Monday, May 16, 2016
Writing about Leo Strauss in a few words
When I think of writing about Leo Strauss, who influenced the very destructive neoconservatives, I think of the quote by La Rochefoucauld that the mark of a great mind was to “say many things with few words.” This could define a good writing style.
So in a few words: when Strauss writes about liberation from historical life or from history and tradition in finding the truth, it is really, consciously or unconsciously, deceptively or not deceptively, an attempt to be free of the implications of biology and evolution, which is not legitimately possible, although we can neurotically block the natural drives. With Strauss this may have been a conscious or unconscious attempt to be free of the implications of fascism and Hitlerism, which terrified him. Great philosophers refuse to be influenced by their own terrors.
Historical life is biological life and biological life is the foundation of human nature, and human nature is being kin-centered, gender defined, age-graded, heterosexual marriage-making, hierarchical, ethnocentric, even xenophobic, and religious-making, among other things, with group-selection as the primary unit of successful selection.
Strauss’s philosophy seems to have in the end promoted a Jewish-dominated elite in society (I can't find the quote), which gives the lie to his stand against the power of historical tradition. How typically deceptive---although this stuff may have been unconscious to Strauss and have merely been the very natural ethnic will to power in action.
Human nature and political philosophy need not lead to fascism or Platonic imperialism, which in this crowded world is contrary to long-term survival success. We should spend our time trying to figure out how to get along together given real human nature and the tendency to form ethnocentric states. This points toward the small states of ethnopluralism, not to an imitation of Platonic imperialism, ruled by Strauss or the neoconservatives.