The Early Days of a Better Nation

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Arguments and Fights

The trouble with liberals (though not these, bless their shivs and toecaps) is that they often mistake a fight for an argument, and the right never does. Though this article on the respected and influential Nazi (yes, really) political philosopher Carl Schmitt comes down on the woolly side of the fence, it includes plenty of quotes from which to draw a different conclusion for the days that we have been given: always fight. (Via.)
No wonder that Schmitt admired thinkers such as Machiavelli and Hobbes, who treated politics without illusions. Leaders inspired by them, in no way in thrall to the individualism of liberal thought, are willing to recognize that sometimes politics involves the sacrifice of life. They are better at fighting wars than liberals because they dispense with such notions as the common good or the interests of all humanity. ("Humanity," Schmitt wrote in a typically terse formulation that is brilliant if you admire it and chilling if you do not, "cannot wage war because it has no enemy.")
It has now.


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