Series Editor's Foreword and intellectual ornaments of the new National Socialist order? There are a number of reasons. First, Schmitt's incisive analyses of fundamental problems of political theory—the nature of sovereignty, the legitimacy of the state, the basis of constitutionality and its relation to the rights and obligations of the individual, the purpose and limits of political power—mark him as one of the most original and powerful thinkers in this century to have struggled with the problems of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant. Schmitt's work belongs integrally to the continuing dialogue of Western political thought that extends from Plato and Aristotle to the present. Second, Schmitt's contributions to the debate over political leadership in mass democracies, his unerring sense for the fundamental problems of modem politics, and his radical and systematic critique of the ideas and institutions of liberal democracy—an attack that has never been adequately answered—distinguish him as one of the most important figures in the theory of modem politics. Finally, the contemporary world shows many resemblances with the Schmittian political cosmos in which the conditions for politics-as-usual rarely obtain. It is marked not only by global economic, environmental, and military dangers that threaten existing social orders, but also by a tendency to theologize political conflicts, to transform domestic and international adversaries into enemies who represent the forces of evil. It is in many important respects that political world of exceptions, emergencies, and crises to which Schmitt, more than any other thinker of our time, devoted his considerable energies.
I would like to thank George Schwab and Guy Oakes for their invaluable assistance in arranging this series of Schmitt translations.
Thomas McCarthy Northwestern University
Was this article helpful?