Confrontation with the Other is a prerequisite to defining independent value
Vatter 02 (Migel Vatter, Author, “ Politics as war : a formula for radical democracy ?”, http://multitudes.samizdat.net/Politics-as-war-a-formula-for, 10 May 2002)
Schmitt argues that in war it is up to each individual to decide for themselves "whether the otherness of the stranger in the concrete, present case of conflict means the negation of one’s own kind of existence and therefore must be fended off or fought against in battle in order to save one’s own, existential kind of life." But the force of Schmitt’s argument is precisely that it is not a pre-given, culturally determined "kind of existence" that is "one’s own" and that could serve as criterion for deciding who is the authentic enemy. On the contrary, the judgment as to what ought to be one’s authentic form of life can only result from the confrontation with the decision as to who is the enemy : "The enemy is not something that for some reason must be done away with and annihilated because of its want of value. The enemy is on my own level.For this reason I must confront him in battle in order to gain my own standard, my own limit, my own figure." Without this confrontation with the question of otherness there is no such thing as "one’s own kind of existence" because there is no term against which to determine what is authentically "one’s own". Hence Schmitt can say that his conception of the political is none other than a transcription of the Biblical Ur-scene : the story of Cain and Abel, where "the other reveals himself as my brother," because one does not start with knowing who the enemy is, and "the brother reveals himself as my enemy," because one comes to know oneself only by making the decision on who is enemy. In this sense, Schmitt belongs to a postmodern constellation for which any claim to self-identity passes through the prior acknowledgment of the other as other.