Leo Strauss: Fascist, authoritarian, imperialist?
- Issue date
Oficyna Wydawnicza AFM
Krakowskie Studia Międzynarodowe 2009, nr 2, s. 277-291.
"In a letter he wrote to Karl Loewith on May 19, 1933 (just after the Nazis had come to power in Germany), Leo Strauss insisted in strong terms that he could not return to Germany so long as the Nazis were in power: I see no acceptable possibility of living under the swastika, i.e., under a symbol that says nothing more to me than: you and your ilk, you are physei [by nature] subhumans and therefore justly pariahs. There is in this case just one solution. We ... “men of science” – as our predecessors in the Arab Middle Ages called themselves – non habemus locum manentem, sed quaerimus [have no place to rest, but must seek]. But, Strauss continued: The fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us [Jews] says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l’homme to protest against the shabby abomination. I am reading Caesar’s Commentaries with deep understanding, and I think of Virgil’s Tu regere imperio… parcere subjectis et debellare superbos [You rule the world, sparing the vanquished and crushing the proud]. There is no reason to crawl to the cross, neither to the cross of liberalism, as long as somewhere in the world there is a glimmer of the spark of the Roman thought. And even then: rather than any cross, I’ll take the ghetto."(...)
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