i hope you get cancer™

Monday, April 25, 2005

Why THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES has every reactionary rightwinger reaching for mummy

The recent BAFTA for TPON, and its weekend showing on Canadian TV, has left the conservative right with its collective dress over its head. Apart from Melanie Phillips, a particularly vivid example is Canadian log The Politic, whose "critique" of the series drips with intellectual snobbery and a rabid ideological bent. Hardly surprising, when one reads the political philosophy of Leo Strauss, the godfather of US neoconservatism, and one of the main characters in TPON (emphases mine): "Some distinguishing aspects of a Straussian approach to political philosophy: (1) A return to treating old books seriously, reading them slowly and with an effort to understand them as their authors did, rather than as History does. (2) A recognition of the political nature of philosophy, that most philosophers who wrote did so with a political purpose. (3) A recognition that the greatest thinkers often wrote with both exoteric and esoteric teachings, either out of fear of persecution or a general desire to present their most important teachings to those most receptive to them. This leads to an attempt to discern the esoteric teachings of the great philosophers from the clues they left in their writings for careful readers to find. (4) A recognition of the dangers that historicism, relativism, eclecticism, scientism, and nihilism pose to philosophy and to Western culture generally, and an effort to steer philosophy away from these devastating influences through a return to the seminal texts of Western thought. (5) Careful attention paid to the dialogue throughout the development of Western culture between its two points of departure: Athens and Jerusalem. The recognition that Reason and Revelation, originating from these two points respectively, are the two distinct sources of knowledge in the Western tradition, and can be used neither to support nor refute the other, since neither claims to be based on the other's terms. (6) A constant examination of the most drastic of philosophic distinctions: that between the Ancients and the Moderns. An attempt to better understand philosophers of every age in relation to this distinction, and to learn everything that we as moderns can learn about ourselves by studying both eras." Quoted verbatim from www.straussian.net