By Anne Norton

The lessons of political theorist Leo Strauss (1899–1973) have lately got new recognition, as political observers became conscious of the impact Strauss’s scholars have had in shaping conservative agendas of the Bush administration—including the battle on Iraq. This provocative booklet examines Strauss’s principles and the ways that they've been appropriated, or misappropriated, by means of senior policymakers.

Anne Norton, a political theorist expert by way of a few of Strauss’s most famed scholars, is easily built to write down on Strauss and Straussians. She tells 3 interwoven narratives: the tale of Leo Strauss, a Jewish German-born émigré, who carried ecu philosophy right into a new global; the tale of the philosophic lineage that got here from Leo Strauss; and the tale of the way the United States has been made an ethical battleground via the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Leon Kass, Carnes Lord, and Irving Kristol—Straussian conservatives devoted to an American imperialism they suspect will bring in a brand new global order.

Reviews:

From Publishers Weekly
Punchy, own and passionate, this booklet goals to provide an explanation for "how an not going workforce of lecturers got here to energy in Washington and supplied the philosophical justification for the conflict on Iraq." The German-born Strauss (1899–1973) got here to the USA as a Jewish refugee in 1938, eventually educating political philosophy on the collage of Chicago. In sketching his lifestyles and the legacy of his rules, Norton (95 Theses on Politics, tradition and approach) argues that Strauss’s approach to heavily examining nice books (à l. a. overdue disciple Allan Bloom) doesn't presuppose the neoconservative politics with which the tactic has grow to be linked. Strauss’s readings of Islamic texts, specifically, she says, are opposite to the "clash of civilizations" that has been built by way of Straussians William Kristol and Robert Kagan of their assortment current risks. Norton, who teaches on the college of Pennsylvania, was once proficient through Chicago Straussians herself, and she or he writes much less as a turncoat than as a watchdog. She tracks Paul Wolfowitz’s years on the college of Chicago and decries the tradition of clubby, masculine energy that she says Bloom created there. She additionally strains the sequence of Strauss-related political appointments that introduced Wolfowitz to the Bush management. Straussians, Norton claims, recognize Lincoln for his willingness to behave dictatorially on behalf of democracy; Strauss himself, she indicates, used to be a long way much less Machiavellian. a few strands may be greater woven jointly to give an explanation for how Straussians at once undergird the warfare, yet this booklet should still still stimulate debate.

From the hot Yorker
Many neoconservative intellectuals and Bush management officers declare Leo Strauss, the thinker who fled Nazi Germany for the USA within the nineteen-thirties, as their political forebear. Norton studied at Chicago, the guts of the Straussian educational universe, and the ebook has the flavour of an a laugh tell-all. (When she strikes to Brown and discovers Lacan, Foucault, and Derrida, one horrified Straussian says, "You have long past over to the darkish facet of the Force.") Norton's account is a kind of severe box advisor to Straussians, taxonomizing their "variants and subspecies" and assessing the ways that a few of them have affected U.S. overseas coverage. She issues out that, while neoconservatives speak of clashes among Islam and the West, Strauss used to be a detailed reader of medieval Muslim political conception and decried Western intellectuals for his or her lack of understanding of the non-Western global: "The Straussians have set themselves to protect the gates Strauss opened."

Review
"gorgeously written and engaging in its personal right... total, it illuminates present ideology from a singular and worthwhile angle" Steven Poole, The dad or mum "Well-informed and witty." Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., manhattan overview of Books "[Norton's] so much striking fulfillment is to illustrate how some distance the tips we go along with Straussians have strayed from Strauss's ideas." Alan Wolfe, manhattan occasions ebook overview "Has the flavour of an fun tell-all... a type of serious box consultant to Straussians." New Yorker"

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Extra resources for Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire

Sample text

One knows many of the books they have read, the stories they know, the questions they might ask. They have catchphrases, as most academic schools do, and they are contrarian. ” When academics talked about culture, Straussians would talk about nature. They tell one another stories: about Strauss and about the great philosophers. Many of these are taken from the canon: stories about how 32 The Lion and the Ass Socrates walked around Athens barefoot, about Machiavelli washing and changing his clothes to spend his nights in the company of Livy, about Hegel writing to support his mistress, and Nietzsche throwing his arms around a beaten cart horse.

Marx opens to the reader of Hegel, Hegel and Aquinas open to the reader of Aristotle. Each work gives entrée not only to one man’s 30 The Lion and the Ass work but to many. For this reason many of us—poststructuralists as well as Straussians, liberals, and Marxists—believe that teaching great works is a good idea. For some, however, there is more at stake. One should teach not simply great works but a canon. A canon in this sense is not simply a list of especially influential, well-regarded, and fundamentally valuable works.

Those in positions of power and influence have tended to dismiss, with anger or amusement, the idea that the intellectual commitments of the Straussians matter to American politics. They ask why education in a certain school or a certain style should matter to anyone at all. Leo Strauss offered an answer to this question when he wrote 19 Who Is Leo Strauss? What Is a Straussian? the epilogue to an examination of an earlier school of political science. ” 20 2 The Lion and the Ass The academy is a curious place.

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