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No more heroes

Leo Strauss, father of neoconservatism, is not the fascist thinker of left-wing caricature. But neither is he a figure with whom democrats can feel comfortable. He believed in virtue rather than liberalism

By Edward Skidelsky   March 2006

“Mark you this, you proud men of action,” wrote the German poet Heinrich Heine. “You are nothing but the unconscious henchmen of intellectuals, who, often in the humblest seclusion, have meticulously plotted your every deed.” Heine was thinking of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, but the same charge has more recently been levelled against Leo Strauss, a former professor of political science at the University of Chicago who died in 1973. Just as Rousseau was blamed for the French revolution, so Strauss has been identified as the ghostly mastermind of current US foreign policy. Through a web of disciples and disciples of disciples,…

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