Friday, September 20, 2013

Claes Ryn, Allan Bloom, Leo Strauss, And Me

The conventional view is that Strauss and his disciples worked mightily to renew interest in the “ancients” as an alternative to modern political conceptions. This may not be the case, however. Straussians were really interested in enlisting ancient and early modern European political writers for their own crusade for American democracy—and that in a very contemporary form.

Also not surprisingly, given their contemporary focus and ambitions, Straussians over the decades have turned increasingly to political journalism. Pure scholarship seems to count less and less significantly in their putative field of study. And the reason is not primarily that they’re battling the “America-hating” Left—it’s that their interpretations are methodologically eccentric and brimful of their own ideological prejudices. They represent neoconservative politics packaged in academic jargon and allied to a peculiar hermeneutic that I earnestly try to make sense of in my work.

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