Well, the new issue of PERSPECTIVES ON POLITICAL SCIENCE is out. It features diverse and deep symposia on two outstanding recent books: PLATO’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY by Mark Blitz and our Ralph Hancock’s THE RESPONSIBILITY OF REASON.

Commentators on Ralphism include Ralph himself (twice), Susan Shell, Alan Levine, Jim Stoner, David Walsh, and Steven McGuine. These aren’t brief comments or mere reviews, but real—extended and provocative—theoretical engagements. What other journal can offer anything like THAT?

The issue also includes a sympathetically critical Calvinist engagement with Ralph’s Calvin book by our Carl.

Tocqueville, according to Ralph, “sees as clearly as Heidegger or Strauss the threat to meaningful human existence . . . contained in the modern emancipation of individual freedom from political or socially authorized virtues. Unlike Strauss, however, he does not imagine that this threat can be contained by replacing aristocrats with serenely detached academic philosophers, and, unlike Heidegger, he has no interest in vaguely and irresponsibly evoking the ‘Being’ from which all hierarchies mysteriously emerge, but which authorizes none of them.”

According to Susan Shell, “an alternative [to Ralph’s] reading of Strauss might spend less time on the noble and more on the question of whether science (or philosophy) in the original sense = knowledge of necessity = is possible.”

Alan Levine can’t figure out whether “Hancock is . . . a Straussian friend of religion or a Christian friend of Strauss.”

David Walsh sees more than Ralph resources in modernity itself to overcome our lostness and nihilism. (Walsh’s essay is stunningly original and often unexpectedly persuasive.) But Ralph replies: “Modernity cannot respond to the crisis of modernity from purely modern resources . . . .To the degree that modern founders founded well, they either knew the uses of premodern resources, or they founded better than they knew.”

I would say more, but I have something akin to a real job.

Articles by Peter Lawler

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