Michael Fogleman's Reviews > American Neoconservatism: The Politics and Culture of a Reactionary Idealism

American Neoconservatism by Jean-François Drolet
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's review
Jul 20, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, politics, political-philosophy, philosophy
Read from July 01 to 20, 2012

One of my ongoing personal projects is to understand the role of Leo Strauss in the Great Books Community, specifically at St. John's College. The man, his thought, and his subject matter are quite difficult to get ahold of, because he holds an enormous intellectual tradition behind him: Plato, Thucydides, Hobbes, Kant, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Heidegger, to name a few. Drolet, whose book has a whole chapter devoted to Strauss, has a seemingly impossible command of this tradition as well as the political/historical/ideological axes that stage this drama. However, he also brings to the table a bias which is clearly present but vaguely articulated. I suspect I would sympathize with it, but it seems that he, too, has a depth of thought that allows him to both penetrate and obfuscate the subject matter. Still, there are some passages which stand out for exceptional clarity and utility, most notably when Drolet, confined to concision, allows himself to explicate large bodies of thought in a brief passage: Strauss, Thucydides, Nietzsche, etc.

I would like to return to this book as I gain a greater command on the intellectual tradition that Strauss abided in, the contingent political realm that I grew up in, and a firmer idea of where I stand for myself (hint: it seems to me that neither neoconservatism or liberalism is satisfactory).

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