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Founding Fathers: Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss's influence on current American political thought cannot be overstated. While teaching Machiavellian political science concepts in Chicago his students included Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Harry Jaffa and many other late 20th Century Neocons and Project for New American Century signers. His views influenced Grover Norquist, Jack Abramov and Ralph Reed in founding the Young Republican clubs in major univerities across the United States. So much of what is going on today in American politics has been described as either Machiavellian or Straussian, which is essentially the same thing... (JP)
"Strauss was neither a liberal nor a democrat," (Shadia Drury, author of 1999's Leo Strauss and the American Right) said in a telephone interview from her office at the University of Calgary in Canada. "Perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical (in Strauss's view) because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what's good for them... Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing," because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that might encourage dissent, which in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. "You want a crowd that you can manipulate like putty," according to Drury. (from The Strong Must Rule the Weak: A Philosopherfor an Empire Jim Lobe, May 12, 2003)
"Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was a student of philosophy in Germany and watched the Weimar Republic dissolve into chaos and then into tyranny. As a Jew, he was forced to flee Germany and he eventually ended up at the University of Chicago, where he developed a cult following from some the brightest students. For Strauss, the demise of the Weimar Republic represented a repudiation of liberal democracy. Liberalism, to Strauss, equals relativism, which necessarily leads to nihilism. Strauss longed to return to a previous, pre-liberal, pre-bourgeois era of blood and guts, of imperial domination, of authoritarian rule, of pure fascism.
These views resonated with Straussian disciples such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol and Harry Jaffa. They took these ideas out of the classroom and translated them into actual political doctrine: the neoconservative manifesto of the Project for a New American Century. Straussian principles would be implemented on a global scale, and 9/11 provided the perfect pretext. Paul Wolfowitz, who attended Strauss's lectures on Plato, became the architect of the Iraq War, using hyped intelligence concerning WMD's as the "noble lie"." (from The Weimar Diaspora and American Political Thought at Blog Carnival)
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