Carl Schmitt on Dictatorship. Reading the First English translation X.2

Chapter 4

The Concept of Sovereign Dictatorship

Second part of my account. Less historical digression and repetition of previous key points than the last post.

Schmitt’s account of the rule of Oliver Cromwell in seventeenth century England (and other nations in the relevant state system) suggests a drift from a commissary dictatorship rooted in the ancient Roman understanding of  dictator as serving the sovereignty power to accomplish limited and defined tasks on behalf of that power, towards a sovereign dictatorship that represents the dark side of bourgeois Enlightenment liberalism, or what is wrong with liberalism from Schmitt’s traditionalist conservative point of view.

The emergence of sovereign dictatorship comes out of a tension Schmitt outlines between laws and the norms that justify both obedience and enforcement with regard to laws. This is clearly an issue for all political systems, which as Schmitt recognises (if not entirely explicitly) was first made really clear by Rousseau in The Social Contract. Schmitt seems both to credit Rousseau with making the problems with the justification of law clear and to regard him as opening the way for sovereign  dictatorship. However, Schmitt does not descend to some of the more ridiculous polemics in which Rousseau is held to be directly responsibly for the Jacobin Terror in the French Revolution and all the varieties of modern totalitarian politics.

Sovereign dictatorship fort Schmitt comes from a power that is the power of what constitutes law and just the power of the constituted laws themselves. The sovereignty of a power that is constituting of laws is the power to override laws and make laws, without regard to the constraints followed by constituted powers within laws. The Jacobins of the French Revolution draw on Sieyès (as in the author of What is the Third Estate?) and Rousseau’s Social Contract  in their efforts to make law and virtue coincide, to make the general will (Rousseau) and the third estate-the nation (Sieyès) truly sovereign.

Since the people are often lacking in sufficient virtue, special measures should be taken. Tis seems to me more easy to justify with reference to Montesquieu’s account of republic than with reference to Sieyès or Rousseau, and indeed the most famous Jacobin advocate of terror after Maximilien de Robespierre, Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just, did exactly that. Of course Montesquieu probably did not mean to justify a later reign of terror, initiated by the Committee for Public Safety, when he discussed the Ancient Roman tendency to rely on the accusations of citizens, because citizens were naturally virtuous, but he did argue that a properly constituted republic would rely on state trust in accusations. This is possibly a bit awkward for Schmitt’s presentation of Montesquieu as a classic advocate of traditionalist monarchy, but is not in itself fatal.

Anyway, behind the thoughts of the Jacobins about terror and virtue is the continuing development of the constituting power as what shows itself in sovereign dictatorship. Schmitt notes ways in which the Committee for Public Safety in France still remained in some degree within the limit the limits of commissary dictatorship. The Committee regarded itself as defending the sovereignty of the National Convention, not as usurping that sovereignty, and it was not the only committee answerable to the Convention and that had special powers.

However, the National Convention always unanimously supported the decisions of the Committee for Public Safety, at least until the Coup of Thermidor (Thermidor was a month in the revolutionary calendar, that is the new calendar the French republicans though appropriate to the new age of justice and reason), so during that time the Committee was in practice exercising sovereignty and even adopting that kind of super-soveriegnty identified by Schmitt as sovereign dictatorship in which the power of constituting laws overwhelms laws themselves.

The non-recognition of the de facto sovereignty of  the Committee by those involved and the very temporary nature of the situation nevertheless means it was not a full sovereign dictatorship, and can be said to remain with the limits of commissary dictatorship. Schmitt’s account while careful about labels and definitions is aimed to give a negative impression of the ways that Protestant thought and Enlightenment liberalism challenge the layers of of custom, laws, sovereignty, religion, and institutions, accumulated in traditionalist Catholic monarchical Europe.

The heterodox elements of early modern Catholicism, particularly Occasionalism (the philosophical position according to which God arranges the consistency of mental perceptions with the general structure of the universe, which lack a natural physical connection) are also at fault in Schmitt’s thinking. Political Theology is also relevant here. There is an ambiguity in Schmitt’s thinking, which I’ve already alluded, in which he both welcomes the greater clarity about the gap between laws as what is constituted and the power to constitute them. His own account suggests that Medieval Catholic thinking was lacking in that it reduced political power and administrative acts to judicial power. The liberalism taken as the enemy is what makes clearer what sovereignty is and what state power is. Indeed the idea of a political enemy, important to Schmitt’s thinking (particularly The Concept of the Political and its much later sequel Theory of the Partisan) itself becomes clearer in the French Revolution and the attitude of the Committee for Publşc Safety with regard to defending the rule of reason.

(The above refers to:

Carl Schmitt

Dictatorship

From the origin of the modern concept of sovereignty to proletarian class struggle

Translated by Michael Holzel and Graham Ward

Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014)

Carl Schmitt on Dictatorship. Reading the First English translation X.1

Chapter 4

The Concept of Sovereign Dictatorship

First part of my account, quite a lot of historical exposition and digression as in previous posts, and re-explanation of what I think needs to be remembered here.

This chapter is much more concerned with history than with political theory, in comparison with the previous chapter. The major reference in history of political thought, or something close, is Emmanuel Sièyes, author of What is the Third Estate?, which is not very well known to English readers, but can be found easily online, as here. It is something between a pamphlet and a book, advocating that the third estate should be taken as the nation, written shortly before the French Revolution, which indeed played a major role in a historical process that achieved Sièye’s desired outcome. For those completely ıunfamiliar with the language of early modern and medieval political representation, I should something about what ‘third estate’ means (though I have already addressed the issue in posts on Dictatorship).

The assemblies called, with varying degrees of willingness by medieval monarchs, recognised three essential parts of the population of the domains of that monarchy: aristocracy, church, commoners. Commoners meant the town merchants and the gentry, that is those from propertied landed families below the ranks of the aristocracy, but who dominated local communities. There was no interest in the origin of the estates in representing the peasants and urban workers beyond the sense in which they might feel represented by the presence of the people they recognised as leaders in society in these assemblies. The estates in England were known as the parliament, and evolved bit by bit into the UK Parliament as we know it.

At the same time as Parliament was strengthening its powers in England (the early modern period) and power was being exercised  by the ‘third estate’, House of Commons, continental monarchies were tending to avoid calling the estates and were certainly not tacitly handing over some share in power to the third estate, even if composed exclusively of those one might think had a natural stake in maintaining the social order of things, or something very close to it.

 

It is worth going over this bit of historical sketching again, because Schmitt concentrates on England and France in this chapter. Naming the English/British state of the time is lightly awkward, because Schmitt is discussing the time of Cromwell, which precedes the union of Scotland and England under one parliament, as well as under one monarch, so parliament was only for England (taken to include Wales) and constitutional arrangements in England were not the same as in Scotland. For this reason  I shall stick to talking about England, despite the apparent dismissal of Scotland and forgetting of Wales, because that was how it worked then, roughly speaking.

Ireland just presents another complex case, which I cannot get into here, though the  period Schmitt refers to is the period in which all Ireland was finally completely incorporated into a British state system dominated by England (a rather slow process that began in the twelfth century, when England itself might be regarded as an appendage of a Norman-Angevin empire in western France, and in another oddity of history, though the 1169 first intervention in Ireland is usually described as Norman, the King of that time, Henry II, is known as the first post-Norman king, as a Plantagenet, and sometimes as an Angevin).

The point I am working up to here is that Schmitt discusses Oliver Cromwell as an important figure in the emergence of the modern version of dictatorship. As mentioned in previous posts, Schmitt regards Cromwell as a commissary (servant of a sovereign body) rather than sovereign dictator, because of the ending of the system with his death. This is a rather ambiguous situation because Cromwell did appoint a successor, his son Richard, to serve as Lord Protector after his death. However, he did not accept the title of king, or the guarantee of dynastic succession associated with such a title. At least in Schmitt’s presentation, Richard Cromwell appears to be a contingent successor rather than a necessary dynastic successor. The sense of contingency is enhanced by the speed and ease with which Richard abandoned the office and powers of Lord Protector, when it became clear that his father’s system was crumbling. He was allowed to live out his days unmolested as a member of the gentry in eastern England.

Schmitt gives some sense of the difficulties of Cromwell’s rule in that Cromwell only became Lord Protector, because rule by Parliament in the Commonwealth period of 1649-1653 did not work very well, and the obvious solution was for Cromwell to come out of the shadows as the de factor power in the land arising out of his control of the military after leading parliamentary armies to victory, to become Lord Protector. Cromwell made a number of attempts to rule through parliaments constituted to his liking, their failure, the inevitable reversion of powers to Cromwell, and the periods of unchallenged rule without parliament show that Cromwell was sovereign. Despite his frustrated wish to find a parliament he could work with, his sovereignty came in his own mind from God, as Cromwell justified and explained his actions with regard to what he thought would please God (as far as I can see an entirely sincere claim, Cromwell was what we would now call a ‘born again Christian’, and the ‘born again’ process was deep and intense).

Schmitt is quite restrained in his account here, and even seems sympathetic with Cromwell the conscientious individual, but he makes it clear that Cromwell was a Puritan Christian and clearly expects his readers to make a connection between the subjectivity of Protestant Christianity compared with Catholicism. He is building a picture of the development of modern sovereign dictatorship from the decay of the Catholic world of laws and governments ordered by enduring hierarchies, customs and laws.

To be continued. Next post will get onto the French Revolution and the Committee of Public Safety as well as concluding the comments on Cromwell.

 

(The above refers to:

Carl Schmitt

Dictatorship

From the origin of the modern concept of sovereignty to proletarian class struggle

Translated by Michael Holzel and Graham Ward

Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014)

Vico’s New Science, an under-acknowledged classic

My latest post at the group blog New APPS

 

This is the third and last of a brief sequnce of posts widely dispersed over time on three major texts, which I taught during the academic year that has just passed. The first was on the Essays of Montaigne  and the second was on Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws. These are rather different cases, so that wit Montaigne it is a case of Montaigne not getting adequate attention as a major figure in the history of philosophy, as  well as the attention he gets as a Renaissance literary figure and humanist. In the case of Montesquieu, the attention he get is appropriately directed at his contributions to political, social, legal, and historical thought, but despite his foundational role in all these areas he looks a bit second division, and marginal, a bit condescended to as an antiquarian of his time, and the amount of attention he gets is I believe believe below par given the level of his contributions.

What I am discussing is this post is the New Science of Giambattista Vico. It makes a slightly ironic sequel to the post on Montesquieu, since there is case for saying that Montesquieu, along with Rousseau, plagiarised Vico, particularly considering that both spent enough time in Italy that they must have had conversations about the distinguished Professor in Naples, who was at least well known in the peninsula in his own lifetime.

Now read on

Carl Schmitt on Dictatorship. Reading the First English translation IX

Chapter 3

The Transition to Sovereign Dictatorship in Eighteenth-Century State Theory

(continued)

Before I get onto Rousseau, I need to add a bit more about Montesquieu. Schmitt explicitly describes Montesquieu as anti-Enlightenment, which for most people is stretching the possible reasonable labels for Montesquieu. He contributed to the central text of the French Enlightenment, The EncyclopaediaThe Spirit of the Laws was placed on the Index of prohibited books by the Catholic Church, in that book he complains of the influence of the church in the most Catholic countries, denounces torture and murder suggesting that they re against humanity, he praises the spirit of commerce, he praises liberty and statute law (i.e. he believes  that customary law, law inherited from the past cannot be absolute), he tried to put the study of history and society on a   more regular and objective basis, and took other positions generally accepted as part of Enlightenment.

Schmitt appears to be employing Enlightenment to refer to the most radical, materialistic, democratic, and individualistic aspects of Enlightenment. He also seems to put the Physiocrat (early economist) Turgot (Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune) on the anti-Enlightenment side, by emphasising that like Montesquieu he worked as a servant of the monarchy (Montesquieu was a judge and Turgot was an ‘intendant’, that is a state bureaucrat), and shared a commitment to monarchy, which in the case of Turgot seems to have slipped over into support for absolute monarchy.

What Schmitt also suggests in his analysis of Montesquieu is that Montesquieu had a belief in the universality of law and in exceptions necessary to preserve the system, so the suggestion is that Montesquieu grasped that the law must be contradictory in some way, and that it needs a concrete reality in which it is unified with the king. The suggestion is that both Montesquieu’s understanding of law as in some degree autonomous of sovereign will, though not completely, and Turgot’s understanding of a ‘natural’ laissez faire economy as dependent on laws and the force provided for  laws by the sovereign  will, are part of a unity of laws and sovereign will within the monarchy. There is an implicit argument that Bonald style monarchist traditionalism s best understood with reference to the  constraints on sovereign will resulting from robust laws and legal institutions, and leaving the economy to the interplay of private decisions.

The contrast Schmitt develops, through a lot of other references and sub-arguments is between Montesquieu and Rousseau in a strategy that maximises their differences and situates Rousseau as the most consistent of liberals and the revealer of its inner logic. Locke is also mentioned, but as a less ‘pure’ liberal more aware of the necessity for some kind of sovereign power in the foundation of his thought than Rousseau is. Locke is given credit for appreciating the need for stability in law, distinct from the wishes of the sovereign at any moment and for a ‘federative power’ (which in Locke refers to sovereignty in relation to inter-state relations including war).

For Rousseau, the sovereign is the general will, that is the unanimous agreement of all individuals with regard to any law that can be regarded as legitimate. This takes Rousseau in a more radical individualistic direction than Locke, who allows that a representative assembly is the sovereign with regard to the making of laws, so clearly does not require the consensus of every single individual (with full political rights) in the territory of the state concerned to agree. Schmitt sees Locke’s thought as flawed by an excessive reliance on the sovereignty of the law making assembly, rather than the kind of concrete individualised sovereign will Locke relegates to the ‘federative power’, and as drawing on a Protestant related metaphysics of the substantial individual that also limits Hobbes’s thought. Schmitt refers to contradictions between Locke’s metaphysics and his politics, which is I suppose about the well known apparent tension between Locke’s sensationalist empiricist views of the mind and knowledge, and the  idea of natural rights as the foundation of political institutions.

Presumably Rousseau’s upbringing in Calvinist Geneva and later adherence to a  version of religion which rests on inner experience, combined with metaphysical views that seem to waver between deism and the providentialism of a not very interventionist deity. For Schmitt the vital foundations of Rousseau’s political thinking are a belief in complete consent of laws in the general will and the natural goodness of man. On the latter point, it seems to me that Rousseau is a bit more ambiguous than Schmitt suggests, but there is enough truth in it to not disturb the analysis very much.

The problem for Rousseau, according to Schmitt, is that laws come into conflict with with a lack of natural goodness of individuals in society. That is the background to Rousseau’s famous declaration than man must be forced to be free and in the end the historical process in which the Jacobins used the terror of the Committee for Public Safety during the French Revolution. This rather stereotypical picture of Rousseau’s thought and its influence, does not quite do justice to Schmitt’s account which is a lot more nuanced, makes more distinction between texts and political acts in their name,  and is a lot more aware of Rousseau’s use of paradoxes, than the summary just given. Nevertheless, Schmitt does not really dissent from the stereotype of Rousseau, he is just a lot less polemical and reductive than a lot of thinkers who should know better (Isaiah Berlin is the prime defendant in the dock here).

It seems to me Schmitt’s account is slightly failing to take account of the equivocations and qualifications in Rousseau, but given that he is producing a general argument about the evolution of ideas about sovereignty and law it is largely a satisfactory account. In the context of this book, Schmitt’s concern is to fit Rousseau into arguments about dictatorship. He notes that Rousseau prefers the rule of magistrates to dictators, while it is Montesquieu who refers to the necessity of some form of commissary style dictatorship with regard to republics, giving the example for modern republics of the the special courts of Venice. Schmitt’s view of Rousseau’s place in the  emergence of sovereign dictatorship, is that as for liberals as a whole, Rousseau establishes the idea of sovereign dictatorship by treating laws as something can be created and imposed on the basis of pure virtue as long as it rests on the unanimous consent of the general will. In practice this will lead to dictatorial acts against those who lack virtue and places liberal government on the foundation of a dictatorial power over society to impose laws, as opposed to the restraint of traditional monarchy acting through intermediate powers.

(The above refers to:

Carl Schmitt

Dictatorship

From the origin of the modern concept of sovereignty to proletarian class struggle

Translated by Michael Holzel and Graham Ward

Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014)

Carl Schmitt on Dictatorship. Reading the First English translation VIII

Chapter 3

The Transition to Sovereign Dictatorship in Eighteenth-Century State Theory

(continued)

As stated in the last post, this chapter largely revolves around a tension between Rousseau and Montesquieu. To out things simply, Schmitt is for Montesquieu and against Rousseau. This depends on taking Montesquieu as a monarchist traditionalist, which still leaves Schmitt in proximity to the liberal tradition he largely criticises. There is some debate amongst commentators on whether Montesquieu is more republican or monarchist, more ‘English’ (disguised republic) or more ‘French’ (limited monarchy).

I’ll resist the temptation to add my own thoughts on Montesquieu. I’ve read a lot of him recently, I taught the whole of The Spirit of the Laws last autumn and will again in the coming spring, so if I start I’ll go on for ever, and I’ll certainly have a lot to say about him in posts in the future (not the very near future, I will be positing on philosophy of the novel, once I’ve completed the current sequence on Schmitt). For the moment, I’ll restrict myself to saying that Montesquieu incorporates a very varied numerous number of historical instances and possible forms of government, in a way that to me makes it difficult to say what he is advocating most strongly, except to say that he wishes to see ‘moderate’ government (that is governments limited by law and custom, comprising monarchies and republics, which can be democratic or aristocratic) triumph over ‘despotic’ government (that is one person government limited only by religion).

What Schmitt emphasises is the what Montesquieu has to say about monarchy, which seems to largely apply to the France of his time, and is at least in some degree a justification of that government as one that does accept limits. Schmitt’s tendency to take Montesquieu as advocating the division of powers within and underneath the French monarchy as the supreme political model is not at all outrageous. It is certainly how some very good Montesquieu scholars read him, though there are good scholars who also read him in a  more republican way, and of course among the more popular public understandings of Montesquieu, there is a strong tendency to see him as prophet and justifier before the fact of the constitution of the United States.

Just thinking about Schmitt’s perspective, the possibly awkward aspect of his use of Montesquieu is that Montesquieu is standardly read as a liberal thinker, even if often as a conservative liberal, and takes up more of Schmitt’s discussion than unambiguous traditionalist conservatives like Bonald who seem closer to Montesquieu’s way of thinking. In addition, Montesquieu takes Spain as an example of the negative effects of giving too much power to the Catholic church and in general of the defects of the most traditionalist forms of society as opposed to the influence Enlightenment had in France even on the monarchy and the aristocracy.

Of course it would be wrong to say these things were not present in Spain and only present Spain from the point of view of the black legend of fanatical inquisitors and cruel exploiters of American natives, but we have to acknowledge that Montesquieu tended to go along with such views and that Schmitt generally takes the Spanish Catholic-Monarchist system as a positive point of reference. Along with Bonald and Joseph de Maistre, Schmitt sometimes uses the fervent nineteenth century Spanish monarchist Juan Dosono Cortés, as a favourite example of a conservative traditionalist thinker defending ordered authority and custom against anarchism and socialism.

For whatever reason, Schmitt prefers to take a thinker generally association with Enlightenment liberalism of some kind as he central figure in explaining the benefits of monarchist authority over liberal individualism, in an argument to show traditional authority as better for individual rights than liberalism. The points that Schmitt is emphasising form Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws, is that a monarchy is not a despotism, that it shares powers with intermediate institutions, that is institutions mediating between monarch and individuals. The aristocracy, church law courts, and town governments where they possess some status guaranteed by custom and law independent of the will of the monarch are the obvious major elements. Montesquieu himself of course was a judge and an aristocrat so there might be an element of self-justification şn his argument, though he is far too complex a figure to reduce to an agenda of self-justifying gestures. Schmitt emphasises the aristocratic element, the idea of an aristocratic state, which seems a reasonable account of Montesquieu since he is expecting the aristocracy to provide judges and senior clergy, and for town government to be dominated by aristocrats, or at least those connected with the aristocracy.

(Next week Rousseau and the comparison of Rousseau with Montesquieu)

 

(The above refers to:

Carl Schmitt

Dictatorship

From the origin of the modern concept of sovereignty to proletarian class struggle

Translated by Michael Holzel and Graham Ward

Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014)

Another Liberty Canon: Foucault

Originally posted on Notes On Liberty:

Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was a French writer on various but related topics of power, knowledge, discourse, history of thought, ethics, politics, and so on. His name to some summons negative associations of French intellectual fashion, incomprehensibility, and refinements of Marxist anti-liberty positions.

However, his influence in various fields has become too lasting, and too much taken up by people who do not fit into the categories just mentioned, for such reactions to be considered adequate. Foucault himself resisted and mocked labels, which was a serious issue for him because in his work he tried to question the absolute authority of any one system of knowledge and the  authority of isolated great thinkers.

He said that once he had written something it was no longer what he thought, which is in part a playful attempt to resist labelling, but also a rather serious point deeply embedded in his thought, about the…

View original 1,297 more words

Carl Schmitt on Dictatorship. Reading the First English translation VII

Chapter 3

The Transition to Sovereign Dictatorship  in Eighteenth-Century State Theory

There is a different kind of historical background background in this chapter from previous chapters, that is the argument is less tied up with particular events, persons, and institutions. Schmitt is focused on the major legal and political institutions of one country France, and a clear  contrast in political and legal thought between two widely read thinkers of Great Classic status. The contrast is between Montesquieu and Rousseau and the clarity is a bit obscured by discussion of less well known figures, particularly the Swiss-French Gabriel Bonnot de Mably, who is very little known in the anglophone world and is only a little better known in France as far as I can see.  I don’t think my taking time to find out more about Mably will greatly help comprehension of Schmitt’s overall argument, so I will leave that to one side.

The main context Schmitt brings in is a well known story about eighteenth century France, and which is familiar to anyone with any idea about eighteenth century European history, since this was certainly one of the times in which France could claim to be first in the ranking of continental European powers, though falling behind Britain as a commercial and colonial power. The story is one of the increasingly absolutist monarchy, though Schmitt avoids the most misguided vulgarised conceptions on this score, and it is fundamental to his whole argument that he does.

It is, I suppose uncontroversial to say that this is a time when the political supremacy of the monarchy with regard to any other power source, the increasing  administrative power of the state, and the erosion of localised privileges, customs, and exceptions were all realities. However, as Schmitt points out, this was in no way a time of an at will personal despotism over every aspect of French society. On the issue of the ‘commissar’ (the underlying issue of special powers for centrally appointed commissars as ‘commissary dictatorship’ as an instrument of sovereign power), these existed at that time as ‘intendants’, who had powers delegated from the monarchy with regard to collection of taxes, and other administrative functions.

They were not, however, part of a sovereign dictatorship, since the king shared power with local ‘parliaments’. Unfortunately the translators err on this issue, or so I believe. They write it as ‘parliament’, which has some historical and linguistic justification (there was a time when ‘parlement’ was standardly translated as ‘parliament’ now means an elected parliamentary body), but tends to confuse the unwary. The ‘parliaments’ of medieval and early modern France were not representative bodies in the sense of the English and then British Parliament. Members were not voted into office, they were regional and city judges, providing the highest instance of justice within that jurisdiction, and registered royal edicts, which was necessary for them to be recognised as laws.

The more extreme and vulgar images of eighteenth century absolutism suggest a virtual elimination of these institutions, but though their power relative to the power of the monarchy declined over all, that is a not a completely straight line of decline, and they continued to exist and continued to have a role in representing localised elite views until the French Revolution. As they were inevitably composed of the aristocracy, most famously Michel de Montaigne in the sixteenth century and Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron of La Brède, and Montesquieu in the eighteenth century, they were a kind of local assembly of the aristocracy. Their mix of formal judicial powers and less formal political powers confirms Schmitt’s analysis earlier in the book of the medieval attitude in which all political power is understood as a form of legal power, and the growth of the centralised state was tied up wit the revival of Roman law and the use of judges in state and administrative tasks. In the case of eighteenth century France, we can see that the power-law fusion was also a way of limiting central power.

The essence of the French monarchy was that the power was divided between monarchy and the estates for Schmitt and he quotes the ultra-monarchist Louis Gabriel Ambroise de Bonald, someone else little known outside France, and only a bit better known in France, but nevertheless one of those writers Schmitt appears to see as a precursor. Schmitt’s point in bringing up Bonald is very much to suggest that conservative-tradionalist-monarchist thinking is about a division in powers, not a defence of dictatorship-despotism-tyranny. He seems to be arguing for what Germans know as a state of estates, though the real division in Schmitt is not between monarchy and distinct estates, but between monarchy and that hereditary class (though also open to those who impressed the monarchy with their administrative skills of financial capacity to offer bribes) dominant in the interpretation of law and the giving out of justice.

 

(Commentary on Chapter 3 to be continued soon)

 

(The above refers to:

Carl Schmitt

Dictatorship

From the origin of the modern concept of sovereignty to proletarian class struggle

Translated by Michael Holzel and Graham Ward

Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014)