Between Leviathan and Behemoth
The essay reviews Gerhard Scheit‘s Der Wahn vom Weltsouverän. Zur Kritik des Völkerrechts / Delusion of a World Sovereign: A Critique of International Law, Freiburg: ça ira, 2009. Scheit lucidly criticizes important works of German ideology and political philosophy. He examines their underlying delusional idea of world sovereign posited as civitas maxima. Scheit analyzes exemplarily the basic misconceptions both in Hans Kelsen‘s pure theory of law which lays the groundwork for international law by “suppressing” the concept of political sovereignty; as well as, on the other hand, Carl Schmitt‘s political theology which openly subsumes the legal form of modern state under the sovereignty regarded as the self-affirmation of the German Volksgemeinschaft (racial community of people). Scheit demonstrates that the shared fallacy of these theories – the transposition of individual rights and of ’human comportment‘ upon reciprocation of modem nation states –, is already present in Kant‘s philosophy of law. It resurfaces in contemporary ideological works which legitimize world sovereign in Germany (see The Divided West, Jürgen Habermas) and beyond (see Tariq Ramadan‘s conception of “Euro-Islam”). The pivotal political intention of such theories aiming at ’deconstruction‘ of the modern concept of sovereignty is the abandonment of the connection of state-internal violence with the law. Whereas monopoly over the use of force within modern states of capital is concentrated in the hands of the state apparatuses‘ which guarantee the legal form of the universalized commodity exchange, the reciprocation of the multiple states externally remains the relation of unmediated violence. Drawing on Franz Neumann‘s study Behemoth. Structure and Practice of National Socialism 1933-1944, which Scheit plausibly qualifies as the most advanced early critique of the structure of National Socialist Unstaat (anti-state), he provides an account of the relevance of political pathology, which is manifested in modem anti-Semitism, for contemporary political ideologies and theories who, intending an in-depth criticism of capitalist society and its political order, turn out to be political theology themselves instead. Elements of delusion of world sovereign are present in contemporary political ratiocinations in Georgia (see Gigi Tevzadze), which advocate the reconstitution of the modern state in the name of either democracy or people while neglecting political violence necessary for its constitution.
Devi Dumbadzes Rezensionsessay, dessen Abstract hier dokumentiert wird, erschien zuerst auf Georgisch in: Tengiz Iremadze (Hg.), Philosophy in Global Change. Jubilee volume dedicated to the 65th anniversary of Burkhard Mojsisch, Tiflis: Nekeri-Verlag, 2011, S. 354-370, hier S. 370-