Edward Rothstein on Smith and Strauss
In his “Connections” column in today’s New York Times, Edward Rothstein contributes to the current debate over the meaning and influence of Leo Strauss. Rothstein singles out Steven B. Smith’s book Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism. Smith, says Rothstein, “makes it clear just how thoroughly Strauss has been misunderstood.”
Strauss, says Rothstein, was “trying to synthesize the worlds of the ancient and the modern. … What the ancients remind us is that humanity is not infinitely perfectible, that the ideal world is not ruled by reason alone, that cultural and historical variation does not mean that anything goes, that notions of egalitarianism do not guarantee virtue.”
We have an excerpt from Smith’s book.