On Schmitt, reductonism, Brexit and even Jordan Peterson -- Samuel Earle in The New Statesman:
'For decades after the Second World War, Schmitt’s anti-Semitism put him beyond the pale of serious scholarship, and he was never allowed to teach at German universities again. But since his death in 1985, age 97, Schmitt’s stature has grown. According to Jan-Werner Muller, professor of politics at Princeton University, he is “the [twentieth] century’s most brilliant enemy of liberalism.” The real worry today is not his rehabilitation—but his relevance.'
'What Schmitt saw—and what, in his anti-Semitism, he succumbed to—is the attraction of enmity. With little else to latch on to, in either economic or social spheres, adversity injects real meaning into life. For Schmitt, “the entire life of a human being is a struggle and every human being symbolically is a combatant”. The lure of this idea can be seen everywhere today, from the popularity of Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan, pseudo-intellectuals who see the same fraught world in which man (and it is almost always men) must fight for himself, to, more playfully, social media boasts of being blocked, and the current trend of “Nemesis Twitter,” where users vaunt unnamed foes, affirming a strong identity by extension.
Brexit is many things, but it is partly a search for enemies. There’s a sense in which British society had become sterile and enfeebled. Brexit was a chance to restore its power. The EU was a perfect foil for this sentiment; framed in the right way, it represented three enemies in one: old continental rivals, namely Germany and France; immigrants with malign intentions; and an elite bureaucracy, untethered to any nation.'
Read the article here.
Benjamin is named in passing, but no Agamben, no Derrida, no Taubes, no Kojève, to name just a few.
But it's an interesting theory, Carl Schmitt brought us Brexit and even Peterson. We absolve the voters, we absolve the politicians, we absolve the UK, and then we find a Nazi to blame for all our hapless endeavors. Speaking of scapegoats.
If only the enemies of Brexit, the supporters of the EU had read Schmitt.