The weimar intellectual baggage in Leo Strauss' natural right and history


Leo Strauss remains one of the most interesting and controversial political theorists of the 20th century. In this paper, I analyze several chapters of his most famous work Natural Right and History in order to discern their Weimar intellectual roots. Using textual interpretation, I compare his work with works of Martin Heidegger and Carl Schmitt. I conclude that, by and large, his closest intellectual affiliation is with Carl Schmitt. However, I argue that Strauss attempts to supersede the boundaries of Schmitt's thought by means of emerging himself into the re-interpretation of the fundamental problems of political theology and the perennial problem of the proper grounds of every polity from a perspective which lies outside the anthropological boundaries of Schmitt's thought. Nevertheless, in spite of this attempt, Strauss' criticism of Schmitt turns out to be a rejection of the consequences of Schmitt's reckless intellectual and political engagement rather than altogether persuasive building of an entirely new theoretical foundation of a 'new polity.'.



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