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

By Heinrich Meier

Carl Schmitt was once the main recognized and arguable defender of political theology within the 20th century. yet in his best-known paintings, the concept that of the Political, issued in 1927, 1932, and 1933, political concerns led him to hide the dependence of his political conception on his religion in divine revelation. In 1932 Leo Strauss released a severe overview of idea that initiated an exceptionally sophisticated trade among Schmitt and Strauss concerning Schmitt’s critique of liberalism. even supposing Schmitt by no means replied Strauss publicly, within the 3rd variation of his e-book he replaced a few passages in accordance with Strauss’s criticisms. Now, during this stylish translation via J. Harvey Lomax, Heinrich Meier indicates us what the notable discussion among Schmitt and Strauss unearths concerning the improvement of those seminal thinkers.Meier contends that their trade purely ostensibly revolves round liberalism. At its middle, their “hidden discussion” explores the elemental clash among political theology and political philosophy, among revelation and reason­and finally, the important query of ways humans should reside their lives. “Heinrich Meier’s therapy of Schmitt’s writings is morally analytical with out moralizing, a notable feat in view of Schmitt’s prior. He needs to appreciate what Schmitt used to be after instead of to brush off him out of hand or bowdlerize his recommendations for modern political purposes.”—Mark Lilla, long island evaluation of Books 

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Strauss doubtless has good reasons to overlook Schmitt's changes and to pass over in silence the contradictions of the book, which are is determined by the dire emergency is at any rate always political" (III, 2 1 ). , on details of the definitive version, the formu lations in Strauss, N9 and N l O. 17. Strauss's footnote to N l 4. 18 I CARL SCHMITT AND LEO STRAUSS based upon "the history of its development. " That Strauss nevertheless, as elegantly and discreetly as possible, calls attention to these things, is no less good a reason for us briefly to consider Schmitt's initial conception and to exam­ ine more closely what Strauss, in his interpretation, leaves undiscussed.

In 1933 Schmitt deleted the word "only" (III, 2 1 ). 29. This statement (26), too, does not reappear in the third edition. " In 1932, these expressions occur six times altogether, pp. ) 28 I CAR L S C H MITT AND LEO STRA U S S intention of the text is most strikingly expressed. "The peaks of great politics, " he says there, "are at once the moments in which the enemy is discerned in concrete clar­ ity as enemy" (67). TN3 When Schmitt immedi­ ately follows this statement with a historical example to illustrate what precisely appears to him to be a peak of great p olitics-an expression he uses nowhere else in the Concept of the Politicaf 3° he neither cites Machiavelli nor appeals to the authority of an expert in the ius publicum Europaeum: " For the modern age I see the most powerful outbreak of such an enmity .

The twofold crux of the "philosophy of culture" does not induce Strauss to build on the answer of an authority, to prepare the path for such an answer, or to look for it himself. Instead, Strauss raises the question of nature. He asks about the human nature that precedes and underlies every culture. He poses the question of the status natura/is. In the course of his probing back into the hidden, disre­ garded, forgotten foundation of culture, Strauss has Schmitt bring the Hobbesian concept of the state of nature into a place of honor again: When Hobbes describes the status natura/is as the status belli simply, according to Strauss that description when translated into Schmitt's terminology means that the status natura/is is "the genuinely political status" (Nl l).

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