Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More on East vs. West (according to Ceaser)

In response to a private request, I’m offering another snippet from Jim’s commentary on the two main kinds of Straussians: "In their public faces, the East is more philosophic, the West more political. Some allege that the far East, by which I do not mean China but Boston College, is not much interested in "the regime" at all, but only in philosophy. Political science today needs to be practiced today only as a way of protecting philosophy, which by accident finds its home in America today chiefly in political science departments. Easterners invite speakers to talk on political subjects and then deride them for deigning to be concerned with the real world....Westerners invite speakers to talk on a variety of philosophic subjects, but then are disappointed that more time has not been spent parsing the Declaration and Lincoln."

Jim does add in a note: "For reasons of space, I will not speak here of faith-based Straussians, many of whom live in France."

Discussions - 9 Comments

With deepest apologies to Pierre Manent..and my brother: Since "far Eastern" Straussians inhabit Boston College, and the "Western Straussians" occupy the redoubts of Claremont College...didn't Dr. Caeser *really* mean to refer to "Faith-based Straussians" as living in Paris,....Texas? And is Paris, TX *anywhere* near Crawford?

Gary, Good to hear from you. I've never been to Paris, TX and only once to Paris, France. Ceaser goes to France A LOT. Could he be a...?

Peter: Good to "be back." Are the esteemed editors of "Political Perspectives" not sure that Dr. Caeser didn't *really* intend: "For reasons of SPES, I will not speak of faith-based Straussians,..."? Perhaps an {understandable} error while transcribing a spoken text? :-)
As to your question, I'm *sure* that "he is...".

The greatest faith based Straussuian may be in Rome--well, Rome, Italy as well as Georgia! In that connection, and in the Paris, Texas vein, the mysterious and "Spengler", who can be read on Asia Times Online, had a terrific essay on the faith of Benedict and the faith of Bush a couple weeks ago--look it up.

Gary has the audacity of SPES! And I agree completely with Rob's addition to RAT CHOICE theory. I will look up the Spengler.

Touche', Peter! If you find the Spengler piece, and it's linkable, please post it.
When he's done celebrating Reagan, might Hayward pen "The Mendacity of Inauthentic SPES" more broadly expose Sen. Obama? Seems he's (Hayward) already captured the conservative Spanish vote for McCain!

What do you mean when you say that "philosophy finds its home in America today chiefly in political science departments"?

I surfed and picked up the comments from No Left Turns. My thanks to Peter for providing a few “teases” from the article, and for mentioning the three schools: FBS, ECS and WCS. I regret not having spent more time in that speech on FBS, which the readers seem to think is ready for prime time. Let me report also that when Peter made that comment, I was in fact in Montreal, not Paris -- although that allowed me to get a great sandwich at Schwartz’s, which is as close to a religious experience as many ECS are likely ever to get. I await with interest the insights on “nominalism.” The entry in the index is all the more curious because Strauss speaks in the text (174) of “pre-modern nominalism,” not the “modern” nominalism to which we pay most attention, when we shave, etc. I did a good deal of research on this, including counting the number of entrants in the index and other such things (as well as reading many of the relevant sources). All this led me more to consider the importance of “pre-modern nominalism” and what Strauss meant exactly by this and in what measure it fits his own thought. I also queried Straussians from all three schools on this point. Controlling statistically for their responses, I have a table that I hope to present at a later point, if the discussion continues.

Thanks to Jim for offering a quantitative contribution to our nominalist studies.

I quickly went to page 174 (which is all about summarizing Hobbes, it seems): "Premodern nominalism had faith in the natural workings of the human mind....For Hobbes...[t]here is no natural harmony between the human mind and the universe."

p. 175: For Hobbes, what replaces that faith is man's "unspported hope" based on the fact "that there are no knowable limits to his conquest of nature," because "he is absolutely a stranger in the universe."

As the Supreme Court explained in LAWRENCE v. TEXAS: The modern view is that words are nothing but weapons in the service of the expansion of human liberty.

But that can't be view of the premodern nominalists. And who are they, anway?

Do nominalists have to choose betweem premodern faith and modern hope?

Is Strauss a nominalist? Well, why not?

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