Carl Schmitt’s “Jews in Jurisprudence” (Part 2)

Carl Schmitt (1888-1985)

Introduction to Part 2:

Part 2 of “Jews in Jurisprudence” continues the glimpse into the mind of an important intellectual during the National Socialist period.  One has to remember that this is a speech to a gathering sponsored by a high government official in a nation with a very well-defined official ideology. It is not a treatise with elaborate and well-supported arguments tempered by qualifications sensitive to differences among Jews. Rather than an attempt to persuade by the weight of logic and argumentation, it reflects a shared understanding in a highly politicized context. Within these limitations, the essay is an important insight into perceptions of Jews among elite German academics during the National Socialist period.

The general framework of Part 2 is that Germans and Jews are in conflict. Schmitt delineates what he sees as Jewish tactics in this conflict, describing the general Jewish stance vis-à-vis Germans as “parasitic, tactical and mercantile.”  Jews are attracted to substantial works by Germans but use them in an adversarial manner against Germans—”We must not give credit for this [i.e., for being attracted to substantial works by Germans] — only to warn us to switch on our inhibitions.” He portrays Jews as not interested in truth but only in using words to persuade, wearing masks of deception and quickly adapting their masks to new contexts—comments that fit well with the emphasis of  contemporary social scientists on deception and self-deception as central components of human behavior. Schmitt advises his audience to attend to Hitler’s comments in Mein Kampf  on Jewish dialectics, presumably including the following:

..I found it extremely difficult myself to be a match for the dialectical perfidy of that race. How futile it was to try to win over such people with argument, seeing that their very mouths distorted the truth, disowning the very words they had just used and adopting them again a few moments afterwards to serve their own ends in the argument! …

I realized that the Jew uses language for the purpose of dissimulating his thought or at least veiling it, so that his real aim cannot be discovered by what he says but rather by reading between the lines. This knowledge was the occasion of the greatest inner revolution that I had yet experienced. From being a soft-hearted cosmopolitan I became an out-and-out anti-Semite. (taken from the English translation of Mein Kampf by James Murphy)

Schmitt also asks why so many Germans were persuaded by Jews to adopt malicious ideologies such as Marxism. “How was it possible that thousands of decent and honest national comrades [Volksgenossen] could over decades succumb in such a way to the Jewish mind?” Schmitt does not really answer this question, but he emphasizes that Germans who succumb to Jewish ideas are essentially being used to serve Jewish interests—a proposal with a great deal of contemporary applicability.

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Part 2 of Carl Schmitt’s “Jews in Jurisprudence”; translated from the German by  Tom Sunic

The relationship of Jewish thinking to the German spirit is of the following kind: the Jew has a parasitic, tactical and mercantile relationship toward our own intellectual work. Through his mercantile skills he has often a keen sense of the authentic; with great ingenuity and quick flair he knows how to target the authentic. This is the instinct of a parasite and of a genuine tradesman. As little as this skill has been demonstrated by the Jews in the art of painting, Jewish art dealers can, nevertheless, faster tell a genuine Rembrandt than German art historians. Likewise, in the field of jurisprudence, this cannot be a proof that with his skills the Jew can very rapidly recognize good authors and good theories. The Jews quickly spot German substance and it is to this that they are attracted.  We must not give them credit for this – only to warn us to switch on our inhibitions. It is simply due to the overall situation of the Jew, in his parasitic, tactical and mercantile relationship toward the German intellectual heritage. Even such a horrible, sinister mask swapping, which underlines the whole life of Stahl-Jolson should no longer distract us. Whenever it is ceaselessly emphasized that this person is “subjectively honest,” — as true as this may be — yet, I must add that we cannot glimpse into the soul of the Jews and that we have no access into the inner character of the Jews. We only know the discrepancy between our kinds. Whoever has grasped this truth — also knows what race is all about.

Furthermore, it is necessary to realize how differently the Jews have behaved at different stages of history. Heinrich Lange [NS  German legal scholar, 1900–1977] has explicitly pointed to that in his excellent essays. The most significant turning points in Jewish behavior during the last century were the years 1815, 1830, 1848, 1871, 1890 — Bismarck’s dismissal, the beginning of the Wilhelminian era — 1918, 1933. It is, therefore, unacceptable to put on the same level a case of Jewish appearance on the scene in 1830 with that in 1930. Here again we have the Jew Stahl–Jolson, who still exerts influence on the denominational and ecclesiastical opposition against the National-Socialist state. It is completely false to portray him as an exemplary, conservative Jew in contrast to other belated Jews that could have unfortunately never become that. In this fact lies a dangerous failure to recognize the essential insight, i.e., that with every change in the overall situation, with each new period in history, and so quickly that we can only grasp it with utmost attention, a change occurs in the overall Jewish behavior, a mask swapping of demonic subtlety [von dämonischer Hintergründigkeit] where, by contrast, the issue regarding individually involved Jews, is fully irrelevant. Indeed, the great adaptability of the Jews has been carried to extremes over several thousand years of their history by specific racial characteristics whereby the virtuosity of mimicry has been even more fostered by long practice. We can see it, but we cannot comprehend it. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that there is Jewish virtuosity.

I repeat again and again the urgent plea to read every sentence on the Jewish question in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and especially his comments on “Jewish dialectics.” What has been put forward at our meeting by experts in many scientific papers and in outstanding speeches is told in simple language to every national comrade [Volksgenosse] in a fully comprehensive manner. Do refer our law students always to those sentences by the Führer.

But beyond the Jewish problem let us not forget the German side of this question. For example, in a direct application of what Dr. Falk Ruttke said, we could mention the case of Karl Marx and the impact he had, as represented by the case of Friedrich Engels, or Bruno Bauer, or Ludwig Feuerbach, or perhaps even Hegel. Here lies a tragic problem. How was it possible that a German from Wuppertal, such as Engels, fell prey to the Jew Marx so completely? How was it possible that thousands of decent and honest national comrades [Volksgenossen] could over decades succumb in such a way to the Jewish mind? From where comes this non-resistance of many German men and from where comes weakness and the darkening of the German style at such a historical moment? The examination of this issue belongs to our scientific self-awareness as well as to the armor for the new struggle.

We have recognized all this in this workshop with greatest scientific clarity. Compared to the blindness and ignorance of earlier times, these are revolutionary insights. If equipped with it ​​we can enter into the struggle whose new phase has begun. Let us not deceive ourselves about the seriousness of this struggle. The speeches at the Nuremberg Party Congress left no doubt about it. Judaism is, as the Führer notes in Mein Kampf, not only hostile to everything that is hostile to Jews; it  is  a mortal enemy of any real productivity of any other people. Its world power does not tolerate national productivity because otherwise its own kind of existence would be refuted. Jewish interest in the real productivity of other nations, the speed with which the Jewish artist or the intellectual merchant collide with the German artist, poet or scholar — and by means of giving him a pension or tenure [Rente] harness [einspannen] him for themselves — are not virtues and they are not qualities that should distract us from the essential. We are dealing with the Jews not for their own sake. What we are looking for and what we are fighting for is our own authentic nature and the unspoiled purity of our German people. “While resisting the Jew,” says our Führer, “I fight for the work of the Lord.”

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