Reading, Watching 01.20
Somewhat misleading title today since I’m just going to talk about books and only political theory ones at that.
Readers may remember when I was reading John McCormick’s Machiavellian Democracy and I also read Schmitt’s Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy. When I saw his book Schmitt I had to grab it. Schmitt is sort of an “evil genius” as a friend once characterized him. He was a member of the Conservative Revolution movement in Germany, a loose coterie of reactionary and proto-fascist thinkers in the Weimar era. A jurist and academic, he at one time argued for using emergency powers to ban both the NSDAP (Nazi party) and the KPD (Communist party) as threats to the Republic, but took the legal brief defending the conservative Papen’s 1932 constitutional coup against the state government of Prussia, which they contended had imposed an “unfair” ban on Nazi organizations. Schmitt’s legal brief justifying the coup was accepted by the Court. This event is considered a key moment in the destruction of Germany democracy. Schmitt, rather opportunistically, joined the Nazi party in 1933, took on some prominent roles, and offered theoretical and legal justifications of the regime. But he came under attack in the SS newspaper for not being enough of a real Nazi and his position in the party diminished thereafter.