Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: Human Nature and the Purpose of Politics

“[F]or it is a fact that the entire life of a human being is a struggle and every human being symbolically a combatant. The friend, enemy, and combat concepts receive their real meaning precisely because they refer to the real possibility of physical killing. War follows from enmity. War is the existential negation of the … Continue reading Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: Human Nature and the Purpose of Politics

Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: Understanding Liberalism

In continuing an examination of Carl Schmitt’s Concept of the Political, we turn to focus in one his widely influential and much debated understanding and critique of liberalism.  Schmitt’s critique of liberalism has been influential to those on the New Left (post-Marxist Left) as well as those on the political Right (conservatives proper) who share an … Continue reading Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: Understanding Liberalism

Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: The Friend-Enemy Distinction

In one of his early and most well-known works, the Concept of the Political, Carl Schmitt endeavors to explore what the political is and is not.  There are multiple layers to Schmitt’s thinking and his criticism of liberalism, in particular, and where he sees himself in the grand scheme of Hegelian epochal historicism and the broader … Continue reading Carl Schmitt’s “Concept of the Political”: The Friend-Enemy Distinction

Carl Schmitt’s “Political Theology”

Carl Schmitt is one of the most controversial and influential political philosophers and political jurists of the 20th century.  His works have influenced everyone from the New Left, including the likes of Derrida and Foucault, and those on the Right, most notably Leo Strauss.  Schmitt, among other things, is generally credited with establishing the sub-discipline of … Continue reading Carl Schmitt’s “Political Theology”

Carl Schmitt and the Concept of Sovereignty

Carl Schmitt begins his essay on political theology by discussing sovereignty.  As he famously opens, “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.”  What exactly does this all entail? Schmitt’s definition that the sovereign is he who decides on the exception is one of the most famous sentences of all modern political philosophy.  In fact, the last … Continue reading Carl Schmitt and the Concept of Sovereignty

Teachers and Influences: An Intellectual Autobiography

I am sometimes asked who has influenced my thinking: “Who are among the biggest influences in your intellectual outlook”? This was a common question at Yale and remains a question I receive here in England as I work with Roger Scruton. Evidently that should giveaway an influence on me. I suppose there are different influences … Continue reading Teachers and Influences: An Intellectual Autobiography