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Anti-Liberal Liberals—II (Schmitt, Sorel)

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Chapter Summary

In addressing the problematic of fascist anti-liberalism, a symptomatic case in point is that of Carl Schmitt, one of the brightest intellectuals to have aligned himself with fascism, sometimes considered one of the three major political thinkers of the 20th century alongside (the liberal) Hannah Arendt and (the communist) Antonio Gramsci. This chapter analyzes the ideological core of Schmitt's position, which is elitist and anti-democratic in the extreme, while harking back to the liberalism preceding the fall of universal suffrage. It compares Schmitt to one of his major influences, the 19th century Spanish proponent of dictatorship, Juan Donoso Cortés. The last anti-liberal liberal whose ideas this chapter examines is Georges Sorel, who has been traditionally assigned an important place in the genealogy of fascism. Sternhell, on the very contrary, claimed that fascism was born as a result of the triumph of liberalism and the crisis of socialism.

Keywords: anti-liberalism; Carl Schmitt; fascism; Georges Sorel; Juan Donoso Cortés; Weimar Republic; Zeev Sternhell



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