The Schmitt Explainer You Should Be Reading and Discussing
N.S. Lyons who writes The Upheaval is always worth reading. His piece on Schmitt is no exception.
I must offer an apology to my readers. It has been a busy week of work, volunteer board meetings, and high school athletics (two daughters angling to reach the provincial high school swim championship) has left little time to write, although something is in the works.
In days of yore, I would have shared this article on Twitter, but will do so here instead. N.S. Lyons’ piece on Carl Schmitt is well worth the time to read. He weaves the development of his life and his writing to make the case that Schmitt’s struggle is one of trying and failing to cling to faith in a post Nietzschian world of technics, eventually by succumbing to the post-modern will to power. Better would that Schmitt had repented and returned to the Catholic faith and the belief in the transcendent as did his friend Ernst Jünger. My recent forays into the writings of Augusto Del Noce have also underscored this for me in new ways. There is tremendous value in reading Schmitt to understand the contradictions and vulnerabilities of our current system, and while much can be learned from him, the “answers” lie elsewhere. The way out of our current materialist prison to technique is to rediscover the transcendent and the supernatural, not in some bland notion of “re-enchantment” but of a robust embrace of the traditions of the still living (although deeply wounded) Christian faith.
Do yourself a service and read N.S. Lyons’ piece:
Since I am making recommendations, this re-post by Theophilus Chilton today of a 2017 piece he wrote on Jacques Ellul will also reward the reader:
Yes, I found that essay a good reminder that while much can be learned from Schmitt, his ideas may inform but they are not our salvation. I don’t read Yarvin much these days—especially since his whole “dark elves” thing. I do follow Auron somewhat, and I did have some thoughts on Rufo. The problem is too many who talk about the administrative state do not go deep enough in their understanding of technique. More people need to read Ellul. I did respond on Twitter in a QT thread to Rufo in his recent “defeatism” thoughts using Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message.” Too many, like Rufo, argue that we need to bend the institutions of society to our political will. That is fine and all, but it misses the point that the real problem is not the policies enacted through the administrative state, but rather the fact of the administrative state, that we use it at all. Think of it this way, the fact of the television is more important than any one TV show you might watch. Wholesome content does not change the reality that you are still watching TV. The fact of a car is more important than the choice of destination in any one trip you might make. The real meaning of the car is its mobility and use of fossil fuels among other things. It is the same for the administrative state (and also administration in big business as well, they are the same phenomenon). The fact of the administrative state is more important for understanding it’s meaning than whether or not it is used for right wing or left wing ends. Until you deal with the fact of the administrative state, it is winning regardless of the ends to which it being used. You have to remember that the political parties are no longer the true power in the country. The parties do not represent the people’s interest on how the administrative state is to be directed and used. No, the parties represent various factions within the administrative state to the people so that the plans of the various experts with the administrative state complex can be given legitimacy through a plebiscite vote. The parties work on behalf of the expert class who make up the administrative state. The real conflict is between the administrative state and the people.
Fascinating. Thank you for the recommendations.