Carl Schmitt Political Summary

Superior Essays
In Political Theology and The Concept of the Political by Carl Schmitt, he discusses what he coins “the political”: the most intense and extreme antagonism, which is presupposed by the concept of the state . To understand what the political is, it is imperative to flesh out what the state is and what this “extreme antagonism” raised by Schmitt really is.
To start, in the Concept of the Political, Schmitt defines the state as “a specific entity of people. Vis-à-vis the many conceivable kinds of entities, it is in the decisive case the ultimate authority.” In other words, the state is an organized body of people that makes the “political” decisions in periods of what Schmitt would call “extreme antagonism.” This association of people is not
…show more content…
Instead, the state, according to Schmitt, is just the decisive actor of power that exists outside of norms. Nonetheless, Schmitt’s conception of the state raises many questions about who is sovereign and what normativity is which I will further address later.
The “extreme antagonism” that Schmitt uses to define the political is actually a state of war that is created once the state makes the Friend-Enemy distinction. He affirms that this distinction is the only thing that political actions and motives can be reduced to. Schmitt uses this distinction as the foundation of his concept of the political because it showcases what he considers to be the true nature of the state: the ability to exercise power without normative restrictions. To reiterate, a temporary period of conflict is the only time that someone can observe the political in its purest form because in times of war there are no limitations
…show more content…
In the Concept of the Political this is identified as the existential polemic of the Friend-Enemy distinction. Therefore, the sovereign is who gets to declare an enemy of the state. To be clear, the sovereign is not necessarily the state according to Schmitt, although they both have the potential to take these actions. The sovereign in a time of conflict could be the state or any other worthy entity able to make the pressing choices in a time of extreme antagonism. In other words, the sovereign is who holds the power to decide the fate of the state. In Political Theology Schmitt states, “To maintain order, peace, and stability, the legally constituted sovereign authority is supported by an armed force and a bureaucracy operating according to rules established by legally constituted authorities.” This reiterates the fact that he who holds the power to decide whether the state is in a time of peril is able to coordinate the resources and man power needed to combat the

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Like emotion, rational thought is a product of the individual, but it is different because it entails a conscious process of causing action. Therefore, human reason complements emotion as an element of war as an instrument of policy. The state may use policies developed through a conscious application of reason to address the issues of war – e.g. determining whether to go into war or not. The second element of the trinity is chance and probability, which refers to the external forces that cannot be influenced by human forces desire and reason.…

    • 1182 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The security dilemma is the essential part of defensive realism because it is the security dilemma that makes possible the cooperation between states. For offensive realists, the security dilemma makes war inevitable and rational. The realist scholars have different “views” understanding the concept of security dilemma. Early realist scholars believed states had to be aggressive to survive. Thomas Hobbes, being a particularly pessimistic early realist thinker, believed that the strong will…

    • 973 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Clausewitz: Purpose Of War

    • 1183 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Political Objective The political object, as the original motive of the war, will be the standard for determining the two purposes of the armed forces, as well as the number of attempts to be made . This cannot be done by itself; but it is very much connected with both warring states, because we are concerned with reality, not with mere…

    • 1183 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Many liberals do view the world as a dangerous place, however, violence, and wars are conflicts that can be avoided. Problems that have alternative solutions should be taken into consideration before the option of going into war is viewed as the only choice. Political liberals emphasize broader ties between national interests, and aim to decrease the usefulness of military power. Liberals also think that the only time we should accept a war is if it puts ones’ individual rights and equal opportunity in danger. International cooperation and peaceful international behaviors has its benefits.…

    • 937 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Schelling’s analysis of the Brinkmanship Curve promotes an especially aggressive and irrational model for nuclear deterrence, which is morally unacceptable. Schelling writes, "Brinkmanship is thus the deliberate creation of a recognizable risk of war, a risk that one does not completely control." Whilst there is a necessity for a ‘recognisable risk of war’ to ensure credibility, a risk that one does not have control of is not a rational strategy, and therefore does not constitute a morally acceptable deterrence. Deterrence is only morally acceptable when the ethical reasons for the deterrence are the priority. Joseph Nye’s consequentialist point of view opposes Schelling’s irrationality, writing; “moral reasoning about nuclear weapons must pay primary attention to consequences.” Schelling’s Brinkmanship model aims to push the enemy as close to the nuclear brink as possible.…

    • 2105 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Carl Schmitt glorified Thomas Hobbes within his work The Concept of the Political, calling him “truly a systematic and powerful political thinker”. It should then come as no surprise that their theories of sovereignty bear some similarities. How a sovereign comes into power depends largely on the circumstances. Both Schmitt and Hobbes find that conflict is what will bring people to commit to a sovereign. Once a sovereign takes power the he must maintain the promises he told the people that sacrificed their freedom for him to rule.…

    • 1628 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Instead, inadequately significant role is given to the leader who is supposed to make the decisions for the people as a whole. Moreover, representative democracy is necessarily based on a compromise. However, populism expresses a such strong opposition to "the other" (as for example, political elite) that compromises become impossible (Pasquino, 2008). Likewise, Nadia Urbinati claims that populism is dangerous for democracy because it attempts to centralize the power and rejects procedurality (Urbinati, 2014, Chapter3). The election (as a procedure) and political forum (as a discussion) are necessary for a competition, a reflection, and a choice of the ideas.…

    • 1120 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Because realism is a theory focuses on explaining the world with war, conflict and security (Introduction to International Relation). So that was the time when realism is said to be appropriate. However, many people assumed that realism is a theory pessimistic in all situations. For example, realism followed the ideas that countries will always using military, army to made war between states and states to protect national interest. The biggest failure of realism is the prediction the collapse of Soviet Union (Ashesh,…

    • 1427 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    For Schmitt, words take on their true meaning so when utilizes friend, enemy, and conflict; he 's referring to a true possibility of fighting and bloodshed. From a political standpoint, he admits the link between state and political as being an “unsatisfactory circle,” the friend-enemy distinction sheds at least some light on these terms. He notes that “conflict” seems to be the primordial type of condition that designates the term “political,” and then “order"- the formation of the state. There is a potential parallel with Hobbesian political theory, especially between Hobbes’ ‘state of nature’ and the sense of order that should arise from such a scenario when a leader takes control. However, Schmitt’s approach differs in several ways.…

    • 788 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Both Connolly and Mouffe consider their theories to be anti-universal. Mouffe’s dualist conception of political identities, sees identities emerging from the political – a name for the dimension of antagonism lurking beneath the formation of identities. By its nature, the political will assume many shapes and sizes to produce the identities. The political illustrates the pluralistic nature of politics and properly equips us to handle the movements that arise from it. The political is a stage upon which the us/them dynamic acts out its antagonism, forming a new synthesis.…

    • 846 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays