and a zoon logon echon. because this right consists in the minimal and not further reducible claim of the ability to be connected with others—and thus it does not consist in a judgment as to whether such a connection does or does not exist. merely raises the claim to determination. claim. This world could not be a legal one or a world of rights: it would have to be a world in which this eachtime singular universal. however. apophantic logos. is not the language of theory. Aristotle says of it that it is a logos that does not utter a judgment over matters and their relation. Euché means prayer. it is rather accomplished by the judging. as yet undetermined. By it alone a universal order. but rather a parapolitical right whose structure cannot be that of predicative sentences. in a famous passage of his ‘‘peri hermenias. The ability to assign a political status is.’’ he names as the sole example of a nonapophantic logos the euché. Devoid of all predicative content. also curse and malediction. devoid of the power to produce out of itself what is desired. a world—thus more than just a global order—would have to orient itself. the man of the right to have rights would determine himself as the one who. and that it therefore cannot be true or false.
but rather only the relation to its possibility. but rather the beginning of a being that itself has the ability to begin: it is the beginning of a beginning. Apologeticum. the language of the euché is the language of the may. 166. ante quem nullus fuit’ ‘for there to be a beginning. develops. vols. 1917). the plea.’ said Augustine in his political philosophy. Subsequent citations are given in the text. before whom there was nobody. also none about itself: As euché it is the plea—or the prayer—for existence and even for its ‘‘own’’ existence. is not Nothing but Nobody. 1975–). translated by Werner Hamacher. remains or perishes. Alex Souter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1958). doesn’t coincide with the creation of the world: What was before man. And to this extent. Karl Marx. UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/217 A (III) 1948. This language pronounces no judgment as to existence.’’ 5 —Translated by Kirk Wetters Notes 1 Tertullian. Subsequent citations are given in the text. a right to be and to be otherwise. 4 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. or the prayer—a wish that wishes that there may be less and more than politics. wishing that it may be something other than politics. man was created. 3 Hannah Arendt. 2nd ed. of the volo ut sis of the Augustinian deﬁnition of love that is quoted by Arendt in her Vita Activa. It is the medium and the happening of the existence without predicate as the happening of the possibility of such an existence. This beginning that is man insofar as he is somebody. (Cleveland: Meridian. . see Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. creatus est homo. exists in its essence. The Origins of Totalitarianism. 2 On Gattungswesen (species-being). once created. The creation of man is not the beginning of something that. Origins of Totalitarianism. 5 Arendt. trans. A plea that it may be a plea.356 Werner Hamacher existence of this language of the wish. and it is therefore itself not a being. 1 and 2 (Berlin: Dietz. 154. ‘‘‘(Initium) ergo ut esset. and thus a plea without being that is made to an addressee without being—and only thus a right to have rights. that there may be a society and that this society may be that of the absolutely singular. Article 30. Friedrich Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA). 38. the beginning of beginning itself.
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