TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

Land and Sea, Air and Fire

“If, in addition, one imagines not only that airplanes fly through the airspace over land and sea but also that radio waves from transmissions from all lands circle the globe uninterruptedly through the atmospheric space, then it would be easy to believe now not only that a new, third dimension has been achieved but also that even a third element has been added, the air, as a new elementary domain of human existence. To both the mythic beasts, Leviathan and Behemoth, a third would be added, a great bird. But we must not be overhasty with such consequential propositions. Indeed, if one thinks of the mechanized technical means and energies with which human power is exercised in airspace, and if one recognizes the explosive motors by means of which air machines are moved, then it appears that it is the fire that is the additional, genuinely new element of human activity.”

—Carl Schmitt, Land and Sea: A World-Historical Meditation

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Land and Sea is Carl Schmitt's ambitious and often beautiful effort to render the geo-political history of humankind as grand fable. Schmitt muses over man's fate as he transformed from land-bound creature to conqueror of the seas and eventually the skies. The subtext of the work concerns Germany's precarious position as defender of humanity's fundamental political essence as it withstands sieges from various trans-territorial forces, especially England, the Soviet Union, the United States and, most chillingly, the Jews. Berman and Zeitlin must be commended for making this astounding work available to English-speaking audiences in such an impeccably translated and annotated form for the first time.”
John P. McCormick, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago, and author of Carl Schmitt's Critique of Liberalism: Against Politics as Technology

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