Birmingham on Kahn’s book on Schmitt and Sovereignty

I’ll lift this from the comments since I didn’t notice it down there for a few days. Peg, from whom I’ll always be learning, sends this in about Paul Kahn’s comments (he had a response up at Immanent Frame over criticisms of his Political Theology: Four New Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty ), to which I responded more or less viscerally, rather than, you know, on the actual merits:

I think you mischaracterize Kahn’s response to his critics. Yes, he begins with a critique of those who in his mind have misquoted him and thereby attribute to him positions that are not his. Fair enough. He also goes on to respond to those who in his view read him carefully and whose critical remarks he takes very seriously. He explicitly responds carefully to Ward Blanton and Peter Gordon. To my mind, Kahn’s response to his critics is a model of how this is done. I especially like his response to Blanton and his consideration of the role love might play in imagining a new political beginning. I have been allergic to love in politics, but Kahn’s response makes me willing to at least reconsider it. Certainly one can’t ignore it given the immense influence of Rousseau and the amour propre.

I have been following Kahn’s work for some time now and find it provocative, well-argued, insightful, and among the very best in grappling with the difficult issues of sovereignty, sacrifice, violence, international law, human rights, and so on. Kahn is a serious thinker and deserves to be taken seriously. I haven’t read the book yet, but expect to learn loads from it. Of previous books, I especially like “Putting Liberalism in Its Place.” I don’t agree with everything of course, but always learn a great deal.