Leo Strauss: Man of Peace by Robert Howse

By Robert Howse

Leo Strauss is understood to many of us as a philosopher of definitely the right, who encouraged hawkish perspectives on nationwide safety and even perhaps endorsed warfare with no limits. relocating past gossip and innuendo approximately Strauss's fans and the Bush management, this e-book presents the 1st entire research of Strauss's writings on political violence, contemplating additionally what he taught within the lecture room in this topic. In stark distinction to well known conception, Strauss emerges as a guy of peace, favorably disposed to foreign legislation and skeptical of imperialism - a critic of radical ideologies (right and left) who warns of the hazards to loose proposal and civil society whilst philosophers and intellectuals best friend themselves with events that suggest violence. Robert Howse presents new readings of Strauss's disagreement with fascist/Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt, his debate with Alexandre Kojève approximately philosophy and tyranny, and his works on Machiavelli and Thucydides and examines Strauss's lectures on Kant's Perpetual Peace and Grotius's Rights of struggle and Peace.

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If peace is incompatible with human life or with a truly human life, the moral problem would seem to allow of a clear solution: the nature of things requires a warrior ethics as the basis of a ‘power politics’ that is guided exclusively by considerations of the national interest. (NRH, p. 64) Warrior Morality and the Fate of Civilization 33 Strauss insists that Weber’s rejection of the commonsense possibility of a middle course that takes into account different values and makes trade-offs among them is not based on any refutation of the possibility of reasonable, justified contextual decisions about which values to prioritize in actual situations of social life; rather, it reflects a psychic-aesthetic preference for tragic conflict.

I also address a letter Strauss wrote to his friend Karl Lowith shortly after ¨ Hitler came to power, which has been used by enemies of Strauss as a smoking gun in their case that he is a right-wing extremist. In the letter, Strauss suggests that Hitler should be opposed by appealing to the principles of the fascist, imperialist right rather than of liberalism. Properly read, the letter largely expresses Strauss’s judgment of the political situation at the time, which was that liberalism had collapsed in Germany and any effective action against Hitler would depend on the revolt of military officers or others on the right who initially supported him.

140. Warrior Morality and the Fate of Civilization 37 attack on the inadequacy of legal positivism to subdue human dangerousness, an inadequacy obscured in times of social peace or stability, does not for Strauss lead in the direction of decisionism or nihilism but rather to a reconsideration of the positivists’ rejection of natural right, which cannot be fully positivized, “cannot be fully codified juridically in an unambiguous manner but that does provide . . ”21 The idea of natural right suggests that the limits of positive law, even in times of crisis or unrest, do not imply a vacuum of normativity or effective normative guidance.

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