portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

imperialism & war | legacies | political theory

Adbusters: Leo Strauss

Leo Strauss, a controversial University of Chicago philosophy professor who died in 1973, was little known outside of academic and think-tank circles until this year, but the influence of his ideas has long been felt.

Neoconservatism has more complex roots than just the ideas of Leo Strauss, but it's hard to ignore the uncanny similarities between Straussian thought and the decisions emanating from the Bush administration, where many of the neoconservatives in charge of foreign policy were taught by Strauss or his students.
click link below for complete article excerpt, with Flash photos and capsule biographies of major Straussian neoconservatives.

homepage: homepage: http://adbusters.org/magazine/49/articles/leo_strauss/flash.html
address: address: From the September/October 2003 issue of Adbusters magazine.

let's cut the bullshit and just lay out it really simply ... 31.Aug.2003 07:32

this thing here

as described in this article, neo-conservatism is essentially the need for authoritarianism/friendly fascism in order to protect the elite few from the "stupid" masses.

in my opinion, the reason neo-cons and straussians have such a hard time with a liberal culture is because the liberal (and democratic) sense of freedom and no rules, along with it's rejection of authority, gives the "stupid" masses a sort of power, and it is this power to be liberally and democratically free which threatens the neo-cons reactionary, right wing sense of order and control.

i would describe neo-cons as uber-fathers or uber-managers, as a domineering and almost tyrannical paternal/father figure who believes that it is somehow "his" special mission, endowed by religion or simply perhaps "his" elite position in society, to control and guide and manage "the dumb children".

having said that, i think the term neo-conservatism is just wrong. the "conservatism" part is completely incorrect. instead, i would use the term neo-authoritarian.

and what is authoritarianism but an elite scared shitless of the many? and the degree to which the elite are fearful is the degree to which the nation or country or government is authoritarian.

Wait... 31.Aug.2003 11:28

Metal Pancreas

This Thing Here, you said that the neo-con, or neo-author, may feel that it is his or her special mission to protect the stupid masses. But then you say that authoritarianism is nothing but the elite scared of the many. These can run counter to each other. If the elite can be composed of people who truly feel that it is their providential duty to "protect" the masses, then they are not scared of the masses, shitless or not. They TRULY believe it is their duty. That's the moral catch.

The problem that arises from this kind of "compassionate" ideology, one that proclaims to protect the masses, is that not all of the masses want to be protected, and if everyone had the freedom to live in peace and plentitude (everyone across the planet, that is) they wouldn't need to be protected from anything that they and their community couldn't handle. The very fact that there are forces protecting their enclaves of citizens from other enclaves creates animosities that have to be dealt with. And hence the need for the protective force. Neo-conservatism is a self-fulfilling prophecy with the most powerful staying in power. A monarchy of power, or oligarchy.

Capitalism doesn't help resolve this either. It is quickly becoming a subsidy paid for by the people of the capitalist system and paid to those in economic power.

This quickly dissolves into a philosophical discussion, which is why you see so many professors and "academics" chiming in on these topics. In the past is was the work of philosophers to provide the framework for social changes, but now we have legions of bought thinkers who can manipulate common sense and turn it into something like neo-conservatism, which, as you stated, really is just a misnomer for authoritarianism, which usually, revolution notwithstanding, leads to totalitarianism. The linguists' trick here is to hide reality behind euphimisms long enough for the system to change into a permanent structure of specific devising. This, however, is rarely how any one person or group of people determine it to be, as it can take longer than one lifetime to implement. Hence the success of religion.

Anyway, let's not deceive ourselves. Some of the people in this oligarchy truly believe that they are holy. Some don't. It's not black or white when it comes to that. What is black or white is that not everyone wants their rule, and with enough knowledge, I, for one, believe that everyone will be happier without any authority over them. Knowledge is, in this case, the form of freedom.

well... 31.Aug.2003 12:01

this thing here

... if you'll notice, what i said was, the purpose of neo-authoritarianism is to protect (the interests) of the elite FROM the "stupid" masses/children, and to control, guide and manage the "stupid children", NOT protect the "stupid children". in fact, that is how the elite protects itself, by the very act of controlling and managing the "little" people.

"you little people couldn't possibly understand the 'great game', so you just do what we say and trust us, even if we lie to you or abuse your rights and liberties." i think this is the ugly heart of straussian philosophy.

i agree with your point about euphimisms. euphimisms such as "neo-conservative" was the exact bullshit i was refferring to in the title of my first comment.


who is kitty clark 15.Sep.2003 09:28

june east epearce@rollanet.org

now, don't get me wrong--i love adbusters. It's the most exciting reading since evergreen review. BUT articles like Kitty Clark's -- it took my breath away, gave shape and con3ext to a conspiracy so sinister I don't really allow myself to believe it even though I DO believe it and have for a long time -- invoke my everpresent inner skeptic. So who is Kitty Clark and how does she come to be writing about Leo Strauss.

oh, and the whole issue is, dare I say, cool?