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BOOK R]]JVIEWS room for different theories and new developments. He does not try to tie up every loose end. Furthermore, he avoids the rut of the specialist by willingly and capably addressing questions of biblical exegesis, philosophy, psychology, science, and popular culture with even-handed competence. Space does not permit me to discuss his fascinating analysis of the psychology of near-death experiences or specific rejoinders to important objections (e.g., the Bible depicts the dead as bodily beings , not immaterial spirits; dualism is a result of the Fall; dualism implies that the whole person does not die; at death we pass out of time, and, hence, there is no intermediate state) . But I can assure you that his account is cogent and illuminating. Lenoir-Rhyne College Hickory, North Carolina PHILIP BLOSSER: The Crisis of Liberal Democracy: A Straussian Perspective. Edited by KENNETH L DEUTSCH AND WALTER SOFFER. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987. Pp. ix+ 304. $54.50 (cloth); $18.95 (paper). For Leo Strauss, the superiority of classical political philosophy over modern social science (and political theory based on social science) lies in at least four principles. First, it treats political matters as they actually appear to man qua philosopher and, in a qualified way, to the good citizen. Because Strauss claims that social science (and much post-classical political philosophy) abstracts from his canon of intelligibility , he thinks that it cannot lead to a humane, rational politics. (See "What is Political Philosophy?", in What is Political Philosophy ? [Westport: Greenwood], pp. 27-28, and "Distinction between Facts and Values" in Natural Right and History [Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1953], pp. 78-80.) Second, Plato and Aristotle believed that only the good man properly judges politics. This belief attracts Strauss, because it identifies virtue as the best claimant to political rule. ("What is Political Philosophy? ", pp. 36-38.) A third principle is derived immediately from this second: politics ought to be organized hierarchically. In the hierarchy, either the truly virtuous or gentlemen should rule, and those having a passive, obediential form of virtue should be the ruled. Fourth, this arrangement is rational and humane. For although the virtues of the ruler and the ruled are complementary in justice and necessary to it, still they are different and, in fact, require the stratification just mentioned. ("Classic Natural Right" in Natural Right and History, pp. 130-44.) BOOK REVIEWS 527 Because of the controversial nature of these principles and Strauss's eminence in political philosophy, one welcomes the present collection of essays by his disciples. They believe that in liberal democracies people confuse liberty with the uses to which liberty can and ought to be put. Doing so, people undermine that regime's foundations. Strauss and his disciples believe that modern natural right makes the clash between liberty and natural right inevitable, because its principal founders, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, conceived man as non-political. They conceived individuals as gaining certain advantages from governments hut as gaining no good in the exercise of politics itself. Classic natural right, by contrast, bases itself on the assumption that man is radically political. Moreover, it conceives politics as an arena for liberating, ennobling activities. Hobbes and Locke viewed the individual as independent of politics, which they placed at the low end of the range of human activity, along with everyday concerns and popular morality, rather than at the high end, as Strauss would. Thus for Strauss, liberal democracy is founded on modern principles, which are either apolitical and liberal (Locke) or apolitical and illiberal (Hobbes). Consequently , it cannot withstand the individualist and collectivist onslaughts that we have seen in this century. What, then, have Strauss's disciples to say about liberal democracy and the prospect of classic natural right in a Western world which is more or less permanently Hobbesian-Lockean? This can be answered by describing first the hook's divisions and then its diagnoses and prescriptions. In part one the contributors appraise the work of Strauss itself; in part two they define issues in liberalism ; and in part three they discuss liberalism in American political life. In the first part, Michael Platt outlines how Strauss's thought...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 526-535
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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