Carl Schmitt ranks among the few German savants who are equal to the professional dangers of a teaching chair in the present era. I do not hesitate to suggest that he has taken and established for himself the type of the new German savant. If the writings of this remarkable professor (not to say confessor) served only towards the recognition and study of its author's catholic (universal) physiognomy, that alone would be enough to assure him a preeminent status. In a fine essay, “On Ideals,” Chesterton says that the remediation of our confused and desperate age in no way requires the great “practical man” who is clamored for the world over, but rather the great ideologist. “A practical man means a man accustomed to mere daily practice, to the way things commonly work. When things do not work, you must have the thinker, the man who has some doctrine about why they work at all. It is wrong to fiddle while Rome is burning; but it is quite right to study the theory of hydraulics while Rome is burning.” Carl Schmitt belongs to those who “study the theory of hydraulics.” He is an ideologist of rare conviction, and indeed it's safe to say that he will restore to this word a new prestige, which among Germans has carried a pejorative meaning since Bismarck.

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