On Vox: *Sniff*
Jason Furman on the Cost of Tax Cuts

The Political Philosophy of Karl Schmitt

John Holbo writes:

John Holbo: here is what Schmitt actually says.... "[I]t would be senseless to wage war for purely religious, purely moral, purely juristic, or purely economic motives. The friend-and-enemy grouping and therefore also war cannot be derived from these specific antitheses of human endeavor. A war need be neither something religious or something morally good nor something lucrative. War today is in all likelihood none of these...."

[Karl Schmitt's] argument is...: since the economic reality does not support war, but it is clear that the possibility of war remains real, therefore the friend-enemy distinction must be fundamental. I have to admit it: that makes a dismal sort of sense to me. And reading the newspaper doesn't make it make less sense, I'm sad to say. I also agree with [John] Quiggin that Schmitt seems weirdly insulated from these facts, even though he more or less lays them out himself. He complains about one sinister, crazy thing -- going to war for profit -- but seems placidly untroubled by the sinister craziness of going to war even though its not profitable, just because you are locked in a friend/enemy thing...

What Holbo fails to grasp, I think, is that to Schmitt harming, enslaving, and killing your enemies is the entire point of human existence. It is not "sinister craziness," it is jolly good fun. Karl Schmitt is a KathederGenghisKhan:

  • It is not sufficient that I succeed--all others must fail.
  • The Greatest Happiness is to scatter your enemy and drive him before you. To see his cities reduced to ashes. To see those who love him shrouded and in tears. And to gather to your bosom his wives and daughters.

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