The Real Leo Strauss


In sum, those who oppose the War in Iraq, and those who would blame the influence of relatively obscure philosopher on the Bush administration’s neocon contingent, would do well to look elsewhere: perhaps even to Strauss himself and the classics he revived for support for their view that there are distinct limitations to the form that a post-Saddam Iraq might take.

Kenneth Weinstein “Philosophic Roots, the Role of Leo Strauss, and the War in Iraq” The Neocon Reader (2005)

Contrary to what is often said, those who have followed him are far from single-minded in what they take from him, except perhaps for some threshold or methodological commitments. That philosophy is important, that political philosophy is a viable enterprise, that philosophical texts must be read in a particularly attentive manner, that the distinction between the ancients and the moderns means something (although just what it means is contested in Straussian circles)—those propositions are what individuals known as Straussians mostly agree about.

Wherever the truly serious students of Strauss stand, the depictions in the media of those who are Strauss-influenced are as much caricatures as are the portrayals of Strauss himself. There may be individuals in political life who have had some slight (or even more than slight) contact with Strauss and who are Wilsonian-Machiavellians, who favor manipulation and lying, who want to spread democracy by force of arms, or who want to secure their own rule by deception and fraud; but, if there are such persons, they are not the “children of Strauss,” nor are they acting on the basis of his teachings or thinking.

Catherine & Michael Zuckert, The Truth About Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy


~ by severalfourmany on February 19, 2009.

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