ed phillips on Sun, 20 Feb 2005 13:12:00 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Some Criticism of Leo Strauss

A previous post to nettime, on Leo Strauss, elicited some reaction from 
other subscribers to the list, all of it offline. I want to respond to the 
substance of the reaction, and I appreciate those of you who took the time 
to respond, as much as I would prefer that some kind of discussion get 
started in which your criticisms are submitted openly to the list instead 
of privately.

My post was furiously typed in a short session at the keyboard and was 
something on the order of a brain-fit, an incondite jumble of thoughts and 
impressions, unedited. I don't want to give the twinkie defense for a post 
to nettime, given that some kind of pseudo-ai bot could have written any 
number of confused posts that have filled your nettime boxes. Nor do I 
want to disavow the substance, if there was any, of what I wrote. I did, 
indeed, write that post, and I do and did think along those lines. It was 
my own brand of matter and impertinency mixed. I want to try again to 
cover some of the same ground with a little more matter and a little less 

Much of what I wrote could be and was desribed as stage-setting, and as 
the repetition of rather banal and exceedingly obvious insights. I would 
have thought so myself, if I had not read, on nettime and other venues, 
such ridiculous things as the Shorris piece on Strauss that was published 
in Harper's. We have in that piece and others an example of laziness if 
not dishonesty.

We can sit in our own media tunnels and not try to reckon with the fact 
that, for example, a very large number of people in the United States 
voted for George Bush, or that Karl Rove's voter recruitment efforts in 
Ohio and Florida were decisive.

You can only steal a close election, and it's yours to steal if you can 
steal it. Do you want to call that a democracy? Well really it is all 

The necon variety of liberalism, is just that, liberalism and you don't 
have to be leo strauss or carl schmidt to know that.

The kristol boys or the podhoretz clan could have passed it off a few 
years ago in their musty old conservative journals of yore as 
conservatism, wink-wink nod nod. But sure enough, liberalism it is. And 
you would have had to dig into the stacks to find the obscene, well-nigh 
maudlin Harry Jaffa preaching to the faithful in pious tones about the 
great genius Aristotle, and the great man Strauss.

Very shrewd thinkers both of them. Money will not make you wise, but it 
will bring a wise man to your door, or to your inbox. Peddle this at your 
emporium. Now did Aristotle first say that or did he steal that?

Some reckoning is in order. Some appreciation for shrewdness.  I 
appreciate something in the guy who finally did use the ballpoint pen 
trick to pick my old kroner lock and steal my bike.  I bought a new one 
and got a new krypto lock, thank you.

That crazy guy who writes those enigmatic little posts to nettime, and 
calls himself with one can only guess at what forms of irony, newmedia, is 
on to something with his determinism it seems.

What might be banal to you is news to me.

Here I am at the end of a post, and it was all just more stage setting. Is 
that something of the point?

Look at photo of Strauss as a young man. Look at his mouth. Such a 
hothouse flower as perhaps we are only beginning to see again this long 
after that first great war?

  LocalWords:  nettime Shorris necon krypto

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