The teachings of political theorist Leo Strauss 1899 1973 have recently received new attention, as political observers have become aware of the influence Strauss s students have had in shaping conservative agendas of the Bush administration including the war on Iraq This provocative book examines Strauss s ideas and the ways in which they have been appropriated, or misappropriated, by senior policymakers.Anne Norton, a political theorist trained by some of Strauss s most famous students, is well equipped to write on Strauss and Straussians She tells three interwoven narratives the story of Leo Strauss, a Jewish German born migr , who carried European philosophy into a new world the story of the philosophic lineage that came from Leo Strauss and the story of how America has been made a moral battleground by the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Leon Kass, Carnes Lord, and Irving Kristol Straussian conservatives committed to an American imperialism they believe will usher in a new world order....
|Title||:||Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire|
|Publisher||:||Yale Univ Pr 15 Oktober 2004|
|Number of Pages||:||281 Pages|
|File Size||:||991 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire Reviews
Anne Norton has chosen a topic that is often overlooked and severely underestimated when it comes to understanding the ideological differences between the current administration of George W. Bush and the leaders of Europe. The influence that Leo Strauss and Hannah Arendt have had on the mainstream political thought of America and Europe. Whereas Arendt has been the main foundation for political thought in Europe, it is Leo Strauss and the "Straussians" who have come into predominance within the American government.Unfortunately Anne Norton only gives the reader a tour in the park rather than offering a full-blown study. She starts with an introduction into the person Leo Strauss himself. Next she introduces the reader to some of the supposedly important texts of the neoconservative movement. Offered among others are "Natural Right and History" by Strauss himself, "The Closing of the American Mind" by Allan Bloom, and "Present Dangers" by William Kristol and Robert Kagan.Norton delves into the texts, shows their historical predecessors like Thucydides, and offers her thoughts on them. She highlights their inconsistencies and mistakes. She interweaves her meditations with some anecdotes about prominent Straussian figures like Irving Kristol, Leon Kass, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz etc. She tells a compelling story. The reader thus gets a feeling about the political agenda and main values of this movement.Norton dissects the Straussian thought with a myriad of other scholars, ranging from Benjamin Disraeli to John J. Mearsheimer. She positions the Straussians as being apart from traditional American conservatism and sometimes strangely close to the post-modern thought the neoconservative philosophy so harshly rejects.Yet, it is just a walk in the park. Norton does not really delve deeply into the texts she criticizes. There are no footnotes or a bibliography. At times the texts reads terribly shallow as she shoves aside a whole book with one single argument. Her analysis and criticism of each text fall far too short.She also never explains why she has chosen this or that book and not another. There is no analysis of the debates within the neoconservative movement. The Weekly Standard and the National Review are mentioned but not looked at. There are no parts devoted to the answers the Straussians give to their critics.The whole book is terribly shallow for a study. But it reads very nicely as a collection of essays. It is an entertaining introduction into the world of the Straussians itself. It is like an aperitif, leaving you wanting for more.
Anne Norton is a tedious blowhard.There is a small bit of information about Strauss and his clique in this book, but the majority is a free form essay that reads like something intended for the airheads that read the New Yorker, or some other drivel-ridden magazine.I really don't care that she was turning tricks in the stacks at Chicago. You know?At base, the problem is that, whereas there is plenty to despise about Strauss and his hypocritical nihilist crowd, Norton comes from the same nihilistic background of postmodernism, feminism, multiculturalism, and so she can really find no tread on which to mount some kind of critique.The result is predictable.
This is a most engaging book - and after reading other reviews, this is a book to be placed in context. It is not the thorough academic and professional dissection of the Straussian school of thought in all its iterations. For those who are looking for that, look elsewhere.It is however two other things, both valuable: first, it is an act of citizenship, an examination of how good work (Strauss) has gone awry. This story is one for the ages, and will take much time, distance and precision to unravel. Hers is but one of the first steps on this path.Secondly, this book is a statement and a personal examination of one's own role and place in this world: the Straussian school of political theory is quite rigorous and compelling, and for those who have had experience with it, it is troubling to see what has happened to it. Has it been misused and misappropriated? Did it always have a tendency to a certain direction? Is it a flawed school of thought? SHould one abandon it, or can one hold to the good within that school?I was at the U of C along with Ms. Norton, and studied in the midst of the Straussians as well (we knew each other). She probed at theses issues at that time, and was forceful in questioning assumptions of the dogmas. She is to be commended for continuing this pursuit. While the book will not satisfy all due to its positioning in the academic galaxy, it is a worthy addition and will aid our understanding of this era.While not a perfect book (is there such?), it is an insider's look, and one full of both insight and anguish. She is to be applauded for this courageous and personal look.
Anne Norton's quirky, edgy account of the followers of Leo Strauss who became today's influential neoconservatives is both comprehensive and disturbing. Not only are they inclined to war and antagonistic towards women and other minorities (not to mention racist) they have also demeaned and bebased the classical conservative legacy of Burke. Be very afraid!
You wouldn't expect this topic to yield a "breezy read" but this overview of Strauss, the Straussians and the "philosophy" behind the neo-conservative position is engaging, thorough, and critical without being didactic or overly abstract. Norton provides the clearest definitions I've seen of neo-conservatism's various positions and their similarities to and differences from conventional conservatism and neo-liberalism. Essential reading for anyone seeking an understanding of the sinister and deeply misguided minds behind the Bush regime. David Heintz, professor in Media Studies.
This book is mean spirited with just enough "human kindness" for the author to say otherwise. It is not a scholarly work. There are no footnotes to check quotes or attribution to see whether statements or remarks are taken out of context. The author is short on history. Under the imprimatur of the Yale University Press, it is more a peep show that masquerades as a book. (For that alone, the Press should be ashamed and one wonders about its editorial policies to accept such a tome.) It is neither "honest" nor "wise" as suggested on its back. One hopes that the author had the courage of her convictions to make these ad hominem attacks personally first to the persons that she directs her imprecations. The Late Professor Strauss deserves better. It is not worth the read.