The Corner

Strauss Forever

Matt Yglesias (who will be moderating my gig with Nick Gillespie tonight by the way) has a post up about the effort to “push back” on Leo Strauss’ “rehabilitation.” I’m not going to engage in the ongoing attempts to Nazify Leo Strauss, because so many more well-qualified writers have done that already. But whatever the merits or lack thereof of that (by my lights repugnant) campaign, there’s a larger point that drives me crazy. There is a long list of philosophers revered on the American and European left who can be directly and incontrovertibly tied to Nazism and Fascism. Forget the longstanding debate about Nietzsche and whether the Nazis msiread him. There’s Heidegger, a committed Nazi. Paul de Man, a Nazi collabrator, Gertrude Stein a fan of Hitler’s, and of course Carl Schmitt who — despite being quite influential on the American left and unknown on the American right — was recently annointed by Alan Wolfe as an intellectual patron saint of American conservatives. And there are all the leading literary critics, philosophers and bargain bin intellectuals who claim to be intellectual children of these philosophers. And yet, rather than police their own side for wayward Nazi ideas or fascist sentiments, they try to read-into Leo Strauss things that aren’t there in order to discredit him and the decent democratic idealists who can be associated with him no matter how absurdly. If the standard the left applies to Leo Strauss were applied to its own side, you wouldn’t be allowed to say the names of Heidegger, De Man, Foucault et al. in polite company, never mind admit that you admire them.

And yet, in many corners of egghead life, to call yourself Heideggerian is a sign of intellectual sophistication. But to call youself a Straussian is to admit you’re a fascist.  

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

We’ll Regret This

Mitch McConnell says the president will sign the budget deal and he will also declare a national emergency to build the wall, as I expected. We’ll see the legal justifications he uses, but as a political and constitutional matter this is a long-term disaster. Oh, it might be good for Trump according to the ... Read More

Jussie Smollett Changes His Story Again

The actor Jussie Smollett continues to talk about the alleged January 29 attack on him during a frigid night in Chicago, giving Good Morning America his fullest description yet of his claims. It differs substantially from what he told police initially after the alleged assault. Smollett told GMA that the ... Read More
White House

The Failure of the Deal

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (But especially Sammie), I had my say on the emergency declaration yesterday, and I’m sure I’ll have to say it all again not very far ... Read More