Friday, October 22, 2021

Strauss v. Straussians


Strauss v. the Straussians

Peter Schultz


            What Leo Strauss saw: the threat that the possibility of philosophy would be destroyed, leading to the disappearance of human beings; that is, beings seeking beauty, justice, love, or friendship. Strauss’s anti-communism was not political, but philosophical. His anti-communism wasn’t in the service of hegemony; it was in the service of philosophy or the possibility of the never-ending quest for truth. He sought to revive or fortify philosophy be resuscitating “the ancients,” trying to keep alive the never-ending debate between Jerusalem and Athens.


            Hegemony, Western or otherwise, threatens the possibility of philosophy because it is always tyrannical and, therefore, anti-philosophical. Hegemony cannot be obtained or maintained without recourse to propaganda and, of course, propaganda’s purpose is to curtail, even destroy the capacity for thinking and irony. Insofar as Straussians are seeking hegemony, and certainly more than a few of them are, they are in fact undermining Strauss’s philosophical project, replacing it with a political project that cannot be successful so long as philosophy survives.

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