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

The Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, Part IV: War and the State of Nature

Proceeding to reading Chapters 10-13 we hit the meat of Hobbes’s Leviathan.  We approach his famous commentary on the state of nature, wherein we are burdened by the “war of every man against everyman” or “war of all against all” (from the Latin edition: Bellum omnium contra omnes) and his bleak assessment that life in this state … Continue reading The Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, Part IV: War and the State of Nature

John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part I: State of Nature & State of War

John Locke is commonly thought of as the “father of limited government” and the progenitor of the rights-based tradition of political philosophy called “liberalism.”  He is often contrasted with the absolutism of Hobbes: Locke’s government is minimal where Hobbes’s government is all-powerful, Locke’s State of Nature is good and benign where Hobbes’s state of nature … Continue reading John Locke’s “Second Treatise,” Part I: State of Nature & State of War

Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” Part III

In finishing the last chapters of Machiavelli’s most famous work, The Prince, we will tie up loose ends and come to an understanding of what Machiavelli was saying in his work and what Machiavelli was not saying in his work.  To review, up to this point Machiavelli’s Prince is about “practical advice” on new princes who have risen … Continue reading Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” Part III

Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” Part I

Niccolò Machiavelli is a pivotal transitional figure in the history of Western philosophy and political thought.  His most famous work is The Prince, but his more important work in the Discourses on Livy.  Both are meant to be read together and together The Prince and Discourses are a full treatise on Machiavelli’s theory of the State.  The Prince, however, has had a … Continue reading Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” Part I

Clausewitz and the Trinity of War

Carl von Clausewitz is regarded as one of the foremost philosophers of war to have ever lived.  A Prussian army officer and veteran of the Napoleonic Wars—including Prussia’s darkest hours during the 1806 Campaign, he lived through exciting military and intellectual times.  He lived through the Prussian army reforms after their disastrous defeats at the … Continue reading Clausewitz and the Trinity of War

The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, IV: Nazism

Of all the fascist movements, German fascism (or “National Socialism”) is probably the most famous and least understood.  Fascism in Germany was the epicenter of the brief life of fascism, produced a number of intellectuals – serious and forgotten – from which we are able to derive a lineage of fascist philosophy.  While antecedent roots … Continue reading The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, IV: Nazism