By Catherine H. Zuckert
Is Leo Strauss actually an highbrow forebear of neoconservatism and a strong strength in shaping Bush management overseas coverage? the reality approximately Leo Strauss places this query to leisure, revealing for the 1st time how the preferred media got here to perpetuate an oversimplified view of a fancy and wide-ranging thinker. In doing so, it corrects our conception of Strauss, supplying the easiest common creation on hand to the political considered this misunderstood figure. Catherine and Michael Zuckert—both former scholars of Strauss—guide readers the following to a nuanced realizing of the way Strauss’s political suggestion suits into his broader philosophy. hard the information that Strauss used to be an rigid conservative who within the footsteps of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt, the Zuckerts contend that Strauss’s signature thought was once the necessity for a go back to the ancients. via their paintings, they finish that Strauss used to be a sober defender of liberal democracy, conscious of either its strengths and its weaknesses. Balanced and obtainable, the reality approximately Leo Strauss is a must-read for a person who desires to extra absolutely understand this enigmatic thinker and his much-disputed legacy. “The fact approximately Leo Strauss is the main balanced and insightful booklet but written approximately Strauss’s proposal, scholars, and political effect. It dispels myths promulgated by means of either neighbors and foes and persuasively strains the conflicting paths that American thinkers indebted to Strauss have taken.”—William Galston, Brookings establishment
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Additional resources for The Truth about Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy
Their criticism of ancient philosophy failed, he came to believe, because they never understood correctly the doctrines they were criticizing. The ancients to whom Strauss wanted to return were thus very different from the ancients as depicted in the textbooks. The ﬁrst and perhaps chief consequence of Strauss’s recovery of the ancients was therefore a reconceiving of the entire philosophic tradition. Not only did he come to understand the classics differently from the way they had been understood, but he also radicalized a commonplace distinction between ancients and moderns.
Drury’s Strauss is a Machiavellian of a peculiar sort, however. Her Strauss favors the ancients, who agree with Machiavelli in all respects but one: they are atheistic and amoral, like Machiavelli and Nietzsche, but are critical of the moderns for openly admitting these things. The truth, according to Drury’s Strauss, is that there is no God, no divine or natural support for justice, no human good other than pleasure. Her Strauss, in a word, is a nihilist. These truths are too hard and too harsh for the ordinary person.
We approach Strauss in the context established by the current discussions of him, but we attempt to go beyond that context to present a broader introduction to his thought, especially as it bears on the question of the character of American democracy. It is not a book narrowly focused on the recent Strauss controversies, then, but neither is it the book we might have written in some other context for some other purpose. We do not believe this is the last word on Strauss; after all, there have been several entire books written on individual essays of his.