- Paperback: 239 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1999 edition (March 14, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312217838
- ISBN-13: 978-0312217839
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,320,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Leo Strauss and the American Right 1999th Edition
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“...the work of political scientist Shadia Drury (University of Calgary) is essential for readers who are particularly interested in the political usage of religion in modernity and postmodernity.” —Studies in Religion
About the Author
Shadia B. Drury is a professor of politics at the University of Calgary in Canada. She is the author ofThe Political Ideas of Leo Strauss andAlexandre Kojeve: The Roots of Postmodern Politics. She lives in Calgary.
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Top customer reviews
It is hard to believe this was written in 1999. It is consistent with everything we have seen and suspected since the 2000 election. What we see today in the missing John Roberts documents. Yesterday in the Downing Street memos. And tomorrow in ...
Do you wonder why Jewish and Catholic neo-cons support a born-again President? Why born-again evangelicals support Israel? Because the philosopy of Strauss is for only a few chosen individuals to be educated and know what is going on, to lie to the rest of us, and to use religion (any religion will do) as a vehicle to rally the masses.
If Drury gave the ideas of the people she critiques an objective treatment, this would be an excellent book since she covers such interesting terrain. However, she dislikes anyone who is not a liberal so much that she is completely deaf to them. I will give only one example, but I think it shows how misleading her readings can be.
She writes: "Strauss points out that the greatest philosophers, those who manage to rise above convention altogether, are pederasts" (p. 62).
Her endnote for this claim points to _The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism_ pages 116–17.
Looking up those pages, one sees that Strauss is discussing the relationship between Plato’s presentation of Aristophanes in the _Symposium_ and Aristophanes' own philosophic views in his comedies. In that context, Strauss writes:
"We record here the fact that the hero of the Birds, who succeeds in dethroning the gods and in becoming the ruler of the universe through the birds, is the pederast Peisthetaerus" (p. 117).
To go from the fact that a character in a comedy written by an ancient Greek playwright is a pederast to Drury's claim that for Strauss the greatest philosophers are pederasts shows how arbitrary and malicious her interpretations are, or rather that the principle guiding her interpretation is that whatever Strauss writes may be interpreted in the most nefarious way possible. In the process, she here also misses Strauss' point, since what he is actually discussing is Aristophanes' view of the relation between pederasty and dethroning the gods.
Her book is really a polemic and as such Drury is more concerned with deriding her opponents than in giving them a fair hearing. However, if she would have the mindset to give them a fair hearing, then I think she would see that there is no need for all-out war but rather strategic queries. On the other hand, since she seems to be a committed Lockean-Millian liberal maybe for her there is a need for an all-out war since Strauss is willing to question modern conventions through his ancient lens.
I think it is safe to assume that Strauss' teaching can only be gleaned by reading Strauss as carefully as he reads others. By writing in that mode, Strauss seems to intentionally court misinterpretation; thus, he presumably would not be bothered by a book like Drury's, which offers a quite wild interpretation. One can of course still learn from the book, and she may hit correctly on some points, but for me the main problem is that what she is critiquing is often a caricature of her own making.
The book is not a serious philosophical engagement with Strauss' thought. Although I've only read parts of _The Truth about Leo Strauss_, it seems an infinitely better account of Strauss' thought and also deals with Drury's interpretation.