Carl Schmitt's Criticism Of Politics

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Carl Schmitt’s claim that politics is fundamentally distinct from other spheres is persuasive on the premise that the core of politics consists on the friend/enemy theory with each side of the conflict posing a perceived existential threat of violence to one another. However, his argument is less persuasive when he uses this premise to critique liberalism because he does not provide an alternative solution to his criticism. Schmitt contends that, “the political must rest on its own ultimate distinction, [and] the specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is between friend and enemy” (Schmitt 26). Schmitt defines a political or public enemy as a collective group that poses an existential threat of violence, “the real possibility of physical killing” (Schmitt 33). Therefore Schmitt contends the political cannot exist without violence, or the threat/possibility of violence. …show more content…

He states that, “the phenomenon of the political can be understood only in the context of the ever present possibility of the friend-and-enemy grouping” (Schmitt 35). Schmitt maintains that in order for politics to exist, there must be a conflict or rivalry between two sides and that conflict exists because the enemies provide the possibility of a violent attack against each other’s state. Schmitt continues this argument by asserting, “the justification of war does not reside in its being fought for ideals or norms of justice, but in its being fought against a real enemy” (Schmitt 49). Here Schmitt is successful in identifying the core of politics and how it distinctly identifies itself in juxtaposition to other spheres, such as justice and economics, which he contends are separate from the pure concept of the

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