Taking Strauss (less?) Seriously: I've been following the recent flare-up about Strauss from a distance. I thought I would cobble together the major posts for people who might be interested but haven't had the time or the patience (understandably) to look for this stuff. If you're new to this debate, the recent discussion was kicked off by a spate of articles about how neoconservatives in the Bush administration have been influenced by the political philosopher Leo Strauss. There are articles by Seymour Hersch in the New Yorker, James Atlas in the New York Times, Jeet Heer in the Boston Globe, Jim Lobe in Asia Times, William Pfaff in the International Herald Tribune, and Alain Frachon and Daniel Vernet in La Mond (happily translated in the link provided). Peter Berkowitz has published an apology for Strauss in the Weekly Standard (with thanks to Arts & Letters Daily for spotting it).

Leiter v. Cherniss: In a scathing letter, Brian Leiter lambasted the New York Times for perpetuating "the mainstream media's long-standing fraudulent portrayal of Leo Strauss, and his acolytes like Allan Bloom, Francis Fukuyama, and Harry Jaffa, as serious political philosophers and scholars." Josh Cherniss (at Balliol) has replied to Leiter and others in a remarkable series of posts available (in chronological order) here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. (Whoever your supervisor is, Josh, for your sake, I hope s/he's not reading this post--unless, of course, you're planning to include a chapter about Strauss in your thesis. In which case, more power to you!)
Other bloggers: Ted Hinchman posts some valuable commentary here, here, and, on the new Diachronic Agency page, here. (Hinchman's last post also includes my favorite line of the month: "If my own head had a job opening, I don't think I'd even get an interview." Anyone who can write a line like that should automatically get an interview--even in his own head!) Chris Bertram has a measured response to all this here; following Eric Tam's lead from here; the Invisible Adjunct is here and here, and Eddie Thomas here. Lastly, I've drawn some of the links above from Daniel Drezner, who has some excellent posts here, here, and here.

For what it's worth, I think the political hype about "Leo-cons" has blown things way out of proportion. I don't have much sympathy for the Straussian project, but I do think Straussian arguments are worth discussing. This is one place where a proper journal article (or two) would probably be of more help than the blogger's rant. I'll let the Straussian experts suggest a good reading list--it would be very helpful for someone who is sympathetic to Strauss to put together a short-list. (I'm sure such lists exist, but point us in the right direction.) If you're looking for a critical essay, I'd recommend a short article by Charles Larmore originally published in the New Republic (July 3, 1989). It's reprinted in his The Morals of Modernity as "The Secret Philosophy of Leo Strauss."

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