Saturday, May 13, 2006

LEO STRAUSS & NEOCONS & THE RULE OF THE ELITE


BUSH , STRAUSS & "THE NOBLE LIE "
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"... It behooves us to remember that Hitler had the utmost contempt for parliamentary democracy. He was impatient with debate and dispute, on the grounds that they were a waste of time for the great genius who knew instinctively the right choices and policies that the people need.
Hitler had a profound contempt for the masses - the same contempt that is readily observed in Strauss and his cohorts."
SHADIA DRURY commenting on the political philosophy of Leo Strauss

"There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."
William Kristol

...one can say that the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.
Irving Kristol

“ Leo Strauss was a great believer in the efficacy and usefulness of lies in politics. Public support for the Iraq war rested on lies about Iraq posing an imminent threat to the United States – the business about weapons of mass destruction and a fictitious alliance between al-Qaida and the Iraqi regime. Now that the lies have been exposed, Paul Wolfowitz and others in the war party are denying that these were the real reasons for the war. ”
SHADIA DRURY

The idea that Strauss was a great defender of liberal democracy is laughable. I suppose that Strauss’s disciples consider it a noble lie. Yet many in the media have been gullible enough to believe it.”
SHADIA DRURY

AND as Robert Locke says about the influence of Leo Strauss on Neoconservatives including himself :

“ IN CONTEMPORARY American intellectual life, there is only one school of conservative intellectuals that has taken root in academia as a movement. They are the Straussians, followers of the late Leo Strauss (1899-1973)... he is essential to the conservative revival of our time and he offers the intellectual depth we are so desperately in need of.

...consider the following list of his students or students of his students: Justice Clarence Thomas; Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; former Assistant Secretary of State Alan Keyes; former Secretary of Education William Bennett; Weekly Standard editor and former Quayle Chief of Staff William Kristol; Allan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind; former New York Post editorials editor John Podhoretz; former National Endowment for the Humanities Deputy Chairman John T. Agresto; and, not meaning to class myself with this August company but in the interests of full disclosure, myself.

The great significance of Strauss for mainstream conservatives is that his is the deepest philosophical analysis of what is wrong with liberalism. ..”

Leo Strauss, Conservative Mastermind
By Robert Locke
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 31, 2002

(Note my comments are in Italic)

Anyway, I want to present some bits & pieces about the German philosopher , Leo Strauss who emigrated to the United States just before World War II . As a result of his experience in Germany with the fall of the Weimar Republic & the rise of Adolph Hitler & the NAZI Party he became convinced that the rise of Hitler was a direct result of the unwise & somewhat foolish & silly philosophy of “ modern liberalism ”which he believed was based in relativism but his solution is anti-democratic & is really steeped in Nietzsche’s notion of “The Will to Power ”.

The Mind-Set or belief system as it were of the Bush Regime & its Neo-Conservative supporters is rooted primarily in the philosophy of Leo Strauss . It is therefore helpful to understand the political thinking of Leo Strauss & his followers in order to fathom the twisted logic of Neo-Conservatism & its influence on the Bush administration . This is not really an easy task as the ideas of Strauss & his followers often seem to be based on perverted & twisted & convoluted logic if it can be called logic .
Just listen to Rumsfeld or Bush trying to explain their actions or beliefs & when caught in a contradiction they explain it away with a bit of verbal gymnastics or how they were misunderstood or not heard correctly ,or maybe it wasn’t even them that was filmed saying whatever it was since who knows since all is relative etc. Part of the problem is there is the version they tell to their Straussian Fellow-Travelers & that which is tailored to specific groups like the Christian Religious Right or other special interest groups & that which they reveal to the Media & the Public & there are things they might say on some right-wing radio show but they wouldn’t say on CNN or CBS etc.


It should be noted that the current administration or Regime in Canada is led by Stephen Harper who is also a neoconservative who has surrounded himself with like-minded people who are far more radical than traditional Canadian conservatives in their views on social issues & the role of government & Canada’s relationship with the United States & with the United Nations. Harper like Bush & co. wants to bring about radical changes in the way that our present system of government works to bring it more in line with the Bush Regime which has been consolidating more & more power into the Executive branch & the “ Oval Office ” as it were and reshape the relationship between the federal government & the provinces.
( I wonder if he has considered moving the Capital to Calgary where he feels more at home -just a thought )



As Michael Enright says in his CBC radio interview with Shadia Drury:

Since his death in 1973, Leo Strauss has become arguably the most important political philosopher of our age. Shadia Drury discusses how his ideas of promoting fear, elitism, secrecy, and lying have helped to undermine democracy and build a world where violent pre-emption is becoming the norm.

Leo Strauss was a political scientist at the University of Chicago, who specialized in ancient philosophy. He died in 1973, but the German-born professor is widely credited with influence far beyond the ivory tower. That his ideas govern the government of the United States, particularly its foreign policy and so-called "war on terror."

Shadia Drury is both a scholar and a critic of Strauss, and has written several books and articles about the man and his ideas. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Social Justice at the University of Regina, where she teaches political science and philosophy.

CBC SCHEDULE
THE SUNDAY EDITION DATE: 10/4/05. BROADCAST INFORMATION . .www.cbc.ca/insite/THE_SUNDAY_EDITION/2005/4/10.html
also at ICH.com

And in an interview by Danny Postel for OPENDEMOCRACY 10/18/03 he begins with these remarks about Shadia Drury :

Perhaps no scholar has done as much to illuminate the Strauss phenomenon as Shadia Drury. For fifteen years she has been shining a heat lamp on the Straussians with such books as The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss (1988) and Leo Strauss and the American Right (1997

And here is a long excerpt from an article on Strauss by Shadia Drury:

Saving America
Leo Strauss and the neoconservatives
Evatt Foundation: Publication: Saving America - 10 September 2003
By Shadia B. Drury

Shadia Drury gets to the bottom of neoconservatism.

“There is a growing awareness that a reclusive German √©migr√© philosopher is the inspiration behind the reigning neoconservative ideology of the Republican Party. Leo Strauss has long been a cult figure within the North American academy. And even though he had a profound antipathy to both liberalism and democracy, his disciples have gone to great lengths to conceal the fact. ..This picture of Strauss as the great American patriot, who was a lover of freedom and democracy is pure fabrication. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Strauss's disciples have inherited a superiority complex as well as a persecution complex. They are convinced that they are the superior few who know the truth and are entitled to rule...They are afraid to reveal that Strauss was a critic of liberalism and democracy, lest he be regarded as an enemy of America. So, they wrap him in the American flag and pretend that he is a champion of liberal democracy for political reasons - their own quest for power. The result is that they run roughshod over truth as well as democracy.

...Strauss's American disciples continue to complain that they are oppressed, beleaguered, and ostracized by the liberal academy, and the equally liberal media.

The Straussians are the most powerful, the most organized, and the best-funded scholars in Canada and the United States. They are the unequaled masters of right-wing think tanks, foundations, and corporate funding. And now they have the ear of the powerful in the White House...

According to Strauss, ancient philosophers (such as Plato) were wise and wily, but modern philosophers (such as Locke and other liberals) were foolish and vulgar. The wise ancients thought that the unwashed masses were not fit for either truth or liberty; and giving them these sublime treasures was like throwing pearls before swine. Accordingly, they believed that society needs an elite of philosophers or intellectuals to manufacture "noble lies" for the consumption of the masses...

In contrast to the ancients, the moderns were the foolish lovers of truth and liberty; they believed in the natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They believed that human beings were born free and could be legitimately ruled only by their own consent.

The ancients denied that there is any natural right to liberty. Human beings are born neither free nor equal. The natural human condition is not one of freedom, but of subordination. And in Strauss's estimation, they were right in thinking that there is only one natural right - the right of the superior to rule over the inferior - the master over the slave, the husband over the wife, and the wise few over the vulgar many.

...Strauss referred to the right of the superior to rule as "the tyrannical teaching" of the ancients which must be kept secret. ..for two reasons - to spare the people's feelings and to protect the elite from possible reprisals. After all, the people are not likely to be favourably disposed to the fact that they are intended for subordination.

...Only weeping, worshiping, and sacrificing could ennoble the masses. Religion and war - perpetual war - would lift the masses from the animality of bourgeois consumption and the pre-occupation with "creature comforts." Instead of personal happiness, they would live their lives in perpetual sacrifice to God and the nation.”

Anyway I hope this gives the reader some idea of what a strange & shadowy world these neocons like Wolfowitz & Rumsfeld & Harper occupy as they traverse their inner labyrinth world of duplicity, deception & lies . And so it goes as Vonnegut says or even HI HO !
GOOD NIGHT & GOOD LUCK
GORD.

Here are websites refer to or related to Leo Strauss & the Neocons:

Leo Strauss, Conservative Mastermind
By Robert Locke
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 31, 2002

And from the perspective of Neo-Conservative see articles carried in FRONTPAGE MAG. COM
http://www.frontpagemag.com

also check out for the real deal on neoconservative commentary at
THE PROJECT FOR THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY
The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.

The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America's role in the world.

William Kristol, Chairman
http://www.newamericancentury.org/

LEO STRAUSS AND THE POSSIBILITY OF PHILOSOPHY.
http://www.questia.com
by STANLEY ROSEN

THE WEEKLY STANDARD
The Neoconservative Persuasion
From the August 25, 2003 issue: What it was, and what it is.
by Irving Kristol
08/25/2003, Volume 008, Issue 47
http://www.weeklystandard.com/

COUNTERPUNCH
November 2, 2005
Lies of the Neocons: From Leo Strauss to Scooter Libby
The Philosophy of Mendacity
http://www.counterpunch.org
By JOHN WALSH

June 2, 2003
The Strategist and the Philosopher
Leo Strauss and Albert Wohlstetter
By ALAIN FRACHON and DANIEL VERNET
Translated for CounterPunch by Norman Madarasz
COUNTERPUNCH.COM

AND:
Leo Strauss
by Milo Clark
http://www.swans.com
July 5, 2004
(Swans - July 5, 2004) It is time to do Leo Strauss some more.

Leo Strauss' Philosophy of Deception
By Jim Lobe, AlterNet. Posted May 19, 2003.

Many neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz are disciples of a philosopher who believed that the elite should use deception, religious fervor and perpetual war to control the ignorant masses...

The Ambivalence of Classic Natural Right: Leo Strauss on Philosophy, Morality, and Statesmanship
MARC D. GUERRA
http://www.questia.com/

JUDEO-CHRISTIAN DECADENCE
AT THE FOUNT OF POWER

By: Al Cronkrite
http://www.etherzone.com/

POP OCCULTURE
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
The Secret Kingdom of Leo Strauss
http://www.timboucher.com/journal/2004/11/secret-kingdom-of-leo-strauss.html

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