Philosophy, Politics and Current Events, Reviews

Review: Smith, Reading Leo Strauss

jacket imageIn yesterday’s New York Times Book Review Robert Alter reviewed Steven B. Smith’s Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism. In his review, Alter examined Leo Strauss’s dubious legacy as the intellectual father of neoconservatism, asking how Strauss came to be viewed as "a sinister presence in contemporary politics." In recent years, for example, the media has perpetuated the idea that Strauss’s work influenced neoconservative foriegn policy hawks in the Bush administration. Alter praised Smith’s "admirably lucid, meticulously argued book" for "persuasively setting the record straight on Strauss’s political views and on what his writing is really about.…his intellectual enterprise, as Smith’s careful exposition makes clear, repeatedly argued against the very idea of political certitude that has been embraced by certain neoconservatives.…he strenuously resisted the notion that politics could have a redemptive effect by radically transforming human existence. Such thinking could scarcely be further from the vision of neoconservative policy intellectuals that the global projection of American power can effect radical democratic change."
Read an excerpt from the book.