"The sovereign is he who decides the state of exception..." - Carl Schmitt
"Do not hang a gun on the wall in Act I, unless you plan to use it by Act III." - Anton Chekhov
Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."
Perhaps related is the return to respectability of Carl Schmitt's work: contemptuous of liberal democracy, supportive of the concentration of power in a single strong leader, the demonization of enemies, and the waging of eternal war to keep the Homeland cohesive. Interesting too is who funded the Schmitt revival. From Dick Cheney's Eminence Grise, by Barbara Boyd:
In the 1980s and 1990s Schmitt became a staple on reading lists of U.S. colleges and universities in political science and philosophy, a revival which produced English translations of most of Schmitt's works, and reams of "scholarly" articles, conferences, and presentations. Funding for this project centered in the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and other neo-conservative foundations. Michael Joyce, who chaired the Bradley Foundation during this period, is a Straussian who started his career with Irving Kristol and the Institute for Educational Affairs—the same Foundation that provided seed funding for the Federalist Society. The English translations of both Meier books on Schmitt were published by the University of Chicago Press under grants from the Bradley Foundation, facilitated by Hillel Fradkin. Fradkin, a Straussian, taught on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, was vice president of the Bradley Foundation from 1988-1998, a program officer at the Olin Foundation, heads a Straussian think tank in Israel called the Shalem Center, and recently replaced Iran-Contra's Elliot Abrams as the head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
William Schambra of Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal moves in these circles. He also has excellent academic credentials (MA and PhD) in political science. And he has experience in practical politics. I wonder how he might relate the work of Carl Schmitt, conservative philanthropy via Olin and Bradley, the erosion of civil liberties, and the renewal of grassroots civil society in a time of terror.