The Concept of the Political PDF Book by Carl Schmitt

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Click here to Download The Concept of the Political PDF Book by Carl Schmitt English having PDF Size 1.6 MB and No of Pages 131.

The French political philosopher Julien Freund has observed that “by a curious paradox the name Schmitt is surrounded by mist, and it may be asked whether this fog is not often manufactured artificially…. It is fashionable to discredit the work of this author on the basis of a reputation that is based largely on rumors…[and] it is better…

The Concept of the Political PDF Book by Carl Schmitt

Name of Book The Concept of the Political
Author Carl Schmitt
PDF Size 1.6 MB
No of Pages 131
Language  English
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To recognize that Carl Schmitt is controversial and will always remain controversial, like all those who belong to the same intellectual family: Machiavelli, Hobbes, de Maistre, Donoso Cortés, and also Max Weber….”1 No one indeed has questioned the prolificness of Schmitt, and few have questioned the profundity of his writings.

But his decision, after the Enabling Act of March 1933, to become the self-appointed ideologue of the Nazis has made him so controversial2 that even today it is difficult to view his work objectively. 3 The problem of assessing Schmitt’s writings has been further complicated for English-speaking students.

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Because none of his works has previously been translated into English.4 Carl Schmitt was born in 1888 into a family of devout Catholics in the predominantly Protestant town of Plettenberg in Westphalia. He received his initial formal education in a Catholic school.

Later, while continuing his humanistic studies, he resided in a Catholic institution. Subsequently he studied law at the universities of Berlin and Strasbourg and received his doctorate in jurisprudence in 1910. After working as a law clerk, he entered the academic world and taught at the University of Strasbourg in 1916.

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At the Graduate School of Business Administration at Munich from 1919 to 1921, the universities of Greifswald in 1921, Bonn from 1922 to 1928, the Graduate School of Business Administration at Berlin from 1928 to 1933, and the universities of Cologne in 1933 and Berlin from 1933 to 1945.

Schmitt’s early writings reflect his consciousness of the Kultur-kampf controversy which had occurred just prior to his birth. He was fascinated by and proud of the power the Catholic Church had exerted on so powerful a figure as Bismarck. This pride can be seen in his early conception of the state as an entity whose function is to realize right (Recht).

And because of the universal nature of the Catholic Church it was, according to Schmitt, in a better position to decide on what constitutes right than the many states then in existence.6 But World War I, Germany’s defeat, and the controversial terms of the Versailles treaty produced a new political reality in Germany. The Concept of the Political PDF Book

This induced Schmitt to focus his attention on some of the concrete problems facing the Weimar republic. Given the relative ease with which basic constitutional revisions could be brought about (Article 76), and the widespread adherence to legalist thinking—factors militating against the effectiveness of the presidency— Schmitt.

Toward the end of the Weimar period, sought to strengthen drastically the president’s hands, and hence he developed the idea of a presidential system. Although his presidential system had its roots in the Weimar constitution, Schmitt’s conception went beyond this document and was, therefore, no longer in accord with the constitution’s spirit and letter.

In other words, he was willing to sacrifice a part of the constitution in order to save and strengthen the existing state. By advocating such an extreme position, a position certainly unacceptable to the legalists, Schmitt clearly implied, among other things. The Concept of the Political PDF Book

That he would accept political parties and the Weimar parliament only on the condition that they be subordinate to and united with the president in the search for solutions. As I have noted elsewhere, Schmitt’s presidential system centered on the popularly elected president.

As commander-in-chief of the armed forces, with the potent Article 48 of the Weimar constitution at his disposal and aided in his exercise of power by the bureaucracy and Reichswehr, the president, in Schmitt’s view, could certainly have arrested the political assaults on the state.

Yet today it is widely charged that the presidential system which came about in the last years of Weimar had in fact paved the way for Hitler. But this misses Schmitt’s point. The system which finally emerged was an emasculated form of what he had urged. Hence, despite Schmitt’s pleas for the necessity of distinguishing friend from enemy. The Concept of the Political PDF Book

Hindenburg consistently labored under the impact of legalist doctrines and did not, therefore, forcefully move to arrest and eliminate the political challenges facing Weimar. Quite the contrary. Not only did he continue to permit negatively inclined parties to operate and compete for power, but he also loathed ruling by decree.

While awaiting further enlightenment, it seems to me that Rudolf Smend’s theory of the integration of the state corresponds to a political situation in which society is no longer integrated into an existing state (as the German people in the monarchical state of the nineteenth century) but should itself integrate into the state.

That this situation necessitates the total state is expressed most clearly in Smend’s remark about a sentence from H. Trescher’s 1918 dissertation on Montesquieu and Hegel.8 There it is said of Hegel’s doctrine of the division of powers that it signifies. The Concept of the Political PDF Book

“The most vigorous penetration of all societal spheres by the state for the general purpose of winning for the entirety of the state all vital energies of the people.” To which Smend adds that this is “precisely the integration theory” of his book. In actuality it is the total state which no longer knows anything absolutely nonpolitical.

The state which must do away with the depoliticalizations of the nineteenth century and which in particular puts an end to the principle that the apolitical economy is independent of the state and that the state is apart from the economy. That the state is an entity and in fact the decisive entity rests upon its political character.

A pluralist theory is either the theory of state which arrives at the unity of state by a federalism of social associations or a theory of the dissolution or rebuttal of the state. If, in fact, it challenges the entity and places the political association on an equal level with the others, for example, religious or economic associations. The Concept of the Political PDF Book

It must, above all, answer the question as to the specific content of the political. Although in his numerous books Laski speaks of state, politics, sovereignty, and government, one does not find in these a specific definition of the political. The state simply transforms itself into an association which competes with other associations.

it becomes a society among some other societies which exist within or outside the state. That is the pluralism of this theory of state. Its entire ingenuity is directed against earlier exaggerations of the state, against its majesty and its personality, against its claim to possess the monopoly of the highest unity.

While it remains unclear what, according to this pluralist theory of state, the political entity should be. At times it appears in its old liberal form, as a mere servant of the essentially economically determined society, at times pluralistically as a distinct type of society, that is, as one association among other associations. The Concept of the Political PDF Book Download

At times as the product of a federalism of social associations or an umbrella association of a conglomeration of associations. As a result of the 1919 Paris peace treaties an incongruous organization came into existence—the Geneva establishment, which is called in German Völkerbund (in French.

Société des Nations, and English, the League of Nations) but should properly be called a society of nations. This body is an organization which presupposes the existence of states, regulates some of their mutual relations, and even guarantees their political existence.

It is neither universal nor even an international organization. If the German word for international is used correctly and honestly it must be distinguished from interstate and applied instead to international movements which transcend the borders of states and ignore the territorial integrity, impenetrability, and impermeability of existing states as. The Concept of the Political PDF Book Download

For example, the Third International. Immediately exposed here are the elementary antitheses of international and interstate, of a depoliticalized universal society and interstate guarantees of the status quo of existing frontiers. It is hard to comprehend how a scholarly treatment of the League of Nations could skirt.

This and even lend support to this confusion. The Geneva League of Nations does not eliminate the possibility of wars, just as it does not abolish states. It introduces new possibilities for wars, permits wars to take place, sanctions coalition wars, and by legitimizing and sanctioning certain wars it sweeps away many obstacles to war.

As it has existed so far, it is under specific circumstances a very useful meeting place, a system of diplomatic conferences which meet under the name of the League of Nations Council and the Assembly of the League of Nations. These bodies are linked to a technical bureau, that of the Secretariat. The Concept of the Political PDF Book Download

As I have already shown elsewhere,24 this establishment is not a league, but possibly an alliance. The genuine concept of humanity is expressed in it only insofar as its actual activities reside in the humanitarian and not in the political field, and only as an interstate administrative community does it at least have a tendency toward a meaningful universality.

But in view of the League’s true constitution and because this so-called League still enables wars to be fought, even this tendency is an ideal postulate only. A league of nations which is not universal can only be politically significant when it represents a potential or actual alliance, i.e., a coalition.

The jus belli would not thereby be abolished but, more or less, totally or partially, transferred to the alliance. A league of nations as a concrete existing universal human organization would, on the contrary, have to accomplish the difficult task of, first. The Concept of the Political PDF Book Download

Effectively taking away the jus belli from all the still existing human groupings, and, second, simultaneously not assuming the jus belli itself. Otherwise, universality, humanity, depoliticalized society—in short, all essential characteristics—would again be eliminated.

In a very systematic fashion liberal thought evades or ignores state and politics and moves instead in a typical always recurring polarity of two heterogeneous spheres, namely ethics and economics, intellect and trade, education and property.

The critical distrust of state and politics is easily explained by the principles of a system whereby the individual must remain terminus a quo and terminus ad quem. In case of need, the political entity must demand the sacrifice of life. Such a demand is in no way justifiable by the individualism of liberal thought. The Concept of the Political PDF Book Free

No consistent individualism can entrust to someone other than to the individual himself the right to dispose of the physical life of the individual. An individualism in which anyone other than the free individual himself were to decide upon the substance and dimension of his freedom would be only an empty phrase.

For the individual as such there is no enemy with whom he must enter into a lifeand-death struggle if he personally does not want to do so. To compel him to fight against his will is, from the viewpoint of the private individual, lack of freedom and repression.

All liberal pathos turns against repression and lack of freedom. Every encroachment, every threat to individual freedom and private property and free competition is called repression and is eo ipso something evil. What this liberalism still admits of state, government. The Concept of the Political PDF Book Free

And politics is confined to securing the conditions for liberty and eliminating infringements on freedom. We thus arrive at an entire system of demilitarized and depoliticalized concepts. A few may here be enumerated in order to show the incredibly coherent systematics of liberal thought, which, despite all reversals.

Has still not been replaced in Europe today [1932]. These liberal concepts typically move between ethics (intellectuality) and economics (trade). From this polarity they attempt to annihilate the political as a domain of conquering power and repression.

The concept of private law serves as a lever and the notion of private property forms the center of the globe, whose poles— ethics and economics—are only the contrasting emissions from this central point. This is our situation. We can no longer say anything worthwhile about culture and history without first becoming aware of our own cultural. The Concept of the Political PDF Book Free

And historical situation. That all historical knowledge is knowledge of the present, that such knowledge obtains its light and intensity from the present and in the most profound sense only serves the present, because all spirit is only spirit of the present, has been said by many since Hegel, best of all by Benedetto Croce.

Along with many famous historians of the last generation, we have the simple truth before our eyes. There is no longer anyone today who would be deceived by the accumulation of facts as to how much of historical representation and construction is fulfilled by naive projections and identifications.

Thus we must first be aware of our own historical situation. The remark about the Russians was intended to remind us of this. Such a conscious assessment is difficult today, but for this reason all the more necessary. All signs point to the fact that in 1929 we in Europe still live in a period of exhaustion and efforts at restoration. The Concept of the Political PDF Book Free

As is common and understandable after great wars. Following the allied war against France, which lasted twenty years, almost a whole generation of Europeans was in a similar state of mind, which after 1815 could be reduced to the formula: legitimacy of the status quo.

At such a time, all arguments actually entail less the revival of things past or disappearing than a desperate foreign and domestic policy: the status quo, what else? In the interim, the calm mood of restoration brought forth a rapid and uninterrupted development of new things and new circumstances whose meaning.

And direction are hidden behind the restored facades. When the decisive moment arrives, the legitimating foreground vanishes like an empty phantom. The Concept of the Political PDF Book Free

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