Interacting with fundamentalist Christian parents we start to see patterns in their responses. Eventually the light dawns that these people hate democracy, are racists, and misogynists. And those are their good qualities. Here are some answers to why you will never get through to them.
Answer number one is they do not believe in dialog, they see no point because they hold the ultimate truth. Answer number two, they hate you. Here, lifted from the Yurica Report is a crucial part of the back story.
The father of neo-conservatism had many “spiritual” children at the University of Chicago, among them: Paul Wolfowitz and Abram Shulsky, who received their doctorates under Strauss in 1972. Harry V. Jaffa was a student of Strauss and has an important connection to Dominionists like Pat Robertson as we shall see below. However, Strauss’s family of influence extended beyond his students to include faculty members in universities, and the people his students taught. Those prominent neo-conservatives who are most notable are: Justice Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, Irving Kristol and his son William Kristol, Alan Keyes, William J. Bennett, J. Danforth Quayle, Allan Bloom, John Podhoertz, John T. Agresto, John Ashcroft, Newt Gingrich, Gary Bauer, Michael Ledeen and scores of others, many of whom hold important positions in George W. Bush’s White House and Defense Department.
To understand the Straussian infusion of power that transformed an all but dead conservative realm, think of Nietzsche’s Overman come to life. Or better yet, think of the philosophy most unlike Christianity: Think of pure unmitigated evil. Strauss admits that Machiavelli is an evil man. But according to Strauss, this admission is a prerequisite to studying and reading Machiavelli: the acknowledgement is the safety net that keeps the reader from being corrupted. One is tempted to talk back to Strauss and point out an alternative: the admission could be the subterfuge that keeps a man from being ridiculed and rejected for espousing Machiavellian methods.
In one of the most important books for our times, Shadia Drury’s Leo Strauss and the American Right, undertakes to explain the ideas behind Strauss’s huge influence and following. Strauss’s reputation, according to Drury, rests in large part on his view that “a real philosopher must communicate quietly, subtly, and secretly to the few who are fit to receive his message.” Strauss claims secrecy is necessary to avoid “persecution.”
In reading Strauss, one sometimes encounters coded contradictory ideas. For example, Strauss appears to respect Machiavelli because—as he points out—in contrast to other evil men, Machiavelli openly proclaimed opinions that others only secretly expressed behind closed doors. But we have just noted that Strauss teaches that secrecy is essential to the real philosopher. Strauss concluded, some would say that Machiavelli was after all, a patriot of sorts for he loved Italy more than he loved his own soul. Then Strauss warns, but if you call him a patriot, you “merely obscure something truly evil.” So Strauss dances his way through the Machiavellian field of evil, his steps choreographed with duplicity and it’s opposite. The reader cannot let go.
In Strauss’s view, Machiavelli sees that Christianity “has led the world into weakness,” which can only be offset by returning the world to the ancient practices of the past. (Implied is not a return to the pagan past, but rather a return to the more virulent world of the Old Testament). Strauss laments, “Machiavelli needed …a detailed discussion revealing the harmony between his political teaching and the teaching of the Bible.” These statements of Strauss, by themselves, were sufficient to send neo-conservative Christians to search for correlations between Machiavellianism, radical conservatism and the scriptures.
Strauss’s teaching incorporated much of Machiavelli’s. Significantly, his philosophy is unfriendly to democracy—even antagonistic. At the same time Strauss upheld the necessity for a national religion not because he favored religious practices, but because religion in his view is necessary in order to control the population. Since neo-conservatives influenced by Strauss are in control of the Bush administration, I have prepared a brief list that shows the radical unchristian basis of neo-conservatism. I am indebted to Shadia Drury’s book (Leo Strauss and the American Right) and published interviews for the following:
First: Strauss believed that a leader had to perpetually deceive the citizens he ruled.
Secondly: Those who lead must understand there is no morality, there is only the right of the superior to rule the inferior.
Thirdly: According to Drury, Religion “is the glue that holds society together.” It is a handle by which the ruler can manipulate the masses. Any religion will do. Strauss is indifferent to them all.
Fourthly: “Secular society…is the worst possible thing,” because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, all of which encourage dissent and rebellion. As Drury sums it up: “You want a crowd that you can manipulate like putty.”
Fifthly: “Strauss thinks that a political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat; and following Machiavelli, he maintains that if no external threat exists, then one has to be manufactured.”
Sixthly: “In Strauss’s view, the trouble with liberal society is that it dispenses with noble lies and pious frauds. It tries to found society on secular rational foundations.”
Strauss’s Student, Harry Jaffa on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson
For four days in 1986, from July first through the fourth of July, Pat Robertson interviewed neo-conservative Dr. Harry Jaffa, a former student of Leo Strauss, on the 700 Club show. The topic was the importance of the Declaration of Independence. Joining with Jaffa was Robertson’s own man, Herb Titus, the Dean of CBN’s School of Public Policy. This series of interviews was one of the most important philosophical moments in the development of the political agenda and political philosophy of the Dominionists.
Robertson found in Harry Jaffa, the champion he needed, whose reasoning would influence how the Constitution should be interpreted by conservatives and would provide a “Christian” view of the establishment of the United States that excluded the secular social contract view. Harry Jaffa would influence both Clarence Thomas (who would be appointed to the Supreme Court by President George Bush senior in 1991) and Antonin Scalia (who would be appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan on September 26, 1986).