Identifier

etd-12212011-104540

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Scholarly treatments of the controversial German jurist Carl tend to be bipolar: His writings are either scrutinized for totalitarian leanings or his flirtations with Nazism excused as unfortunately opportunistic. One of the more fruitful points to begin an exploration of Schmitt’s thought is in his interpretation of Thomas Hobbes. Schmitt criticized Hobbes both for ignoring the historical backdrop to the Leviathan myth, and also for prefiguring liberalism with his distinction between conscience and obedience. In recruiting Hobbes, this paper suggests that though Schmitt’s concern about the technologization of politics through liberalism was paramount, it was in support of a radical form of democracy. Schmitt appropriates Hobbes’ state of nature and the initial founding contract to show the ‘people’ are sovereign, and therefore the only entity capable of politically distinguishing between friends and enemies. This critique intends to move beyond Schmitt the anti-liberal, to show him as a democrat, albeit one who retains subtle authoritarian undertones.

Date

2012

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Eubanks, Cecil

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