Category Archives: Schmidt

Harrison Fluss: “Behemoth and Leviathan: The Fascist Bestiary of the Alt-Right”

“The alt-right imagination … is torn between two opposing ‘animal spirits’. These are Behemoth and Leviathan. Originating in the Bible, these beasts gained philosophical meaning in Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy, and entered fascist thought through the writings of the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt. … These beasts are a pair of opposites: Behemoth is autochthonous, representing the stable order of earth-bound peoples. Leviathan is thalassocratic, embodying the fluid dynamism of seafaring peoples. Behemoth signifies terrestrial empires, while Leviathan suggests commercial trade and exploration. The former stands for traditional, divinely sanctioned state authority, the latter for the spirit of pirate-capitalist enterprise (what Schmitt calls ‘corsair capitalism’). … Today, the ‘Traditionalist’ philosopher Aleksandr Dugin and the ‘neoreactionary’ philosopher Nick Land are the standard bearers of Behemoth and Leviathan, respectively. “