Carl Schmitt and the Future of Europe

As an occasional feature on TELOSscope, we highlight a past Telos article whose critical insights continue to illuminate our thinking and challenge our assumptions. Today, Linas Jokubaitis looks at Paul Piccone and Gary Ulmen’s “Schmitt’s ‘Testament’ and the Future of Europe” from Telos 83 (Spring 1990).

When Schmitt drafted his lecture “The Plight of European Jurisprudence” in 1944, he had reasons to believe that it would be his last lecture. After a failed assassination attempt on Hitler, his friend Johannes Popitz was arrested as an important conspirator in the plot and was later put to death. This is why the article by Paul Piccone and Gary Ulmen on this lecture is called “Schmitt’s ‘Testament’ and the Future of Europe.” The lecture did not prove to be Schmitt’s last. The irony is that what Schmitt wrote as his own testament can today be read as a testament of Europe. The validity of this claim depends only on how one views the current state of Europe.

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The Permanent Legal World Revolution

As an occasional feature on TELOSscope, we highlight a past Telos article whose critical insights continue to illuminate our thinking and challenge our assumptions. Today, Linas Jokubaitis looks at Carl Schmitt’s “The Legal World Revolution” from Telos 72 (Summer 1987).

Carl Schmitt wrote “The Legal World Revolution” when he was ninety years old, and it turned out to have been his last publication. New political developments had forced him to restate some of his old positions, the most important of which was the relationship between legitimacy, legality, and super-legality. The guiding theme of Schmitt’s final publication was the one that had been of the highest importance during his whole career. It is best summarized in notes posthumously published as Glossarium, in a passage entitled “The Diagnostic and Prognostic of Max Weber,” where Schmitt quoted from Weber’s “Sociology of Law”: “As a result of technical and economic development, it is inevitable that current law is destined to be conceived more and more as a rational technical mechanism which can be modified at any time for functional purposes, and is lacking in any kind of sacred content. The destiny may be hidden by the suppleness of belief of the current law, but cannot be truly avoided.”

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Carl Schmitt and the Conservative Revolutionaries

As an occasional feature on TELOSscope, we highlight a past Telos article whose critical insights continue to illuminate our thinking and challenge our assumptions. Today, Linas Jokubaitis looks at Joseph Bendersky’s “Carl Schmitt and the Conservative Revolution” from Telos 72 (Summer 1987).

In his last book, Political Theology II, Carl Schmitt wrote that some books are fated to become academic legends, but contrary to the etymological meaning of the word Legende, they are not read, only cited. He knew that his persona was surrounded by many mythologies and that after his death an even greater complex of mythologies would develop around his personality and works. Today there seems to be no end to the multiplication of legends about Schmitt. Joseph Bendersky’s essay “Carl Schmitt and the Conservative Revolution” is a meticulous attempt to understand if there is any truth in the popular legend, according to which Schmitt belonged to a diverse group of intellectuals who were labeled as conservative revolutionaries.

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Why Lukács Still Matters

As an occasional feature on TELOSscope, we highlight a past Telos article whose critical insights continue to illuminate our thinking and challenge our assumptions. Today, Linas Jokubaitis looks at Paul Piccone’s “Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness Half a Century Later,” from Telos 4 (Fall 1969).

In 1969, when Paul Piccone wrote “Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness Half a Century Later,” almost fifty years had passed since the publication of Georg Lukács’s magnum opus. Piccone wrote this essay to mark that anniversary, and he argued that this work was an “underground classic.” Moreover, he asserted that this book was essential for any analysis of modern thought. According to Piccone, everyone attempting to understand and overcome the ideological crisis of Marxism would be wise to consult this book.

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