Leo Strauss, a German Jew, was obliged to leave the Reich in the Thirties, when the Nazi tyranny became overtly anti-Semitic. But the sponsor behind his emigration to the United States was Carl Schmidt, who fashioned Hitler’s judiciary. Indeed, Strauss was a committed fascist, until the position became untenable. Settling in the US, at the University of Chicago, he would become the godfather of Neoconservatism, with such luminaries as Paul Wolfowitz among his eager students. Some of these students would go on to form the American Enterprise Institute, whose members were the chief proponents of the disastrous Iraq invasion (see my book, A War Against Truth). In Canada, Neocons first settled around the University of Toronto, where they were most unwelcome. They eventually moved to the University of Calgary, where acolytes of the new-old political philosophy included Stephen Harper and some of his cronies, including several journalistic hacks who would now deny the connection. The American Enterprise Institute remained strangely silent for years after the catastrophe in Iraq, and is effectively defunct. But is Neoconservatism dead? No, it is not. But it has resurfaced in a new and more pernicious form – a form more in keeping with its roots in fascist Europe nearly a century ago. This form is also spreading across the world in so-called popular movements, as it did back then.
If you read the turgid, crepuscular works of Leo Strauss – and I pity those who try – you will find many recommendations currently being put into practice on three continents. Any act is justified to win an election, says Strauss (and remember Hitler was initially elected by a seemingly democratic vote). Such acts include lying to the public; and we are being lied to now more than ever. They include staging actions to sway public opinion – and it’s anyone’s guess if these are in progress. They include treating the public like the enemy, using the old maxim of divide and conquer. We are being divided, by gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious beliefs and class. These divisions make us easier to rule. But we are in truth not divided thus. We are all human beings, with similar hopes and aspirations. When someone divides you by gender, beware. When someone divides you by sexual orientation, deny it. You are just human; your quirks or peccadillos are just human nature. Do not allow yourself to be placed in a caste. The only caste is that of humanity.
One of the Straussian methods for gaining absolute control is fear. The most fearful populations always have the strongest governments. No doubt this is true. The question ought to be: is the fear justifiiable? As this post-neo Neoconservatism creeps around us, and truth cannot be discerned from lies, we should remember whence it springs, and ask ourselves if we are just being manipulated by the same nefariously simple techniques that spawned the Holocaust.
Paul William Roberts