Critiquing Leo Strauss from the Right

with Grant Havers

This next episode of Liberty Law Talk is a discussion with author and professor Grant Havers on his conservative critique of Leo Strauss. Many conservatives hold Strauss in high regard as a thinker who shaped their intellectual commitments. Havers discusses the question: what’s so conservative about Strauss’ philosophy?

Havers’ recent book Leo Strauss and Anglo-American Democracy: A Conservative Critique contends that Strauss was a liberal Cold War warrior who most wanted to defend the foundational principles of British and American democracy. Going to the heart of Strauss’ philosophical principles and his grounding of modern constitutional liberty in classical Greek political thought, Havers argues that these ideas fail to uphold the political tradition Strauss was loyal to. Moreover, does Strauss’ approach unduly ignore other contributions that are more historically connected with Anglo-American liberty? Here, Havers emphasizes religion and modern sources that, he contends, have guided its political practices and its leading statesmen. In this regard, Havers’ book is also an important Protestant assessment of Strauss’ ideas. Enjoy!