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Re: <nettime> A Puff Piece on Wikipedia (Fwd)
Kermit Snelson on Sun, 5 Oct 2003 13:28:52 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> A Puff Piece on Wikipedia (Fwd)

Keith Hart:

> So why did they choose anonymity?  Mainly because innovative ideas
> could get you killed.

There are a few ironies here.

One is that followers of Leo Strauss, obsessed as they are with
"Persecution and the Art of Writing" (the title of a famous Strauss book
from 1952) are so damned easy to spot.  Although I'd never heard of
Christopher Kelly before Keith's post here, the quotes from that Rousseau
book sounded so blatantly Straussian that I knew Kelly simply couldn't be
more than two degrees of separation away from the Master.

Google didn't fail me.  Christopher Kelly's name is helpfully listed on a
page entitled "Teachers in the Straussian Tradition," apparently compiled
by a true believer at Boston College [1].  Professor Kelly studied under
Thomas Pangle at Yale and under Allan Bloom at Toronto, which makes him
veritable Straussian royalty.

So how is it that this typically uniform product of the Straussian
hive-mind, which is firmly ensconced at the White House and widely
credited with the recent war on Iraq, is so worried about political
persecution of innovative ideas?  How innovative is it to be reciting, in
a brand-new book, pedestrian Straussian dogma that first appeared in 1952?  
And how credibly can one lecture the world about political persecution
when "Teachers in the Straussian Tradition" are currently ensconced at the
White House and Pentagon and busily shredding the US Constitution and
international law?

Here's another irony.  At the same time that the individual is dying in
our political culture, so is anonymity.  Communitarian corporatism, for
which another former Allan Bloom student, the Pentagon's Paul Wolfowitz,
is currently shedding the blood of his non-philosophical inferiors, is
responsible for this.  How likely is it that an American soldier's name
will eventually be "known only to God" if it has already been recited
thousands of times by automatic tellers, telemarketers and supermarket
checkout stands?

In 1998, the Vietnam veteran at rest in the USA's Tomb of the Unknowns was
exhumed because DNA had finally identified him.  There will be no more
anonymous casualties.  There will be no more names "known only to God."  
Presumably by now that recently-discovered name has been carved into the
other monument, that low, black wall on the other side of the Potomac
River, along with the 58,325 other names [2].  That more recent monument,
which literally buries its visitors in names, serves as a fitting reminder
of the death of anonymity.  And let that monument also be the most fitting
possible comment on Leo Strauss and the carbon-copy devotees of his cult,
whom we can thank already for the many war memorials to come.

Kermit Snelson


[1] http://www2.bc.edu/~wilsonop/teachers.html
[2] http://www.nps.gov/vive/home.htm

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