This was a reply to another thread i wrote but i thought the discussion of the neo-conservative mindset should have its own topic:
Ok, the founder of the neoconservative movement was a man by the name of Leo Strauss, he was a staunch, harsh political philosopher who believed
Liberalism planted the "seeds of decay" into society because of the lack of morals and spiritual direction etc: here is a bit of info about him and
his beliefs (that he has since passed on to his neo-conservative students through the generations, Cheny...Wolfowitz etc)
Straussism 101 (thankyou google for the details, i'll list sources at the end of this post):
"Many neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz are disciples of a philosopher who believed that the elite should use deception, religious fervor and
perpetual war to control the ignorant masses. "
"Strauss was born and educated in Germany, relocated to the UK in 1934, then emigrated to the U.S. in 1937. After lecturing for several years at the
New School for Social Research in New York, in 1948 he accepted a post at the University of Chicago, where he spent most of the rest of his career. A
charismatic teacher, he attracted a coterie of brilliant students, many of whom became prominent neoconservative thinkers and polemicists; a sizable
number of Strauss devotees have served in Republican administrations, starting with Reagan and continuing through Bushes I and II. (Abram Shulsky, the
apparatchik you mention, works for the Office of Special Plans, currently under fire for cherry-picking intelligence during the buildup to the Iraq
war. And maybe the name Paul Wolfowitz rings a bell?) Strauss's best-known protege is probably Allan Bloom, author of a best-selling critique of U.S.
higher education, The Closing of the American Mind (1987)."
Strausse also took a bizzare interest in ancient estrotic texts.
His philosophy can be summed up in 3 major principles:
Rule One: Deception
It's hardly surprising then why Strauss is so popular in an administration obsessed with secrecy, especially when it comes to matters of foreign
policy. Not only did Strauss have few qualms about using deception in politics, he saw it as a necessity. While professing deep respect for American
democracy, Strauss believed that societies should be hierarchical – divided between an elite who should lead, and the masses who should follow. But
unlike fellow elitists like Plato, he was less concerned with the moral character of these leaders. According to Shadia Drury, who teaches politics at
the University of Calgary, Strauss believed that "those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one
natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior."
This dichotomy requires "perpetual deception" between the rulers and the ruled, according to Drury. Robert Locke, another Strauss analyst says,"The
people are told what they need to know and no more." While the elite few are capable of absorbing the absence of any moral truth, Strauss thought,
the masses could not cope. If exposed to the absence of absolute truth, they would quickly fall into nihilism or anarchy, according to Drury, author
of 'Leo Strauss and the American Right' (St. Martin's 1999).
Second Principle: Power of Religion
According to Drury, Strauss had a "huge contempt" for secular democracy. Nazism, he believed, was a nihilistic reaction to the irreligious and
liberal nature of the Weimar Republic. Among other neoconservatives, Irving Kristol has long argued for a much greater role for religion in the public
sphere, even suggesting that the Founding Fathers of the American Republic made a major mistake by insisting on the separation of church and state.
And why? Because Strauss viewed religion as absolutely essential in order to impose moral law on the masses who otherwise would be out of control.
At the same time, he stressed that religion was for the masses alone; the rulers need not be bound by it. Indeed, it would be absurd if they were,
since the truths proclaimed by religion were "a pious fraud." As Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reason magazine points out,
"Neoconservatives are pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers."
"Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing,'' Drury says, because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely
those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. Bailey argues that it is
this firm belief in the political utility of religion as an "opiate of the masses" that helps explain why secular Jews like Kristol in
'Commentary' magazine and other neoconservative journals have allied themselves with the Christian Right and even taken on Darwin's theory of
Third Principle: Aggressive Nationalism
Like Thomas Hobbes, Strauss believed that the inherently aggressive nature of human beings could only be restrained by a powerful nationalistic state.
"Because mankind is intrinsically wicked, he has to be governed," he once wrote. "Such governance can only be established, however, when men are
united – and they can only be united against other people."
Not surprisingly, Strauss' attitude toward foreign policy was distinctly Machiavellian. "Strauss thinks that a political order can be stable only if
it is united by an external threat," Drury wrote in her book. "Following Machiavelli, he maintained that if no external threat exists then one has
to be manufactured (emphases added)."
"Perpetual war, not perpetual peace, is what Straussians believe in," says Drury. The idea easily translates into, in her words, an "aggressive,
belligerent foreign policy," of the kind that has been advocated by neocon groups like PNAC and AEI scholars – not to mention Wolfowitz and other
administration hawks who have called for a world order dominated by U.S. military power. Strauss' neoconservative students see foreign policy as a
means to fulfill a "national destiny" – as Irving Kristol defined it already in 1983 – that goes far beyond the narrow confines of a " myopic
As to what a Straussian world order might look like, the analogy was best captured by the philosopher himself in one of his – and student Allen
Bloom's – many allusions to Gulliver's Travels. In Drury's words, "When Lilliput was on fire, Gulliver urinated over the city, including the
palace. In so doing, he saved all of Lilliput from catastrophe, but the Lilliputians were outraged and appalled by such a show of disrespect."
The image encapsulates the neoconservative vision of the United States' relationship with the rest of the world – as well as the relationship between
their relationship as a ruling elite with the masses. "They really have no use for liberalism and democracy, but they're conquering the world in the
name of liberalism and democracy," Drury says.
We live in crazy times, these principals have not been exaggerated, this is what he taught, and this is what Bush's followers in the white house
study, respect and live by. A kind "tough love" like policy of political ideology.
(google Leo Strauss for more info on him, he is the father of the neoconservative movement. )
What supprises me more though, is that the people in America are aware that politicians by the name of "neoconservatives" are running the current
administration, but have no idea...or take any interest in what they (the politicians) believe in, and who the founders of the movement were.
If anyone else has anything else to add, please do...this is something i dont believe has been discussed here on ATS before.
[edit on 8-11-2004 by electric squid carpet]