The unitary state Who will decide

Gundlach had also objected to the way that Schmitt's "friend-enemy" definition of the political reduced the state to a mere question of power and appeared based on an almost Manichean dualism of good and evil, resolvable only by brutal decision and command. The friend-enemy distinction aroused opposition because it collided with traditional Catholic social thinking about the harmony of the orders of society, and because it appeared to contradict so blatantly the evangelical injunction to love the enemy (Lonne 1994: 24-5). To the last charge, Schmitt responded that the love commandment applied only to individual enemies, not to "political" enemies (1996a: 29). As for the basis of the state in power rather than in a moral order, Schmitt never disputed the charge. He often cited Hobbes's tag, Autoritas non veritasfacit legem (Schmitt 1985: 33, 52; 1996b: 44, 55-6). "For Hobbes God is above all power (potestas)" (1996b: 32). Hobbes, he says in The Concept of the Political, knew that law was only a human construction. This was true both of positive law ("In this case the rule of law means nothing else than the legitimization of a specific status quo") and also of appeals to a higher or better law, "a so-called natural law or law of reason" (1996a: 66-7). In his prison diary he was to call Hobbes "his closest daily company" (1950: 63). He professed to admire Hobbes' resounding rejection of the potestas indirecta of Bellarmine and company. Such "distinctions and pseudo-concepts" were deceptive because they laid claim to obedience without having the responsibility for providing protection in return. And it was the state's provision of protection that gave it the right to demand obedience (1950: 67; 1996a: 52-3; 1996b: 71-2, 74, 83, 86). In an age riven with confessional strife, Hobbes restored the power of decision to the state by taking it out of the hands of the warring theologians and the sects (1950: 66-8). As the early modern state took on the tasks and trappings of the spiritual order, it disarmed the theologians by denying them the right, for example, to determine a just war (1950: 6970).

Quis judicabit? Quis interpretabitur? Who decides in concreto for human beings acting in their creaturely independence the question of what is spiritual and what is secular, and how one relates to the res mixtae, that, in the interim between the Lord's first and second comings, now determine the entire earthly existence of this spiritual-secular, spiritual-temporal double nature of humanity? That is the great Thomas Hobbes question that in my book of 1922, Political Theology, I already put into the center of discussion and which led to a theory of decisionism and of the autonomy of action. (1970: 107)

Heinrich Meier has made Schmitt's interpretation of Hobbes a centerpiece of his landmark study (1998: 100-34). In his reading, Schmitt distorted Hobbes to fit his own needs; he was not a "Hobbesian" at all, at least in the conventional sense, but a dedicated if evasive believer. That thesis requires respectful qualification. Too many of Schmitt's contemporaries thought otherwise, including friends such as Erik Peterson, who was particularly disturbed by Schmitt's attack on the church's indirect power: "The polemic against the potestas indirecta only has meaning if one has repudiated Christianity and has opted for paganism" (Nichtweiß 1992: 735). Peterson may have been especially disappointed in the defection of someone who had once written compellingly of the church's representative power (Nichtweiß 1994: 57-8). The denial of the indirect power meant a fatal acquiescence in secularization. The unity of the state could not be won at the expense of the church's public (öffentlich) character. The church came into being as the eschatological reality of the New Age, which destroyed the closed world of the Old Age. But Schmitt appeared to endorse the Leviathan's lament over the "typically Judeo-Christian splitting of the original political unity" (Schmitt 1996b: 11) - a splitting that Peterson himself thought was rooted in the very words of Jesus (Nichtweiß 1992: 735 n. 118). What Schmitt said of

Hobbes in the Glossarium appears to apply to himself as well: Hobbes's displacement of Christianity into marginal domains was accomplished with the intent of "rendering harmless the effect of Christ in the social and political sphere; of de-anarchizing Christianity, while leaving it in the background a certain legitimating function" (Nichtweiß 1994: 46).

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