The story

George Strauss

George Strauss



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George Strauss, the son of Arthur Strauss, was born on 18th July, 1901. His father, a Conservative Party MP, sent his son to Rugby School. His friend, Tam Dalyell, later argued: "George Strauss came of a family of well-to-do Jewish metal merchants... Quite often I would talk to Strauss abut public-school boys in the Labour Party. Although he was grateful to Rugby for its high-quality teaching, a scar was left at the rough treatment meted out to Jewish boys at school. From that time on Strauss cared vehemently about issues of race."

Following his father's death in 1920 he decided to join the family firm rather than go to university. Strauss became an active member of the Labour Party and in 1925 was elected to the London County Council (LCC). In the 1929 General Election Strauss was elected to the House of Commons as the representative of North Lambeth. Soon afterwards he was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Herbert Morrison. Strauss was an opponent of Ramsay MacDonald and his National Government and like most Labour members he lost his seat in the 1931 General Election.

In 1931 G.D.H. Cole created the Society for Socialist Inquiry and Propaganda (SSIP). This was later renamed the Socialist League. Other members included George Strauss, William Mellor, Charles Trevelyan, Stafford Cripps, H. N. Brailsford, D. Pritt, R. H. Tawney, Frank Wise, David Kirkwood, Clement Attlee, Neil Maclean, Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, Alfred Salter, Jennie Lee, Gilbert Mitchison, Harold Laski, Frank Horrabin, Ellen Wilkinson, Aneurin Bevan, Ernest Bevin, Arthur Pugh, Michael Foot and Barbara Betts. Margaret Cole admitted that they got some of the members from the Guild Socialism movement: "Douglas and I recruited personally its first list drawing upon comrades from all stages of our political lives." The first pamphlet published by the SSIP was The Crisis (1931) was written by Cole and Bevin.

According to Ben Pimlott, the author of Labour and the Left (1977): "The Socialist League... set up branches, undertook to promote and carry out research, propaganda and discussion, issue pamphlets, reports and books, and organise conferences, meetings, lectures and schools. To this extent it was strongly in the Fabian tradition, and it worked in close conjunction with Cole's other group, the New Fabian Research Bureau." The main objective was to persuade a future Labour government to implement socialist policies.

His biographer, Andrew Roth, has argued that during the 1930s, like many Jewish intellectuals who felt the threat of Nazism, he moved to the left, joining Sir Stafford Cripps and Aneurin Bevan in their efforts to form an anti-fascist alliance stretching from the Communists to the Liberals." Strauss returned to the LCC and served as Chairman of the Highways Committee (1934-37). Strauss returned to Parliament in October 1934.

In January 1937, George Strauss and Stafford Cripps decided to launch a radical weekly, The Tribune, to "advocate a vigorous socialism and demand active resistance to Fascism at home and abroad." William Mellor was appointed editor and others such as Barbara Betts, Aneurin Bevan, Ellen Wilkinson, Barbara Castle, Harold Laski, Michael Foot and Noel Brailsford agreed to write for the paper.

William Mellor wrote in the first issue: "It is capitalism that has caused the world depression. It is capitalism that has created the vast army of the unemployed. It is capitalism that has created the distressed areas... It is capitalism that divides our people into the two nations of rich and poor. Either we must defeat capitalism or we shall be destroyed by it." Stafford Cripps wrote encouragingly after the first issue: "I have read the Tribune, every line of it (including the advertisements!) as objectively as I can and I must congratulate you upon a very first-rate production.''

Strauss also joined with other left-wing Labour Party MPs that campaigned for the formation of a United Front with other left-wing groups in Europe to prevent the spread of fascism. At the 1936 Labour Party Conference, several party members, including Strauss, Ellen Wilkinson, Stafford Cripps, Aneurin Bevan and Charles Trevelyan, argued that military help should be given to the Spanish Popular Front government, fighting for survival against General Francisco Franco and his right-wing Nationalist Army.

Along with Aneurin Bevan, Emanuel Shinwell, Sydney Silverman and Ellen Wilkinson Strauss toured Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Shinwell later wrote: "The reason for the defeat of the Spanish Government was not in the hearts and minds of the Spanish people. They had a few brief weeks of democracy with a glimpse of all that it might mean for the country they loved. The disaster came because the Great Powers of the West preferred to see in Spain a dictatorial Government of the right rather than a legally elected body chosen by the people."

Stafford Cripps declared that the mission of the Socialist League and The Tribune was to recreate the Labour Party as a truly socialist organization. This soon brought them into conflict with Clement Attlee and the leadership of the party. Hugh Dalton declared that "Cripps Chronicle" was "a rich man's toy". Threatened with expulsion, in May 1937 Cripps agreed to abandon the United Front campaign and to dissolve the Socialist League.

By 1938 George Strauss and Stafford Cripps had lost £20,000 in publishing The Tribune. The successful publisher, Victor Gollancz, agreed to help support the newspaper as long as it dropped the United Front campaign. When William Mellor refused to change the editorial line, Cripps sacked him and invited Michael Foot to take his place. However, as Mervyn Jones has pointed out: "It was a tempting opportunity for a 25-year-old, but Foot declined to succeed an editor who had been treated unfairly."

Strauss continued to campaign for a United Front and in March 1939 he was expelled from the Labour Party along with Stafford Cripps, Aneurin Bevan and Charles Trevelyan. However, they readmitted in November 1939 after agreeing "to refrain from conducting or taking part in campaigns in opposition to the declared policy of the Party."

In 1940 Strauss won substantial damages from Henry Newnham and the journal Truth, after it was claimed that he was a coward for not fighting for his country during the First World War (Strauss was too young to fight in the war). During the Second World War Strauss became Parliamentary Private Secretary to Stafford Cripps, the Lord Privy Seal (February 1942 to November 1942) and later Minister of Aircraft Production (November 1942 to May 1945).

In the government formed by Clement Attlee after the war, Strauss served as Parliamentary Secretary for Transport (August 1945 to October 1947) and as Minister of Supply (October 1946 to October 1951). Tam Dalyell argued: "It fell to Strauss to steer through Parliament the most controversial legislation of that government, the nationalisation of iron and steel. This he did with consummate skill and there is no doubt that, had there been Labour governments in the 1950s, Strauss would have been a major minister."

Strauss remained in the House of Commons and was Father of the House between 1974 and 1979. In 1979 he was created Baron Strauss and entered the House of Lords.

George Strauss died on 5th June, 1993.

While the war was at its height several of us were invited to visit Spain to see how things were going with the Republican Army. The fiery little Ellen Wilkinson met us in Paris, and was full of excitement and assurance that the Government would win. Included in the party were Jack Lawson, George Strauss, Aneurin Bevan, Sydney Silverman, and Hannen Swaffer. We went by train to the border at Perpignan, and thence by car to Barcelona where Bevan left for another part of the front.

We travelled to Madrid - a distance of three hundred miles over the sierras - by night for security reasons as the road passed through hostile or doubtful territory. It was winter-time and snowing hard. Although our car had skid chains we had many anxious moments before we arrived in the capital just after dawn. The capital was suffering badly from war wounds. The University City had been almost destroyed by shell fire during the earlier and most bitter fighting of the war.

We walked along the miles of trenches which surrounded the city. At the end of the communicating trenches came the actual defence lines, dug within a few feet of the enemy's trenches. We could hear the conversation of the Fascist troops crouching down in their trench across the narrow street. Desultory firing continued everywhere, with snipers on both sides trying to pick off the enemy as he crossed exposed areas. We had little need to obey the orders to duck when we had to traverse the same areas. At night the Fascist artillery would open up, and what with the physical effects of the food and the expectation of a shell exploding in the bedroom I did not find my nights in Madrid particularly pleasant.

It is sad and tragic to realize that most of the splendid men and women, fighting so obstinately in a hopeless battle, whom we met have since been executed, killed in action - or still linger in prison and in exile. The reason for the defeat of the Spanish Government was not in the hearts and minds of the Spanish people. The disaster came because the Great Powers of the West preferred to see in Spain a dictatorial Government of the right rather than a legally elected body chosen by the people. The Spanish War encouraged the Nazis both politically and as a proof of the efficiency of their newly devised methods of waging war. In the blitzkrieg of Guernica and the victory by the well-armed Fascists over the helpless People's Army were sown the seeds for a still greater Nazi experiment which began when German armies swooped into Poland on 1st September, 1939.

It has been said that the Spanish Civil War was in any event an experimental battle between Communist Russia and Nazi Germany. My own careful observations suggest that the Soviet Union gave no help of any real value to the Republicans. They had observers there and were eager enough to study the Nazi methods. But they had no intention of helping a Government which, was controlled by Socialists and Liberals. If Hitler and Mussolini fought in the arena of Spain as a try-out for world war Stalin remained in the audience. The former were brutal; the latter was callous. Unfortunately the latter charge must also be laid at the feet of the capitalist countries as well.

The refusal of the Executive to allow us to appear before it so that we might defend ourselves; its failure to give us clear guidance as to the manner in which we could advocate our views without coming into collision with the Constitution; its rejection of the reasonable assurances which we were prepared to give in our last letter; the fact that it listened to letters read containing charges against us without giving us the elementary right of being told of them, much less the chance of defending ourselves against them; all these events force us to the conclusion that the Executive has allowed itself to become party to a controversy rather than to remain the administrative head of a great organization.

I was reading early this week the official list of our casualties during the Battle of France. I noticed among the names of other members of the 'ruling class' those of the Duke of Northumberland, the Earl of Aylesford, the Earl of Coventry, Lord Frederick Cambridge - all killed in action. I did not notice any names like Gollancz, Laski, and Strauss, from which I draw the conclusion that what happened in the last war is being repeated in this. The ancient families of Britain - the hated ruling class of the Left Wing diatribes - are sacrificing their bravest and best to keep the Strausses safe in their homes, which in the last war they did not don uniforms to defend.

The House of Commons was his (Aneurin Bevan) main forum; Tribune was used to fill in any gaps or oversights. He more than any other Member was resolved to keep the place alive. Sometimes he acted in conjunction with a considerable number of Labour Members or, on one or two important occasions, a majority of them. Sometimes he found himself competing or consorting with other prominent but less persistent critics such as Emanuel Shinwell. More often he was supported by a few of whom Dick Stokes, Sydney Silverman, George Strauss, Tom Driberg and Frank Bowles were the most effective. Frequently he was alone or almost alone. His closest friend in the Commons during these years was Frank Bowles, who had been returned for Nuneaton in 1942 and who gave him a staunch comradeship which he never forgot. What he achieved in this period was to help cut Churchill down to size - a fact which played its part in the post-war history of Britain.

George Strauss came of a family of well-to-do Jewish metal merchants, whom he said quite openly had done well out of the First World War - a matter which was to be the source of some guilt to him and one of the reasons why he fought so hard for a rational iron and steel industry in this country. His Conservative MP father, later to join the Labour Party, Arthur Strauss, sent him to Rugby. From that time on Strauss cared vehemently about issues of race.

Unlike many of those born into prosperous Jewish families Strauss, to his eternal regret, did not go to a university. This was partly because his father died in 1920 and he felt an obligation to concern himself with the family business. This was to be his bread and butter until Attlee gave him government office in 1945. He told me that working in the metal industry not only gave him first-hand knowledge which was of great use in a party that did not have too many industrial managers in Parliament, but it also provided the wherewithal to be his own man and express his own views.

Although Strauss, with Aneurin Bevan and his close friend Stafford Cripps, was to be expelled from the Labour Party for advocating a popular front against the Nazis and Fascism, Strauss kept the closest personal link with his first patron and London mentor Herbert Morrison, whose Parliamentary Private Secretary he was between 1929 and 1931. In 1947 Strauss, after service as a junior minister in the Department of Transport, was promoted to become Minister of Supply, which although it did not rate cabinet status was a key position in the post-war Labour government.

It fell to Strauss to steer through Parliament the most controversial legislation of that government, the nationalisation of iron and steel. This he did with consummate skill and there is no doubt that, had there been Labour governments in the 1950s, Strauss would have been a major minister.

I was invited once to his beautiful and elegant house in Kensington Palace Gardens, which he had inherited from his father. He was totally honest with his Vauxhall constituents about the style in which he lived and as the guest of Vauxhall Labour Party I know the high regard in which he was held as a clever and good man who took infinite trouble about their grievances. This was partly the result of experience for nearly a quarter of a century representing on the old LCC some of the poorest parts of London.

In 1957 Strauss got entangled in a controversy which raised important questions about parliamentary privilege. He had written a letter to the then Paymaster General, Reginald Maudling, saying that from information he had received the London Electricity Board was disposing of scrap cable in a way that did not obtain the best price available. Strauss wanted an immediate investigation. Maudling contacted the board, who threatened Strauss with a writ for libel. Strauss raised the matter in the Commons and claimed that a letter from an MP to a minister concerning a public board should be covered by parliamentary privilege. This raised the whole issue of 'proceedings in Parliament', which was to be so important in many other privilege cases and in particular in the Clive Ponting case.


George Gershwin

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George Gershwin, original name Jacob Gershvin, (born September 26, 1898, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.—died July 11, 1937, Hollywood, California), one of the most significant and popular American composers of all time. He wrote primarily for the Broadway musical theatre, but important as well are his orchestral and piano compositions in which he blended, in varying degrees, the techniques and forms of classical music with the stylistic nuances and techniques of popular music and jazz.

What were George Gershwin’s jobs?

George Gershwin made piano rolls for player pianos, played the piano in nightclubs, demonstrated sheet music for a music publishing company, and worked as an accompanist and a Broadway rehearsal pianist. He thereafter made a living writing (with his lyricist brother Ira) popular songs and Broadway musicals and composing important and popular jazz-influenced classical compositions.

How did George Gershwin die?

George Gershwin died of a brain tumour at the age of 38.

What did George Gershwin compose?

With his lyricist brother Ira, George Gershwin composed numerous popular songs (such as “Embraceable You” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me”), entire Broadway musicals, and the folk opera Porgy and Bess. He wrote several important and popular chamber and orchestral works that were admired by classical composers, including Maurice Ravel and Sergey Prokofiev.

Why is George Gershwin important?

George Gershwin is important for his great talent as a melodist in both popular and classical genres and for his chamber and orchestral works that ingeniously blend the forms and techniques of classical music with elements of popular song and jazz.


Gregory P. Strauss

Dr. Strauss directs the UGA Clinical Affective Neuroscience Laboratory and Georgia Psychiatric Risk Evaluation Program (G-PREP).

Dr. Strauss’ program of research examines the phenomenology, etiology, assessment, and treatment of negative symptoms in schizophrenia and youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis.

Negative symptoms are reductions in motivation, emotion, and behavior that are associated with a range of poor clinical outcomes. Unfortunately, interventions have proven ineffective at remediating negative symptoms. The identification of novel neurophysiological and psychological mechanisms that can serve as treatment targets for pharmacological and psychosocial treatments is therefore a significant need in our field, as is the development of new assessments that can measure the construct adequately. Research in the CAN Lab aims to address these needs in the field.

Phenomenology: Our research on phenomenology has focused on determining: 1) whether negative symptoms are best conceptualized as a categorical, dimensional, or hybrid construct 2) how many domains are part of the negative symptom construct. Our findings indicate that negative symptoms are a hybrid dimensional-categorical construct, such that people with schizophrenia differ in kind above a certain symptom threshold of negative symptoms. Beyond this threshold, negative symptom severity is predictive of individual differences in external correlates, such as cognitive impairment and functional outcome. However, negative symptoms are not unidimensional, as suggested by early factor analytic studies. Rather, negative symptoms are multi-dimensional and these dimensions have distinct pathophysiological and psychological mechanisms. Early work that we and others conducted on the factor structure of negative symptoms supported a two dimensional conceptualization, with dimensions reflecting diminished expression (EXP) and motivation and pleasure (MAP). However, using more advanced mathematical approaches, we have recently found that the construct is best considered in relation to 5 distinct domains (anhedonia, avolition, asociality, blunted affect, alogia). This 5 domain structure has been found across the 3 most contemporary measures (BNSS, CAINS, SANS), across multiple cultures and languages (e.g., English, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese), using multiple mathematical techniques (e.g., CFA, network analysis), and across chronic and clinical high-risk phases of illness. Recently, we have been examining whether these 5 domains have distinct pathophysiological mechanisms and clinical correlates to determine whether a change is needed for DSM-5 negative symptom diagnostic criteria and whether the 5 domains reflect distinct treatment targets.

Etiology: The primary focus of our research is on identifying mechanisms underlying negative symptoms. Our initial studies examined the most straightforward explanation for avolitional symptoms in schizophrenia- that patients fail to engage in activities because they do not find them rewarding however, this hypothesis was not supported because subjective and neurophysiological response to rewarding stimuli is intact in schizophrenia. This finding lead us to explore why apparently normal hedonic responses do not translate into goal-directed behavior in schizophrenia. We have demonstrated that abnormalities in several aspects of reward processing (e.g., reinforcement learning, effort-cost computation, value representation, uncertainty-driven exploration) that are driven by aberrant cortico-striatal interactions may prevent intact hedonic responses from influencing decision-making processes that are needed to initiate motivated behavior. We have also demonstrated that avolition is associated with dysfunctional cognition-emotion interactions (e.g., memory, attention), emotion regulation abnormalities, social cognition impairments, a reduction in the positivity offset, and anhedonic beliefs. In recent years, we have expanded our work on the etiology of negative symptoms into the psychosis prodrome, where we have found that reward processing deficits predict the severity of negative symptoms in at-risk youth. However, due to the greater propensity for depression in this phase of illness, hedonic deficits play a greater role in negative symptoms in the prodrome than in schizophrenia, propagating forward and creating deficits in other aspects of reward processing that also occur in schizophrenia. We are currently conducting longitudinal studies to determine which reward processing mechanisms associated with negative symptoms predict the emergence of psychotic disorders versus other conditions (e.g., depression) in youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis. Most recently, we are evaluating environmental contributions to negative symptoms in relation to a bioecosystem theoretical framework (see Strauss, 2021: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.655471/full) .

Assessment: The development of next-generation negative symptom assessments has been another key focus of research in the CAN Lab. In 2005, NIMH held a consensus development conference on negative symptoms. A key conclusion of this meeting was that new rating scales were needed to increase chances of observing treatment effects. Two scales resulted from this initiative. Dr. Strauss was co-developer of one of these scales along with Brian Kirkpatrick, the Brief Negative Symptom Scale (BNSS), and served as PI on multiple studies validating the scale. Our lab has also led efforts in translating the BNSS into other languages and facilitating its primary intended use as an outcome measure in industry sponsored clinical trials. Most recently, Dr. Strauss and Dr. Vijay Mittal co-developed and validated a new scale for those at clinical high-risk for psychosis, the Negative Symptom Inventory-Psychosis Risk (NSI-PR). The measure is being modified and validated in a multi-site R01. Our lab has also begun developing and validating new digital phenotyping measures. This includes active (e.g., EMA surveys, videos, tasks) and passive (e.g., geolocation, accelerometry, ambient sound) negative symptom measurements taken from smart phones and smartbands (ambulatory psychophysiology, accelerometry). We are also exploring whether these tools hold promise as novel risk prediction and monitoring assessments for predicting conversion to a psychotic disorder among clinical high-risk youth.

Treatment: In collaboration with colleagues at multiple institutions, we have conducted clinical trials examining the efficacy of pharmacological treatments for negative symptoms. Based on our studies showing a role for endogenous oxytocin in social cognition deficits and negative symptoms, we examined the efficacy of oxytocin as a treatment for asociality. In multiple clinical trials, oxytocin was not more effective than placebo, and we recently extended this work by demonstrating that combining oxytocin with psychosocial treatment had no added benefit over psychosocial treatment alone. We have partnered with pharmaceutical companies to investigate the efficacy of pharmacological agents for negative symptoms, testing differential efficacy for negative symptom domains. Using a network analytic approach, we recently found that avolition may be the most central symptom to target to produce global improvements in the entire negative symptom construct. Currently, we are exploring the efficacy of a novel app-based cognitive training intervention for improving emotion regulation abnormalities in an R61 grant from NIMH. We are examining whether increased prefrontal activation leads to better emotion regulation, and whether this translates into reductions in negative symptoms, positive symptoms, and improved functional outcome.

Research Methods:

Primary/Used for Several years: Electroencephalography (EEG), eye tracking, pupillometry, digital phenotyping/ecological momentary assessment


Burslembandit

The Inspirer Spitfire AB917 (front) and Wulfrun (P8175) scale models created by Neil Willis and Andy Walker for the 80th anniversary of the Wolverhampton Express & Star and Wolverhampton Mayor’s Fighter Funds

By Stephen King and Jim Barrow

An exhibition marking the 80th anniversary of what may have been the first World War II fighter aircraft fund of any UK town, a second fund, two Spitfire aircraft and their pilots had to be called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, it has ‘gone virtual’ with a talk due to be give at Wolverhampton’s Central Library on Saturday June 13, 2020 now available on YouTube at The First of The Many? talk

The exhibition was due to be held from Tuesday May 26 to Thursday June 18, 2020 but it is now hoped to be held later in the year.

Thousands of people in Wolverhampton, the Black Country, Shropshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands contributed to two fundraisers in 1940 which were due to be commemorated to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the first fund.

This started when the Wolverhampton Express & Star newspaper published a letter from ‘Quaestor’ in Letters to The Editor on Saturday June 15, 1940. Quaestor – Latin for one who asks questions – was the pen name used by Wilfred Byford-Jones as foreign correspondent and, by then, the newspaper’s news editor– so he was actually writing to his boss – and the readers.

By the 27 September he had an emergency army commission as a 2 nd Lieutenant, advanced to be temporary Lieutenant Colonel by 1946 and was a field officer on Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s intelligence staff as well as, in Greece, in charge of censorship and correspondents. He was also in Berlin after the Nazis’ surrender.

He wrote to the Ministry of Supply, which absorbed the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1946, in 1951 saying he thought he could prove the fund was his idea. Minister George Strauss wrote to Wolverhampton North East MP, Captain J Baird: “I am afraid that I still cannot accept his claim.

“I readily accept his claim to be the inaugurator of the Wolverhampton Spitfire Fund, but the fact is that a fortnight before he suggested in the Wolverhampton Express and Star that a fund should be raised to buy Spitfires, we received £10,000 from Jamaica to buy a Spitfire. Incidentally, we received another £10,000 from this colony on the 7 June (1940).

These donations seem to have been the result of a letter published in the Jamaican Gleaner but accounts blur the line over whether it was for a war plane, fighter or bomber and does not deal with the claim of the first fund being the first in the UK in WW2.

Byford-Jones in The Loaded Hour, A History of the Express & Star, by Peter Rhodes

Under the headline ‘We Must Have More Planes’ Quaestor wrote: “Here’s an idea. If every area like this in the country bought a plane for service in the war the Government would be helped and the men would be heartened not only by the spirit of sacrifice of those who were at home but by the close personal touch they would have with their home towns and people.

The 15th June 1940 letter by Wilfred Byford-Jones -Quaestor

“Could we in the West Midlands raise the money in one Blitzkrieg effort sufficient to buy a fighter or even a bomber? There are many rich industrialists in this area and they could easily set a splendid example not only to their fellow townspeople but to the country. Our plane could be the first raised by public subscription.”

He finished by saying a day’s delay was dangerous and urged people to telephone or write to the Express & Star. The response over the weekend and produced another mention in the newspaper.

Monday’s appeal response report

By Monday June 17 –£1,250 towards the purchase of a fighter – a Spitfire was not specified then – was offered. The front page article said: “The sum required would be in the region of £13,000.”

However, a front page article on Thursday June 20, 1940, by Quaestor said: “Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production, who read in The Times of the effort of Express and Star readers to raise the cost of a fighter aircraft, has shown great interest in the scheme.

“The Express and Star was informed by the Ministry today that the cost of a fighter aircraft ready to take to the air would be £9,500 to £10,000, and not £13,000 as we had been given to understand. This should stimulate our readers to subscribe the sum still required in the next few days.”

On Monday June 24, 1940, the paper carried a picture of a telegram dated June 23 from Beaverbrook and an article beneath it headed: “Our Readers’ £6,600 Plane Will Surpass Hitler’s Finest Product.”

It said: “With six thousand pounds you have collected we will build equip engine and arm a fighter aircraft surpassing the finest products of German industry Stop It will ward off many a blow aimed our homes Stop So at this moment when the battle is about to break in our skies I send warm thanks to your newspaper and the contributors to the fund. Stop. Beaverbrook. Ends.”

The fund actually reached a final total of £6,746 and the amount above the £6,000 for the fighter was to be spent on ammunition: “to be fired at the first enemy bomber your machine encounters.”

The front page report on the total raised for the appeal

Other towns, cities, companies, individuals and overseas groups joined drives to provide war weapons. Chesterfield was first to specify Spitfire in fundraising on the July 5 1940. A day after this the National Cyclists’ Union started a fund to buy a Spitfire – The Fighting Cyclist. On July 10 the Battle of Britain was being fought above Britain.

The later Mayor of Wolverhampton’s fund to specifically buy a Spitfire raised £5,076 – so just above the £5,000 target set by the Ministry of Aircraft Production (possibly £277,579 in today’s prices) – although the actual price in February 1940 was about £8,897.6s 6d.

Canadian Press Baron Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook), owner of the national Express group of newspapers – not the Wolverhampton Express & Star – knew simple messages had most impact.

Political opponent J H S Thomas said: “Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook) was born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, Canada. It was too small for him so he went to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“It was too small for him. He left for Montreal, the commercial capital of Canada. It was too small for him. He came to London. It is too small for him. He will go to hell. It won’t be big enough.”

Although aircraft costs might be broken down to fine detail from wings to nuts and bolts and screws a figure of £5,000 came after fellow Canadian millionaire Sir Harry Oakes asked what a Spitfire cost. Sir Harry donated £20,000 for four Spitfires named Sir Harry & Lady Oakes I-IV.

The £5,000 was similar to the modern healthy eating message of five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables. It should be seven or more but five was thought to trip off the tongue more easily and be more memorable.

Funds raised for aircraft, destroyers and other military equipment went into a general fund and was not specifically allocated to Spitfires (thought the most glamorous after Supermarine’s pre-war speed competitions success), Lancasters, Hurricanes, Defiants etc. However, having your own or a relative’s name, your town or city’s, your company’s name on a plane was a big pulling point.

Wolverhampton Alderman Morris Christopher was said to have told the editor of the Express & Star that it might be good for Wolverhampton to try and buy a Spitfire and present it to the nation. “I read that they cost about £5,000,” he is alleged to have said. “Here is my cheque for the first £50.”

The Monday June 17 Express & Star shows Alderman Christopher offering £52 10 shillings and said: “Mr Frank Farrer, Sir Robert Bird, Alderman Morris Christopher and Miss Osgerby who had contributed £5 are intensely interested in the project and “Quaestor’s” suggestion that the idea be extended to every newspaper in the country. “

The Inspirer in Gifts of War Spitfires And Other Presentation Aircraft in Two World Wars written by Henry Boot and Ray Sturtivant and published by Air-Britain in 2005

The ‘Presentation’ Spitfires – The Inspirer (allocated to the Express & Star fund) and Wulfrun (mayor’s fund) – were ‘bought’ for the area and nation in 1940 – a time when times were hard.

The plaque for the Express & Star appeal survived to be curated at the RAF Museum Hendon and at the time of writing the museum said that it was being held in storage at RAF Stafford.

Wording may be misleading as their appeal was aimed at the whole circulation area – not just Wolverhampton. The paper reported – on page 6 on Friday November 29 – that they received the plaque from the Ministry of Aircraft Production the previous day – Thursday November 28.

The plaque thanks “the people of Wolverhampton” although contributions were from all the Express & Star circulation area and says fighter aircraft not Spitfire

The loss of the pilots of the Spitfires, their photographs and details of their lives were in the Press in Fort Worth, Dallas, Texas, USA, and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, shortly after their deaths.

The Inspirer pilot – Gerald Bickle Whitney Junior – was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, the son of First World War fighter pilot Gerald Bickle Whitney senior and Irene Rowland Whitney, but was brought up and schooled in Fort Worth.

He attended South Hi Mount Elementary School and graduated at Arlington Heights High School, Fort Worth, in 1940 being part of the Yearbook team and ‘The Yellow Jacket’ football squad of 1939. He is featured and pictured throughout the 1940 Yearbook.

Records show he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Ontario in Summer 1940. His interview report says: “Good looking. Good manners. Would appear to be ideal material for Pilot.

Whitney completed almost 200 hours flight training and went to England to join 1/401 “City of Westmount” Squadron of the RCAF -The Rams. They formed on March 1, 1937 at Trenton, Ontario.

The War Diary of 1/401 squadron – High Blue Battle – was edited by Canadian writer Dave McIntosh, who served with 418 Squadron. It was published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 1990 as they were the only Canadian squadron – but not the only Canadians – taking part.

They took delivery of seven Hurricane fighters sent from the UK to Vancouver in crates, assembled and then flown by squadron pilots to Calgary, their based at that time. As war broke out No.1 Squadron moved to St Hubert, near Montreal, Quebec, in September 1939, acquiring three more Hurricanes including one on static display at the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto.

After flying to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in November they were amalgamated with 115 Fighter Squadron of Montreal and joined by other Nova Scotia-based personnel. In June 1940 they sailed in convoy to England to be air support to the Canadian Army’s 1s Canadian Division along with No.110 Army Co-operation Squadron, in Britain since February 1940.

However, the Nazis’ drive through Holland, Belgium and France stopped any move to the continent and they were in the Battle of Britain in August from their main base at Northolt, northwest of London.

They had 27 officers, 21 of them pilots, and 314 airmen to fly and maintain 20 Hurricanes. After being posted to Middle Wallop in June they moved to Croydon the next month but had a tragic start as they shot down two RAF Coastal Command Blenheim aircraft. Three Luftwaffe Dorniers were downed and three damaged on their second mission.

From August until September they had losses and were down to six operational aircraft at the end of September. They moved again to RAF Prestwick, Scotland, on coastal patrols before going to RAF Digby, Lincolnshire, in February 1941 being renumbered 401 Squadron on 1 March and getting Spitfires for Hurricanes from September on before moving to RAF Biggin Hill from October .

Zoran Petek has a film clip on YouTube of the squadron in the UK.

On September 27 they could only put up six planes but shot down five bombers. Over 53 days they shot down 30 planes, probably destroyed eight and damaged 35, losing three pilots killed.

They won three Distinguished Flying Crosses – the first RCAF gallantry awards in the war. By 1944 nearly 30 per cent of RAF aircrew were Canadians with 40 Canadian squadrons sent to Britain.

High Blue Battle War Diary of 1(401) Squadron Gerald Bickle Whitney Junior’s by Dave McIntosh published by Stoddard on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

The diary tells how Gerald Whitney, aged 21, was shot down on October 27 1941 in a Fighter Sweep over France in Spitfire Vb W3452 Midnight Sun – a Presentation Spitfire attributed to ‘Forces in Iceland’.

The squadron took off at 11.35 with 609 Squadron to rendezvous with 72 Squadron before heading over the Channel to France. The Squadron Leader and another pilot had to return as one had oxygen problems and the other engine trouble.

Later Spitfires were seen to go down out of control and several Messerschmitt 109s dived down, one of which got two bursts of fire from Pilot Officer Al Harley and was seen pouring out black smoke before Harley found himself alone and returned to base.

High Blue Battle says: “It later turned out that the Wing had been jumped by about fifty e/a (enemy aircraft).” It added: “S/P Whitney baled out and landed near Sandwich. He baled out at 600 feet but his ‘chute did not open until he was within approximately 100 fleet of the ground. He landed quite heavily but was uninjured.

“All in all the worst day the Squadron has ever experienced (or was ever to experience) and five familiar and popular faces missing from our entourage – we still have hopes of hearing from some of them, though. It was certainly a blue Monday for the Squadron.”

The next day the diary says: “Sgt Whitney was flying back from France at 20,000 feet, behind F/L Connell and Sgt Thompson when he was attacked from out of the sun by e/a who hit his a/c (aircraft) with cannon fire. He turned sharply to port to evade but was again hit.

“He limped along to the English coast and was forced to bale out when his engine broke into flames. He got clear at 500 feet, his parachute opening at 100 feet.”

On December 2 the diary says: “F/L Neal and Sgt Whitney travelled by train to Halton to visit Sgt Golden, in hospital there since his crash. “Goldie” is improving, though he will be trussed up for some time to come.”

The December 8 entry reads: “At 1355 the Squadron again took off on a Channel sweep to protect rescue launches trying to locate the pilots who had come down in the Channel during morning operations. Three of four ME109s dived to attack Blue Section and were in turn attacked by our other sections, and a series of dogfights took place.

“Sgt D R Morrison destroyed one ME-109, the e/a crashing in the Channel, and he also damaged another. P/O Don Blakeslee and Sgts G.B. Whitney and W D Haguard damaged one each. There were no casualties in our Squadron.”

On January 26 Squadron Leader A G. Douglas, RAF, a former commanding officer of 403 Squadron took over to become 401 Squadron’s only non-Canadian commanding officer. He had taken part in more than 40 wing sweeps over France and had several enemy aircraft to his credit, the diary said.

On Monday March 9 it said: “While executing a practice roll over Fairfield, Kent, Sgt A D Blakey remained in an inverted position. A large part of his port wing fell off and the a/c went straight down from 5,000 feet, crashed and burst into flames. The pilot remained in the a/c and was killed.”

Sergeant Alexander Douglas Blakey of St Thomas, Ontario, on The Inspirer Spitfire assigned to the Express & Star fund. He died in a training accident in another Spitfire

Sgt Alexander Douglas Blakey (R/78705), aged 21, of St Thomas, Ontario, was photographed standing on the wing of The Inspirer in an image held by the Imperial War Museum. He had been flying a Vb Spitfire BL538.

He was born on the 23rd September 1920 in Elgin County, the son of Herbert Douglas and Mable Daisy Blakey (nee Harmer) at 85, Maple Street, St Thomas, Ontario. His grave inscription at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Grave 36.G.8 reads: “In Our Lonely Hours Thoughts Of Him Are Always Near. Our Son.” He had 217 flying hours – 44 were test flights of the type in which he died.

Alexander Douglas Blakey

Gerald Whitney was on bomber escort duty – called a Circus – in The Inspirer somewhere over the English Channel after 20 successful missions, usually on similar escort missions. Circus 144 to St Omer was being carried out during the middle of the afternoon on April 28, 1942, when he was one of two pilots lost after he and a colleague peeled off to attack German fighters.

His aircraft was hit. He did not bale out and The Inspirer crashed onto Manchester Road, Whitfield, near Dover, Kent. A report on the crash said: “Several eyewitnesses describe having seen the aircraft at low altitude. Fragments were breaking off as it went into a slow spiral and crashed.”

The diary records what happened on that day.

The entry for April 28, 1942, in High Blue Battle – the War Diary of 1/401 Squadron

After his death in The Inspirer Gerald was remembered a few days later at his school as the flag flew at half-mast and students with bowed heads stood silently at the close of the auditorium programme, according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram of May 1, 1942.”

He was buried in Section 37, Row 1, Grave 2, at Brookwood Military Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey.

Squadron Leader Douglas wrote to his family: “My deepest sympathy and that of the squadron goes out to you in your bereavement. I realise there is little which may be said or done to lessen you sorrow but it is my hope that these ‘Wings’ indicative of operations against the enemy, will be a treasured memento of a young life offered on the altar of freedom in defence of his Home Country.”

His father died in Forth Worth in 1973. A newspaper obituary said death was due to suicide.

Inspirer pilot Gerald Bickle Whitney Junior of 401 Squardron

The Mayor of Wolverhampton’s fund was specifically for a Spitfire not just a fighter as in the first fund. On Thursday September 26, 1940, an Express & Star page 8 report said seven Wolverhampton cinemas would open that Sunday for special shows in aid of the mayor’s Spitfire fund.

Mayor, Councillor Harry Austin White, hoped to visit two to speak about the fund and four others said they would hold a Sunday show on a future date. Just below the report another article says Walsall’s Spitfire fund stood at £8,800 after a dollar bill donation from a lady with Staffordshire associations. A further article said Birmingham hoped to raise the price of 250 bombers – £5million.

By October 5 the newspaper was reporting that the Wolverhampton mayor’s fund had passed the £3,000 mark and that special cinema showings raised about £300. Seven days later latest donations were listed and ranged from just over £194 to multiple ones of £5 from individuals and companies.

More fundraising with a Messerschmitt – this time in Hall Street, Bilston

Wednesbury was fundraising for a Spitfire fund, Bilston aimed to fund a Wolverhampton-made Boulton Paul Defiant fighter aircraft and Willenhall needed £849 for a Spitfire. However, Wolverhampton aimed to raise £1m in a War Weapons Week from November 16 to November 23.

The Express & Star of Thursday October 17th (on page 3) recalled that in 1918, during WW1, Wolverhampton had a Tank Bank Week from February 4th and a Guns Week from October 28th to November 2nd in which £1,425,578 was raised by the first effort and £920,000 by the second.

On the following day the newspaper pictured four girls with a doll’s house which they hoped would help raise funds for the mayor’s fund and reported that the mayor was hoping for more donations when a downed German Luftwaffe Messerschmitt 109 fighter was put on display.

The Express and Star reports the arrival of the captured ME109 from Dudley

Councillor White said: “The Messerschmitt loaned to me will be on view on a space adjoining the education offices on Monday. A charge of 6d will be made to view the machine, and for an additional 6d residents will have the opportunity of sitting in the cockpit.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club historian Graham Hughes visited the aircraft, previously on display in Dudley, and had helped to raise more than £500 there. He also recalls small Spitfire lapel badges being given to people donating to the fund near to the Molineux Hotel – now Molineux House Wolverhampton’s Archives Service.

Spitfire pin badges which were displayed at Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

He previously put two of these on display in a display cabinet in the foyer of the reception area of the Billy Wright stand at Molineux. Other areas had similar pin badges and more detailed enamel badges often worn by people fundraising. The mayor’s fund had passed £4,000 by the end of October.

It was a time when there were many calls on people’s pockets as the Express & Star of Friday October 18 said War Weapons Week would be a “Navy Week” to try and Raise £1m to buy two destroyers. The article about this was above a photograph of Mrs H M Smith of Parkville, Stowheath Lane, Wolverhampton, with some of her pictures made out of silver paper to help the mayor’s fund.

On Saturday November 9 the paper said that Councillor White: “Said he could state definitely that a cheque for £5,000 for this second Spitfire fund would be sent to Lord Beaverbrook.” However, it was not until Thursday December 19 that two paragraphs on the front page said money had been sent.

The £5,076 finally raised would be equivalent to about £286,000 in today’s prices.

If official photographs and plaques might have been presented to the town or mayor in recognition of the fund attributed to Spitfire Mk Vb P8175 Wulfrun they have not come to light. Wulfrun’s RCAF pilot – Flight Lieutenant William Thomas Johnstone – was killed in action on April 14, 1943 while flying The Wulfrun Spitfire Mk Vb P8715 with 411 Squadron – also over the English Channel.

Boot and Sturtivant’s ‘Gifts of War’ says: “Wulfrun. Presented with a donation of £5,076 by the Wolverhampton Spitfire Fund. ‘Wulfrun’ being local dialect for the name of that city. Mk Vb P8715 was taken on charge at No.39 MU Colerne on 5 July 1941, and held at No.2 SLG Starveal Farm from 22 July until 7 September when it returned to No.39 MU.

“The aircraft was allocated on 8 December to No19 Squadron at Ludham (Norfolk), engaged on sweeps and Circus operations.” The name was actually probably derived from Wolverhampton’s founder – Lady Wulfrun/Wulfruna.

Spitfire P8715 had the code DB-O on the fuselage and – like The Inspirer – made at the Castle Bromwich Aeroplane Factory or CBAF, near Castle Bromwich Aerodrome – the largest aircraft production plant in wartime Britain and the main source of the Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane and the Avro Lancaster bomber.

After leaving the factory it was taken on charge at No.39 Maintenance Unit (39MU) RAF Colerne, on the outskirts of the village of Colerne, Wiltshire, on 5 July 1941 and then to No.2 Satellite Landing Ground Starveall Farm, a nearby storage site for 39 MU from the July 6 to September 7 when it was returned to 39 Maintenance Unit.

It went to No19 Squadron on December 8, 1941 for sweeps and Circus operations – where bombers heavily escorted by fighters went to continental Europe to draw enemy fighters to combat.

On 10th February 1942 it went to 416 Squadron but needed repairs after being involved in a landing accident on an icy runway at RAF Ludham, Norfolk, which required the attention of 9 Maintenance Unit at RAF Cosford, Shropshire, near Wolverhampton.

What a Spitfire Vb of 416 Squadron – City of Oshawa – would have looked like carrying their DN code

It didn’t go back into service until more than a year later being sent to RAF Kenley, near Croydon, Surrey, for bomber escort duties before transfer to 416 – City Of Oshawa – Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The squadron, formed as a fighter squadron in November 1941 at RAF Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, used images of a leaping lynx superimposed on a maple leaf. Its motto: “Ad Saltium Paratus” translates as “Ready to Leap.

It was made up of individuals trained in the British Commonwealth Air Training Programme (BCATP) which was initiated in 1939 and launched in 1940. Pilots, mechanics, navigators, radio operators, logistic personnel and ground crew members and more were to be trained for service in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – but well away from hostilities.

Over five years 360 schools were established at more than 200 sites across Canada and 131,533 graduated with men and women participating.

Flight Lieutenant William Thomas Johnstone (left) pictured with colleagues

Out of this programme came Flight Lieutenant William Thomas Johnstone of Calgary, Alberta, who was aged 26, and born in 1922 son of Mr and Mrs Archibald Johnstone, of 218 25th Avenue, Calgary.

He was a graduate of Tuxedo, Balmoral, Crescent Heights high schools and Mount Royal College who enlisted in October 1940 and received service number J/6823. His overseas service started in August 1941 and he was posted to 416 Squadron at Peterhead at the end of November 1941.

He was shot down off the coast of northern France on April 14, 1943 while serving with 411 Squadron.

Zoran Petek has this film of 411 Squadron on YouTube.

A search party was sent out for him after Wulfrun was hit by fire from a Messerschmidt 109 off Cherbourg.

He baled out and parachuted into the sea where he was seen alive and in a dinghy 4 miles from the coast at Baie de la Seine, off Le Havre, but the search failed to find him.

Flight Lieutenant William Thomas Johnstone is remembered on the Roll of Honour

Squadron Leader D.G.E. Ball and another pilot were killed while searching and being shot down by Focke Wulf 290s north of Bayeux.

In 1968 Spitfire RW 388 was mocked up to look like The Inspirer with the serial number AB917 to appear at the Royal Tournament, the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo and the Earls Court Exhibition.

Mocked up ‘Inspirer,’ Gerald Bickle Whitney Junior, his squadron and his grave

Why was this done? Might this special Spitfire be being commemorated as the first UK Gift of War presentation Spitfire for the nation?

At the time in 1968 the local Press mentioned this ‘new’ Inspirer’ but only vaguely refers to the original Inspirer’s wartime loss “over enemy territory.”

The official service record of Spitfire AB917 – The Inspirer – attributed to the Express & Star fund

The Wulfrun Spitfire was said to have had the words Slow Freight marked on it – possibly a joke by pilot Johnstone on his Mark Vb Spitfire wishing for an upgrade to a new version of the Spitfire (of which there were many).

These would have better performance, range, firepower etc. Pilots of all squadrons would always be wanting the newest and best machines

It is thought there were at least around 1,500 WWII “presentation” named aircraft including The Inspirer and Wulfrun. They should not be forgotten.


Strauss was the son of the Conservative (and previously a Liberal Unionist) MP Arthur Strauss (1847–1920), who later joined the Labour Party. George Strauss was educated at Rugby School, where the hostile treatment experienced by him and other Jewish boys left him as a vehement supporter of racial equality. He became a metal merchant and a leading member of the London County Council, on which his wife also served. [1]

Strauss' first parliamentary contest was in Lambeth North in 1924, when he lost by just 29 votes however, he gained the seat in 1929. He lost it in Labour's landslide defeat of 1931, but regained it in a 1934 by-election. In 1939 Strauss was expelled from the Labour Party for supporting the 'Popular Front' movement of Stafford Cripps, whom he had served as Parliamentary Private Secretary.

Strauss was parliamentary secretary at the Ministry of Transport 1945-47 and was the Minister of Supply from 1947 to 1951. After boundary changes, he became MP for Vauxhall in 1950, which he represented until 1979. On 9 July 1979 he was created a life peer as Baron Strauss, of Vauxhall in the London Borough of Lambeth. [2]


The Story of Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss, the inventor of the quintessential American garment, was born in Buttenheim, Bavaria on February 26, 1829 to Hirsch Strauss and his second wife, Rebecca Haas Strauss Levi had three older brothers and three older sisters. Two years after his father succumbed to tuberculosis in 1846, Levi and his sisters emigrated to New York, where they were met by his two older brothers who owned a NYC-based wholesale dry goods business called “J. Strauss Brother & Co.” Levi soon began to learn the trade himself.

When news of the California Gold Rush made its way east, Levi journeyed to San Francisco in 1853 to make his fortune, though he wouldn’t make it panning gold. He established a wholesale dry goods business under his own name and served as the West Coast representative of the family’s New York firm. Levi eventually renamed his company “Levi Strauss & Co.”

Around 1872, Levi received a letter from one of his customers, Jacob Davis, a Reno, Nevada tailor. In his letter, Davis disclosed the unique way he made pants for his customers, through the use of rivets at points of strain to make them last longer. Davis wanted to patent this new idea, but needed a business partner to get the idea off the ground. Levi was enthusiastic about the idea. The patent was granted to Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss & Company on May 20, 1873 and blue jeans were born.

Levi carried on other business pursuits during his career, as well. He became a charter member and treasurer of the San Francisco Board of Trade in 1877. He was a director of the Nevada Bank, the Liverpool, London and Globe Insurance Company and the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company. In 1875, Levi and two associates purchased the Mission and Pacific Woolen Mills.

He was also one of the city’s greatest philanthropists. Levi was a contributor to the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum and Home, the Eureka Benevolent Society and the Hebrew Board of Relief. In 1897 Levi provided the funds for twenty-eight scholarships at the University of California, Berkeley, all of which are still in place today.

At the end of the 19th century, Levi was still involved in the day-to-day workings of the company. In 1890 — the year that the XX waist overall was given the lot number “501®” — Levi and his nephews officially incorporated the company.

Levi Strauss passed away on Friday, September 26 th 1902. His estate amounted to nearly $6 million, the bulk of which was left to his four nephews and other family members, while donations were made to local funds and associations.

We’re proud to honor Levi Strauss’s legacy by celebrating his commitment to community, philanthropy and an unswerving devotion to quality. To this day, Levi Strauss & Co. strives to align itself with the same principles that guided Levi’s life.


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The sad, sorry decline of George F. Will

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

It's become a classic of political commentary: a center-left lament about the decline in the quality of conservative intellectual life. (Here's a recent example.) Where once William F. Buckley debated fellow intellectuals on Firing Line, where once richly erudite thinkers like Leo Strauss, Russell Kirk, and Milton Friedman crafted meticulous arguments in culturally literate essays, today conservatives either treat ideas as weapons to bludgeon their ideological opponents, or craft them into slogans to whip up enthusiasm at the endless populist pep rally on talk radio, partisan websites, and cable news.

As a former conservative who became disaffected with the right in the years immediately following the September 11 attacks, I've made a version of this argument myself. Though there are exceptions to the downward intellectual spiral on the right — Ross Douthat at The New York Times, the people involved in this reformist project, the writers associated with The American Conservative and Front Porch Republic, and the "Postmodern Conservatives" at National Review Online — the general trend on the right in recent years has been away from reflection on ideas for their own sake, and toward fashioning an ideology to galvanize the "conservative movement" and electorally empower its chosen political vehicle: the Republican Party.

In most cases, this shift has been generational: an older, more thoughtful group of conservative thinkers and writers has been replaced by a less deeply educated and more baldly partisan cohort of ideological foot soldiers. But there is a notable exception to this tendency: George F. Will.

Will has been an opinion columnist for four decades, writing highly literate commentary for The Washington Post, Newsweek, and many other outlets in syndication. Holding a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, Will has often brought a rich knowledge of political philosophy and history into his columns — erudition that was recognized by his fellow journalists when he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1977.

Will has also shown an admirable independence of mind over the years: denouncing Nixon's corruption during the pre-resignation period of the Watergate scandal, when most Republicans were still defending him calling Americans "undertaxed" during the early years of the Reagan revolution criticizing the Iraq War at a time when dissent from George W. Bush's prosecution of the War on Terror was verboten on the right. And then there was his thoughtful 1983 book Statecraft as Soulcraft, which made a communitarian case for using government to instill civic virtue.

One wonders what the author of that book would make of the George Will of today — peddler of Tea-Party-approved libertarian bromides, promoter of know-nothing climate-change denialism, serial spewer of bile against the all-purpose bogeyman of "progressivism." (Reading Will's column these days, you get the feeling he thinks the Republican Party needs to position itself to the right of Theodore Roosevelt circa 1912.)

And then there's the notorious rape column — you know, the one that's inspired a Twitter-fueled flurry of outrage since it was published last weekend, in which Will asserts that (you guessed it) "progressivism" has made "victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges," thereby inspiring "the supposed campus epidemic of rape, a.k.a. 'sexual assault.'"

That's right: George Will, Ph.D., believes that under the influence of "progressivism," young women on college campuses across America are (en masse? individually?) seeking privileges (economic? political? cultural?) by getting themselves known as rape victims — because that is a "coveted status."

Now, I'm not one to restrain myself when it comes to ridiculing the silliness that periodically sweeps through universities in this country. And the last few paragraphs of Will's column, which focus on the plague of "trigger warnings" on campus, make a valid point or two.

But the rape business? Sure it's sexist, condescending, and callously dismissive, as thousands of critics have already noted. But here's what bothers me even more than that: it's outrageously stupid, transparently absurd — the kind of tossed-off, back-of-the-napkin theorizing one would expect of a guy who spends a little too much time in the make-up chair at Fox News.

Can Will truly believe that female college students are behaving the way he claims they are — faking sexual assaults because it confers benefits on them? If he does, what does that imply about his broader capacity to think, analyze, and opine? If he doesn't, what does that imply about his willingness to prostitute his intellect for the sake of rallying the right-wing rabble in the bleachers?

To be perfectly honest, I don't know what to think. Between those two unpleasant possibilities — intellectual breakdown or intellectual self-betrayal — I suppose I have to go with the first option. It was just five years ago, after all, that Will railed against the American people for wearing blue jeans. I find it hard to believe that a man so proudly and unapologetically elitist would deliberately slum it to prove his populist bona fides.

But that means that something just as troubling has happened: a once thoughtful conservative has undergone a marked intellectual collapse right before our eyes.


George Strauss - History

(These recollections were prepared for Leo Strauss, the Straussians, and the American Regime , ed. Kenneth L. Deutsch and John A. Murley, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999), pp. 3-30.)

But Jesus said unto them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” And he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. – Matthew 13: 57-58

Leo Strauss, who was born on September 20, 1899, left the country of his birth in 1932. His principal “house” thereafter was the University of Chicago, where he spent his most productive years. After leaving Germany (never to return except, in 1954, primarily for a visit to his father’s grave) he lived in France and England before settling permanently in the United States, becoming an American citizen in 1944. In this country he taught principally at the New School for Social Research in New York from 1938 to 1949, in the Political Science Department of the University of Chicago from 1949 to 1967, at Claremont Men’s College in 1968-1969, and then at St. John’s College in Annapolis (where he was reunited with his fellow student and old friend, Jacob Klein) until his death there on October 18, 1973. 1

During his two decades at Chicago he took leaves which permitted him to visit Israel (in 1954-1955) and to visit the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto (in 1960-1961). On a couple of occasions during his Chicago years he was incapacitated somewhat by major illnesses, brought on in part perhaps by a neglect of his health related to his single-minded pursuit of his studies. He was notorious for a schedule that kept him at his desk through much of the night.

Mr. Strauss offered almost eighty courses during his Chicago tenure. He settled down, after a few years of experimentation in scheduling, to offering one or two courses each quarter, one at 3:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the other (when a second was given) at the same time on Mondays and Wednesdays. 2 The typical class ran much longer than the ninety minutes officially allocated to it, which could lead to the spouses of Mr. Strauss’s students petitioning him to “release” them in time for supper with their families. Of course, so far as he personally was concerned, those students could go home whenever they chose.

The classes ran as long as they did because they were obviously addressing, in a way not available anywhere else on campus, the most important questions of a philosophical as well as of a political character. His classroom was often packed, perhaps with at least as many auditors as registered students. The following recent recollection by a then-mature student (a former Army officer), interested in American politics, could be endorsed by many others. He had come in the mid-1960s to the University of Chicago and hence to Mr. Strauss more or less by chance, but he was intrigued for two years thereafter by what he heard a very small man with a quiet voice saying for hours at a time. There was on exhibit, he recalls, a peculiar combination of a physical unimpressiveness and an awesomely powerful intellect. Even though the texts discussed in the classes were obviously long familiar to Mr. Strauss, he constantly probed them with a childlike freshness, always unearthing new things worthy of consideration. It was a revelation for this student to see how carefully a text could be read. Also a revelation to this and other students was a teacher’s obvious joy in working things out and communicating them to the young. This was contagious, even though it was evident that Mr. Strauss had the advantage of being able to draw upon a vast storehouse of information and insights (“facts and values”?) to guide and illuminate what he was doing and saying. So contagious was this joy, and so enlightening was this scholarship, that I remain both puzzled and saddened by those quite talented young men who were personally exposed for some time to Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago and yet would not only turn away from him but could even incline toward his severest critics.

Roughly one-third of the Strauss courses at Chicago took ancient texts (primarily from Plato and Aristotle) as their announced points of departure, roughly one-third took modern texts (from Machiavelli and Vico on), with the remainder devoted to general topics (such as “Natural Right”) during which Mr. Strauss would range across millennia. (None of the course titles, collected in the first appendix to this article, mentioned literary or theological texts. Aristophanes, however, was drawn upon considerably for the Winter 1960 course, anticipating the 1966 Socrates and Aristophanes book). Mr. Strauss’s last public appearance at the University of Chicago (December 1, 1967) was not on its main campus, but rather downtown (65 East South Water Street) at its adult education center (then known as University College) where he had more effective “political” support than he evidently did by that time on campus. That farewell lecture, by a mild-mannered scholar who could not help but antagonize many of his prestigious colleagues in the University, was entitled, appropriately enough, “The Socratic Question.” 3

Critical to understanding the University of Chicago experience in the 1950s and 1960s is the fact that most faculty and students lived close to the campus and hence to each other. The city itself is remarkably slow-paced for so large a population. It was fairly easy in Chicago, and especially in our Woodlawn-Hyde Park-Kenwood area, for faculty and students to stay in touch–and to have reliable notions about what “everyone” was doing. Thus, the spouse of a visiting professor from Paris recently remarked that it was nice that they did not have to get on the Metro to return home after an evening at a colleague’s house in the University neighborhood. Thus, also, Mr. Strauss once told me, when I inquired whether I could pick up anything for him in Europe, that he could get whatever he wanted on 57th Street (that is, in Hyde Park).

It was characteristic of most of the young scholars that Mr. Strauss nurtured at Chicago, especially in American studies, that they had not come to the University to study with him. Insofar as they were interested primarily in American institutions, they were not naturally of a speculative turn of mind. Still, “metaphysical” interests became unavoidable for them once they came to see what Mr. Strauss was saying, and why. The responses among the students who would become “Straussians” ranged, as should be evident in the other articles in this Deutsch-Murley collection, from those whose sound inclinations were informed and thus reinforced by Mr. Strauss to those whose impassioned souls were radically “turned” by him.

Many of his better students had come to the University of Chicago as a school where works of the mind were believed to be taken seriously. This belief was reinforced by the luminous reputation of Robert Maynard Hutchins, whose generation-long tenure as President of the University was drawing to a close when he (perhaps at the urging of R. H. Tawney and with, it seems, a timely endorsement by Edward Shils) personally hired Mr. Strauss. (Mr. Strauss became, in 1959, the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago.)

Chicago was special, not least in that it (unlike other great universities in this country) did not then regard itself as training the political leaders and business executives of the next generation, but rather its educators. Moreover, the general academic tone at Chicago had traditionally been set by its graduate departments, not by its small college or by its professional schools. Even so, the graduate faculty teaching in the College could be readily challenged and otherwise stimulated by bright youngsters who tended to be interdepartmental in their interests. All this contributed to an intellectual intensity rarely seen even in the better universities on so broad a basis, at least in this country. The University of Chicago was also special in its relaxed openness (then as well as now) to Jewish faculty and students, even as it struggled to accommodate itself to the racially-volatile urban setting in which it found itself soon after the Second World War. The most distinguished Jewish officer that the University of Chicago has ever had used to say, “At this University, you should assume someone is a Jew unless he denies it–and sometimes even if he denies it.”

Of the ten men singled out in this book as of “the first generation” of Straussians working in American studies, all but two of them originally studied with Mr. Strauss at Chicago. And most of them taught at Chicago at one time or another. The Chicago influence is evident as well among the three dozen contributors to the Strauss-Cropsey History of Political Philosophy textbook. 4

Of course, yet another score of equally competent scholars could be identified as “the first generation”–and they, too, are predominantly Chicago men. It is evident from any such inventory, by the way, that “the first generation” was massively male and white, perhaps even more so than American graduate schools generally were at that time (except in departments such as English, home economics, nursing, Romance languages, and social work). The specialness, if not exclusivity, of the Strauss circle was not lost upon spouses who sensed that they could no longer share the most important things with their husbands. 5

What did political science look like at Chicago before Leo Strauss came? One can get some notion of this by examining the course offerings of the Political Science Department before 1949, by noticing which public men and political scientists have been awarded honorary degrees since the founding of the University in 1893, and by studying the biographies of the social scientists assembled in recollections of distinguished scholars brought together in 1991 for a centennial celebration of the University. (The roster of the Chicago political science faculty before Mr. Strauss joined it during the 1948-1949 academic year is set forth in Appendix B of this article. The roster of that faculty when he retired during the 1967-1968 academic year is set forth in Appendix C of this article.) These and other sources testify that the political science primarily in evidence at Chicago before Leo Strauss joined the faculty had been what was coming to be available also at the other great universities in the United States. 6

The kind of dedication to old-fashioned political philosophy evident in Mr. Strauss’s work had not been prized, even in “political theory” courses, in the Political Science Department at the University of Chicago before he came. Nor does such political philosophy seem destined to be as important in that department, ever more “scientific” in its orientation, once the Straussians now associated with the department retire. A “scientific” orientation was anticipated in the quotation attributed to Lord Kelvin with which the Social Science Research Building (known simply as Social Science) was adorned when it was built in 1929, “When you cannot measure, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.”

Of course, the University at large has long been interested in “the great books.” Leo Strauss entered a community, therefore, which had already begun to be shaped in this respect by distinguished scholars. Some resentment developed in these circumstances, especially since “competitors” could believe that Mr. Strauss was “stealing” some of their best students. The Committee on Social Thought, to which the politically-minded Straussians now on the Chicago campus have almost all retreated, was a reliable source of good students for Mr. Strauss. Eventually, his courses came to be cross-listed for a few years in the University Time Schedules by the Committee on Social Thought, but never by the Philosophy Department or by the Classics Department.

Leo Strauss did have a way of reading that suggested a depth of inquiry that tended to offend some of his brightest and most learned colleagues. He had heard that a professor in the University of Chicago Law School read the Constitution as carefully as Mr. Strauss himself read the best books. It should be noticed that that professor, too, failed to win many enduring converts among his own colleagues. 7

It is curious that someone as congenitally impractical as Leo Strauss could become as influential with practical Americans as he did, teaching them how to be sensible (that is, truly practical) about the institutions, principles, and politics of their country. American studies were not critical to his own interests, as may be seen in the chapters commissioned for the History of Political Philosophy collection. For instance, Mr. Strauss probably knew better and respected more Winston Churchill (both as author and as politician) than he did any American statesman, living or dead.

Although Mr. Strauss did not create an interest in American political things among his students, he could enrich whatever interest students happened to have upon coming to the University. His students’ views of politics were expanded and deepened, even as their tastes were refined. He thus opened them up to the best thinking in the Anglo-American political tradition, even as he reminded them of the Classical roots of that tradition, a tradition which his students could see adapted for modern conditions by artists such as William Shakespeare and John Milton. Taken by Mr. Strauss from Classical teachers such as Plato and Aristotle was the significance of the regime with its grounding in moral and political principles. (This is to look at the community and its institutions “from the top down,” as Abraham Lincoln had done, rather than, as is common in most academic disciplines today, “from the bottom up.”) Related to this empowerment by Mr. Strauss of his students was his ability to encourage them to take religious thought and institutions more seriously than they otherwise might have done, something which remains essential for understanding the work of the greatest American statesmen.

Mr. Strauss’s “political teaching” has been summed up in this way by two younger scholars reviewing his career:

[His] own teaching on politics, in the narrow sense, can best be understood as an attempt to revivify, adapt, and apply, in the dramatically new circumstances of our time, [the] centuries-old Socratic tradition. Having come to maturity in the unfortunate Weimar Republic, and having gratefully found in the United States a refuge and protection against Fascism, Strauss was a firm supporter and friend–but for this very reason, no flatterer–of liberal democracy. 8

Or, as one of “the first generation” has aptly put it, recalling Mr. Strauss’s youthful political Zionist activities in Germany:

[It] would be a mistake to conclude that Strauss cared about the fate of constitutional democracy only to the extent to which it was linked to the fate of philosophy. Like Socrates, he was just in more than one sense. His support of liberal democracy can be compared to his support of political Zionism. No one who knew Strauss ever doubted the depth and genuineness of his concern for Israel. Nor could anyone who knew him think that this concern was based on the belief that the fate of philosophy in some mysterious way depended on the survival of Israel. He thought no such thing. His support of political Zionism was unhesitating even though his approval of it was not unqualified. 9

This and like observations help correct the unfortunate argument, made even by some apparent Straussians, that the moral virtues did not have, for Leo Strauss, any intrinsic worth, whatever he might have personally found it prudent to say repeatedly both on behalf of nature as a guide and against moral relativism, historicism, value-free social science, and the like. 10

The profound effect that Leo Strauss had upon his students is obvious enough, helping them to “grow up.” Far less obvious (and worthy of extended investigation) is the effect his students, and partly through them, the United States had upon him as a scholar. Would not his own studies in philosophy probably have been significantly different if he had not settled in the United States, a country where common sense and hence moderation remain vital to a stable regime? At the very least, he might not have made as much elsewhere of political philosophy as he evidently considered himself obliged to do at Chicago as a member of a political science faculty. Consider, for example, how he opened a course on Plato’s Meno (and on Jacob Klein’s Commentary on that dialogue) in the Spring of 1966 (Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 3:30, in Social Science 305):

This course is devoted to an introduction to political philosophy. . . . I’ll begin at the beginning. What is political philosophy? A very simple reflection suffices to explain what political philosophy means. All political action is concerned with either preservation or change. When it is concerned with change it is concerned with change for the better. When it is concerned with preservation, it is concerned with avoiding something worse [G.A.: and concerned also with enjoying properly and thereby reinforcing something good?]. Therefore all political action presupposes opinions of better and worse. But you cannot have an opinion of better and worse without having an opinion of good or bad. When you see that you follow an opinion, you are by this very fact driven to try to find knowledge, to replace opinion by knowledge. Therefore all political action points by itself toward knowledge of the good. Now the complete political good we call the good society and therefore all political action points to the question of the good society.

Bad enough as such talk of the good (echoing the opening of Aristotle’s Politics , if not also Plato’s Doctrine of the Ideas) may have seemed to the conventional academician, what immediately followed was even worse, commenting as it did upon specific opinions fashionable thirty years ago in the United States:

Today there are quite a few people who are doubtful whether one can speak of the good society because that would imply that there is a common good and for some reason they think there couldn’t be a common good. But quite a few of these people speak, for example, of the great society, which is another form of the good society–only one doesn’t know why great society is preferable to good society . At least it has never been explained to us. Others speak of the open society, which is also a form of the good society–and again we are not told why the open society is a better term than the good society . Be this as it may, one can reject only verbally the quest for the good society. And this is the concern of political philosophy.

This was hardly the kind of talk to be expected from a political scientist –or, for that matter, from the most celebrated scholars in, say, the Classics Department, the History Department, the Law School, the Philosophy Department, or the Sociology Department of the University of Chicago during Mr. Strauss’s two decades there. His credentials as a scholar were further jeopardized by his questioning of such intellectual icons as Max Weber and Hans Kelsen with respect to the “fact-value” problem and related issues.

We can perhaps see even better what Leo Strauss was truly like among us if we speculate further about what he would have been and what he might have done if he had never come to live in this country. Would he, without the Nazi experience, have been more of a “metaphysician” (and hence much more of a Heideggerean and hence also somewhat less outspoken against Nihilism) than we knew him? Is it not likely that if he had remained in Europe–whether in Germany or perhaps in England–his work would have been much more obviously “theoretical” than he ever allowed it to appear at Chicago, with Nietzsche (to whom he had an early attachment) becoming more critical to his thought? It is possible, therefore, that the United States, with its stable and productive liberal democracy, may have helped save Mr. Strauss from the liabilities of European intellectual life in the Twentieth Century. 11

Or, suppose Mr. Strauss had been chosen to fill the post at Hebrew University for which it has been said he was considered in 1933? 12 He might have been obliged, from the outset there, to be concerned more about local politics and policies than he ever had to be in the United States. But could he, a rather timid man physically, have prospered in the war zone that the Middle East became?

And what would have happened there to that fruitful tension seen in his thought between Jerusalem and Athens? Would a Leo Strauss based in the Holy Land have been moved to be more overtly “Jewish”? Would even more have been heard from him about the Bible, Maimonides and the like? Certainly, the students eventually available to him in an independent Israel (or, for that matter, in a healthy Germany) would have been quite different from the students routinely available in Chicago. To Jewish intellectuals in Israel, or to German intellectuals in, say, Freiburg, Leo Strauss’s ideas might have sounded too familiar for them to notice what was truly challenging in what he ventured to say.

Would the suspicions engendered by Straussians, which became familiar at Chicago and elsewhere in American academic life, have been different in Israel–or in Freiburg? Are not these suspicions in part due to how some of Mr. Strauss’s least politic students conducted themselves, coming to seem more of a “cult” than they might have been regarded among either the Israelis or the Germans?

Reservations, if not even outrage, can be heard in this country, from decent academicians, about any scholar who collects “disciples.” Such “possessiveness,” it is said by conscientious academicians, can be quite destructive, especially when it is transmitted to those of the scholar’s students who become teachers in turn. One eminent scholar (who happens to be well-disposed to me personally, however much of a Straussian I may be because of what he calls my “piety towards a teacher whom [he] never admired”) has recently put such reservations thus in a letter to me:

[There was at the University of Chicago] a clique of Straussians who thought they knew a truth that lesser mortals failed to grasp and condescended according. . . . A man who attracts disciples seems to me a bad man–stunting independent growth among his pupils by inviting them to surrender their own judgement to his superior insight. That is a kind of presumption no man has the right to make, according to my lights. Those who do, and the disciples who flock to follow them, are morally and intellectually deficient, unable or unwilling to stand on their own feet, relying on superior authority and all that. [This] is a personality trait that has a wide prevalence in Germany or did have in the 1930s. [It is] related to family patterns, I presume, and also to the historical-social-intellectual traditions of central Europe. Strauss shared this pernicious tradition, and demanded/expected discipleship. A bad man therefore in my book.

Anyone who knew the first Straussians personally, however, should have been able to recognize them to be as high-minded and decent as they were talented and ambitious. This is not to deny that some Straussians failed to appreciate sufficiently, in their youth, the fact that one aspect of true superiority is a willingness, if not even a duty, not to dwell upon (however much one might have to take account of) the limitations of those who happen to be either inadequately trained or less talented. Certainly, condescension is to be avoided, especially by the ambitious. Consider the caution implicit in Mr. Strauss’s observation, “To respect opinions is something entirely different from accepting them as true.” But then, the more Socratic a thinker may be, the more likely it is that an irrepressible Alcibiades will be attached to him here and there. It is not surprising, although not always fair, that the shortcomings, including the presumptuousness, of disciples (especially those with a political bent and a spirited character) should be visited upon their master. Thus, another eminent scholar, who is generally easygoing and tolerant as well as quite learned, has recently been moved to write to me from another school about one of the Straussians, who had been at the University of Chicago, that he was “a divisive figure on campus, and intent on proselytizing young people to his paranoid elitist views.”

But these can be accidental matters and consequences, dependent in part upon the temperament, principles and circumstances of observers. The enduring source of the opposition that Leo Strauss had to contend with, at least in a community in which he seemed to be establishing new modes and orders, was the kind of thinking he personally advocated and exhibited. One is not likely to be cherished, among the recognized elite of the academic profession (or anywhere else?), if one insists (however courteously) upon getting down to those fundamentals of which others may be barely aware. An instructive response to the academic critics of Leo Strauss I have just quoted is supplied us by a sober political scientist who probably learned as much from him as anyone else ever did. He recently recalled that the most important lesson taught by Mr. Strauss came from his repeatedly appearing in front of a class and venturing to minister to his own as well as to his students’ ignorance by asking, “What does this mean?”

The status of Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago these days is such that one rarely hears his “mighty works” referred to outside of a quite limited circle of faculty and students which does find a home (for the time being) in the Committee on Social Thought. Nor is his name officially associated there with a building (or even a room in a building), a professorship, or an award as are the names of scores of other former University of Chicago professors of note.

A dozen of Mr. Strauss’s books are published currently by the University of Chicago Press. But this may reflect more what is happening elsewhere in this country as well as abroad with his reputation than it does any influence he has generally on the Chicago campus these days. This may reflect as well the years of competent service by a devoted Straussian as a member of the faculty governing board of the Press. There sometimes seems to be much more of a Leo Strauss “presence” at Boston College, Claremont-McKenna Men’s College, the University of Dallas, Dominican University, Fordham University, the University of Toronto, and St. John’s College than there is in political science at the University of Chicago at this time.

The more prestigious a university is, the more likely it is that its professors will “have” to be on “the cutting edge” of the recognized disciplines of the day. In political science, we have noticed, the leading lights will be very much occupied with the innovations that dominate “scientific” political science from time to time, a preoccupation from which Mr. Strauss saved his grateful students.

But more important than what he was against was what he was for, and it is this which inspired the better students who happened upon him at the University of Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s. What he was truly for , in the American context, is suggested by the magisterial way he opened his Natural Right and History :

It is proper for more reasons than the most obvious one that I should open this [University of Chicago lecture series] by quoting a passage from the Declaration of Independence. The passage has frequently been quoted, but, by its weight and its elevation, it is made immune to the degrading effects of the excessive familiarity which breeds contempt and of misuse which breeds disgust. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The nation dedicated to this proposition has now become, no doubt partly as a consequence of this dedication, the most powerful and prosperous of the nations of the earth. Does this nation in its maturity still cherish the faith in which it was conceived and raised? Does it still hold those “truths to be self-evident”? [Emphasis added.] 13

The competent authoritativeness of the Strauss mind remained evident to the end. One of my children remarked upon the uncompromising thoroughness with which Leo Strauss, by then quite feeble, would approach a text in his weekly seminar at St. John’s College. He did not make big, spectacular points (I was reminded by this account of what I had myself observed at the University of Chicago a generation earlier) but rather accumulated, as he moved along, a considerable aggregate of many points (any one of which, it sometimes seemed, other scholars might have made). He somehow managed to keep these points in mind, all of them together, as he subjected the text to a deeper and deeper interpretation week after week, as if he could go on forever–which is, it can be said, what his logos is still doing in the University of our hearts.

Preliminary Roster of the Strauss Courses Scheduled

by the Political Science Department,

The University Of Chicago, 1949-1967

This Roster has been culled primarily from the copies of the University of Chicago Time Schedule on file at the University of Chicago in the offices of the Registrar and the Department of Political Science. The term “Preliminary” is used here (1) because some of the entries are changed by hand in one or the other of the sets consulted of the Time Schedules , (2) because only the last name of the instructor is ever listed (and there were others by the name of “Strauss” teaching at the University of Chicago in the Social Sciences Division during the period reviewed), and (3) because there are odd features in some of the entries (such as the quarter of the year or the time of day recorded for the course).

All of the courses, unless otherwise indicated, were scheduled for ninety minutes twice a week. Some courses are said to meet once a week (that is, for ninety minutes). Some of the entries collected below are supplemented by the sometimes unreliable information taken from the “Theory” (and later the “Political Theory”) section of the Political Science Department listing in the annual University of Chicago Announcements . (This supplementary information and its source are provided in brackets.) The Time Schedules , which are issued on a quarterly basis, are more apt to be accurate, recording changes made after the annual Announcements are issued. (After Mr. Strauss’s first half-dozen years at Chicago, the Announcements did not usually mention the quarters in which the courses listed would be given, sometimes making it difficult to determine what substitutions were made. Two Strauss courses which are listed several times in the Announcements never appear as such in the Time Schedules . They are (1) “History of Political Ideas: Its Nature and Function” [1952-1954, 1954-1955, 1955-1956] (2) “Political Philosophy: Its Theme and History” [1964-1965, 1965-1966, 1967-1968].)

The titles of all texts listed in the entries below are italicized in this Roster, however presented in the Time Schedules or in the Announcements . Also, colons have been added to many of the entries (and removed from other entries) as part of my attempt to make the entries uniform in appearance. The cross-listings of the Strauss courses by other University of Chicago academic units, between 1957 and 1960, are noticed in this Roster. Those units were the Committee on Social Thought [S.T.] and the adult education division, known then as University College [U.C.].

The first course offered by Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago seems to have been on Rousseau, with only three students, beginning either in January or March 1949. Both this course and any other offerings in the first half of 1949 may have been settled upon too late for inclusion not only in the annual Announcements but also in the quarterly Time Schedules .

Unedited, and sometimes partial, transcripts began to be made of many of Leo Strauss’s courses in 1953, transcripts which he did not personally review. The existence of a transcript for a course is indicated in this Roster, with the subject of the transcript suggested whenever the course title is not specific enough. I cannot personally vouch for all of the transcripts or transcript-subjects recorded here. But I can affirm that there are many gems in those often ragged transcripts, long-neglected gems illuminating an abundance of authors and issues. (There may be other transcripts not recorded here. Also, the transcript title-page may indicate a different school-term from that which I have usually taken from the Time Schedules . In several instances I have determined the term from remarks recorded in the transcripts. There should turn up from time to time sets of detailed notes by graduate students and others in the Strauss classes, some of which notes may be better in critical respects than the related transcripts. See, for Mr. Strauss’s notes, note 11 (end), below.)

The Autumn Quarter at the University of Chicago begins each academic year in late September or early October the Winter Quarter, in early January the Spring Quarter, in late March or early April the Summer Quarter, in June. The Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters run for eleven weeks each, with the last three weeks devoted to a reading period and examinations. The Summer Quarter is shorter.

This Roster is drawn upon at the end of this Appendix for a listing, in alphabetical order, of most of the authors to which Strauss courses may have been devoted at the University of Chicago.

(or perhaps SPRING QUARTER, 1949)

–Rousseau (not listed in either the Time Schedules or the Announcements)

—History of Political Ideas: Its Nature and Functions [at 8:30-10 MW]

—Seminar in Political Theory [at 8:30-10 TT] [ Announcements : “The Problem of Theory and Practice: Burke”]

—The Roman Idea: Cicero [ Announcements : On Cicero’s Republic and Laws ]

—Plato’s Political Philosophy and Its Metaphysical Foundations

—Hobbes’s The Citizen [ Announcements : “Utopias and Political Science” (on More’s Utopia and Harrington’s Oceana )]

—Seminar in Aristotle’s Politics [ Announcements : “Medieval Political Doctrines” (on Marsilius of Padua’s Defender of the Peace )]

—Basic Problems of Political Philosophy

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Machiavelli’s Discourses

—Principles of Classical Political Philosophy [ Announcements : On the fundamental concepts of Platonic and Aristotelian politics]

–Seminar in Political Philosophy [ Announcements : On Locke’s Civil Government ]

—Classical Natural Right Doctrines [ Announcements : “Seminar on Political Philosophy” (on the Trial of Socrates)]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality

—Plato’s Political Philosophy and Its Metaphysical Foundations

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Edmund Burke’s Political Writings

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Machiavelli’s Discourses

—Basic Problems of Political Philosophy: The Problem of Power [8:30-10 TT]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Nietzsche [9-12 F]

—Seminar in Politics and Policy Formation (with [Charles] Hardin) [Met once a week]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Aristotle’s Politics

—Principles of Classical Political Philosophy

—Seminar in Political Philosophy [Probably on Machiavelli’s The Prince ]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Hobbes’s Leviathan [changed from

“Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws ”] [Transcript available]

—Natural Right [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Laws

—Plato’s Political Philosophy and Its Metaphysical Foundations [Partial transcript available on Plato’s Statesman ]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Rousseau

AUTUMN QUARTER, 1954 [Visit to Europe and Israel]

WINTER QUARTER, 1955 [Visit to Europe and Israel]

SPRING QUARTER, 1955 [Visit to Europe and Israel]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy

—Basic Problems of Political Philosophy [also U.C.]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Historicism and Modern Relativism [Transcript available, primarily on Collingwood and Nietzsche]

SPRING QUARTER, 1956 [Heart Attack, May 1956]

—Seminar in Politics (with [Charles] Hardin) [Met once a week]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Kant

—Seminar: Reading of Aristotle’s Politics [Partial transcript available] [Met once a week]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Hobbes

—Plato’s Political Philosophy and Its Metaphysical Foundations [Transcript available on Plato’s Gorgias ]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Thucydides

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Plato’s Republic [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Aristotle’s Politics [also S.T., U.C.]

—Basic Problems of Political Philosophy [also S.T.] [Cancelled?]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Locke’s Civil Government [Transcript available]

—Basic Problems of Political Philosophy [also S.T.] [ Announcements : “Principles of Classical Political Philosophy”]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Kant [also S.T.] [Transcript available]

—Principles of Classical Political Philosophy [also S.T.]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Hegel’s The Philosophy of History [also S.T.] [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Plato’s Laws [also S.T.] [Transcript available on Plato’s Minos and Laws ]

—Natural Right [also S.T.] [Transcript available on Nietzsche, primarily on Thus Spake Zarathustra ]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Cicero [also S.T.] [Transcript available ]

—Plato: Political Philosophy [also S.T.] [Transcript available on Plato’s Banquet ]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Spinoza [another offering is crossed out] [Transcript available]

—Seminar on the Origins of Political Science [Transcript available on The Problem of Socrates, primarily on Plato’s Apology and Crito and on Aristophanes’ Clouds , Birds , and Wasps ]

—Introduction to Political Philosophy: Study of Aristotle’s Politics [also S.T.]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Karl Marx (with [Joseph] Cropsey) [also S.T.]

AUTUMN QUARTER, 1960 [Visit to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences] [No “Strauss” listing]

WINTER QUARTER, 1961 [Visit to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences] [No “Strauss” listing]

SPRING QUARTER, 1961 [Visit to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences] [No “Strauss” listing]

—[Basic] Principles of Classical [Political] Philosophy [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Plato’s Republic [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Thucydides [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Nietzsche

—Natural Right [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Rousseau [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Xenophon [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Aristotle’s [ Nicomachean ] Ethics [Transcript available]

—Plato: Political Philosophy [Transcript available on Plato’s Gorgias ]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Vico [Transcript available]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Hobbes [Transcript available on Hobbes’s

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Aristotle [Transcript available on Aristotle’s Rhetoric ]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Grotius [Transcript available on Grotius’s

On the Law of War and Peace ]

—Introduction to Political Philosophy [Transcript available, primarily on Aristotle’s Politics, but also on (among others) Comte, Nietzsche, and Weber]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Hegel [Transcript available, primarily on

The Philosophy of History ]

—Plato’s Political Philosophy [Transcript available on Plato’s Protagoras ]

AUTUMN QUARTER, 1965 [Hospitalized with heart trouble, October 8, 1965]

—Principles of Classical Political Philosophy [Cancelled?]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy [Cancelled?]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy: Montesquieu [Transcript available on The Spirit of Laws ]

—Political Philosophy: Plato’s Meno [and Klein’s Commentary ][Transcript available]

—Political Philosophy: Montesquieu [Transcript available on The Spirit of Laws and Persian Letters ]

—Plato’s Political Philosophy [Transcript available, primarily on Plato’s Apology and Crito , but also on Xenophon]

—Seminar in Nietzsche [Transcript available, primarily on Beyond Good and Evil and on The Genealogy of Morals ]

—Kant [Transcript available: The Political Philosophy of Kant]

—Seminar in Political Philosophy [Transcript available on Aristotle’s Politics ].

Most of the authors to whom Strauss courses were, or were intended to be, devoted in whole or in major part at the University of Chicago are collected here. (Even cancelled courses suggest what was being thought about, and when, by Mr. Strauss.) The following entries are taken either from course titles in the Time Schedules and the Announcements (including cancelled courses) or from the transcripts of the courses:

Aristotle (Spring 1950, Winter 1951, Autumn 1952, Spring 1956, Autumn 1957, Spring 1960, Spring 1963, Spring 1964, Winter 1965, Autumn 1967)

Burke (Summer 1949, Winter 1952)

Cicero (Autumn 1949, Spring 1959)

Hegel (Autumn 1958, Winter 1965)

Hobbes (Winter 1950, Autumn 1953, Spring 1956, Winter 1964)

Kant (Spring 1956, Spring 1958, Spring 1967)

Locke (Winter 1951, Winter 1958)

Machiavelli (Autumn 1950, Spring 1952, Spring 1953)

Marsilius of Padua (Spring 1950)

Montesquieu (Winter 1954, Winter 1966, Spring 1966)

Nietzsche (Summer 1952, Winter 1956, Spring 1959, Spring 1962, Winter 1965, Winter 1967)

Plato (Winter 1950, Winter 1951, Spring 1951, Winter 1952, Spring 1954, Winter

1957,Spring 1957, Winter 1959, Autumn 1959, Winter 1960, Autumn 1961, Autumn 1963, Spring 1965, Spring 1966, Autumn 1966)

Rousseau (Winter 1949 (?), Autumn 1951, Spring 1954, Autumn 1962)

Thucydides (Winter 1957, Winter 1962)

Xenophon (Winter 1963, Autumn 1966)

Transcripts are also available for a course given by Leo Strauss at Claremont Men’s College (1968) on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and for courses given by him at St. John’s College (1971-1973) on Nietzsche and on Plato’s Laws . See, for transcripts of some of the lectures given by him at the University of Chicago, note 3, below.

Roster of the Faculty of the Political Science Department,

The University of Chicago, as Recorded in the University of Chicago Announcements , The College and the Divisions ,

Leonard Dupee White, Ph.D., Litt. D., Chairman of the Administrative Committee of the Department of Political Science and Professor of Public Administration

Charles Herman Pritchett, Ph.D., Secretary of the Department of Political Science and Associate Professor of Political Science [became Acting Chairman in 1948-49]

Roy Blough, Ph.D., LL.D., Professor of Economics and of Political Science

Melville C. Branch, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

David Easton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science

Herman Finer, Sc.D., Professor of Political Science

Morton Melvin Grodzins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science

Charles M. Hardin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science

Robert Anderson Horn, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science

Walter Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of American History

Jerome Gregory Kerwin, Ph.D., LL.D., Professor of Political Science

Avery Leiserson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science

Hans J. Morgenthau, J.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

Floyd Wesley Reaves, Ph.D., Professor of Administration

Max Rheinstein, Dir. Utr. Iur., Max Pam Professor of Comparative Law

Clarence E. Ridley, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

Rexford Guy Tugwell, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Director of the Program of Education and Research in Planning

Quincy Wright, Ph.D., LL.D., Professor of International Law

Charles Edward Merriam, Ph.D., LL.D., Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Political Science.

An Instructor, six Lecturers, a Research Associate, and two Visiting Professors are not included in this Roster. Typically, the tenured ranks at the University of Chicago are those of Professor and Associate Professor.

Roster of the Faculty of the Political Science Department,

The University of Chicago, as Recorded in the University of Chicago Announcements , The College and the Divisions ,

Leonard Binder, Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Political Science and Professor of Political Science

Jeremy R. Azrael, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

Joseph Cropsey, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

David Easton, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science

Richard E. Flathman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science and of the Social Sciences in the College

J. David Greenstone, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science

Morton A. Kaplan, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science

Nathan Leites, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science

Theodore J. Lowi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

Duncan MacRae, Jr., Ph.D., Professor of Political Science

John Dickinson May, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science and of the Social Sciences in the College

Grant McConnell, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science [became Chairman in 1967-68]

Hans J. Morgenthau, J.D., LL.D., Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and of Modern History

Paul E. Peterson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science and of Education

Kenneth Prewitt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science and of the Social Sciences in the College

C. Herman Pritchett, Ph.D., Litt. D., Professor of Political Science

Lloyd I. Rudolph, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

Herbert J. Storing, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science

Leo Strauss, Ph.D., LL.D., Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science

Tang Tsou, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science

George E. Von der Muhll, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science and of the Social Sciences in the College

Albert Wohlstetter, Ph.D., University Professor in Political Science

Aristide Zolberg, Associate Professor of Political Science

Herman Finer, Sc.D., Professor Emeritus of Political Science

Jerome Gregory Kerwin, Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D., Professor Emeritus of Political Science

Rexford Guy Tugwell, Ph.D., Litt.D., Professor Emeritus of Political Science

Quincy Wright, Ph.D., LL.D., Professor Emeritus of International Law.

Two Lecturers and a Research Associate are not included in this Roster. Typically, the tenured ranks at the University of Chicago are those of Professor and Associate Professor.

1.I have discussed, in the following places [as of 1999], Leo Strauss, American political science, the University of Chicago, and Straussians: (i) The Artist as Thinker: From Shakespeare to Joyce (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1983), pp. 250-72, 474-85, 497 (ii) Human Being and Citizen: Essays on Virtue, Freedom, and the Common Good (Chicago: Swallow Press, 1975), pp. 8f, 61f, 159, 331 (iii) “Jacob Klein of St. John’s College,” The Newsletter , Politics Department, The University of Dallas, Spring 1979, pp. 1-8 (iv) “To My Fellow Straussians,” remarks in 1983 at the American Political Science Association annual convention (incorporated in Item viii, below, pp. 361-63) (v) Robert L. Stone, ed., Essays on “The Closing of the American Mind” (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1989), pp. 225-34, 267-84 (vi) “Shadia Drury on ‘Leo Strauss,’” 1 The Vital Nexus 9-15 (Halifax, 1990) (see note 13, below) (vii) The American Moralist: On Law, Ethics, and Government (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1992), pp. 139-60, 622 (viii) five essays in Harry V. Jaffa, ed., Original Intent and the Framers of the Constitution (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1994), pp 167-234, 359-68 (ix) “Law & Politics,” 25 Political Science Reviewer 127-50 (1996) (x) “First Impressions,” 26 Political Science Reviewer 248-57 (1997) (xi) “‘Racism,’ Political Correctness, and Constitutional Law,” 42 South Dakota Law Review 108f (1997) (xii) “The University of Chicago,” Academic Questions , Spring 1998, pp. 74-77 (xiii) “‘McCarthyism,’ The Cold War, and Their Aftermath,” 43 South Dakota Law Review 103, 111-13, 156-71 (1998) (xiv) “Leo Strauss and Judaism,” 1998 Great Ideas Today 457 (1998) (also appended, in an expanded version, to Item xvi of this note) (xv) “Samplings,” 27 Political Science Reviewer 345, 373f, 416f (1998) (xvi) “Law & Literature and the Bible: Explorations,” 23 Oklahoma City University Law Review , Appendices B, D, F, G, and J (1998) [also available in The Bible: Respectful Readings (Lexington Books, 2008)] (xvii) The Thinker as Artist: From Homer to Plato & Aristotle (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997), pp. 182f, 303f, 402. See, also, notes 7, 10, 11, and 13, below. See, as well, www.anastaplo.wordpress.com (where there may be found, as well, Anastaplo, “Harry Victor Jaffa, Leo Strauss’s Bulldog.”).

2. These courses, after the early years which had seen him hold forth in Classics, in Rosenwald, in Social Science, in Swift, and even in the Law School, usually met in Social Science 105, 302, or 305. Mr. Strauss reported, on January 6, 1964, that he had theretofore “devoted each seminar to a single text, and to each text in its entirety.” Half of the Strauss courses in the Time Schedules are identified as “seminars.”

Leo Strauss was originally identified in the University of Chicago Directory (and in the Announcements ) as Professor of Political Philosophy (for a few years), then as Professor in the Department of Political Science, then as Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Political Science, and finally as Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science. By the time he left Chicago he had been awarded honorary degrees by Dropsie College, Hamburg University, St. John’s University, and Union College. C. Herman Pritchett was the chairman of the department during most of Mr. Strauss’s service, with his chairmanship interrupted by that of Morton M. Grodzins for a few years. (Thus, his principal department chairmen were primarily interested in American studies.)

Mr. and Mrs. Strauss’s principal Chicago residences were at 1209 East 60th Street (for about six years) and then at 6019 South Ingleside (for about twelve years). The office he settled into for his last decade at the University was Social Science 309, a fact that the current occupant of this office (who is not a political scientist) was unaware of when recently asked. (The Political Science Department is now in the Albert Pick Hall for International Studies.)

3. See Anastaplo, The Artist as Thinker , pp. 259-62. A number of Mr. Strauss’s Chicago students inaugurated their teaching careers by serving downtown in the University’s Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults. See ibid ., pp. 284-300 (including the Basic Program reading list). See, also, Anastaplo, “‘McCarthyism,’ The Cold War, and Their Aftermath,” pp. 163-71. Graduate students who undertake to teach adults are likely to appreciate the importance of both common sense and the surfaces of texts. It is difficult to develop and sustain something like the Basic Program in this country at this time unless the intellectual resources and traditions of an institution such as the University of Chicago can be routinely drawn upon.

Leo Strauss’s mild yet firm manner is reflected in the “concluding remark” of his 1953 Charles R. Walgreen Foundation Lectures on Machiavelli at the University of Chicago:

It was inevitable that I should have hurt the feelings of some of you, partly by expounding without any reserve certain shocking thoughts of Machiavelli, but partly also by expressing certain views of my own, which could not well be to everyone’s taste.

As for the former offense, I plead not guilty–not guilty even of bad company or bad association. We would make impossible freedom of historical inquiry if the historian were not permitted to set forth as clearly and thoughtfully as he can what he is certain was the view of the thinker he is studying. In addition, there are certain prodigious errors which, if arrived at and stated in a certain manner, are so far from lacking greatness that they illumine most impressively if unintentionally the greatness of the giver of all greatness.

As for my own offense, I can only say that I have the earnest desire to live in peace, and therefore to agree with the opinions of my fellow men. Through no fault of my own, my fellow men do not agree with each other. I was therefore forced to make a choice, or to take a stand. Once having been forced to do so, it would have been dishonorable, I thought, to becloud the issue or to beat around the bush. So I ask you not to take ill what to the best of my knowledge was not ill meant. Thank you.

(I have made adjustments in the paragraphing and punctuation of this passage taken from the unpublished transcript of Mr. Strauss’s four Walgreen Lectures on Machiavelli. Six Walgreen Lectures on Natural Right and History had been delivered by him at the University of Chicago in 1949.) See, on Machiavelli and the American regime, note 11, below.

In addition to his 1967 farewell lecture, “The Socratic Question” (at which I introduced him), Mr. Strauss gave at least four other talks for the Basic Program: [i] “On the Interpretation of Genesis ” (January 25, 1957) (published in L’Homme , vol. 21, no. 1 [January-March 1981], pp. 5-20 also in Kenneth Hart Green, ed., Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity [Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997], pp. 359-76) [ii] “What Is Liberal Education?” (June 6, 1959) (a graduation address, published in Leo Strauss, Liberalism Ancient and Modern [New York: Basic Books, 1968], pp. 3-8) [iii] “Plato’s Republic ” (December 1959) (transcript available) [iv] “Hobbes’s Leviathan ” (April 17, 1962) (transcript available). Mr. Strauss also gave a talk at the funeral of a Basic Program instructor, Jason Aronson (December 6, 1961) (published in Anastaplo, The Artist as Thinker , pp. 270-71 also in Green, ed., Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity , pp. 475-76). See note 12, below.

Mr. Strauss was obliged to retire at the University of Chicago in 1967. Sixty-five was the critical age then, with a likelihood or least the prospect of annual extensions for two or three years before retirement became “mandatory.” The University of that day had means, however, for encouraging faculty members regarded by the authorities as truly distinguished to continue to serve the institution well into their seventies, if not even into their eighties. I do not believe that these means were ever attempted to be used in Mr. Strauss’s case.

4. Of the three dozen contributors to the History of Political Philosophy , edited by Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey and first published by the Rand McNally Company in 1963, about two-thirds of them had studied at the University of Chicago. (I myself probably should have accepted the invitation to contribute to the History a chapter on Thomas Jefferson, especially if I could have added to it some thoughts on what Abraham Lincoln was able to do with the Declaration of Independence, culminating in the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. See Anastaplo, Abraham Lincoln: A Constitutional Biography [preferred title: Thoughts on Abraham Lincoln: A Discourse on Prudence ] (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), chaps. 1, 2, 14, 15.) [A sequel volume has been prepared by me: Further Thoughts on Abraham Lincoln: A Discourse on Chance and the Good . See, also, note 11, below.] Of the fifteen contributors to the Leo Strauss Festschrift, Ancients and Moderns (edited by Joseph Cropsey and published by Basic Books in 1964), half of us had studied at Chicago. See, also, Herbert J. Storing, ed., Essays on the Scientific Study of Politics (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1962). Critical to the development reflected in these three collections (of 1962, 1963, and 1964) is what has been called, with some plausibility, Leo Strauss’s “almost single-handed recovery of classical political philosophy.” His influence here can be said to be reflected in the American Political Science Association’s “Leo Strauss Award,” “for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of political philosophy.”

5. I say “no longer” because many of the Strauss students, in his early days at Chicago, were Second World War veterans who had already settled into family lives of their own. All this is aside from the cultic implications of the esotericism issue developed by Mr. Strauss, an issue easily made too much of by some Straussians and made even more of by their critics. See, e.g., Plato, Republic 414D Plutarch, The Oracles at Delphi No Longer Given in Verse 407C sq. (Loeb Classical Library edition, pp. 329f) Victor Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years 1933-1941 (New York: Random House, 1998), p. 12 (“No one dares write a letter, no one dares make a telephone call, we visit one another and weigh up our chances. . . . Newspapers are read differently now . . . Between the lines. Art of the eighteenth century, the art of reading and writing awakens again.”). See, also, note 13, below. Conjectures about esotericism are sometimes used to present the mature Strauss as much more of a Nietzschean than he was. See, e.g., Laurence Lampert, Leo Strauss and Nietzsche (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). See, also, note 9, below.

See, on Leo Strauss and the erotic, Anastaplo, The Artist as Thinker , pp. 266-67. Some eminent scholars talked much more about the erotic experiences of the soul than Mr. Strauss ever did, but he managed, more than they could, actually to arouse eros , a real affection in students, without doing anything but read texts with them.

There were no women on the teaching faculty of the University of Chicago Political Science Department either when Mr. Strauss joined at in 1949 or when he left it in 1967. There are a few on that faculty today. See Appendices B and C of this article. See, on Mr. Strauss’s male “puppies,” note 6, below.

6. See The University of Chicago, Honorary Degrees, 1891-1967 (1967) Edward Shils, ed., Remembering the University of Chicago: Teachers, Scientists, and Scholars (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991). (The Shils chapter on Robert Maynard Hutchins in this Remembering collection describes, at page 192, the hiring of Leo Strauss by the University of Chicago.) See, for Edward G. Banfield on Leo Strauss, ibid ., pp. 490-501. (The Banfield chapter includes, at p. 498, the report, “There were no women among the [Strauss] ‘puppies.’” Later on, a few women were recognized.) See, on various of Mr. Strauss’s Chicago predecessors in political science and related disciplines, ibid ., pp. 244-52 (Frank H. Knight), 276-86 (Harold D. Lasswell), 338-50 (Charles Edward Merriam), 383-96 (Robert E. Park), 413-29 (Robert Redfield), 558-67 (Quincy Wright). See, also, S. J. D. Green, “The Tawney-Strauss Connection: On Historicism and Values in the History of Political Ideas,” 67 Journal of Modern History 255 (1995).

The Chicago School in political science was, well before Leo Strauss’s two decades of service at the University of Chicago, influential nationwide:

There was the Chicago blip in the interwar decades (1921-1940), introducing empirical research programs, emphasizing psychological and sociological interpretations of politics, and demonstrating the value of quantification.

Gabriel A. Almond, “Political Science: The History of the Discipline,” in Robert E. Goodin and Hans-Dieter Klingeman, eds., The New Handbook of Political Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 50. The Hutchins Administration at the University of Chicago is said to have “attacked the value of empirical research in the social sciences,” because of which (it is also said) various prominent professors (such as George Herbert Mead, Harold Laswell, and Harold Gosnell) left the University. Ibid ., p. 68. See, for Mr. Hutchin’s unpredictability as an administrator (however good his intentions may have always been), Anastaplo, “Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment,” 21 Texas Tech Law Review 1941, 2033f (1990).

7. See Anastaplo, “Mr. Crosskey, the American Constitution, and the Natures of Things,” 15 Loyola University of Chicago Law Journal 181-260 (1984). See, also, Anastaplo, The Constitution of 1787: A Commentary (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), pp. ix, x, 333, 338 The Amendments to the Constitution: A Commentary (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), pp. ix, 457, 464 “Bar Examination Put Under Microscope,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin , November 6, 1998, November 25, 1998, p. 5.

Perhaps the most (if not the only) eminent “convert,” among established political scientists in this country, to the Straussian persuasion was Willmoore Kendall. See, e.g., the review of Leo Strauss’s Thoughts on Machiavelli , in Willmoore Kendall Contra Mundum , ed. Nellie D. Kendall (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1971), pp. 449-56. See, also, Kendall, Book Review, 61 American Political Science Review 793 (1967) Willmoore Kendall: Maverick of American Conservatives, ed. John E. Alvis and John A. Murley (including the Kendall-Strauss correspondence) (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2002). See, as well, Green, “The Tawney-Strauss Connection,” pp. 264f.

See, for suggestions about how a first-class academic department can be built around prominent scholars, Marshall Stone, “Reminiscences of Mathematics at Chicago,” in Shils, ed., Remembering the University of Chicago , pp. 483-89. Compare Banfield, “Leo Strauss,” in ibid ., p. 497: “That he lived in an intellectual world that was foreign to most of his colleagues, a world that it was pointless for them to visit as tourists, meant that Strauss had remarkably little contact with other teachers at the University of Chicago.” See, also, note 13, below. Among the senior Chicago faculty with whom Mr. Strauss did have considerable contact were Ludwig Bachhofer, Peter H. von Blanckenhagen, Morton M. Grodzins, Charles M. Hardin, Jerome G. Kerwin, and C. Herman Pritchett. He was somewhat familiar as well with, among others, Herman Finer, David Grene, Friedrich A. von Hayek, Christian W. Mackauer, Edward Shils, and Yves R. Simon.

Naturally, Leo Strauss’s most intense social life was always with those who were most sympathetic to his thought–and, on the University of Chicago campus, that usually meant his graduate students and those former students of his who were on the Chicago faculty. See Xenophon, Memorabilia , I, vi, 14.

8. Nathan Tarcov and Thomas L. Pangle, “Epilogue: Leo Strauss and the History of Political Philosophy,” in Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy , Third Edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 927. Perhaps more should have been said in that “Epilogue” about Mr. Strauss’s remarkable Medieval studies. This 1987 “Epilogue” could well be supplemented by more of what Harry Jaffa has had to say about Mr. Strauss, the United States, and the Classics, such as the observation that he “thought that American politics, at its best, showed a practical wisdom that owed much to a tradition older than Locke.” Jaffa, The Conditions of Freedom (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), p. 7. See, also, ibid ., pp. 9f. Compare Tarcov and Pangle, “Epilogue,” pp. 916f, 928f. Compare, also, Leo Paul S. de Alvarez, ed., Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, and American Constitutionalism (Irving, Texas: University of Dallas Press, 1976), pp. 165-68.

9. Hilail Gildin, “Leo Strauss and the Crisis of Liberal Democracy,” in Kenneth L. Deutsch and Walter Soffer, eds., The Crisis of Liberal Democracy: A Straussian Perspective (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987), pp. 92-93. See, also, ibid ., p. 100. See, as well, Anastaplo, The Artist as Thinker , p. 457 n. 283 note 11, below. Mr. Gildin has been primarily responsible, for decades now, for the publication of an invaluable journal, Interpretation .

Mr. Strauss’s ability to come up with the apt qualification could be seen in an exchange he had, about a quarter of a century ago, with Raymond Aron, during a University of Chicago seminar (in Social Science 302 [now known as the Edward Shils Seminar Room]). The exchange went something like this: M. Aron had occasion to report that Charles de Gaulle spoke at times of the State as a cold monster, imitating Nietzsche in this respect. But, Mr. Strauss responded, Nietzsche despised the State, while de Gaulle tries to pet it. What made this exchange particularly memorable for me was Mr. Strauss’s reaching out to pet de Gaulle’s State in such a way as to conjure up the image of a dog having his head patted. Everyone present, including M. Aron, was delighted by the wonderful gesture. And M. Aron, upon his return home, related the episode around Paris. See, on Mr. Strauss and Nietzsche, note 3, above.

10. See, on intellectuals and morality, Anastaplo, “Lessons for the Student of Law: The Oklahoma Lectures,” 20 Oklahoma City University Law Review 17, 179-87 (1996) “Natural Law or Natural Right?” 38 Loyola of New Orleans Law Review 915 (1993) “Teaching, Nature, and the Moral Virtues,” 1997 Great Ideas Today 2, 23f (1997). See, also, Banfield, “Leo Strauss,” pp. 495 (para. 2), 496 (para. 1). See, as well, Anastaplo, “On Freedom: Explorations,” 17 Oklahoma City University Law Review 467, 666-707 (1992) The American Moralist , pp. 20-32, 125-38, 185-98, 327-37, 341-48, 407-21 Campus Hate-Speech Codes , Natural Right, and Twentieth Century Atrocities (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1999), pp. 127f.

The argument sometimes made on behalf of “philosophy”– that morality is not grounded in nature and hence is not choiceworthy for its own sake but is only “instrumental” –can be understood as a sophisticated form of Hobbesianism conjured up by would-be realists. I, partly on the basis of having seen Leo Strauss “in action” on a number of occasions, continue to believe that there was for him a basis in nature for the moral virtues. (One practical consequence of his genuine regard for morality was his alliance, in effect, with American Roman Catholics with respect to moral concerns. See, e.g., “Was Leo Strauss a Secret Enemy of Morality?” in Ernest L. Fortin, Classical Christianity and the Political Order [Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996], pp. 317-27. See, as well, ibid ., pp. 329-36 Anastaplo “On How Eric Voegelin Has Read Plato and Aristotle,” Independent Journal of Philosophy , vol. 5/6, pp. 85-91 [1988].) Special emphasis should perhaps be placed here upon prudence, the virtue that may be most susceptible to the guidance of political philosophy. See, on having to know what a literary character should have done in order truly to see what he has done, Anastaplo, The Artist as Thinker , pp. 7f.

Mr. Strauss’s openness to the virtue of prudence followed naturally, it could be said, upon the congenital physical wariness he exhibited. A testimonial to this wariness, it could also be said, was the copy he had on his office wall of Albrecht Dürer’s famous watercolor, Junger Feldhase ( A Young Hare , 1502). (This framed copy has been inherited by Joseph Cropsey.) Mr. Strauss, in referring to this picture, could speak of “nature, nature.” Even more telling perhaps (if not disquieting for some) was that he particularly liked the picture because, he said, the hare sleeps with its eyes open. (Whether it really sleeps thus may be questioned.) One critic’s description of this picture suggests what there is in it that Mr. Strauss may have instinctively responded to: “The hare, fearful, has cowered down, carefully testing the surroundings, ready to spring up and flee.” Peter Strieder, ed., Albrecht Dürer: Paintings, Prints, Drawings (New York: Abaris Books, 1982), p. 203. And yet, it should be added, however fearful Mr. Strauss could at times be (something which may have helped him understand Thomas Hobbes), he soon came to have somehow for me the “look” of Socrates, who was (however wary) anything but fearful at heart. See, on Leo Strauss’s shunning of the dishonorable, note 3, above. See, also, Anastaplo, The Artist as Thinker , p. 260 (“He reminds me of a con about to make a break.”).

11. These liabilities are evident in the Jacques Derrida vogue, a remarkable exercise in elegant obfuscation, of which much can be made on the University of Chicago campus these days. These liabilities are evident as well in the obtuseness exhibited by Martin Heidegger, to the very end of his life, about the American regime, especially when compared to the Soviet regime. See, Anastaplo, The American Moralist , p. 161. See, for a refreshing contrast to the Heidegger approach in comparing regimes, Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli (Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press, 1958), pp. 13-14:

While freedom is no longer a preserve of the United States, the United States is now the bulwark of freedom. And contemporary tyranny has its roots in Machiavelli’s thought, in the Machiavellian principle that the good end justifies every means. At least to the extent that the American reality is inseparable from the American aspiration, one cannot understand Americanism without understanding Machiavellianism which is its opposite.

See, also, the text at note 9, above. See, as well, note 3, above. [I have suggested that Martin Heidegger can be regarded as “the Macbeth of Philosophy.” See Anastaplo, The Artist as Thinker: From Shakespeare to Joyce (Swallow Press, 1983), p. 269. See, also, Anastaplo, The Constitutionalist: Notes on the First Amendment (Southern Methodist University Press, 1971 Lexington Books, 2005), p. 269. See, on the Shoah (or Holocaust), the first three conversations taken from George Anastaplo, ed., Simply Unbelievable: Conversations with a Holocaust Survivor that may be found in (1) Anastaplo, Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution (University Press of Kentucky, 2009), pp. 251-78 (2) Anastaplo, The Christian Heritage: Problems and Prospects (Lexington Books 2010), pp. 257-300 (3) Anastaplo, “Abraham Lincoln, Lawyers, and the Civil War: Bicentennial Explorations,” 35 Oklahoma City Law Review 1, 85-110.]

Another vogue at the University of Chicago turned around the personality and work of Hannah Arendt. It is perhaps indicative of Mr. Strauss’s waning influence at Chicago toward the end of his service in the Political Science Department that one of her courses should have been listed by his department in both the 1966-1967 and the 1967-1968 Announcements . This course, “A Reconsideration of Basic Moral Propositions from Socrates to Nietzsche,” was also listed by the Committee on Social Thought and (something that never happened to Mr. Strauss) by the Philosophy Department.

Of course, the metaphysical interests of Leo Strauss are evident both in his publications and in his course transcripts. His only explicitly “metaphysical” course offering at Chicago, where he took seriously his being based in a political science department, was an informal reading with a group of us at night of Hegel’s Logic . This was, I believe, during the Winter of 1957-1958. (Also, he had a longstanding interest in Pierre Bayle which he did not publicize. See, on Pierre Bayle, Anastaplo, The Christian Heritage: Problems and Prospects (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2010), pp. 351-55. See, on Hannah Arendt, ibid ., p. 369.

The thought of Leo Strauss in the United States has recently been accounted for in this way by a distinguished political scientist at Stanford University:

The Straussian version of the history of political science harkens back to the German intellectual polemics of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a young German Ph.D. in the immediate post-World War I years, Leo Strauss shared in the general admiration of Max Weber for “his intransigent devotion to intellectual honesty . . . his passionate devotion to the idea of science. . .” [Citing Strauss, The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism (1989), p. 27.] On his way north from Freiburg where he had heard the lectures of [Martin] Heidegger in 1922, Strauss describes himself as having experienced a Damascan disillusionment with Weber and a conversion to Heideggerean existentialism. Strauss’s mode of coping with the pessimism of the Heidegger view of the nature of “being” was through an affirmative political philosophy, seeking the just society and polity through the recovery of the great exemplars of the canon of political philosophy, through dialogue and deliberation, and through the education of a civic elite.

Almond, “Political Science,” p. 79. See, also, note 13, below. This Stanford (originally University of Chicago) political scientist then said,

According to Strauss, Weber was the problematic intellectual figure who legitimated modern positivistic social science, its separation of fact and value, its “ethical neutrality,” its effort to become “value free.” Strauss attributes to Max Weber the belief that all value conflicts are unsolvable. [Citing Strauss, What Is Political Philosophy ? (1959), p. 21f.]

Ibid ., p. 79. The Strauss position is criticized by Mr. Almond, who calls the description of “the Weberian fact-value formulation” a “Straussian caricature.” Ibid ., p. 81.

To what extent did the Nazi atrocities help expose what was dubious about the Nietzschean persuasion, just as the Stalinist terror (and thereafter the massive Chinese repression and the Pol Pot madness) helped expose what was dubious about the Marxist persuasion? [See Anastaplo, “What the United States Can Learn from China and Greece,” www.anastaplo.wordpress.com] What was the pre-Second World War status of political science as a discipline in German universities? And how was “political theory” regarded in those days? Consider, in this context, Leo Strauss’s response in 1932 to the work of Carl Schmitt. Consider, also, an observation about Leo Strauss made by R. H. Tawney, in 1942, that “‘America,’ it seems, had made ‘a new man of him,’ transforming an intellect of delicate perfection into a personality ‘tough enough’ to be ‘a successful professor.’” Green, “The Tawney-Strauss Connection,” p. 264. See, also, “[Hans Georg] Gadamer on [Leo] Strauss: An Interview,” in Ernest L. Fortin, Human Rights, Virtue, and the Common Good (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996), pp. 175-89. [See, as well, Anastaplo, “Constitutionalism and the Good: Explorations,” 70 Tennessee Law Review 737, 783-801 (2003).]

Hilail Gildin (see note 9, above) has authorized me to quote here from his letter to me of January 13, 1999 in which he comments in an instructive fashion on several points made by me in this article:

I am glad your article will be one of those which introduce the Deutsch-Murley volume. What you write brings Strauss to life as a human being much as your [1974] Yahrzeit piece did . . . . [See Item i in note 1, above.]

In early 1941 Strauss gave a lecture called “German Nihilism” in the General Seminar of the Graduate Faculty of the New School. It will soon appear in Interpretation . . . The observations he makes about England on the last two pages will interest you . . . Strauss found in England the very things that you suggest, in Section V [of your article], that America may have taught him. He also saw some things that are not as readily visible here. If he could have, he would have remained in England. I don’t begrudge him that. This is not to deny that he was grateful to America for taking him in and for what he was able to do here. He also enjoyed the much easier relations between professor and student that he found in the United States.

As for your remark regarding what might have become of him had he remained in Germany, Strauss says in the 1964 Preface to the German edition of his Hobbes book that the theologico-political problem remained the theme of his investigations from the time of his Spinoza book. In the first paragraph of the later Preface to his Spinoza book, he speaks of finding himself in the grip of the theologico-political predicament as a young man. [Jacob] Klein’s characterization of him in the memorial meeting at St. John’s [College] is not in conflict with Strauss’s self-description (“His main interest throughout his life is the way man has to live here on earth.”) Strauss was, to be sure, forever mindful of the ultimate presuppositions of what he was saying, as he makes clear in the final paragraph of his Restatement on Xenophon’s Hiero . Had he remained in Germany I don’t think he would have been either more or less theoretical or metaphysical than he in fact was, though I am sure there would have been differences of all kinds.

The mere fact that, as his students, we rejected the fact/value distinction and historicism was enough to make people believe that we were brainwashed members of a fringe sect. Of course we did not think that we were the ones who were brainwashed. The [first] letter-writer you quote [in Section VI of your article] doesn’t realize that being taught to take Socrates seriously as a philosopher is the very opposite of being brainwashed.

I do find Mr. Gildin’s letter most instructive, however different our interpretations may seem to be of some of the evidence noticed by him. As for “the ultimate presuppositions of what he was saying”: there are, in the Leo Strauss Archives in the University of Chicago Library’s Special Collections, sets of sometimes detailed notes made by Mr. Strauss upon reading texts, upon preparing lectures, and perhaps upon giving courses. Some of these notes, which should illuminate his “presuppositions,” precede his Chicago years. See, for a conversation Eva Brann and I have had about relations between Leo Strauss and Jacob Klein, Anastaplo. The Christian Heritage , pp. 361-70.

12. See Yosef Goell and Jon Immanuel, “Slayer of Sacred Cows,” Jerusalem Post , June 7, 1990. See, on Leo Strauss and Judaism, Ralph Lerner, “Leo Strauss (1899-1973),” American Jewish Year Book , p. 92 (1976) Green, ed., Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity Anastaplo, The Artist as Thinker , pp. 254, 268-71, 475 n. 285. “Being Jewish was a central fact of life for Strauss. He once confided that he could never feel completely comfortable with a non-Jew.” Banfield, “Leo Strauss,” p. 493. Even so, the memorial service conducted for Mr. Strauss at the University of Chicago was in a modest lecture hall on campus, not at the local Hillel House (where he had had a fruitful association with Rabbi Maurice Pekarsky and Rabbi Richard Winograd and had lectured on several occasions) or at any of the Jewish places of worship in the neighborhood.

My own assessment of Leo Strauss’s Jewishness has been described in this fashion by a Jewish scholar (Green, ed., Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity , p. 476):

As a non-Jew and a careful observer, Anastaplo in his article [in The Artist as Thinker , pp. 250-72, 474-85] keenly appreciates what he regards as the twofold beneficial influence which Judaism exercised on Strauss, and through him on his students both Jewish and non-Jewish. First, it somehow helped make Strauss, as both a thinker and a careful reader, receptive to the premodern idea of philosophy and resistant to certain modern ideas. Second, it overflowed through him as a Jewish thinker and scholar so as to leave a deep and vivifying impression on those who encountered him, through his intellectual seriousness about Judaism, and through his human example of devotion to Judaism.

See, for my review of Mr. Green’s useful book, Items xiv and xvi in note 1, above.

13. Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), p. 1. Jenny Strauss-Clay found herself obliged to recall this passage for the benefit of troubled critics who have condemned her father as an enemy of democracy, etc. See “Revisiting Leo Strauss,” New York Times , Sept. 1, 1996, sec. 7, p. 4. [See, also, John A. Murley, ed., Leo Strauss and his Legacy (Lexington Books, 2005), p. 854, for a 1961 letter by Leo Strauss in support of a student of his who had refused to give in to “loyalty-oath” demands.] Compare, e.g., Brent Staples, “Undemocratic Vistas,” New York Times , Nov. 28, 1994, sec. A, p. 16. See, also, Laurence Berns, “Correcting the Record on Leo Strauss,” 28 PS: Political Science and Politics 659-60 (1995) Anastaplo, “Lessons for the Student of Law,” p. 65, n. 134. See, for what I have considered salutary for students of liberal democracy to notice about the high and the low in the work of Leo Strauss, Anastaplo, Liberty, Equality & Modern Constituionalism (Newburyport, Mass.: Focus Publishing, 1999), Volume One, Section IV.3.

Distortions with respect to the thought of Leo Strauss are, unfortunately, not confined to newspapers. Consider, for example, the Strauss entry in the recently-issued Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy which asks readers to believe, “[Strauss] thought that in the Republic Thrasymachus, not Socrates, was Plato’s true spokesman” (citing, for some reason, Strauss, The City and Man [1964, 1977], p. 77). This careless encyclopedia entry concludes with this judgment:

Some find Strauss’ elitism disconcerting. An elite that is radical, secretive and duplicitous, an elite that exempts itself from the moral principles it deems applicable to the rest of humanity, cannot be trusted with political power.

The author of this entry, if not also the encyclopedia editors, should simply have known better. See, e.g., Item vi in note 1, above. See, also, note 5, above. See, as well, note 11, above.

The responses to be made to the various critics of Leo Strauss I have noticed in this article could include and develop such sentiments as are included in a letter of mine (of August 24, 1976) to an eminent professor at an Eastern university:

. . . I do not believe you appreciate how special Mr. Strauss was. I suppose I sat in on more classes of his than anyone else–simply because I have been here at the University [of Chicago] since the Second World War and have not been much concerned about “keeping up appearances” in these matters–and I saw, year in and year out, a remarkable mind at work, a mind head and shoulders above the others around the University whom I had contact with and who were themselves widely acclaimed. . . .

No doubt there is the talk you report at the end of your commentary about the [offensive] response of [the students of] “Straussian professors” to “non-Straussian professors.” I say “no doubt” because I realize that you must have come across such talk. But the phenomena you describe there have not come to my personal attention, at least not in the extreme form you report. . . .

No doubt, also, there are at times signs of what you call an “arrogant orthodoxy”– and yet the remarkableness of Mr. Strauss, even more remarkable than you acknowledge, is (it seems to me) a fact apparent to any sensitive, intelligent person privileged really to have known him. I can understand, I repeat, why you respond as you do to what you have encountered–but I should add, a good deal of what you find offensive comes from people who, all too often and not without some basis, consider themselves very much on the defensive.

I appreciate very much your characterization of my [1974] article on Mr. Strauss as “the most detached and yet sympathetic portrait [you’ve] seen so far.” The article [which has been reprinted as the Epilogue in The Artist as Thinker ] was intended to help people not already “captured” by Mr. Strauss to see him somewhat more clearly than he might otherwise be seen as a result of partisan maneuverings. That I can appreciate your response to certain manifestations of [Straussian] orthodoxy is due to such experiences of my own as the pained silence which has greeted my article on Mr. Strauss–that is, the pained silence exhibited by those who consider themselves the inner circle (or perhaps more precisely, who are thus considered by many).

This is not a proper reply or comment upon your commentary. But it is, I hope, a useful caution. . . .

It is a mistake, in any event, to regard Leo Strauss as ordinary in his political opinions, whether or not “orthodox.” See, e.g., Anastaplo, The Artist as Thinker , pp. 474-75, n. 282 Items iv and vi in note 1, above. See, also, the text at note 7 of John A. Murley, “ In re George Anastaplo,” in this Deutsch-Murley collection. It is unlikely that Mr. Strauss (whatever sympathies he might have had in Germany for decidedly conservative causes in the late 1920s or early 1930s) would have endorsed the recent “conservative” assault upon evolutionary biology, just as he had reservations about a free-market economy. See, e.g., Ronald Bailey, “Origin of the Specious: Why Do Neoconservatives Doubt Darwin?” Reason Magazine , July 1997. Consider, on the lessons to be learned from nature and modern science, the work of such second-generation Straussians as John E. Alvis, Larry Arnhart, Christopher A. Colmo, J. Harvey Lomax, Leonard R. Sorenson, Jules Gleicher, and Stephen Vanderslice. Consider, also, Mr. Strauss’s 1956 identification, not altogether in jest, of Alexandre Kojève, Jacob Klein, and himself as the only ones “in the present generation who still believe in Reason.” Consider, as well, his observations, in another 1956 letter: “I wish power and understanding were more united than they are. But I am afraid that the efforts which sensible men would have to make in order to acquire more power would detract from the most reasonable employment of their reason. So we have to go on trusting on occasional friendly gestures of fortuna , that loose woman.” [My 1974 article on Mr. Strauss, referred to in my August 24, 1976 letter, is included in http://www.anastaplo.wordpress.com.]

Edward Banfield concluded his 1991 memoir of Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago with these salutary observations (Shils, ed., Remembering the University of Chicago , p. 501):

I hope enough has been said to convey some sense of the special greatness of Strauss as a teacher, scholar, and human being. Directly and through his writing he enabled many people to see more clearly what it means to be fully human. That such a man flourished for so many years in the United States and at the University of Chicago must be both a source of pride and grounds for hope. To paraphrase a few words of what he said in eulogy of Sir Winston Churchill (whom he thought the greatest man of this century), Strauss’s life reminds us to see things as they are–to see them in their greatness as well as their misery, in their brilliance as well as their mediocrity.

I concluded my 1974 article on Mr. Strauss with these observations (reprinted, in 1983, in The Artist as Thinker , p. 271):

Thus ends my remembrance for this occasion of a most remarkable man, an intrepid stepson of the University of Chicago and its determined benefactor. Even if I should be destined to remain in this university community another twenty-six years, I for one do not expect to happen upon his like again.


Golden Gate Bridge is born

On January 5, 1933, construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages.

Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would increase in value in direct proportion to its accessibility to the city. Soon, a plan was hatched to build a bridge that would span the Golden Gate, a narrow, 400-foot deep strait that serves as the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with the southern end of Marin County.

Although the idea went back as far as 1869, the proposal took root in 1916. A former engineering student, James Wilkins, working as a journalist with the San Francisco Bulletin, called for a suspension bridge with a center span of 3,000 feet, nearly twice the length of any in existence. Wilkins’ idea was estimated to cost an astounding $100 million. So, San Francisco’s city engineer, Michael M. O’Shaughnessy (he’s also credited with coming up with the name Golden Gate Bridge), began asking bridge engineers whether they could do it for less.

Engineer and poet Joseph Strauss, a 5-foot tall Cincinnati-born Chicagoan, said he could.

Eventually, O’Shaughnessy and Strauss concluded they could build a pure suspension bridge within a practical range of $25-30 million with a main span at least 4,000 feet. The construction plan still faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources. By the time most of the obstacles were cleared, the Great Depression of 1929 had begun, limiting financing options, so officials convinced voters to support $35 million in bonded indebtedness, citing the jobs that would be created for the project. However, the bonds couldn’t be sold until 1932, when San-Francisco based Bank of America agreed to buy the entire project in order to help the local economy.


Watch the video: Claude Levi Strauss Theory Explained. Binary Opposites (August 2022).