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  1. #1
    Badgerman's Avatar
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    Think about this.....

    Leo Strauss' Philosophy of Deception


    What would you do if you wanted to topple Saddam Hussein, but your intelligence agencies couldn't find the evidence to justify a war?

    A follower of Leo Strauss may just hire the "right" kind of men to get the job done – people with the intellect, acuity, and, if necessary, the political commitment, polemical skills, and, above all, the imagination to find the evidence that career intelligence officers could not detect.

    The "right" man for Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, suggests Seymour Hersh in his recent New Yorker article entitled 'Selective Intelligence,' was Abram Shulsky, director of the Office of Special Plans (OSP) – an agency created specifically to find the evidence of WMDs and/or links with Al Qaeda, piece it together, and clinch the case for the invasion of Iraq.

    Like Wolfowitz, Shulsky is a student of an obscure German Jewish political philosopher named Leo Strauss who arrived in the United States in 1938. Strauss taught at several major universities, including Wolfowitz and Shulsky's alma mater, the University of Chicago, before his death in 1973.

    Strauss is a popular figure among the neoconservatives. Adherents of his ideas include prominent figures both within and outside the administration. They include 'Weekly Standard' editor William Kristol; his father and indeed the godfather of the neoconservative movement, Irving Kristol; the new Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Stephen Cambone, a number of senior fellows at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) (home to former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and Lynne Cheney), and Gary Schmitt, the director of the influential Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which is chaired by Kristol the Younger.

    Strauss' philosophy is hardly incidental to the strategy and mindset adopted by these men – as is obvious in Shulsky's 1999 essay titled "Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence (By Which We Do Not Mean Nous)" (in Greek philosophy the term nous denotes the highest form of rationality). As Hersh notes in his article, Shulsky and his co-author Schmitt "criticize America's intelligence community for its failure to appreciate the duplicitous nature of the regimes it deals with, its susceptibility to social-science notions of proof, and its inability to cope with deliberate concealment." They argued that Strauss's idea of hidden meaning, "alerts one to the possibility that political life may be closely linked to deception. Indeed, it suggests that deception is the norm in political life, and the hope, to say nothing of the expectation, of establishing a politics that can dispense with it is the exception."

    Rule One: Deception

    It's hardly surprising then why Strauss is so popular in an administration obsessed with secrecy, especially when it comes to matters of foreign policy. Not only did Strauss have few qualms about using deception in politics, he saw it as a necessity. While professing deep respect for American democracy, Strauss believed that societies should be hierarchical – divided between an elite who should lead, and the masses who should follow. But unlike fellow elitists like Plato, he was less concerned with the moral character of these leaders. According to Shadia Drury, who teaches politics at the University of Calgary, Strauss believed that "those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right – the right of the superior to rule over the inferior."

    This dichotomy requires "perpetual deception" between the rulers and the ruled, according to Drury. Robert Locke, another Strauss analyst says,"The people are told what they need to know and no more." While the elite few are capable of absorbing the absence of any moral truth, Strauss thought, the masses could not cope. If exposed to the absence of absolute truth, they would quickly fall into nihilism or anarchy, according to Drury, author of 'Leo Strauss and the American Right' (St. Martin's 1999).

    Second Principle: Power of Religion

    According to Drury, Strauss had a "huge contempt" for secular democracy. Nazism, he believed, was a nihilistic reaction to the irreligious and liberal nature of the Weimar Republic. Among other neoconservatives, Irving Kristol has long argued for a much greater role for religion in the public sphere, even suggesting that the Founding Fathers of the American Republic made a major mistake by insisting on the separation of church and state. And why? Because Strauss viewed religion as absolutely essential in order to impose moral law on the masses who otherwise would be out of control.

    At the same time, he stressed that religion was for the masses alone; the rulers need not be bound by it. Indeed, it would be absurd if they were, since the truths proclaimed by religion were "a pious fraud." As Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reason magazine points out, "Neoconservatives are pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers."

    "Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing,'' Drury says, because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. Bailey argues that it is this firm belief in the political utility of religion as an "opiate of the masses" that helps explain why secular Jews like Kristol in 'Commentary' magazine and other neoconservative journals have allied themselves with the Christian Right and even taken on Darwin's theory of evolution.

    Third Principle: Aggressive Nationalism

    Like Thomas Hobbes, Strauss believed that the inherently aggressive nature of human beings could only be restrained by a powerful nationalistic state. "Because mankind is intrinsically wicked, he has to be governed," he once wrote. "Such governance can only be established, however, when men are united – and they can only be united against other people."

    Not surprisingly, Strauss' attitude toward foreign policy was distinctly Machiavellian. "Strauss thinks that a political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat," Drury wrote in her book. "Following Machiavelli, he maintained that if no external threat exists then one has to be manufactured (emphases added)."

    "Perpetual war, not perpetual peace, is what Straussians believe in," says Drury. The idea easily translates into, in her words, an "aggressive, belligerent foreign policy," of the kind that has been advocated by neocon groups like PNAC and AEI scholars – not to mention Wolfowitz and other administration hawks who have called for a world order dominated by U.S. military power. Strauss' neoconservative students see foreign policy as a means to fulfill a "national destiny" – as Irving Kristol defined it already in 1983 – that goes far beyond the narrow confines of a " myopic national security."

    As to what a Straussian world order might look like, the analogy was best captured by the philosopher himself in one of his – and student Allen Bloom's – many allusions to Gulliver's Travels. In Drury's words, "When Lilliput was on fire, Gulliver urinated over the city, including the palace. In so doing, he saved all of Lilliput from catastrophe, but the Lilliputians were outraged and appalled by such a show of disrespect."

    The image encapsulates the neoconservative vision of the United States' relationship with the rest of the world – as well as the relationship between their relationship as a ruling elite with the masses. "They really have no use for liberalism and democracy, but they're conquering the world in the name of liberalism and democracy," Drury says.

  2. #2
    Pale Horse's Avatar
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    Badger what is YOUR point here? We are all brainwashed and religious because it's hip? We are conservatives because we are weak minded? I guarantee I could go one on one w/ you or anyone else on this board intellectually, weak minded...............I don't think so.

  3. #3
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    Typical liberal trash. They can't win at the ballet box so let attempt to impugn our conservative ideals, character and faith. Equally amazing is how Kerry and Clinton before him also spoke of the dangers of Iraq's WMD. Let's remember it was during Clinton's term that the US foreign policy called for regime change in Iraq. But of course the Hate America 1st crowd always forgets about the facts when they are attempting to revise history.

  4. #4
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    This is for you Badgerman (I just know you will enjoy it):

    Clinton awards Halliburton no-bid contract in Yugoslavia - good...
    Bush awards Halliburton no-bid contract in Iraq - bad...

    Clinton spends 77 billion on war in Serbia - good...
    Bush spends 87 billion in Iraq - bad...

    Clinton imposes regime change in Serbia - good...
    Bush imposes regime change in Iraq - bad...

    Clinton bombs Christian Serbs on behalf of Muslim Albanian terrorists-good...
    Bush liberates 25 million from a genocidal dictator - bad...

    Clinton invades Haiti and attacks Serbia without UN approval, congressional support or public backing - good
    Bush invades Iraq with UN approval and overwhelming congressional support - bad

    Clinton bombs Chinese embassy, some empty mud huts in Afghanistan, and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan - good...
    Bush bombs terrorist camps - bad...

    Clinton commits many felonies while in office - good...
    Bush lands on aircraft carrier in jumpsuit - bad...

    Clinton says there are mass graves in Serbia - good...
    Bush and entire world says WMD in Iraq - bad...

    Stock market crashes in 2000 under Clinton - good...
    Recession under Bush - bad...

    Clinton refuses to take custody of Bin Laden - good...
    World Trade Centers fall under Bush - bad...

    Clinton says Saddam has nukes - good...
    Bush says Saddam has nukes - bad...

    Clinton calls for regime change in Iraq - good...
    Bush imposes regime change in Iraq - bad...

    Terrorist training in Afghanistan under Clinton - good...
    Bush destroys training camps in Afghanistan - bad...

    Serbs who committed atrocities still free - good...
    Saddam in custody - bad...

  5. #5
    Badgerman's Avatar
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    I never voted for Clinton....whats your point?

  6. #6
    singern's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badgerman
    I never voted for Clinton....whats your point?
    Than either you voted republican, which means you lack any real opinion. Or you didnt vote which speaks volumes in itself......

  7. #7
    Pale Horse's Avatar
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    yes Badger did you "no show" for the past elections?

  8. #8
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    Nope.....always voted republican until the last election.
    BTW.....I thought the intervention in Serbia was misguided
    as was the FIRST and Second war in Iraq.......
    Neither arena was a threat.
    I don't think we should have ANY military bases or troops in foreign countries.
    I believe we should withdraw from all protection alliances.......
    And I believe we should stop illegal immigration which is a bigger drain on US than OSB ever thought about being.
    So put that in your crack pipe and light it up.

  9. #9
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    My point is you're a HUGE left winger. Either you are all talk - or even you don't really believe in your positions in which you post daily. At least I can say I voted for Reagan, Bush 41, Dole, and Bush 43. Not everyone here (AR) agrees with me, I understand that. But, I am proud to walk the walk, not just talk to talk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Badgerman
    I never voted for Clinton....whats your point?

  10. #10
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    Very difficult to believe. You remind me of the guys that call up right wing am radio talk shows stating that they are republicans. Then go on to read off the democratic talking points for the day. I am a republican, but I just don't believe in anything included in your platform and I completely support the left wing agenda - but I am a republican. What a bunch of bull....

    Quote Originally Posted by Badgerman
    Nope.....always voted republican until the last election.
    BTW.....I thought the intervention in Serbia was misguided
    as was the FIRST and Second war in Iraq.......
    Neither arena was a threat.
    I don't think we should have ANY military bases or troops in foreign countries.
    I believe we should withdraw from all protection alliances.......
    And I believe we should stop illegal immigration which is a bigger drain on US than OSB ever thought about being.
    So put that in your crack pipe and light it up.

  11. #11
    Badgerman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hot-Rox
    Very difficult to believe. You remind me of the guys that call up right wing am radio talk shows stating that they are republicans. Then go on to read off the democratic talking points for the day. I am a republican, but I just don't believe in anything included in your platform and I completely support the left wing agenda - but I am a republican. What a bunch of bull....
    You think you're a conservative.......but a conservative would require fiscal responsibility.....Bush has no sense of that.......he has ballooned our deficit into the ionosphere.......mostly because of his insane excursion into Iraq.
    No WMD no reason for war......big waste of lives and money....FAR from conservative.
    Conservative is STRONG military at home....balanced budget......strong border control.....strong job protection at home......strong enforcement of the rule of law for corporate responsibilty.......strong export laws to prevent corps like Halliburton to skirt the law and sell to enemies like Iran inspite of bans.
    You're not conservative.......you're just another republican who thinks he's conservative but just rolls over selling his soul for business interests

  12. #12
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    Badger..............you are an enigma for sure. What you are talking about regarding isloationism is an impossibility. I agree I think we should close our checkbook and call in all of our "muscle". But what will happen would be millions perhaps billions slaughtered. Then we would be an island surrounded by enemies. The best defense is a good offense to keep this from our shores. As a conservative I personally feel compassion for people not trees or fish, I could not sit back and watch people get murdered.

    As far as Halliburton, they are the poster child the the problem, it is corruption in verying degrees from both ends of the spectrum. Badger, I sense that you want total equality and fairness in all things, the nature of mankind will not allow that. As far as an elite ruling class it........ is what it is and it will alays be as such.

  13. #13
    Badgerman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1victor
    Badger..............you are an enigma for sure. What you are talking about regarding isloationism is an impossibility. I agree I think we should close our checkbook and call in all of our "muscle". But what will happen would be millions perhaps billions slaughtered. Then we would be an island surrounded by enemies. The best defense is a good offense to keep this from our shores. As a conservative I personally feel compassion for people not trees or fish, I could not sit back and watch people get murdered.

    As far as Halliburton, they are the poster child the the problem, it is corruption in verying degrees from both ends of the spectrum. Badger, I sense that you want total equality and fairness in all things, the nature of mankind will not allow that. As far as an elite ruling class it........ is what it is and it will alays be as such.
    There wouldn't be billions slaughtered. Let other countries do their own thing.
    The reason OSB attacked us was because of our propping up of the Saudi Royals and the bases on their soil. I understand that......if we had Saudi bases in the US....I wouldn't like it ....would you??? The mideast Islamic nations would not hate us or be our enemies if we left them the hell alone.....
    the only people wanting war are the ones connected with the arms business.....find an island and let those sick bastards fight the rest of their natural lives. Just let us work, support our families, and leave us the hell alone

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