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leo strauss Quotes

Leo Strauss Quotes

Birth Date: 1899-09-20 (Wednesday, September 20th, 1899)
Date of Death: 1973-10-18 (Thursday, October 18th, 1973)



    • bloody or unbloody change of society can eradicate the evil in man: as long as there will be men, there will be malice, envy and hatred, and hence there cannot be a society which does not have to employ coercive restraint.
    • Liberal relativism has its roots in the natural right tradition of tolerance or in the notion that everyone has a natural right to the pursuit of happiness as he understands happiness; but in itself it is a seminary of intolerance.
    • Men are constantly attracted and deluded by two opposite charms: the charm of competence which is engendered by mathematics and everything akin to mathematics, and the charm of humble awe, which is engendered by meditation on the human soul and its experiences. Philosophy is characterized by the gentle, if firm, refusal to succumb to either charm. It is the highest form of the mating of courage and moderation. In spite of its highness or nobility, it could appear as Sisyphean or ugly, when one contrasts its achievement with its goal. Yet it is necessarily accompanied, sustained and elevated by eros. It is graced by nature's grace.
    • The problem inherent in the surface of things, and only in the surface of things, is the heart of things.
    • The silence of a wise man is always meaningful.
    • The most superficial fact regarding the Discourses, the fact that the number of its chapters equals the number of books of Livy's History, compelled us to start a chain of tentative reasoning which brings us suddenly face to face with the only New Testament quotation that ever appears in Machiavelli's two books and with an enormous blasphemy.
    • [W]e believe that failing to call a spade a spade is not scientific.
    • It is safer to try to understand the low in the light of the high than the high in the light of the low. In doing the latter one necessarily distorts the high, whereas in doing the former one does not deprive the low of the freedom to reveal itself as fully as what it is.
    • Only a great fool would call the new political science diabolic: it has no attributes peculiar to fallen angels. It is not even Machiavellian, for Machiavelli's teaching was graceful, subtle, and colorful. Nor is it Neronian. Nevertheless one may say of it that it fiddles while Rome burns. It is excused by two facts: it does not know that it fiddles, and it does not know that Rome burns.
    • At the time and in the country in which the present study was written, it was granted by everyone except backward people that the Jewish faith had not been refuted by science or by history.... [O]ne could grant to science and history everything they seem to teach regarding the age of the world, the origin of man, the impossibility of miracles, the impossibility of the immortality of the soul, and of the resurrection of the body, the Jahvist, the Elohist, the third Isaah, and so on, without abandoning one iota of the substance of the Jewish faith.
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