Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar


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The argument is developed in the following order. Building on the conceptual framework developed in previous sections, Section II examines unresolved antagonism between the founding ideology of the republic and the world-view of conservatives. The last section provides concluding remarks. Decisionism and Democracy Schmitt characterizes democracy as a political form in which the rulers and all the ruled share substantive identity Schmitt , p.

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The precondition of such identification is that the community as a whole creates a political identity by deciding its outsiders Schmitt , pp. This implies that the community cannot take a political form and cannot be democratic when it does not distinguish insiders from outsiders.

24. In Defense of Politics

Schmitt revised his earlier thoughts that he developed in CPD and CP, but key elements in his thought concerning the connection between political identity and democracy remained intact. He also introduced the principle of representation, which he designated as one of the two principles of political form, with the other principle being identity , p. However, he insisted that equality could be realized when a political community distinguishes itself from a constitutive outside.


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Political democracy, therefore, cannot rest on the inability to distinguish among persons, but rather on the quality of belonging to a particular people. He uses representation in symbolic terms; namely, what is being represented is the political unity of the people p. From his approach to democracy and representation, he concludes that a liberal-democratic constitution cannot be a democratic political form because it does not involve a distinction, and thus fails to preserve political unity and political equality , p.

In Constitutional Theory, Schmitt adopts a historical and contingent explanation by expounding different forms of the substance of democratic equality p. Here, he considers national democracy and, national homogeneity among the possible manifestations of substantial equality. Schmitt revisits Greek state theory, medieval theory, religious convictions, national democracy, and the Bolshevik policy of the Soviet Republic CT, pp.

In each type, for Schmitt, the condition for the possibility of democratic equality is the distinction between insiders and outsiders or friends and enemies.


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Schmitt then lists a number of aspects that can contribute to the unity of the nation. He thus does not regard ethnic homogeneity as a prerequisite for collective identity. On this account, Dyzenhaus , p. He describes this as follows: A friend is a fellow member of a homogeneous nation or people, and the criteria for homogeneity are determined existentially, that is, by a genuine decision about the existence of such a unit within the parameters of a particular situation.

Guide Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar

The implication of this distinction, as Schmitt explores in Constitutional Theory, is a decisionist constitutional theory. More tellingly, a normative view of the constitution advanced by legal positivists and natural law theorists is incapable of grasping the political decision behind the constitution, because this view discards the authority that generates political power i.

On the contrary, a decisionist view suggests that there is always a political decision that explains the emergence of a constitution Schmitt Modern constitutions, drafted at particular moments in time, establish their authority only through a political process in which allegiance is forged Loughlin, , p. Bockenford p. The second option allows the sovereign to determine the distinction between normalcy and the exception.

Argument 1. Whereas the founding ideology — let us call this the decision of — defined its enemy as traditional society i. It is true that the secularist and modernist founding decision has been revised, transformed, and deformed since the s, but it was first confronted directly by the AKP, who have proclaimed themselves as the genuine representative of the political unity of the people or Turkish nation. According to the AKP, as I will clarify below, the entire period of the Turkish Republic should be understood as an exceptional situation, because it is an aberration within the general framework of Turkish history.

Guide Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar

This aberration is comprised of the excesses in its attempts at radical secularization and westernization, which not only have distorted the identity between the ruler and the ruled, but also have resulted in the oppression of society, by corrupt modernist elites. The AKP did not invent this narrative; it was already present in Turkish political thought and political history as understood by political Islamists, other conservatives and some liberal groups alike since the establishment of the Turkish Republic.

The veracity of this narrative is only marginally relevant. I argue that this overlap exists in Turkey today. Argument 2 is related to the second decision, concerning the determination of what is to be done in the exceptional situation that was identified and delimited by the initial decision. At the outset, the AKP challenged the guardianship of the military and the bureaucracy as these institutions precluded the manifestation of the will of the people. From the standpoint of liberal-democracy, this challenge entails confronting those entities that do not allow the procedures of democracy e.

Because Schmitt detaches the procedures of democracy from the idea of democracy Vinx , Schmitt is not interested in creating democracy on the grounds of majoritarian rule. What matters most for Schmitt is the identification of the ruler with the genuine political decision of the community as a whole. Thus, a confrontation with the guardians and the rulers of the old regime was necessary in Turkey in order to establish a true democracy, because there was a mismatch between the ideals and the worldview of the guardians and the rulers, on the one hand, and the identity of the people, on the other.

As such, they have given voice to the first decision e. Schmitt has a special concept that links these twin sovereign decisions: namely, dictatorship. Schmitt does not consider there to be a contradiction between democracy and dictatorship. Schmitt formulated this theory as early as in in his book Dictatorship , and he revisited it in , in the Political Theology The theory of dictatorship is one of the key elements in my reflection to the AKP period; therefore, I will first explain this theory, and then reflect upon contemporary Turkish politics along the lines of this conception.

To start with, Schmitt distinguishes between commissarial and sovereign dictatorship. The difference is that while the commissarial dictator, a legal institution in Roman law, is authorized to restore the constitutional order following extraordinary times such as war, famine or internal strife Schmitt , p. That is, he is entitled, authorized and expected to use his extra-legal authority not to return to the present constitution, but rather to create a new one Schmitt, , p. However, as Arato argues, because people always require an agent to manifest their sovereign will, such an act is always self-authorization and often involves some form of authoritarianism.

Hohendahl was merely using the first edition of Glossarium, which was arbitrarily truncated by its editor to end in Likewise, the Monroe Doctrine appears in multiple entries in Glossarium. However, by focusing on stylistic form over both content and context, Hohendahl leaps to a number of strange conclusions. This would lead to a truly astounding Schmitt interpretation, as it would imply that Schmitt identified with authors such as Aldous Huxley 14 Dec. Bruckberger, a member of the French Resistance 26 Nov.

Instead, Schmitt himself offers a relatively straightforward explanation in his diary entry from 14 December Perilous Futures is, therefore, hardly the last word on the historical Carl Schmitt. To follow Steinmeier, the task going forward for an intellectual history of German democracy is thus two-fold.

Pentecost: Democratic Sovereignty in Carl Schmitt

At the same time, however, there is a responsibility to chip away at the sanitised reception of figures such as Carl Schmitt, which has often preferred to ignore or downplay his involvement with National Socialism. Click here to cancel reply. Explore the latest social science book reviews by academics and experts. Schmitt argued that von Papen had full legitimacy, since his mandate was given by the President, the guardian of the constitution.

I argued that this was a sophism: neither von Papen nor Hindenburg had been independent of party politics. Schmitt would deny that the Nazis were an ordinary party, since they had the support of the Volk , the true sovereign.


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Not true: the Communist party had strong support too. Schmitt generally believed that liberalism is unable to draw the friend-enemy distinction without contradiction, because it grants equal rights to power to its opponent. Hence, pluralism is less preferable than a homogeneous society, in which the internal enemy has been eradicated. As workshop participants pointed out, this rejection of negotiation and compromise is reminiscent of the sharp polarisation of the political landscape in Hungary and Romania.

Anybody acting or intending to act against it will be a prosecutable enemy of the constitution. It seems to me that like Schmitt the new authoritarians of Eastern Europe confuse legitimate political opponents with enemies of the nation or people.

Carl Schmitt

Schmitt also denied that the Reichsgericht had jurisdiction over the constitutional problems involved in Prussia vs. The Court, in his view, guarded the constitution only in legal matters, but the deposition of the Prussian government had been a political issue, and here the guardian of the constitution was the President.

This is ambiguous, as Dyzenhaus shows.

see The powers of the Romanian Court were curtailed by the Ponta government during the crisis, and individual judges, such as Aspazia Cojocaru and Iulia Motoc, were threatened with dismissal, attacked in USL -friendly media and even had their lives threatened. As Motoc later explained , such attacks against constitutional judges are without precedent in Europe. They did not occur even in Weimar. Cristina Arion European Parliament explained that the Romanian CC tried to assume its function as the guardian of the constitution as best as it could, defending its own powers to rule on the constitutionality of decisions adopted by the Parliament.

Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar
Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar
Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar
Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar
Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar
Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar
Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar
Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar

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