I'm not sure what the great political philosopher Leo Strauss would have thought of the Internet (he was a skeptic about progress, but also a skeptic about reaction). I personally think he would have appreciated aspects of it. Perhaps he would have even written an essay on "Persecution and the Art of Tweeting." Or not.
In any case, I trust he'd be pleased to have his work more easily and readily accessible to students today. So perhaps he'd approve of the new website, LeoStraussOnline.org, produced by the Foundation for Constitutional Government (full disclosure: I'm on the board). It's an online resource for the study of Strauss, presented in a catalogued, searchable format, with a curated bibliography of his writings, video and audio content, and links to other online resources for the study of Strauss.
Visit LeoStraussOnline.org early and often. Let others know of its existence. Read and learn. And feel free to be in touch with the FCG with suggestions, corrections and objections through the "Contact Us" page on the website.
Whatever one makes of either one of them, the similarities between Sarah Palin and Carly Fiorina (who’s just announced she’s running for president) stop more or less at the chromosomal level. Fiorina is an accomplished (if controversial) businesswoman; Palin, a half-term governor and television star. Fiorina is a graduate of Stanford (with a degree in philosophy and medieval history) and MIT (with a master’s in management); Palin received a degree in, alas, journalism.
John R. Searle, the Slusser professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, is a philosopher in the tradition of Wittgenstein. He wants to clarify things. That is, he thinks there are two big mistakes philosophers have made throughout history, and Descartes popularized both.
An MSNBC reporter asked Rick Perry in an interview that aired this morning whether the Texas governor is "smart enough to be president of the United States." Perry responded that "running for the presidency is not an IQ test."
Anniversaries come thick and fast. But 500-year marks are still rare, reminders of a simpler time, a different world. We look back to Columbus and forward to the Reformation without understanding the epochal revolution in between that made our time, our world.
On board the ms Noordam sailing from Italy to Greece, with a break from both sightseeing and panels, it seemed advisable to me 1) to ignore the goings-on in Washington, and 2) to find time for an article I'd set aside to read, Harvey Mansfield's "Machiavelli's enterprise" in the October New Criterion. Mansfield uses the occasion of the 500th anniversary of The Prince to provide an explanation of the famous first paragraph of its fifteenth chapter. In doing so, Mansfield provides an extraordinarily compressed but accessible account of Machiavelli's significance as the founder of modern philosophy and of the modern world. It's my pick for best article of the year.
Jean Bethke Elshtain may have been the busiest woman many of us had ever met. Shuttling back and forth between her regular teaching appointment at the University of Chicago and her settled home in Tennessee, she wrote and wrote—and wrote and wrote. Essays, talks, books, memos to fellow directors on the almost endless number of boards on which she served. Letters, emailed comments about her friends’ latest work, notes on current theological and political issues: a ceaseless flow of words.
President Barack Obama, speaking today in Berlin, cited German philosopher Immanuel Kant:
"For thousands of years, the people of this land have journeyed from tribe to principality to nation state to reformation and enlightenment. Renowned as the land of poets and thinkers, among them Immanuel Kant, who taught us that freedom is the unoriginated birthright of man and it belongs to him by force of his humanity."