Analogies are not transformations

What lies behind the proposition that the significant concepts of the modern doctrine of the state are secularized theological concepts is not so much a historical insight, as Carl Schmitt asserts when he explains that these concepts were “transferred from theology to political theory,” as it is a dualistic typology of situations. Consider, for example, the proposition that “the omnipotent God became the omnipotent lawgiver.” If this assertion were correct, then the other could not also hold, according to which after the failure of the Enlightenment the conservative counterrevolutionary writers attempted “to support the personal sovereignty of the monarch ideologically by means of analogies drawn from a theistic theology.” Analogies, after all, are precisely not transformations. If every metaphorical borrowing from the dynastic language treasures of theology were ‘secularization’ in the sense of transformation, then we would immediately stand before a mass of products of secularization that would have to be entitled “Romanticism.”

Hans Blumenberg

The two rejoinders against Schmitt here are (1) he is employing a false dualism, and (2) he takes appropriation of theological concepts by analogy as proof of the illegitimacy and derivativeness of a non-theological political system. I have yet to see a convincing rebuttal of either of these claims, and it still seems rather ironic that a good chunk of leftist thought is being spent on one of the most dichotomy-friendly political thinkers of last century. Schmitt is unworthy of Blumenberg’s criticism (which seems to be Blumenberg’s attitude as well; there is the sense of exasperation at the sheer lack of support for Schmitt’s attacks).