Benjamin Schmitt serves as a non-resident senior fellow for democratic resilience at the Center for European Policy Analysis. Additionally, he lectures at Penn on advanced energy technologies and European national security matters.
Schmitt’s political thought is heavily influenced by several philosophers and theorists, with Thomas Hobbes particularly serving as an important source of influence.
Early Life and Education
Schmitt graduated with his BS in Physics and two BAs – Mathematics and Modern German Languages and Cultures from the University of Rochester. Additionally, he is a 2008-2009 Fulbright Scholar.
He joined the German Juristen-Zeitung, a Nazi newspaper for lawyers, upon its creation in 1933 and served as editor-in-chief from 1934 to 1936. A staunch proponent of antisemitism, he supported Night of the Long Knives as detailed in his essay entitled, The Leader Protects the Law.
Schmitt comes from an eclectic family with members working in fields as diverse as food science, technical drawing and engineering. He took part in Somerset High School’s public address program as well as helping with other activities such as cross country and track; these experiences helped him overcome his initial fear of public speaking.
Benjamin gradually came to depend on the Institute for Social Research and Theodor W. Adorno for both publishing opportunities and financial support; this would have lasting repercussions for his later works such as Naples and fragments of The Arcades Project he completed on Capri and in Berlin.
Benjamin’s later theses, such as his messianic interpretation of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus painting by Gerhard Scholem in Berlin, showed evidence of Judaism and Kabbalism’s influence. Their friendship had an enormously long-term effect on poststructuralist reception of his ideas.
Schmitt has provided expert transatlantic security policy commentary for numerous print and broadcast media, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy magazine, NPR Marketplace program, Slate and Voice of America as well as Bild Zeitung Handelsblatt Kyiv Post newspaper in Ukraine.
Achievement and Honors
Schmitt’s most significant political work was The Nomos of the Earth, in which he championed Europe’s contributions to world civilization and global peace while criticizing what caused its downfall at the end of the 19th century. Additionally, this text called for a new global order where war would only occur between sovereign states rather than between these and non-sovereign entities such as non-governmental organizations or terrorists.
He has received training at Eastman School of Music as a classical vocalist, performing numerous operatic leading roles and solo concert performances, while singing national anthems from many European nations at European embassy national days in Washington in recent years. A recipient of Poland’s Amicus Poloniae award and Ukraine’s Friend of the Week by Kyiv Post newspaper.
Benjamin Schmitt is an Eastman School of Music-trained classical vocalist who has performed leading operatic roles and solo concerts, as well as writing articles on international affairs and national security issues for leading publications like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Policy magazine, NPR’s Marketplace on BBC World Service radio show Marketplace, Slate Vox Sunday Telegraph as well as Germany’s Deutsche Welle Bild Zeitung Handelsblatt plus Ukraine Kyiv Post newspapers.
Schmitt was also an influential political theorist and philosopher, penning one of his last works – The Nomos of the Earth – which explored the origin of an Eurocentric global order and its subsequent decline by exploring why this came about at the end of 19th century. It remains one of Schmitt’s most significant works ever written.
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Ben is a classical vocalist trained at Eastman School of Music who has an impressive range of leading operatic roles and solo concert performances on his resume. Additionally, he has provided national anthem performances at European Embassy National Days held in Washington, DC.
Schmitt is a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and holds a joint academic appointment at Penn’s Department of Physics and Astronomy as well as Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. His research and teaching interests center around Europe’s advanced energy technologies as well as transatlantic national security issues.