Political History

Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue by Heinrich Meier

By Heinrich Meier

Carl Schmitt was once the main well-known and arguable defender of political theology within the 20th century. yet in his best-known paintings, the idea that of the Political, issued in 1927, 1932, and 1933, political issues led him to hide the dependence of his political conception on his religion in divine revelation. In 1932 Leo Strauss released a serious assessment of idea that initiated a very refined alternate among Schmitt and Strauss relating to Schmitt’s critique of liberalism. even supposing Schmitt by no means replied Strauss publicly, within the 3rd version of his e-book he replaced a few passages in accordance with Strauss’s criticisms. Now, during this stylish translation by means of J. Harvey Lomax, Heinrich Meier exhibits us what the amazing discussion among Schmitt and Strauss finds concerning the improvement of those seminal thinkers.Meier contends that their alternate merely ostensibly revolves round liberalism. At its middle, their “hidden discussion” explores the basic clash among political theology and political philosophy, among revelation and reason­and eventually, the important query of ways people should reside their lives. “Heinrich Meier’s therapy of Schmitt’s writings is morally analytical with out moralizing, a awesome feat in view of Schmitt’s previous. He needs to appreciate what Schmitt was once after instead of to brush aside him out of hand or bowdlerize his options for modern political purposes.”—Mark Lilla, long island overview of Books 

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Extra resources for Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue

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Only a 'ntfJZJ turn' . The achievement of a normal state consists in relativizing the opposed groupings within it and preventing the ultimate consequence thereof, war. If a state is no longer capable of that achievement, the center of gravity of politics shifts from foreign co domestic affairs. " Hugo Preuss . Sein Stootsbegriff und seine Sttllung in der deutschtn Stoats/elm (Tiibingen, 1 930), note 1, p. 26. Cf. "Staats­ echik und pluraliscischer Staat, " Positiontn und Begrifft, pp. 1 40-4 1 , where the concept of intensity is oriented entirely toward the political unit in the form of the state; further, Der Hiiter der Vetfossung (Tiibingen, 1 93 1 ), p.

By this very fact, he is the founder of liberalism. " Hobbes differs from devel­ oped liberalism "only, but certainly, by his knowing and seeing against what the liberal ideal of civilization has to be persistently fought for: not merely against rotten institu­ tions, against the evil will of a ruling class, but against the natural evil of man; in an unliberal world Hobbes forges ahead to lay the foundation of liberalism against the-sit venia verbo-unliberal nature of man" (N 13). When Leo Strauss has Carl Schmitt (against the "philos­ ophy of culture" as the "final self-awareness of liberalism," which, "sheltered by and engrossed in a world of culture," forgets human nature in its dangerousness and endan­ geredness) bestow new honor upon the Hobbesian concept of the "state of nature," Strauss consonantly has Schmitt return to Hobbes as the author of liberalism "in order to strike at the root of liberalism in Hobbes's express negation of the state of nature" (Nl4).

The enemy defines himself as enemy by means of the attack; the rea­ sons and motives of the enmity can then safely be ne­ glected as secondary, or so it may seem from the viewpoint of the attacked. The rhetoric of the defensive, however, not only helps Schmitt conceal theoretical difficulties in his concept of the political. As a rhetoric of "pure politics, " 18 his defensive rhetoric gives him the double political advan­ tage of shielding his own "purely political" position against all "normative" criticism and of simultaneously enabling him to attack, with the superior self-certainty of the morally indignant, any normative "intrusions" into and "encroach­ ments" upon the region of "pure politics" : The enemy who engages in politics in "an unpolitical and even anti­ political" guise violates the honesty and visibility of pure politics.

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