For The Week, Damon Linker considers Arthur Melzer’s Philosophy Between the Lines: the Lost History of Esoteric Writing.
Maybe it was Irving Kristol’s fault.
When the intellectual godfather of neoconservatism pointed to Leo Strauss as a seminal influence on his thinking, the stage was set for a seemingly endless season of journalistic silliness.
I can just imagine how it started.
“Why are the neocons in and around the Bush administration so intent on overthrowing Saddam Hussein?” asks an intrepid reporter some time during the fall of 2002. “I just don’t get it.”
“Hey, look at this: Bill Kristol’s father refers to Leo Strauss in this 1995 memoir,” a colleague in the newsroom responds. “I’ve heard that Strauss was some kind of conservative guru. And people say he believed in secrets and advocated lies. I think I’m onto something.”
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