God is Dead, but Don't Tell the Neighbors

— Shadia Drury, Straussian bete noir, is wonderfully articulate in this interview with Danny Postel at OpenDemocray. Although my Straussian friends have tried to disabuse me of this opinion, I think Drury and Laurence Lampert are right about what Strauss’s philosophy really amounts to. I always try to communicate that the nice thing about the Nietzschean-God-is-dead-everything-is-permitted- but-don’t-tell-the-hoi-polloi interpretation of Strauss is that, although it makes him sound a bit diabolical, it also makes him sound smart! I think this is really interesting position, and has much more truth in it than the norm-saturated-nature-higher-human-dignity-natural-right-blah-blah interpretation. I think the former is a position that the naturalist liberal had better take seriously, and should really try to engage.

I think there may in fact be an important grain of truth in noble lie doctrines, and I’ll try to explain why if I get a spare moment this weekend.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center