Tuesday, April 1, 2008

the political enemy

What I found most intriguing was the concept of the foe verse the enemy that the translator made sure to make. The idea that a political enemy as a force must exist for their to be a state seems at face value very accurate. However, Schmitt seems caught up by the very idea of negativity in politics, and sees that a state, or political party, must be against something and is for something only as far as it oppose a broader concept. For example when he switches to speaking about the pacifists, he says they fight the non-pacifists. Everything in his writing tends to exist in a duality, especially the friend-enemy concept.

The one less polarized concept is the difference between the political enemy and the personal enemy. The political enemy must be hated, if not as a cause of the enmity, then the hatred would quickly grow. The disturbing thing about this is that it seems to imply that once there are political enemies, they can never be truly reconciled. Force seems an end means to get what you want, and his ultra-realist perception of force being the driving factor and extreme in all communications and relations between groups.

The idea of the enemy that most interests me is the very one demontionality and requirement. In Schmitt's writings, an enemy is what holds the state together. The state is not held together by people of like minds or working hard together, but rather because they look outside the state and are able to point and say "there is the most horrendous enemy". Beyond his statement in the book that this means without finding another force outside the planet to unify against there can never be a world government, this also implies that any state would be in an almost constant cold war. However, the passion that has to go into the war and its ferocity is actually what I think is most important rather than the fact that there is the enemy. If this passion was not channeled into hatred for an enemy but rather into something more positive, then war would not have to be the inevitable option he lays it out to be. Andrew's insight (see below) about Schmitt's one sided view that force is right and the predominating (and practically only) aspect of the political, blinds him to the fact that it is the passion that's important, and the willingness to use force is only a measure of that passion.

No comments: