Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Brocker I 166
Liberalism/Schmitt: From classics of liberalism - Guizot, Bolingbroke, Montesquieu, Hegel, von Mohl and others - Schmitt abstracts the "metaphysical system" (1) of liberalism: the balanced constitutional state that clearly distinguishes executive and legislative branches, measures and laws and also sees parliament itself as a "in itself" (2) differentiated party landscape. In 1923 Schmitt speaks of a "relative rationalism": of parliamentary and discursive procedures of decision-making, which in German liberalism have been transformed since Hegel and von Mohl into a "doctrine of an organic mediation" (3) of political opposites. Classical liberalism and parliamentarianism lived, according to Schmitt, in the constitutional monarchy from the opposition of legislature and executive. With the "participation of the representatives of the people in the government" (4), however, the classical balancing of power and law, command and law, executive and legislature has ceased and the plenum of parliament has degenerated into a "facade" (5).
Already with Condorcet (6), an author of the French Revolution, he dates a reversal of the liberal balance of powers and a turn to "absolute rationalism".
Brocker I 170
Liberalism/Schmitt: one can refrain from an ideological classification - for example of Rousseau, Marx or Sorel - if one assumes Schmitt's ideal type of "liberalism as a consistent, comprehensive, metaphysical system" (7).
Böckenförde pro Schmitt: The distinction between early liberalism (before 1789) and later "organic" liberalism since German Romanticism, Hegel and von Mohl, was stimulating (Böckenförde 1961)(8).
VsSchmitt: Schmitt's anti-liberal and nationalist interpretation of Rousseau's volonté générale is controversial (9).


1. Carl Schmitt, Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus, in: Bonner Festgabe für Ernst Zitelmann zum fünfzigjährigen Doktorjubiläum, München/Leipzig 1923, 413-473. Separatveröffentlichung in der Reihe: Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen und Reden zur Philosophie, Politik und Geistesgeschichte, Bd. 1, München/Leipzig 1923. Zweite, erweiterte Auflage 1926. S. 45.
2.Ebenda S. 51
3. Ebenda S. 58
4. Ebenda S. 62
5. Ebenda
6. Ebenda S. 57
7. Ebenda S. 45.
8. Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Die deutsche verfassungsgeschichtliche Forschung im 19. Jahrhundert. Zeitgebundene Fragestellungen und Leitbilder, Berlin 1961.
9. Ingeborg Maus, Über Volkssouveränität. Elemente einer Demokratietheorie, Berlin 2011.


Reinhard Mehring, Carl Schmitt, Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus (1923), in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Schmitt I
Carl Schmitt
Der Hüter der Verfassung Tübingen 1931

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-07-17
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