Rosenstock-Huessy talks about the necessity of enemies as much as Carl Schmitt. Enemies keep us awake: “Thanks to Mr. Stalin, we have kept awake. It’s wonderful. Just, you see, have a good enemy, and you are taken care of. But your friends, beware of them. They put you to sleep. Do you wish to abolish the reality of enmity in this world? Don’t make yourself ridiculous” (quoted in Cristaudo, Religion, Redemption and Revolution: The New Speech Thinking Revolution of Franz Rozenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy , 76).

But Rosenstock-Huessy is not Schmitt, Cristaudo insists. He is not talking about the polarity of friends and enemies that structures politics; Rosenstock is making a Christian claim. As Cristaudo explains, “The biblical injunction to love one’s enemies is not simply a kind of Kantian moral rule highlighting a purer moral will, but a truth about human growth, about the bounties that enemies provide . . . . Such a teaching draws its strength from the perception that the spirit is a power whose mode of entrance into one’s life is unpredictable; it comes from where it is least expected. We are rejuvenated through crisis and catastrophe, and our enemies are part of that rebirth” (76-77).

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

Loading...