10 June 2012

"¡Color Us Invisible!" (#96.9 of _The Zombie Watch_, an occasional series)

Dear Dr. Bones,

Your 'conservative' 'intellectual' señoritoes can be more fun than a barrel of Darwin-hatin’ ex-monkeys at times.  For example, when wannabe-subtly flatterin' themselves, plus incidently the other ranks at Fort Rio Limbaugh, with such a delicious chunk of pious viennasausage as

Like the noble gesture on its own terms, philosophy as the love of knowledge is all but invisible to the spirit of mediocrity.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Paddy McTammany is enough of an overpricily educated anhistoric Teutonophile [1] to want to point out pedantically that Philosophy is--and always was, and always is/was intended to be--at least a *little* different from ‘philomathy’:

Q. "¿Who is Sophia? What is She, / That all our señoritoes commend Her?"

A. Well, for sure, boy, She is not plain vanilla ‘knowledge’.

¿Hath not Son of Parmenides--or possibly his well-informed ventriloquist-forger, which will do as well at this distance in time--explained this point in the Seventh Epistle, 344a-d?

’Tis not difficult to see out from under whose overcoat the sillier side of Leostraussianity [2] came , and a very Classy overcoat it was, too.  For its time, that is. [3]

Happy days.

Here's a new tack: instead of whispering about secret cabals, insider code, and conspiracy theories about Straussians, Kenneth McIntyre simply reviews the man's work (by way of a new treatment by Paul Gottfried), and comes away underwhelmed:

Strauss was at best a mediocre scholar whose thought expressed a confused bipolarity between a very German and ahistorical Grecophilia on the one hand and a scattered, dogmatic, and unsophisticated apology for an American version of liberal universalism on the other. Amongst prominent European philosophers, Strauss was taken seriously only by Hans-Georg Gadamer, until Gadamer concluded that Strauss was a crank, and by Alexandre Kojève, whose work reads today as if it were a parody of trendy French Marxism. In Britain, neither Strauss nor the Straussians have ever been taken seriously.

Gottfried is a real scholar and this book is not, by all accounts, a hatchet job. I might add that it was strange arriving at H*rv*rd to discover that the only non-left-liberals in the faculty were Straussians. ((&c. &c. ))

There's more where that came from. Comrade Sullivan is no better than usual, I fear, and he was never anywhere near good enough for setting up as the little street Arab who detects that Emperor Leo is na..., I beg your pardon, one had meant to say "to detect that His Imperial Majesty is perhaps a little underdressed for the intellectual weather this afternoon."

[2] Paddy has been known to spoof at the silliness a little meself: "Even though I have lost my Leo Strauss Brand® magic decoder ring that came in the Cracker Jack® box . . . .", vide peanut-gallery shell #21. ))

Himself of Athens, however, laid a prophetic (and utterly spoofless) finger on the underlyin’ rub long ago:

Darum nun ist jeder ernste Mann, der kein Mietling der Wissenschaft ist, weit entfernt über ernste, hochwürdige Gegenstände seine Gedanken durch die Schrift zu veröffentlichen und dadurch sie der Schwatzsucht und Herabwürdigung preis zu geben. (344d)
But L. Strauss undeniably *did* scribble down his Highworthy Thoughts, even including the one about how The Philosopher (Pat. Pend.) just ain't supposta do that, so ... obviously ... Q.E.D.

One might almost add "L.O.L."

Of course future Little Friends of Eddie Burke (LLC), plus the epigones of M. de Dizzy-Beaconsfield an’ the groupies to Paul Ryan, Jr., Smirk of Janesville, will always retain the freedumb to discover any gap they like, or think politicaly useful, between what Leo the Neoguru wrote down and what the *authentic* an' unscribbled Highworthy Thoughts of his freelordship really were.

Paddy happens not to care much myself for games like that one, the kind in which every participant can make up the rules ad hoc. But then, being more or less an Aristotelian rather than any sort of Parmenidoid, naturally Paddy wouldn't.

[3] Those of them at Rio Limbaugh will no doubt need to be told that nothing made Leo the Great wrathier quicker than to suggest that he grade on a chronology-based curve. Unless, that is, you just modestly proposed to flunk everybody since about Vitoria and Suárez out of hand.

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