on 7 April 2016
Paired with Political Theology, this forms the best introduction to the political and legal thought of Carl Schmitt. The included essay on neutralisation and depoliticisation also makes a fundamental contribution to understanding his critique of liberalism and the liberal state (along with trickier concepts like "humanity").
If you're new to Schmitt, forget the Nazism of his Hitler period (not *completely* of course, but don't allow it to pre-colour your views), and get a copy of this; you might be surprised, even if you're a leftist like me, how much you sympathise with his analysis.
on 27 March 2013
A very interesting essay by Schmitt, widely considered to be his most influential work. The language is clearly dated, and the translation is a bit odd in parts (particularly regarding how Schmitt's noted are just incorporated into the text rather than footnoted). However, it is a good book and key to understanding the development of 20th century political thought in general and totalitarianism in particular.
on 18 June 1998
Schmitt's "Concept of the Political" is one of the most famous as well as notorious books of political theory. The so-called "Crown-Attorney of the Third Reich" (Gurian) develops in this brief Essay the idea, that the Concept of the Political is the differentiation between foe and friend. States should classify people as well as other states as friend or foe, because only this asures homogenity (in innerstate matters) and security (in foreign policies). Allthough this radical alternative has often been misunderstood (Schmitt does not say, that politics always operates in this binary mode), Schmitt is fascinated by the ideology of Mussolini as well as Hitler and the NSdAP. Vice versa, the Nazis showed interests in the international lawyer: His homogenity-desiderate corresponded with their plans to exterminate "Jews". With Schmitts "Concept of the Political" these extermination-ideas were based to a "philosophical background". That led critical scholars to characterize this book as a "political, not philosophical existentialism".