02 February 2006

Leo Strauss in the True North?

With the election of Stephen Harper's Conservative government in last month's federal election, could the conspiratorial Straussian cabal led by the notorious Paul Wolfowitz be extending its reach from Washington to Ottawa? Joseph Knippenberg explores this possibility in The Second Time as Farce. I am, of course, pleased to see Knippenberg cite my own The Calgary School and the Future of Canada, which he deems one of the "more measured accounts" of this school's influence.

One of the articles to which Knippenberg links is written by a certain professed "Red Tory" and aficionado of the late George Parkin Grant. While he charges the Calgarians with taking their cues from, among others, European émigrés such as Leo Strauss, and not from "indigenous Canadian tradition," he appears to have forgotten that Grant himself had considerable respect for Strauss and counted him one of the great influences on his own thought. Nationalist though Grant may have been, he was hardly one to limit his own grazing to native pastures. How else account for the formative influence of Jacques Ellul and Simone Weil, the latter of whom in particular he held in almost childlike awe?

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