The Jury Talks Back


The Unliberal Nature of Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 11:12 am

From Notes on Schmitt’s Essay by Leo Strauss in Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political:

Hobbes differs from developed liberalism only, but certainly, by his knowing and seeing against what the liberal ideal of civilization has to be persistently fought for: not merely against rotten institutions, against the evil will of a ruling class, but against the natural evil of man; in an unliberal world Hobbes forges ahead to lay the foundation of liberalism against the—sit venia verbo—unliberal nature of man, whereas later men, ignorant of their premises and goals, trust in the original goodness (based on God’s creation and providence) of human nature or, on the basis of natural-scientific neutrality, nurse hopes for an improvement of nature, hopes unjustified by man’s experience of himself. Hobbes, in view of the state of nature, attempts to overcome the state of nature within the limits in which it allows being overcome, whereas later men either dream up a state of nature or, on the basis of a supposed deeper insight into history and therewith into the essence of man, forget the state of nature (Schmitt, 1996, 92).


  1. Huh?

    Comment by Patterico — 2/20/2009 @ 12:52 am

  2. So men are basically bad, right?

    Comment by carlitos — 2/20/2009 @ 6:39 am

  3. Hobbes was a creature of his time. The syphilitic Tudors, the hapless Stuarts, Oliver Cromwell.

    I don’t know that he was a philosopher. I would call him a social psychologist. Not much of an intellect. Nowhere near Socrates, Dostoyevsky, or even Nietzsche. And miles away from St. Paul.

    Comment by nk — 2/20/2009 @ 9:59 am

  4. FWIW, study all the philosophy you want but read history, poetry and literature first. You might conclude that self-proclaimed lovers of wisdom are anything but. They are only lovers of their own thoughts.

    Comment by nk — 2/20/2009 @ 10:08 am

  5. Could you discuss Hobbes’ political philosophy without quoting the man that provided the ideological foundation of the Nazi dictatorship?

    Comment by kaf — 2/20/2009 @ 12:52 pm

  6. kaf,

    I was not aware that Leo Strauss provided the ideological foundation of the Nazi dictatorship.

    Comment by Fritz — 2/20/2009 @ 1:49 pm

  7. My comment and link is about Schmitt. Misread your intro – this is actually Schmitt quoting Strauss, not Schmitt himself.

    Comment by kaf — 2/20/2009 @ 2:11 pm

  8. It’s Strauss commenting on Schmitt.

    Comment by Fritz — 2/20/2009 @ 2:38 pm

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