Carl Schmitt on the Partisan

At the recommendation of Peter Escalante, I just read Carl Schmitt’s Theory of the Partisan.  It is a relatively short book, adapted from lectures given in 1963.  That date makes it pre-Middle East crisis, but much of what Schmitt says about “the partisan” can easily be applied to what we now call “the terrorist.”  For that reason it is a relevant work.

Schmitt finds the origin of the partisan, which is an irregular combatant who fights without appropriate state backing, in the Spanish conflict with Napoleon’s France.  These men and their writings then found their way to von Clausewitz who writes the famous On War, which then works its way through Marx to Lenin, and then to Mao, moving on to Indo-China and French Algeria.  The concluding section deals with General Raoul Salan and investigates the necessary “third party” which always works to support the partisan.

It was a very timely read with which I hope to do more work in the future.

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About Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.

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