Yoo shrewdly narrows this necessity to apply to enemy combatants abroad, but the implications for the freedom and continuity of the American Republic are most disheartening. We must then analyze some of the ways in which Yoo’s claims and beliefs are reminiscent of Schmitt’s and the ways in which Schmitt’s contempt for liberal government and society resonate with those of Yoo.
In his essay “The Concept of the Political,” Carl Schmitt forwards a decidedly simplistic and binary method for understanding the nature of politics and the role of the state. For Schmitt, everything which makes up society (i.e. culture, art, government, popular movements and beliefs, and customs) necessarily has a political distinction, meaning and value. Everything is political. The state, being the embodiment of the political, may potentially concern itself with anything. But more important for Yoo is that Schmitt reduces the whole of human existence and conflict to a matter of discerning the Hegelian “other.” Thus Schmitt claims that the basis of all political matters is a choice and distinction between friend and enemy. As well for Schmitt, “all political concepts, images, and terms have a polemical meaning”. The point to be made then is that Schmitt believes that everything that is political in a society concerns itself with the designation of an enemy. All debates about rights, values, social justice, and the rest are but an act of choosing an enemy. Schmitt goes so far in this line of thought as to claim that the utopian idea of a world without war, where peace is the state of affairs, would simply be a world with no friends or enemies, and also no politics. For Schmitt then, man’s natural state in society is to have an enemy, to have a state which protects him from that enemy, and to reduce all other aspects of society to this very basic concept of the political. More troubling is that Schmitt ...
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