Thesis In History Walter Benjamin Essays Written By Harper Lee
But in the Germany of the Third Reich, under the exception that Schmitt personally helped to craft, the exception had in fact emerged as a new state.Benjamin is clearly referring both to the transformed Germany of the time of his writing, and to his long-standing dialogue with Schmitt about this process.Then it will become clear that our mission is the introduction of a genuine state of exception; and our position in the struggle against Fascism will benefit from it.Fascism has a shot in part because its opponents, in the name of progress, treat it as a historical phenomenon.The Schmitt-Benjamin discourse is one of the most curious intellectual artifacts of Germany in the period between the wars, not least of all because it seems that the arch-conservative Catholic Schmitt held the Marxist secular Jew Benjamin in genuinely high esteem—and vice versa.Schmitt will forever be associated with the notion of a “state of exception,” which as he put it was the essential characteristic of every modern state.
Benjamin’s eighth thesis is clearly the final word in their dialogue, and it takes suitable weight.
It was Schmitt who, as the crown jurist of the new Nazi regime, provided the essential road map for – the leveling of opposition within Germany’s vast bureaucracy – and it was he who provided the legal tools used to transform the Weimar democracy into the Nazi nightmare that followed it.
The experience of America in the period after 9/11 bears some noteworthy parallels to the Schmitt-Benjamin dialogue.
“Sovereign is he who controls the exception,” Schmitt writes.
But theory cannot be divorced entirely from practice.