Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theorynby Paul Edward GottfriednWestport, Connecticut: GreenwoodnPress; 168 pp., $39.95nAgainst Democracy and Equality:nThe European New Rightnby Tomislav SunicnNew York: Peter Lang;n196 pp., $39.95nWhat does it mean to be “rightwing”?nSince the term and itsncompanion “left-wing” first appeared innthe wake of the French Revolution tondescribe, respectively, those who opposednand those who supported thenrevolutionary agenda and legacy, onenplausible meaning of “right-wing” isnthat it pertains to those who dissentnfrom the Revolution’s main slogan,n”Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” In itsnplace, men and women of the rightnwould support something like “Authority,nHierarchy, Community,” thoughnadmittedly no one is going to startnmarching through the streets chantingnit. More generally, the “right” consistsnof those who, in opposition to the left’sndefense of universality, defend particularity—political,ncultural, ethical — or,nas Oswald Spengler put it in a phrasenquoted by Tomislav Sunic, the rightndefends the implications of the obviousnbut often ignored truth that “everybodynis born into one people, one religion,none social status, one stretch of time andnone culture.”nExcept for contemporary pseudoconservatives,nwho have convincednthemselves that political, economic, andncultural universalism is somehow conservative,nthe identity of the right withnSamuel Francis is the deputy editorialnpage editor of the Washington Times.nOPINIONSnOur European Cousinsnby Samuel Francisn”All great peoples are conservative . . .”n— Thomas Carlylenthe defense of particularity covers bothnits American and European branches.nThus, Americans who have sought tonconserve the institutions of the Republic,nthe Constitution, and the uniquenpolitical culture on which they rest arenno less “right-wing” than the monarchistsnand ultramontanists of the Continent.nThe particularity the Yanks wantnto conserve just happens to be a differentnone from the one the altar andnthrone boys like, though both of themnperform much of the same social andnpsychic functions.nnnThe most common response of mostnAmerican conservative readers to thensubjects of Mr. Gottfried’s study of CadnSchmitt and Mr. Sunic’s study of thenEuropean New Right will be to wondernwhat they have in common with thenAmerican particularity that Americannconservatives want to conserve.nSchmitt, as Mr. Gottfried acknowledges,nwas a Hobbesian authoritarian whonwas too close to National Socialism forncomfort, and the New Rightists regardnhim as one of their forerunners, at thensame time that they voice scathingncriticisms of Judaism and Christiariity,ncapitalism, and democratic equality.nFew American conservatives, who’ arenusually exponents of Old Republicanism,nwill leap into the arms that Schmittnand his intellectual descendants offer.nYet not the least of the merits of eachnbook is that the authors make it fairlynplain why the American right has angood deal to learn from its Europeanncousins.nMr. Gottfried argues convincinglynthat Schmitt’s flirtations with the Nazisnwere opportunistic and that the Nazisnthemselves had little use for him —nindeed, he was lucky to avoid a concentrationncamp. He also shows that muchnof the criticism of Schmitt in the Westernnworid has been an ad hominemnargument that neglects the intrinsicnmerits of Schmitt’s ideas. Indeed, whilenSchmitt’s short-lived coziness with thenNazis raises questions about his judgmentnand his intellectual integrity, Mr.nGottfried shows that one of his mainnconcerns prior to the rise of Hitler wasnto warn against the spinelessness of thenWeimar democracy and the universalistnliberalism that animated it preciselynbecause they were unable to constrainntotalitarian forces like the Nazis andnthe Communists.nIt was Schmitt’s main contributionnAPRIL 1991/31n