Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Be very afraid...

That is the underlying subtext of Mark Lilla’s piece titled “Reading Strauss in Beijing” in the New Republic. Lilla says many of his Chinese Graduate Students are interested in reading Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt. They want to study these philosophers so they can implement these ideas in China. Unfortunately, Strauss and Schmitt were critical of modern ideas we all take for granted today e.g. democracy, separation of church and state, free markets etc. He implies these thinkers were fascist or at least had fascist sympathies. Modern Liberals should put them in the ‘scary’ category along with Neocon (Bush’s) foreign policy and the Medieval Catholic Church.

A minor point in the article is that Strauss was interested in Jewish and Islamic political philosophy, but not Christian. Lilla does not explain why but I think it is because Christianity makes a distinction between church and state (Render unto Caesar...) which is useless to Strauss who wants to make religion a means to a political end. Judaism and Islam are more amenable to civil religion than Christianity. If Strauss was a fascist, then Christians would not be his natural allies.

1 comment:

  1. do you know about my new blog?

    sorry for the shameless... peter lawler

    i will soon do a post about your blog in compensation.