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Carlo Galli’s preface explains why the ancient Roman god Janus provides a fitting metonym for his systematic interpretation of Schmitt’s political thought. Janus was the god of thresholds and passages, of beginnings that double as ends. As such, he was famously two-faced: he looked forward and backward, at the past and at the future, at one and the same time. So too Schmitt: writing during the twilight of the epoch of modern politics (the twentieth century), Schmitt’s contribution was to have thought the dawn of that epoch (its emergence from the ruins of medieval order). This genealogy, however, doubled as ideology: as exemplified by his Nazism, Schmitt’s inquiries into the “origins of politics” turned into a “politics of the origin” (a decision on who, by birth, was an internal enemy). Galli concludes by explaining how Schmitt’s theory of passage has itself, in the global age, passed into “inactuality.”

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