n the last two chapters of Political Theology Schmitt argues that during the 19th century the theory of the state began to draw all of its concepts from democratic ideas fashioned through a discourse of radical immanence which denies the existence of God. This raises the question of whether and how Schmitt believed that democracy could be legitimated at all given his previous argument, in the first two chapters of Political Theology, that political order requires an instance of sovereignty and sovereignty, in turn, appeals to divine transcendence. Assuming with Schmitt that “political theology” is a discourse of legitimacy, the question becomes: is a political theology of democracy possible? This paper proposes the hypothesis that the contemporary turn to “post-secularism” can be understood as a response to Schmitt’s challenge by working out a political theology of democracy that is based on radical immanence and atheism.
If we distinguish between ‘revolution’ and ‘evolution’, the critical aspect of her theory of revolutionary constitutions becomes clearer. Against this background, I turn to the development of her concept of power and her critique of power-limiting constitutionalism as well as, finally, to her idea of a ‘power-founding constitution’, which is based on the living power of the people. Power-founding constitutions are designed to maintain revolutionary power in times of evolutionary constitutional incrementalism. But no jurisgenetic progress without the threat of jurispathetic regression. The internal and external limits to democratic constitutionalism came to the fore since the effective political establishment of a global neoliberal regime since mid of the 1970th. Europe is no exception but still in a process constitutional evolution that is open to alternative pathways enabled by the egalitarian normative constraints of global, regional and national constitutional and public law.
This paper seeks to stress a passage from Political Theology: “exception in jurisprudence is analogous to the miracle in theology.” Carl Schmitt never gave further details about what he wished to say with this statement. Eric L. Santner and Bonnie Honig brought some light to this short but puzzling sentence. My aim is to bring a new contribution following Santner and Honig, but I will include the lessons from Jacques Lacan in my presentation. The question that I will try to answer is: is there a miracle structure in a decision process to establish a democracy? For Lacan, roughly speaking, the psychoanalytical act is revolutionary, but how can we take it to the streets?