In the question of what will replace the nihilism of the left, the Republicans have not one answer, but two: religion, and the conservative Platonism of Leo Strauss. Strauss, was a University of Chicago professor who died in 1973. Many non-religious conservative academics are Straussians. They dominate Bush’s foreign policy.

Strauss purports to be a rational alternative to nihilism. This is a higher realm of pure thought, which is the source of ideas, principles and values. This is where conservatives who do not want to be publicly religious go. Straussians are famous for rejecting religion privately, while actively encouraging it in their students.

This follows their world-view, which sees the philosophers in touch with higher truths, which must be communicated in ways that the masses will accept.

If you support Bush because you think he shares your values, this is what you are sanctioning. A second Bush term will more solidly implant the Straussians into all levels of government. See my op-ed Opposing Platonic Conservatism: A Matter of Values. For an overview of Strauss’s philosophy see this article by a Strauss admirer.

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