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“The exception is more interesting than the rule. The rule proves nothing; the exception proves everything. In the exception the power of real life breaks through the crust of a mechanism that has become torpid by repetition.”
Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty
“Every actual democracy rests on the principle that not only are equals equal but unequals will not be treated equally. Democracy requires, therefore, first homogeneity and second—if the need arises elimination or eradication of heterogeneity.”
Carl Schmitt, The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy
“Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.”
Carl Schmitt
“All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts not only because of their historical development - in which they were transferred from theology to the theory of the state, whereby, for example, the omnipotent god became the omnipotent lawgiver - but also because of their systematic structure, the recognition of which is necessary for a sociological consideration of these concepts. The exception in jurisprudence is analogous to the miracle in theology. Only by being aware of this analogy can we appreciate the manner in which the philosophical ideas of the state developed in the last centuries.”
Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty
“The concept of humanity is an especially useful ideological instrument of imperialist expansion, and in its ethical-humanitarian form it is a specific vehicle of economic imperialism. Here one is reminded of a somewhat modified expression of Proudhon’s: whoever invokes humanity wants to cheat. To confiscate the word humanity, to invoke and monopolize such a term probably has certain incalculable effects, such as denying the enemy the quality of being human and declaring him to be an outlaw of humanity; and a war can thereby be driven to the most extreme inhumanity.”
Carl Schmitt
“Tell me who your enemy is, and I will tell you who you are.”
Carl Schmitt
“The concept of progress, i.e., an improvement or completion (in modern jargon, a rationalization) became dominant in the eighteenth century, in an age of humanitarian-moral belief. Accordingly, progress meant above all progress in culture, self-determination, and education: moral perfection. In an age of economic or technical thinking, it is self-evident that progress is economic or technical progress. To the extent that anyone is still interested in humanitarian-moral progress, it appears as a byproduct of economic progress. If a domain of thought becomes central, then the problems of other domains are solved in terms of the central domain - they are considered secondary problems, whose solution follows as a matter of course only if the problems of the central domain are solved.”
Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political
“The political enemy need not be morally evil or aesthetically ugly; he need not appear as an economic competitor, and it may even be advantageous to engage with him in business transactions. But he is, nevertheless, the other, the stranger; and it is sufficient for his nature that he is, in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible. These can neither be decided by a previously determined general norm nor by the judgment of a disinterested and therefore neutral third party.”
Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political: Expanded Edition
“The transformation of the community into an administrative state responsible for total social welfare leads to a paternal totality without a house-father when it fails to find any archy or cracy that is more than a mere nomos of distribution and production.
I consider it to be a utopia when Friedrich Engels promises that one day all power of men over men will cease, that there will be only production and consumption with no problems, and that "things will govern themselves." This things-governing-themselves will make every archy and cracy super­fluous , and demonstrate that mankind at last has found its formula, just as, according to Dostoyevsky, the bees found their formula in the beehive, because animal s, too, have their nomos. Most of those who swarm around a nomos basileus fail to notice that, in reality, they propagate just such a formula.”
Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth: In the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum
“In the nomadic age, the shepherd (nomeus) was the typical symbol of rule. In Statesman, Plato distinguishes the shepherd from the statesman: the nemein of the shepherd is concerned with the nourishment (trophe) of his flock, and the shepherd is a kind of god in relation to the animals he herds. In contrast, the statesman does not stand as far above the people he governs as does the shepherd above his flock. Thus, the image of the shepherd is applicable only when an illustration of the relation of a god to human beings is intended. The statesman does not nourish; he only tends to, provides for, looks after, takes care of. The apparently materialistic viewpoint of nourishment is based more on the concept of a god than on the political viewpoint separated from him, which leads to secularization. The separation of economics and politics, of private and public law, still today considered by noted teachers of law to be an essential guarantee of freedom.”
Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth: In the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum
“How did Kirchmann understand the worthlessness of jurisprudence ? The answer lies in the aphorism: "Three revisions by the legislator and whole libraries became wastepaper." With a sharp alteration this answer became a slogan:"A stroke of the legislator's pen and whole libraries became wastepaper." Another aphorism in the same vein made the point even more brusquely and less politely: "Positive law turns the jurist into a worm in rotten wood." Kirchmann meant that jurisprudence could never catch up with legislation. Thus our predicament becomes immediately obvious. What remains of a science reduced to annotating and interpreting constantly changing regulations issued by state agencies presumed to be in the best position to know and articulate their true intent?”
Carl Schmitt
“The crisis of European jurisprudence began a century ago with the victory of legal positivism.”
Carl Schmitt, The Plight of European Jurisprudence
“Today nothing is more modern than the onslaught against the political. American financiers, industrial technicians, Marxist socialists, and anarchic-syndicalist revolutionaries unite in demanding that the biased rule of politics over unbiased economic management be done away with. There must no longer be political problems, only organizational-technical and economic-sociological tasks. The kind of economic-technical thinking that prevails today is no longer capable of perceiving a political idea. The modern state seems to have actually become what Max Weber envisioned: a huge industrial plant.”
Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty
“The most brazen humiliation ever inflicted upon God and mankind, justifying all the curses of the synagogue, is to be found in the 'sive' of the formula Deus sive Natura.”
Carl Schmitt, Glossarium : Aufzeichnungen der Jahre 1947 - 1951
“Intelligence and rationalism are not in themselves revolutionary. But technical thinking is foreign to all social traditions: the machine has no tradition. One of Karl Marx's seminal sociological discoveries is that technology is the true revolutionary principle, beside which all revolutions based on natural law are antiquated forms of recreation. A society built exclusively on progressive technology would thus be nothing but revolutionary; but it would soon destroy itself and its technology.”
Carl Schmitt, Rm̲ischer Katholizismus Und Politische Form
“The motorization of law into mere decree was not yet the culmination of simplifications and accelerations. New accelerations were produced by market regulations and state control of the economy —with their numerous and transferable authorizations and subauthorizations to various offices, associations and commissions concerned with economic decisions. Thus in Germany, the concept of “directive” appeared next to the concept of “decree.” This was “the elastic form of legislation,” surpassing the decree in terms of speed and simplicity. Whereas the decree was called a “motorized law,” the directive became a “motorized decree.” Here independent, purely positivist jurisprudence lost its freedom of maneuver. Law became a means of planning, an administrative act, a directive.”
Carl Schmitt, The Plight of European Jurisprudence
“Hauriou, became a crown witness for us when he confirmed this connection in 1916, in the midst of WWI: “The revolution of 1789 had no other goal than absolute access to the writing of legal statutes and the systematic destruction of customary institutions. It resulted in a state of permanent revolution because the mobility of the writing of laws did not provide for the stability of certain customary institutions, because the forces of change were stronger than the forces of stability. Social and political life in France was completely emptied of institutions and was only able to provisionally maintain itself by sudden jolts spurred by the heightened morality.”
Carl Schmitt, The Plight of European Jurisprudence
“The essence and value of the law lies in its stability and durability (...), in its “relative eternity.” Only then does the legislator’s self-limitation and the independence of the law-bound judge find an anchor. The experiences of the French Revolution showed how an unleashed pouvoir législatif could generate a legislative orgy.”
Carl Schmitt, The Plight of European Jurisprudence
“By claiming to be something more than the economic, the political is obliged to base itself on categories other than production and consumption. To repeat: it is curious that the capitalist entrepreneur and the socialist proletarian are of one accord in considering the political's assumption a presumption and, from the standpoint of their economic thinking, regarding the dominance of politicians as immaterial.”
Carl Schmitt, Rm̲ischer Katholizismus Und Politische Form
“The principle of equal chance is of such sensitivity that any serious doubt about the loyalty of all participants already renders the principle's application impossible. For it is self-evident that one can hold open an equal chance only for those whom one is certain would do the same.”
Carl Schmitt, Legality and Legitimacy
“In general, it would be a peculiar type of 'justice' to declare a majority all the better and more just the more overwhelming it is, and to maintain abstractly that ninety-eight people abusing two persons is by far not so unjust as fifty-one people mistreating forty-nine. At this point, pure mathematics becomes simple inhumanity.”
Carl Schmitt, Legality and Legitimacy
“Allí donde se inicia el proceso de disolución, surgen con eso tales «pactos de Estado» dentro del Estado. Si una organización estamental o de otra clase logra dar el carácter de leyes constitucionales a pactos intraestatales, habrá alcanzado el grado sumo de vinculación del Estado que es posible conseguir sin suprimir la unidad política. Pero si el «pacto de Estado» tiene el sentido, no ya de introducir el procedimiento especial de reforma de la ley constitucional, sino de limitar y abolir el Poder constituyente, la unidad política se destroza, y se coloca el Estado en una situación por completo anómala. Todas las construcciones jurídicas de esta situación son inservibles. Naturalmente que tal proceso de disolución puede comenzar en cualquier momento.”
Carl Schmitt, Constitutional Theory
“What did they live on,” said Alice, who always took a great interest in questions of eating and drinking. “They lived on treacle,” said the Dormouse, after thinking a moment or two. “They couldn't have done that, you know,” Alice gently remarked. “They'd have been ill.” “So they were,” said the Dormouse, “very ill.” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland”
Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political: Expanded Edition
“The basic outline of the philosophy of the Buribunks: I think, therefore I am; I speak therefore I am; I write, therefore I am; I publish therefore I am.”
Carl Schmitt
“True law is not imposed; it arises from unintentional developments. (...)Law emerges (...) as something not merely legislated but given. The later positivism knows no origin and has no home. It recognizes only causes or basic norms. It seeks to be the opposite of “unintended” law. Its ultimate goal is control and calculability.”
Carl Schmitt, The Plight of European Jurisprudence
“Legality has become a poisonous dagger, with which one party stabs the other in the back.”
Carl Schmitt, The Plight of European Jurisprudence
“In the temporal sphere, the temptation to evil inherent in every power is certainly unceasing. Only in God is the conflict between power and good ultimately resolved. But the desire to escape this conflict by rejecting every earthly power would lead to the worst inhumanity.”
Carl Schmitt, Rm̲ischer Katholizismus Und Politische Form
“The power to decide who is sovereign would signify a new sovereignty. A tribunal vested with such powers would constitute a supra-state and supra-sovereignty, which alone could create a new order if, for example, it had the authority to decide on the recognition of a new state. Not a Court of Justice but a League of Nations might have such pretensions. But in exercising them, it would become an independent agent. Together with the function of executing the law, managing an administration, etcetera (which might involve independence in financial affairs, budgeting, and other formalities), it would also signify something in and of itself. Its activity would not be limited to the application of existing legal norms, as would a tribunal that is an administrative authority. It would also be more than an arbiter, because in all decisive conflicts it would have to assert its own interests. Thus it would cease to uphold justice exclusively—in political terms, the status quo. If it took the constantly changing political situation as its guiding principle, it would have to decide on the basis of its own power what new order and what new state is or is not to be recognized. This could not be determined by the preexisting legal order, because most new states have come into being in opposition to the will of their formerly sovereign ruler. Owing to the rationale of self-assertion, it is conceivable that a conflict with the law might arise. Such a tribunal would not only represent the idea of impersonal justice but a powerful personality as well.”
Carl Schmitt, Rm̲ischer Katholizismus Und Politische Form
“Modern technology easily becomes the servant of this or that want and need. In modern economy, a completely irrational consumption conforms to a totally rationalized production. A marvelously rational mechanism serves one or another demand, always with the same earnestness and precision, be it for a silk blouse or poison gas or anything whatsoever. Economic rationalism has accustomed itself to deal only with certain needs and to acknowledge only those it can "satisfy." In the modern metropolis, it has erected an edifice wherein everything runs strictly according to plan— everything is calculable. A devout Catholic, precisely following his own rationality, might well be horrified by this system of irresistible materiality.”
Carl Schmitt, Rm̲ischer Katholizismus Und Politische Form
“Every fundamental order is a spatial order. One speaks of the constitution of a country or a piece of earth as of its fundamental order, its Nomos. Now, the true, actual fundamental order touches in its essential core upon particular spatial boundaries and separations, upon particular quantities and a particular partition of the earth. At the beginning of every great epoch there stands a great land-appropriation. In particular, every significant alteration and every resituating of the image of the earth is bound up with world-political alterations and with a new division of the earth, with a new land-appropriation.”
Carl Schmitt, Land and Sea: A World-Historical Meditation

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The Concept of the Political The Concept of the Political
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