Carl Schmitt


Carl Schmitt

Carl Schmitt (July 11 1888ndash April 7 1985) was a German jurist, political theorist, and professor of law.

Schmitt published several essays, influential in the 20th century and beyond, on the mentalities that surround the effective wielding of political power. His ideas have attracted the attention of numerous philosophers and political theorists, including Walter Benjamin, Leo Strauss, Jacques Derrida, Etienne Balibar, Giorgio Agamben, Paolo Virno, Slavoj Žižek, Alain Badiou, Jacob Taubes, Chantal Mouffe, and Paul Gottfried. Much of his work remains controversial today, in part due to his involvement with Nazism.

Biography

Early years

Schmitt was born the son of a small businessman in Plettenberg, Westphalia on July 11, 1888; he studied law in Berlin, Munich and Strasbourg and took his graduation and state exams in the then-German Strasbourg in 1915. In 1916 he married his first wife, Pawla Dorotić, a Serbian woman. They were divorced in 1924. In 1925 he married his second wife, Duška Todorović, also Serbian—they had one daughter, called Anima.
Schmitt had earned his habilitation in 1916 in Strasbourg. He taught at various business schools and universities - in Munich, Greifswald, Bonn, Berlin, and Cologne.

Nazi period

Carl Schmitt, who became a professor at the University of Berlin in 1933 (a position he held until the end of World War II) joined the NSDAP on May 1, 1933; he quickly was appointed "Preußischer Staatsrat" by Hermann Göring and became the president of the "Vereinigung nationalsozialistischer Juristen" ("Union of National-Socialist Jurists") in November. He thought his theories as an ideological foundation of the Nazi dictatorship, and a justification of the "Führer" state with regard to legal philosophy, in particular through the concept of "auctoritas".

Half a year later, in June 1934, Schmitt became editor in chief for the professional newspaper "Deutsche Juristen-Zeitung" ("German Jurists' Newspaper"); in July 1934, he justified the political murders of the "Night of the Long Knives" as the "highest form of administrative law" ("höchste Form administrativer Justiz"). Fact|date=February 2007 Schmitt presented himself as a radical anti-semite and also was the chairman of a law teachers' convention in Berlin in October 1936, where he demanded that German law be cleansed of the "Jewish spirit" ("jüdischem Geist"), going so far as to demand that all publications by Jewish scientists should henceforth be marked with a small symbol.

Nevertheless, in December 1936, the SS publication "Das schwarze Korps" accused Schmitt of being an opportunist, a Hegelian state thinker and basically a Catholic, and called his anti-semitism a mere pretense, citing earlier statements in which he criticised the Nazi's racial theories. After this, Schmitt lost most of his prominent offices, and retreated from his position as a leading Nazi jurist, although he retained his post as a professor in Berlin thanks to Göring. Fact|date=March 2007

Post-World War II

In 1945, Schmitt was captured by the American forces; after spending more than a year in an internment camp, he returned to his home town of Plettenberg following his release in 1946, and later to the house of his housekeeper Anni Stand in Plettenberg-Pasel. Despite being isolated from the mainstream of the scholarly and political community, he continued his studies especially of international law from the 1950s on, and he received a never-ending stream of visitors, both colleagues and younger intellectuals, until well into his old age. Among these visitors, important are Ernst Jünger, Jacob Taubes, and Alexandre Kojève.

In 1962, Schmitt gave lectures in Francoist Spain, two of them giving rise to the publication, the following year, of "Theory of the Partisan" (Telos Press, 2007), in which he qualified the Spanish civil war as a "war of national liberation" against "international Communism." Schmitt regarded the partisan as a specific and significant phenomenon that, in the latter half of the twentieth century, indicated the emergence of a new theory of warfare.

Schmitt died on April 7, 1985 and is buried in Plettenberg.

Work

"On Dictatorship"

In 1921, Schmitt became a professor at the University of Greifswald, where he published his essay "Die Diktatur" ("On Dictatorship"), in which he discussed the foundations of the newly-established Weimar Republic, emphasising the office of the "Reichspräsident". In this essay, Schmitt compared and contrasted what he saw as the effective and ineffective elements of the new constitution of his country. To him, the office of the president could be characterized as a comparatively effective element within the new constitution, because of the power granted to the president to declare a state of emergency. This power, which Schmitt discussed and implicitly praised as dictatorial, was seen as more effective, more in line with the underlying mentality of political power, than the comparatively slow and ineffective processes of legislative political power reached through parliamentary discussion and compromise.

Schmitt was at pains to remove what he saw as a squeamish taboo surrounding the concept of "dictatorship" and to show that, in his eyes, the concept is implicit whenever power is wielded through pathways outside the slow and rusty processes of parliamentary politics:

“If the constitution of a state is democratic, then every exceptional negation of democratic principles, every exercise of state power independent of the approval of the majority, can be called dictatorship.”Fact|date=February 2007

For Schmitt, every government capable of decisive action must include a dictatorial element within its constitution. Although the German concept of "Ausnahmezustand" is best translated as "state of emergency", it literally means state of exception which,according to Schmitt, frees the executive from any legal restraints to its power that would normally apply. The use of the term "exceptional" has to be underlined here: Schmitt defines sovereignty as the power to "decide" the instauration of state of exception, as Giorgio Agamben has noted. According to Agamben ["State of Exception" (2005), pp. 52-55.] , Schmitt's conceptualization of the "state of exception" as belonging to the core-concept of sovereignty was a response to Walter Benjamin's concept of a "pure" or "revolutionary" violence, which didn't enter into any relationship whatsoever with right. Through the state of exception, Carl Schmitt included all types of violence under right. According to Giorgio Agamben, this kind of violence, which necessarily bears a juridical value, is another example of the fusion of right to "bare life" (It. vita nuda, Grk. zoe) that transforms the juridical system into a "death machine," able to perform acts of pure violence as needed for self-legitimation, creating "Homo sacer, a being that cannot be "murdered" or "sacrificed" but only killed.

Schmitt opposed what he called "chief constable dictature", or the declaration of a state of emergency in order to save the legal order (a temporary suspension of law, defined itself by moral or legal right): the state of emergency is limited (even if "a posteriori", by law), to "sovereign dictature", in which law was suspended, as in the classical state of exception, not to "save the Constitution", but rather to create another Constitution. This is how he theorized Hitler's continual suspension of the legal constitutional order during the Third Reich (the Weimar Republic's Constitution was never abrogated, underlined Giorgio Agamben; Fact|date=February 2007 rather, it was "suspended" for four years, first at February 28, 1933 Reichstag Fire Decree, with the suspension renewed every four years, implyng a -- continual -- state of emergency).

The direction all this leads, and the reason why Schmitt has been taken so seriously by political theory, is to the theorisation of the crisis and state of emergency as not exceptional moments in political life opposed to some stable normality, but themselves the predominant form of the life of modern nations (according to generation online.org).

"Political Theology"

This was followed by another essay in 1922, titled "Politische Theologie" ("Political Theology"); in it, Schmitt, who at the time was working as a professor at the University of Bonn, gave further substance to his authoritarian theories, effectively denying free will based on a Catholic world view. The book begins with Schmitt's famous, or notorious, definition: "Sovereign is he who decides on the exception." By "exception," Schmitt means the appropriate moment for stepping outside the rule of law in the public interest. (See discussion of "On Dictatorship," above.) Schmitt opposes this definition to those offered by contemporary theorists of sovereignty, particularly Hans Kelsen, whose work is criticized at several points in the essay.

The book's title derives from Schmitt's assertion (in chapter 3) that "all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts" —in other words, that political theory addresses the state (and sovereignty) in much the same manner as theology does God.

A year later, Schmitt supported the emergence of totalitarian power structures in his paper "Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus" (roughly: "The Intellectual-Historical Situation of Today's Parliamentarianism", translated as "The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy" by Ellen Kennedy). Schmitt criticized the institutional practices of liberal politics, arguing that they are justified by a faith in rational discussion and openness that is at odds with actual parliamentary party politics, in which outcomes are hammered out in smoke-filled rooms by party leaders. Schmitt also posits an essential division between the liberal doctrine of separation of powers and what he holds to be the nature of democracy itself, the identity of the rulers and the ruled. Although many critics Who|date=October 2008 of Schmitt today take exception to his fundamentally authoritarian outlook, the idea of incompatibility between liberalism and democracy is one reason for the continued interest in his political philosophyFact|date=October 2008.

"The Concept of the Political"

Schmitt changed universities in 1926, when he became professor for law at the Handelshochschule in Berlin, and again in 1932, when he accepted a position in Cologne. It was in Cologne, too, that he wrote his most famous paper, "Der Begriff des Politischen" ("The Concept of the Political"), in which he developed his theory of "the political". Distinct from party politics, "the political" is the essence of the political. While churches are predominant in religion or society is predominant in economics, the state is predominant in politics. Yet for Schmitt the political was not an autonomous domain equivalent to the other domains, but rather the existential basis that would determine any other domain should it reach the point of politics (e.g. religion ceased to be merely theological when Protestants and Catholics killed one another, becoming instead political). The political is not equal to any other domain, such as the economic, but instead is the most essential to identity. Schmitt, in perhaps his best-known formulation, bases his conceptual realm of state sovereignty and autonomy upon the distinction between "friend" and "enemy". This distinction is to be determined "existentially," which is to say that the enemy is whoever is "in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible." (Schmitt, 1996, p. 27) Such an enemy need not even be based on nationality: so long as the conflict is potentially intense enough to become a violent one between political entities, the actual substance of enmity may be anything. Although there have been divergent interpretations concerning this work, there is broad agreement that "The Concept of the Political" is an attempt to achieve state unity by defining the content of politics as opposition to the "other" (that is to say, an enemy, a stranger. This applies to any person or entity that represents a serious threat or conflict to one's own interests.) In addition, the prominence of the state stands as a neutral force over potentially fractious civil society, whose various antagonisms must not be allowed to reach the level of the political, lest civil war result.

The case "Preussen contra Reich"

Apart from his academic functions, in 1932 Schmitt was counsel for the Reich government in the case "Preussen contra Reich" wherein the SPD-led government of the state of Prussia disputed its dismissal by the right-wing von Papen government. Papen was motivated to make this move because Prussia, by far the largest state in Germany, served as a powerful base upon which the political left could draw, and also provided them with institutional power, particularly in the form of the Prussian Police. One of the counsel for the Prussian government was Hermann Heller. In German history, this struggle leading to the "de facto" destruction of federalism in the Weimar republic is known as the "Preußenschlag"."

Influence

Through Giorgio Agamben, Chantal Mouffe and other writers, Carl Schmitt has become a common reference in recent writings of the intellectual left as well as the right. This debate concerns not only the interpretation of Schmitt’s own positions, but also matters relevant to contemporary politics: the idea that laws of the state cannot strictly limit actions of its sovereign; the problem of a "state of exception", etc.

Schmitt’s influence has also recently been seen as consequential for those interested in contemporary political theology, which is much influenced by Schmitt's argument that political concepts are "secularized theological concepts". The German-Jewish philosopher Jacob Taubes, for example, engaged Schmitt widely in his study of Saint Paul, "The Political Theology of Paul" (Stanford Univ. Press, 2004). Taubes' understanding of political theology is, however, very different from Schmitt's, and emphasizes the political aspect of theological claims, rather than the religious derivation of political claims.

Neoconservatism

Neoconservatism, based on Leo Strauss's teachings, [http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7335 No More Heroes] by Edward Skidelsky, Prospect Magazine, March 2006] has been accused by critics of being influenced by Schmitt.Legal justification
* [http://balkin.blogspot.com/2008/04/thinking-out-loud-about-john-yoo.html Thinking out loud about John Yoo (and about Carl Schmitt)] by Sandy Levinson, Balkinization, April 12, 2008
* [http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=942865 The Bush Regime from Elections to Detentions: A Moral Economy of Carl Schmitt and Human Rights] by Abraham, David, University of Miami - School of Law, University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007-20 May 2007
* [http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=870602 Torture, Necessity and Existential Politics] by Kutz, Christopher L., University of California, Berkeley - School of Law (Boalt Hall), UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 870602, December 2005
* [http://balkin.blogspot.com/2005/11/return-of-carl-schmitt.html The Return of Carl Schmitt] Scott Horton, Balkinization, November 07, 2005
* [http://harpers.org/archive/2008/01/hbc-90002226 Deconstructing John Yoo] by Scott Horton, Harpers, January 23, 2008
* [http://mondediplo.com/2006/09/08democracy The will to undemocratic power] By Philip S Golub, Le Monde Diplomatique, September 2006
* [http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,259860,00.html The Leo-conservatives] by GERHARD SPÖRL, Der Spiegel, August 04, 2003] Most notably the legal opinions offered by John Yoo et al. justifying controversial policies -such as introducing unlawful combatant status which purportedly would eliminate protection by the Geneva Conventions, [War crimes warning
* [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4999734/ Memos Reveal War Crimes Warnings] By Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, May 19 2004
* [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050718/holtzman Torture and Accountability] by Elizabeth Holtzman, The Nation, June 28 2005
* [http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/law/2003/0128uslawyers.htm US Lawyers Warn Bush on War Crimes] By Grant McCool, Lawyers Against the War, Global Policy Forum, January 28 2003
] enhanced interrogation techniques, NSA electronic surveillance program, unitary executive theory- in the war on terror mimic his writings.

Bibliography

English translations of Carl Schmitt

Note: a complete bibliography of all English translations of Schmitt's books, articles, essays, and correspondence is available [http://www.theoria.ca/research/files/SchmittEnglish.pdf here] .
* "The Concept of the Political". George D. Schwab, trans. (University of Chicago Press, 1996; Expanded edition 2006, with an Introduction by Tracy B. Strong). Original publication: 1927, 2nd edn. 1932.
* "Constitutional Theory". Jeffrey Seitzer, trans. (Duke University Press, 2007). Original publication: 1928.
* "The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy." Ellen Kennedy, trans. (MIT Press, 1988). Original publication: 1923, 2nd edn. 1926.
* "Four Articles, 1931 – 1938". Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 1999). Originally published as part of "Positionen und Begriffe im Kampf mit Weimar — Genf — Versailles, 1923 – 1939" (1940).
* "The Idea of Representation: A Discussion". E. M. Codd, trans. (Plutarch Press, 1988), reprint of "The Necessity of Politics" (1931). Original publication: 1923.
* "Land and Sea". Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 1997). Original publication: 1954.
* "Legality and Legitimacy". Jeffrey Seitzer, trans. (Duke University Press, 2004). Original publication: 1932.
* "The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes: Meaning and Failure of a Political Symbol". George D. Schwab & Erna Hilfstein, trans. (Greenwood Press, 1996). Original publication: 1938.
* "The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum". G.L. Ulmen, trans. ( [http://www.telospress.com Telos Press] , 2003). Original publication: 1950.
* "On the Three Types of Juristic Thought". Joseph Bendersky, trans. (Praegar, 2004). Original publication: 1934.
* "Political Romanticism". Guy Oakes, trans. (MIT Press, 1986). Original publication: 1919, 2nd edn. 1925.
* "Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty". George D. Schwab, trans. (MIT Press, 1985)(University of Chicago Press; University of Chicago edition, 2004 with an Introduction by Tracy B. Strong. Original publication: 1922, 2nd edn. 1934.
* "Roman Catholicism and Political Form". G. L. Ulmen, trans. (Greenwood Press, 1996). Original publication: 1923.
* "State, Movement, People" (includes "The Question of Legality"). Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 2001). Original publication: "Staat, Bewegung, Volk" (1933); "Das Problem der Legalität" (1950).
* "Theory of the Partisan". G. L. Ulmen, trans. ( [http://www.telospress.com Telos Press] , 2007). Original publication: 1963; 2nd ed. 1975.
* "The Tyranny of Values". Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 1996). Original publication: 1979.
* "War/Non-War: A Dilemma". Simona Draghici, trans. (Plutarch Press, 2004). Original publication: 1937.

Works in German

* "Über Schuld und Schuldarten. Eine terminologische Untersuchung", 1910.
* "Gesetz und Urteil. Eine Untersuchung zum Problem der Rechtspraxis", 1912.
* "Schattenrisse" (veröffentlicht unter dem Pseudonym ‚Johannes Negelinus, mox Doctor‘, in Zusammenarbeit mit Dr. Fritz Eisler), 1913.
* "Der Wert des Staates und die Bedeutung des Einzelnen", 1914.
* "Theodor Däublers ‚Nordlicht‘: Drei Studien über die Elemente, den Geist und die Aktualität des Werkes", 1916.
* "Die Buribunken", in: "Summa" 1/1917/18, 89 ff.
* "Politische Romantik", 1919.
* Die Diktatur. Von den Anfängen des modernen Souveränitätsgedankens bis zum proletarischen Klassenkampf, 1921.
* "Politische Theologie. Vier Kapitel zur Lehre von der Souveränität", 1922.
* "Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus", 1923.
* "Römischer Katholizismus und politische Form", 1923.
* "Die Rheinlande als Objekt internationaler Politik", 1925.
* "Die Kernfrage des Völkerbundes", 1926.
* "Der Begriff des Politischen", in: "Archiv für Sozialwissenschaften und Sozialpolitik" 58/1927, 1 ff.
* "Volksentscheid und Volksbegehren. Ein Beitrag zur Auslegung der Weimarer Verfassung und zur Lehre von der unmittelbaren Demokratie", 1927.
* "Verfassungslehre", 1928.
* "Hugo Preuß. Sein Staatsbegriff und seine Stellung in der dt. Rechtslehre", 1930.
* "Der Völkerbund und das politische Problem der Friedenssicherung", 1930, 2. erw. Aufl. 1934.
* "Der Hüter der Verfassung", 1931.
* "Der Begriff des Politischen", 1932 (Erweiterung des Aufsatzes von 1927).
* "Legalität und Legitimität", 1932.
* "Staat, Bewegung, Volk. Die Dreigliederung der politischen Einheit", 1933.
* "Das Reichsstatthaltergesetz", 1933.
* "Staatsgefüge und Zusammenbruch des Zweiten Reiches. Der Sieg des Bürgers über den Soldaten", 1934.
* "Über die drei Arten des rechtswissenschaftlichen Denkens", 1934.
* "Der Leviathan in der Staatslehre des Thomas Hobbes", 1938.
* "Die Wendung zum diskriminierenden Kriegsbegriff", 1938.
* "Völkerrechtliche Großraumordnung und Interventionsverbot für raumfremde Mächte. Ein Beitrag zum Reichsbegriff im Völkerrecht", 1939.
* "Positionen und Begriffe im Kampf mit Weimar – Genf – Versailles 1923 – 1939", 1940 (Aufsatzsammlung).
* "Land und Meer. Eine weltgeschichtliche Betrachtung", 1942.
* "Der Nomos der Erde im Völkerrecht des Jus Publicum Europaeum", 1950.
* "Donoso Cortes in gesamteuropäischer Interpretation", 1950.
* "Ex captivitate salus. Erinnerungen der Zeit 1945/47", 1950.
* "Die Lage der europäischen Rechtswissenschaft", 1950.
* "Das Gespräch über die Macht und den Zugang zum Machthaber", 1954.
* "Hamlet oder Hekuba. Der Einbruch der Zeit in das Spiel", 1956.
* "Verfassungsrechtliche Aufsätze aus den Jahren 1924 – 1954", 1958 (Aufsatzsammlung).
* "Theorie des Partisanen. Zwischenbemerkung zum Begriff des Politischen", 1963.
* "Politische Theologie II. Die Legende von der Erledigung jeder Politischen Theologie", 1970.
* "Glossarium. Aufzeichnungen der Jahre 1947-1951, hrsg.v. Eberhard Freiherr von Medem", 1991 (posthum).
* "Das internationale Verbrechen des Angriffskrieges, hrsg.v. Helmut Quaritsch", 1993 (posthum).
* "Staat – Großraum – Nomos, hrsg. von Günter Maschke", 1995 (posthum).
* "Frieden oder Pazifismus?, hrsg. von Günter Maschke", 2005 (posthum).
* "Carl Schmitt: Tagebücher, hrsg. von Ernst Hüsmert", 2003 ff. (posthum).

econdary literature

* Giorgio Agamben, "Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life" (1998).
* Giorgio Agamben, "State of Exception" (2005).
* Gopal Balakrishnan, "The Enemy" (2000). Reviewed [http://www.historycooperative.org/cgi-bin/justtop.cgi?act=justtop&url=http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/107.5/br_150.html here] .
* Eckard Bolsinger, The Autonomy of the Political: Carl Schmitt's and Lenin's Political Realism (2001)
* Jacques Derrida, "Force of Law: The 'Mystical Foundation of Authority'," in "Acts of Religion" (2002).
* Jacques Derrida, "Politics of Friendship" (1997).
* Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, "Empire" (2000).
* Chantal Mouffe (ed.), "The Challenge of Carl Schmitt" (1999).
* Ingo Müller (Deborah Lucas Schneider trans.) (1991). "Hitler's Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich" (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press) ISBN 067440419X
* Ojakangas Mika, "A Philosophy of Concrete Life: Carl Schmitt and the political thought of late modernity" (2nd ed Peter Lang, 2006), ISBN 3039109634
* Ignaz Zangerle, "Zur Situation der Kirche," "Der Brenner" 14 (1933/34): 52 ff.

See also

* Streitbare Demokratie

References

External links

*
* [http://balkin.blogspot.com/2005/11/return-of-carl-schmitt.html The Return of Carl Schmitt] by Scott Horton "Balkinization" 7 November 2005 — discusses the continuing influence of Schmitt's legal theories in modern American politics
* Focus on the [http://www.ljil.leidenuniv.nl/index.php3?c=187 International Theory of Carl Schmitt] in the [http://www.ljil.leidenuniv.nl/ "Leiden Journal of International Law" (LJIL)] . Contributions by Louiza Odysseos and Fabio Petito, Robert Howse, Jörg Friedrichs, Christoph Burchard and Thalin Zarmanian.
* TELOS, a journal of politics and critical theory, has published numerous articles both by and about Carl Schmitt, including special sections on Schmitt in issues 72 (Summer 1987), 109 (Fall 1996), 125 (Fall 2002), 132 (Fall 2005), and 142 (Spring 2008). Telos Press has also published English translations of Schmitt's "The "Nomos" of the Earth" (2003) and "Theory of the Partisan" (2007).
* "World Orders: Confronting Carl Schmitt's "The" Nomos "of the Earth"." A special issue of " [http://www.dukeupress.edu/saq SAQ: South Atlantic Quarterly] ", volume 104, number 2. William Rasch, special issue editor.
* " [http://chronicle.com/cgi2-bin/printable.cgi?article=http://chronicle.com/free/v50/i30/30b01601.htm A Fascist Philosopher Helps Us Understand Contemporary Politics] " by Alan Wolfe. "Chronicle of Higher Education", April 2, 2004
* [http://www.telospress.com/main/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=191 "Carl Schmitt and Nuremberg"] by Joseph W. Bendersky, Telos Press, July 19, 2007.

Persondata
NAME= Schmitt, Carl
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=German jurist, political theorist, and professor of law
DATE OF BIRTH=July 11 1888
PLACE OF BIRTH=Plettenberg, Westphalia
DATE OF DEATH=April 7 1985
PLACE OF DEATH=


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