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Carl Schmitt's Real Enemy: The Citizen of the Non-exclusive Democratic Community?

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In Politics of Friendship Jacques Derrida reveals the core of Carl Schmitt's thinking concerning the political: "If the political is to exist, one must know who everyone is, who is a friend and who is an enemy, and this knowing is not in the mode of theoretical knowledge but in one of a practical identification." Nevertheless, the enemy, who actually is identified, is not Carl Schmitt's real enemy. On the contrary, the identified enemy is his friend to the extent that it constitutes by exclusion what is most important to Schmitt: the existence of the political, and thereby, the Volk. Schmitt's real enemy is, as I try to demonstrate in this article, anyone who is not identified, the anonymous "natural existence of groups of individuals who just happen to live together" (Schmitt). In Schmitt's Nazi-period this anonymous individual got a concrete--although still non-identified--content: an assimilated Jew. And although Schmitt thought that he was a Christian thinker, in the end of this article I argue that the very first assimilated Jew was indeed St Paul, and that his doctrine of the "life in Christ" can be taken as a point of departure for thinking politics beyond enemies and exclusion.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2003

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