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Focusing on the relationships among political leadership, the norms of the legal order, and the state of political emergency, Schmitt argues in Political Theology that legal order ultimately rests upon the decisions of the sovereign. According to Schmitt, only the sovereign can meet the needs of an "exceptional" time and transcend legal order so that order can then be reestablished. Convinced that the state is governed by the ever-present possibility of conflict, Schmitt theorizes that the state exists only to maintain its integrity in order to ensure order and stability. Suggesting that all concepts of modern political thought are secularized theological concepts, Schmitt concludes Political Theology with a critique of liberalism and its attempt to depoliticize political thought by avoiding fundamental political decisions.
Constitutional Theory is a significant departure from Schmitt’s more polemical Weimar-era works not just in terms of its moderate tone. Through a comparative history of constitutional government in Europe and the United States, Schmitt develops an understanding of liberal constitutionalism that makes room for a strong, independent state. This edition includes an introduction by Jeffrey Seitzer and Christopher Thornhill outlining the cultural, intellectual, and political contexts in which Schmitt wrote Constitutional Theory; they point out what is distinctive about the work, examine its reception in the postwar era, and consider its larger theoretical ramifications. This volume also contains extensive editorial notes and a translation of the Weimar Constitution.
Written shortly after the Russian Revolution and the First World War, Schmitt analyses the problem of the state of emergency and the power of the Reichspräsident in declaring it. Dictatorship, Schmitt argues, is a necessary legal institution in constitutional law and has been wrongly portrayed as just the arbitrary rule of a so-called dictator.
Dictatorship is an essential book for understanding the work of Carl Schmitt and a major contribution to the modern theory of a democratic, constitutional state. And despite being written in the early part of the twentieth century, it speaks with remarkable prescience to our contemporary political concerns.
This new and authorized edition from Telos Press Publishing, translated by Samuel Garrett Zeitlin and edited by Russell A. Berman and Samuel Garrett Zeitlin, includes extensive textual annotations that compare critical variations between the original 1942 edition of Land and Sea and the subsequent editions published in 1954 and 1981.
Aus dem Nachwort von Christoph Schönberger
Legality and Legitimacy is sure to provide a compelling reference point in contemporary debates over the challenges facing constitutional democracies today. In addition to Jeffrey Seitzer’s translation of the 1932 text itself, this volume contains his translation of Schmitt’s 1958 commentary on the work, extensive explanatory notes, and an appendix including selected articles of the Weimar constitution. John P. McCormick’s introduction places Legality and Legitimacy in its historical context, clarifies some of the intricacies of the argument, and ultimately contests Schmitt’s claims regarding the inherent weakness of parliamentarism, constitutionalism, and the rule of law.
A pioneer in legal and political theory, Schmitt traces the prehistory of political romanticism by examining its relationship to revolutionary and reactionary tendencies in modern European history. Both the partisans of the French Revolution and its most embittered enemies were numbered among the romantics. During the movement for German national unity at the beginning of the nineteenth century, both revolutionaries and reactionaries counted themselves as romantics. According to Schmitt, the use of the concept to designate opposed political positions results from the character of political romanticism: its unpredictable quality and lack of commitment to any substantive political position.
The romantic person acts in such a way that his imagination can be affected. He acts insofar as he is moved. Thus an action is not a performance or something one does, but rather an affect or a mood, something one feels. The product of an action is not a result that can be evaluated according to moral standards, but rather an emotional experience that can be judged only in aesthetic and emotive terms.
These observations lead Schmitt to a profound reflection on the shortcomings of liberal politics. Apart from the liberal rule of law and its institution of an autonomous private sphere, the romantic inner sanctum of purely personal experience could not exist. Without the security of the private realm, the romantic imagination would be subject to unpredictable incursions. Only in a bourgeois world can the individual become both absolutely sovereign and thoroughly privatized: a master builder in the cathedral of his personality. An adequate political order cannot be maintained on such a tolerant individualism, concludes Schmitt.
"Die vorliegende Arbeit ist weder ein Kommentar noch eine Reihe monographischer Einzelabhandlungen, sondern der Versuch eines Systems. In Deutschland liegen heute zur Weimarer Verfassung ausgezeichnete Kommentare und Monographien vor, deren hoher Wert in Theorie und Praxis anerkannt ist und keines Lobes mehr bedarf. Es ist aber notwendig, sich außerdem auch um den systematischen Aufbau einer Verfassungstheorie zu bemühen und das Gebiet der Verfassungslehre als besonderen Zweig der Lehre des öffentlichen Rechts zu behandeln."
Auszug aus Carl Schmitts Vorwort zur 1. Auflage 1928