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Religions 2019, 10(1), 7;

The Power of Carl Schmitt: Fascism, Dualism and Justice

Department of Jewish Thought, University at Buffalo (SUNY), Buffalo, NY 14260, USA
An earlier version of the present paper was first given as a keynote address at the 13th annual meeting of the North American Levinas Society held at Western Carolina University on 3 August 2018. I want to thank the National Endowment of the Humanities for their financial sponsorship of my attendance at that meeting of NALS, and for their earlier financial support of the Summer Seminar for Colleges and University Teachers held at the University at Buffalo, 17–21 July 2017, on the topic of “Emmanuel Levinas on Morality, Justice and the Political”, where the same ideas were discussed before a different but no less dedicated cohort of scholars.
Received: 29 November 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 24 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Levinas and the Political)
PDF [248 KB, uploaded 24 December 2018]


The purpose of this paper is to show that underlying Schmitt’s account of fascist politics lies a Gnostic-like metaphysical dualism separating the realms of value and power. Contrary to the normative political tradition of the West, which defends ethical politics, Schmitt—jurist and theorist of the Nazis—aligns himself with Machiavelli and Hobbes to defend realpolitik for which sovereignty is ultimately a function of the Dictator’s will alone. This paper shows the contradiction within such a position, which criticizes values in politics, but by its advocacy and its defense of the Dictator’s willing, relies on valuation, choice and hence, the ethical. View Full-Text
Keywords: justice; fascism; Nazi; Gnosticism; power; ethics; will justice; fascism; Nazi; Gnosticism; power; ethics; will
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Cohen, R.A. The Power of Carl Schmitt: Fascism, Dualism and Justice. Religions 2019, 10, 7.

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