chapter  11
20 Pages

Aurel Kolnai’s War against Carl Schmitt’s War

The war of wars 1
WithZoltán Balázs

This chapter considers Aurel Kolnai’s most famous book within the context of Carl Schmitt’s theory of the political. Kolnai’s work is highly combative and highly political, being conceived as a weapon to be used in a real war. In The War Against the West (WAW), Kolnai makes several references to Carl Schmitt and his theory of the political. Hence in WAW, Kolnai’s general verdict on Schmitt is that ‘there is a marginal element of sound truth and a central element of obvious perversity’ in him. Kolnai’s response to Schmitt’s revolutionary work The Concept of the Political was very swift and dismissive. The most ethical value, whether love or respect, to give a couple of examples, may become an idol; Kolnai talks about ‘magical moralism’, which demands submission and honour, and justifies war against its enemies. The war against Nazism is, thus, a traditional war fought against tyranny.