When Josef Pieper Asked Carl Schmitt About the Common Good.

On the very first evening I asked him why, in his book on “the concept of the political” he had not written a syllable about the bonum commune, since the whole meaning of politics surely lay in the realization of the common good. He retorted sharply: “Anyone who speaks of the bonum commune is intent on deception.” Of course it was no answer; but it had the effect of initially disarming his opponent. (From Josef Pieper’s autobiography, via Incudi Reddere)

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3 thoughts on “When Josef Pieper Asked Carl Schmitt About the Common Good.

  1. I must search through the volumes of Telos magazine and its manifold Schmitt articles and translations perhaps to find an answer, but was Schmitt perhaps saying that what is the common good is either nonexistent or unknowable and therefore the phrase is useful only as cover for policies that are based on other considerations, such as self interest, class interest or the like?

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  2. I do have to confess that sometimes i needle my long-suffering judicial spouse by parrotting back Schmitt’s dictum that rule of law is merely a bourgeois ploy to gain and maintain power. I think (although only she can speak for herself) that maybe she likes better the aphorism of Schmitt’s friend, don Alvaro D’Ors, that “law is what the judges say it is”, followed shortly afterward by D’Ors’s remark that there is, after all, a supreme Judge.

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