Modern Liberalism and the “Fascist” Comeback

Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 1998 (111):173-179 (1998)
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Abstract

Following his teacher, Stephen Holmes, in this book John P. McCormick sets out to vindicate the “liberal” tradition against the “stunning critiques” of one of liberalism's allegedly most dangerous opponents—the very embodiment of “illiberalism”—Carl Schmitt.1 To make his case, McCormick relies primarily on Schmitt's least sympathetic commentators. In the process, however, he makes a number of errors. Moreover, he brands Schmitt's critique of liberalism “fascist,” by constructing fascism as “the dark side of liberalism.” Thus it becomes impossible to distinguish a fascist anti-liberal, which Schmitt was not, from a critic of liberalism, which he was. McCormick claims to find in…

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