Heinrich Meier ; translated by J. Harvey Lomax ; foreword by Joseph Cropsey
In 1928, German philosopher Carl Schmitt published "The Concept of the Political". In 1932, a young student of political theory named Leo Strauss published a critique of "Concept" and over the next two years, wrote several letters to Schmitt questioning aspects of his argument. Schmitt failed to answer Strauss's letters, but in his revision of the book, he changed a number of passages in response to Strauss's criticisms without even acknowledging them. In this volume, Heinrich Meier shows what this "hidden dialogue" reveals about the development of these two seminal thinkers. At the centre of the dialogue, Meier argues, was the mutual attempt to define exactly what politics is and how it relates to the philosophical tradition and to modern society. Taking Hobbes's "war of all against all" as his inspiration, Schmitt challenged contemporary liberal society's unwillingness to admit that politics was literally "a matter of life and death." Meier's book reveals how Strauss's critique forced Schmitt to see that the Hobbesian state was, instead, the very foundation of the liberalism he so despised.