The Emergence of a New Nomos

“Some believe themselves to be experiencing the end of the world. In reality we are only experiencing the end of the relation between land and sea, which had held up to this point. Still, human angst [Angst] in the face of the new is often as great as the angst in the face of the void, even when the new is the overcoming of the void. Thus, the many see only senseless disorder, where, in reality, a new sense struggles for its order. Admittedly, the old nomos falls away and with it a whole system of received measures, norms, and relations. But that which is coming is not therefore only measurelessness or a nothingness hostile to nomos. Even in the embittered struggle of old and new forces, just measures emerge and sensible proportions are constructed.”

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

Continue reading →

Nomos and Land-Appropriation

“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

Continue reading →

Carl Schmitt on the Law, the Land, and the Sacred

Central to Carl Schmitt’s geophilosophy is his view that law is intrinsically linked to the physical location. This connection between the terra firma and the law is an essential element of what he refers to as nomos. Schmitt sees this as the most authentic form of law, distinguishable from views that perceive law as a normative or positive regime. In his article “Carl Schmitt and the Sacred Origins of Law,” Mika Ojakangas elucidates Schmitt’s conception of nomos, its relation to Schmitt’s view of mythopolitical legitimization of the state, and the consequences of rejecting the notion of such a link by secularization.

Continue reading →

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.

Continue reading →

Carl Schmitt the Fundamental Meanings of Nomos

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, Michael Millerman looks at Carl Schmitt’s “Appropriation/Distribution/Production: Toward a Proper Formulation of Basic Questions of any Social and Economic Order” from Telos 95 (Spring 1993).

As indicated by its title, Carl Schmitt’s essay addresses to two problems: (1) what are the basic questions that we must raise about the social and the economic order? (2) how are those questions properly formulated? A moment’s reflection should reveal to us the great generality of these problems, which are designed—so Schmitt says—to answer a need for “comprehensive consideration” of social life in its unity (52). Whether we are asking about orders democratic, non-democratic, capitalist, or socialist; whether we inquire into totalitarianisms, fascisms, traditionalisms, ethno-nationalisms; whether we put the question to republics or princedoms, Schmitt is indicating that there are basic questions to ask, and he is suggesting that he has the key to their proper formulation.

Continue reading →