Well, first of all, to Jim on the reaching the Centennnial number of comments. We can add, of course, over 75O TWEETS. In general, our SOCIAL MEDIA attention has been up, and I remind all our fans to get in the habit of TWEETING, LIKING, and SHARING all our POSTMODERN yet CONSERVATIVE wisdom. On the general confusion on what Congress should do, I would say the problem is that President Obama is the opposite of THE DECIDER President Bush. It would be easier to have an opinion if there were any clarity on what Obama really wants to accomplish through military action.
And congratulations to our Jean Yarbrough for receiving the NEUSTADT prize at the APSA meeting. That’s a real mainstream award for her unmatched work on the presidency in her book on TR.
The APSA was also big on recognizing the giants of the MIDWESTERN version of BEING STRAUSSIAN, with huge attendances at panels honoring the legendary teacher-scholars CROPSEY and the ZUCKERTS.
Joe Cropsey, as I said before, is, with the help of both Plato and Heidegger, the Straussian closest to Walker Percy on being lost in the cosmos and all that. We can see a version of his vision in the work of his wonderful student Mary Nichols, in her literary analysis of everything from Plato to Woody Allen. Mary surely found more good in Woody than is really there. But who wouldn’t wish Woody were better than he really is?
Michael Zuckert, as I’ve also said before, surely teaches more truth about Locke than anyone else by reading the account of personal identity in the ECHU into THE SECOND TREATISE and elsewhere. His shortcoming, of course, is thinking that Locke teaches more truth than he really does. Still, it’s learning from Michael that led me to the conclusion that Locke is half-right about who we are. If you think I’m of the paygrade to render a judgment on Catherine’s huge book on everything Plato wrote, you are really, really wrong.
So there’s a little inter-spousal quarrel, apparently, at the Zuckert house. Michael thinks that, finally, the moderns are superior to the ancients in both theory and practice. Catherine gives the nod to the ancients theoretically, but the moderns practically. Apparently Tom Pangle gives the ancients a lot more credit for the enduring practical relevance of their elevated poiltical teaching. Harry Jaffa, meanwhile, thinks the American moderns aren’t as modern as Michael thinks.
Divide up into small groups and discuss, without forgetting that the ZUCKERTS studied with CROPSEY.
It goes without saying that I dissent from the bipolarity of ancient-modern, while treating the Christian as an “independent variable” by which both can be appreciated and criticized.
I was going to go on and say more about the Strauss and Kojeve panel, especially, of course, about what I said. But that has to wait until later. Meanwhile, you can look at my BIG THINK version of the NEH funding controversy.
I actually saw some merit in TR’s criticism of Locke through watching a bit of Ken Burns’ series on our NATIONAL PARKS. Those late 19th-century Americans sure were rapacious when it came to trees and buffalo and such. And TR wasn’t wrong to want to impose a kind of asethetic limit on our violence against nature, one that would, among other things, preserve the noble sport of hunting.