The Political Philosophy of Strauss—Its Basis and Its Genesis
In the early 1930s, Leo Strauss affiliated himself with the European Right. He identified with the aspiration to tear down modern civilization—which he saw as the spawn of Hobbesian philosophy—and admired Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt as representatives of an exalted philosophy that wished to crush liberalism and its values. Yet years of exile, violence, and perplexity led to a significant change in Strauss’ critique of liberalism. From an anti-modern position that entirely ruled out liberalism and modern civilization, Strauss shifted to criticizing modernity from a softer, more accepting position that was—at least outwardly—reconciled with modern thought and did not seek to destroy modernity in one fell swoop.