But that's about what we should expect, given the views of their intellectual guiding light, Leo Strauss:
- Shadia Drury, author of 1999's 'Leo Strauss and the American Right', says ... ''Strauss was neither a liberal nor a democrat. Perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical (in Strauss's view) because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what's good for them.''
And if you're worried that conflicts like "the war on terrorism" are by nature unwinnable, because there's always one more thug somewhere, relax. That's not a bug; it's a feature:
- ''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 maintains that if no external threat
exists, then one has to be manufactured. Had he lived to see the
collapse of the Soviet Union, he would have been deeply troubled
because the collapse of the 'evil empire' poses a threat to America's
''In Strauss' view, you have to fight all the time (to survive),'' said Drury. ''In that respect, it's very Spartan. Peace leads to decadence. Perpetual war, not perpetual peace, is what Straussians believe in.''
Mind you, we didn't have to see this conflict as a "war" in the first place -- we could, instead, have adopted the metaphor of law enforcement. But that would provoke unwanted comparisons. Someone might remember that Americans deny government some crime-fighting tools because we don't want the kind of state which would have arbitrary power to fight crime. And not only that, but resentment at overarching government power can actually breed criminal activity, as at the Murrah building in Oklahoma City.
So, instead of international policing agreements and strategies, and the "goodness gracious isn't that terrible henny penny" rhetoric about police powers that would come out of that, we have a war. War without end.
Which isn't exactly what anyone voted for. But while Lincoln's still right that you can't fool all of the people all of the time, it may yet be possible to fool enough of the people that the rest make no difference.