A “Catholic Layman of German Nationality and Citizenship”?: Carl Schmitt and the Religiosity of Life
Carl Schmitt positioned his constitutional theory in the context of a “political theology” and referred to himself repeatedly as a Catholic. Schmitt scholarship has long pursued this self-depiction without establishing a convincing “Catholic” doctrine, political position, or life praxis. This chapter provides an overview and critical interrogation of Schmitt’s self-description. By emphasizing his political and theological distance from his early background and from the political Catholicism of the interwar period, the chapter analyzes his systematic connection of theism, personalism, and decisionism, and considers Schmitt as a “religious” author and person. Schmitt’s apocalyptically dramatized perception and stylization of life as a permanent “state of exception” can be seen as a religious practice of testing contingency and sovereignty and self-assigning to “salvation.” Schmitt must thus be understood not as a part of majority Catholicism, but beyond it, among the religious movements in the history of modern secular faith.
“A Fanatic of Order in an Epoch of Confusing Turmoil”: The Political, Legal, and Cultural Thought of Carl Schmitt
Jens Meierhenrich and Oliver Simons
This handbook engages with the critical ordering of Schmitt’s writings, investing in the proper contextualization of his polycentric thought. More important than whether Schmitt’s positions and concepts are relevant in the twenty-first century is how to read Schmitt so as to grasp the original meanings of his many publications. The handbook intends to provoke debate about the relevance of his canon for thinking about the present. It argues that the motif of order is central to making sense of Schmitt’s contributions to law, the social sciences, and the humanities, as well as that his contributions to diverse disciplines constituted a trinity of thought. Schmitt’s political thought cannot be understood without reference to his legal and cultural thought; his legal thought was informed equally by his political and cultural thought; and his cultural thought contains important traces of his political and legal thought. This theoretical and substantive overlap was deliberate.
Mark E. Warren
Democracy, rule of the people, is comprised of complex webs of accountabilities between people and those who use power to govern on their behalf. Democratic accountability is comprised of justifications for these uses of power, combined with distributions of empowerments in such a way that those affected can sanction its use. Key problems for democracies include forming principals and agents among whom accountability relations might hold, designing institutions that limit costs of accountability mechanisms so they can be used by citizens, and developing forms of accountability that match the increasing scale and complexity of political issues and organizations.
Contemporary theoretical debates surrounding accountability in global economic governance have often adopted a problem-focused analytical lens—centred on real-world political controversies surrounding the accountability of global governing authorities. This chapter explores four distinctive problems of global accountability for which empirical inquiry has usefully informed normative analysis: first, the problem of unaccountable power within global governance processes; second, the problem of decentred political authority in global governance; third, problems establishing appropriate foundations of social power through which normatively desirable transnational accountabilities can be rendered practically effective at multiple scales; finally, problems associated with the need to traverse significant forms of social and cultural difference in negotiating appropriate normative terms of transnational accountability relationships. In relation to each, this chapter examines how systematic engagement between empirical and normative modes of analysis can both illuminate the theoretical problem and inform practical political strategies for strengthening accountability in global economic governance.
This chapter shows that deliberative democracy is an important consideration for African nations, especially with an eye on the divisive effects of aggregative politics on democracies involving multi-ethnic groupings. The chapter explores Wiredu’s plea for democracy by consensus as an alternative model better suited than multi-party politics for an African context, and concludes that we need further research to determine where we could institute consensual mechanisms in African countries. Furthermore, it proposes that research on deliberation in Africa needs to go beyond philosophical discussions, and that empirical scholars need to begin testing various arguments in the philosophical and theoretical debates about deliberation.
This article examines the linguistic aspects of post-structuralist and liberal pragmatist political theory. It analyses the differences and similarities between post-structuralist philosophy and liberal political theory. It explores the egalitarian and democratic presuppositions of post-structuralist critical strategies and the non-metaphysical and historical conception of liberalism that we find in the late Rawls. It also discusses the relevant works of Jacques Derrida, Richard Rorty, and John Rawls.
John R. Wallach
This essay discusses the contribution of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue (1981) to a generation of moral theory. Pitched as a critique of liberal individualism (e.g., Rawls), modernity (e.g., amoral bureaucracies), and the antagonism toward the history of moral theory evinced by analytical philosophers, MacIntyre’s book urges a return toward moral traditions embedded in local communities as the best route to avoid what he regards as the soullessness of modernity and the abyss of Nietzschean philosophy. But his failure to reflect on the political valence of traditions in general or the Aristotelian and Thomist ones he values, seriously compromises his complaints about modernity and his suggestions for ways out.
Democratic government requires the participation of its citizens, but Downs shows that it is not in the self-interest of individuals to vote, or acquire political information. This chapter reviews the theoretical and empirical support for the three explanations for political participation: civic duty, expressive benefit, and altruism. The preponderance of evidence supports the civic duty and altruistic explanations for why people vote. But the civic duty explanation does not readily extend to the acquisition of political information, campaign contributions, or contributions to public interest groups. Additionally, neither civic duty nor expressive identification offers an explanation of why turnout increases in close elections or for strategic voting. Altruism incorporates probabilities in the determination of expected benefits from political participation and hence easily explains these phenomena. The preponderance of evidence, as indicated in this chapter, now favors the altruistic explanation for the different types of political participation.
This chapter identifies some of the conceptual problems in providing a stable, inclusive interpretation of anarchism. It rejects accounts of anarchism constructed on the supposed universal minimum of ‘anti-statism’, as these synthesize radically antipathetic movements, in particular free-market individualisms along with the main socialist variants of anarchist communism and syndicalism. These purportedly comprehensive versions overlook the distinctive conceptual arrangements of social and individualist anarchisms. These separate ideological forms support radically different practices and generate conflicting interpretations of ‘anti-statism’. Instead, a conceptual analytical approach is best suited to identifying stable, intersecting families of anarchism (such as Green anarchism, anarcha-feminism and post-anarchism), as this method is sensitive to the malleable and variable conception of the political agent, which is a feature of the main constellations of social anarchism.
This article discusses anarchy and also introduces recent research from economics that models anarchy. It shows that this research has clear implications for thinking about interstate relations. There are also indications that such relations are becoming greater as well as a fruitful concern.