By Ellen Kennedy
Kennedy unearths how Schmitt’s argument for a powerful yet impartial nation supported the maximization of industry freedom on the price of the political structure. She argues that the most important fault strains of Weimar liberalism—emergency powers, the courts as “defenders of the constitution,” mass mobilization of anti-liberal politics, ethnic-identity politics, a tradition of resentment and contested legitimacy—are now not exceptions in the liberal-democratic orders of the West, yet significant to them. Contending that Schmitt’s concept is still important at the present time simply because liberal norms are insufficient to the political demanding situations dealing with constitutional platforms as various as these of jap Europe and the USA, Kennedy develops a compelling, rigorous argument that unsettles many assumptions approximately liberalism, democracy, and dictatorship.
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Extra resources for Constitutional Failure: Carl Schmitt in Weimar
If there is only ‘‘interest,’’ whether of the group or the individual, then nothing justiﬁes the tragic character of political authority. He never wavered from that conception. ∫∞ It was also the issue over which he differed fundamentally with Carl Schmitt. The maintenance of the Reich—a uniﬁed German state in the face of particularist political movements in important Länder such as Bavaria— was Popitz’s central concern during the Republic, and his policy studies and advice to governments on matters of ﬁscal administration and taxation reﬂect that general theme.
There is no direct criticism of the regime, and nothing in Schmitt’s thought would have led him to the risky enterprise of resistance. ∞∞≤ Popitz had read the lecture and disagreed with its approach, Schmitt remarks, primarily because of the connection it made between jurisprudence and philosophy: Popitz thought that concepts such as person, reciprocity and many others were purely philosophical in origin, and that jurisprudence could not avoid reliance on philosophy. The inﬂuence of Greek philosophy and the Roman law were the great examples of this for him.
On December 2, Popitz’s sixtieth birthday, the day after Schmitt lectured at Leipzig, Popitz had been in prison for ﬁve months. ∞≤∑ Sentenced by the ‘‘People’s Court’’ (Volksgerichtshof) to death in October 1944, Popitz was led once to the execution room, only to be brought back and ordered to work on administrative and ﬁnancial reform documents. He was ﬁnally executed on February 2, 1945. Schmitt was arrested in Berlin by the Russians in April 1945 but was released after interrogation. In June 1945 the Americans arrested him and had him ﬁll out a questionnaire, released him, then arrested him again.