Tuesday, December 26, 2006

John Adams, Straussian:

Like Leo Strauss and his followers, Adams apparently thought Plato must have been joking. Bernard Bailyn writes about Adams that "in 1774 had cited Plato as an advocate of equality and self-government but who was so shocked when he finally studied the philosopher that he concluded that the Republic must have been meant as a satire." The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, pp. 24-25.

And in a marginal note in Joseph Priestly's The Doctrines of Heathen Philosophy Compared with those of Revelation, Adams writes, "Was there ever a country, in which philosophers, politicians, and theologians believed what they taught to the vulgar?"

Haraszti, Prophets of Progress, 290, quoted in James H. Hutson's The Founders on Religion, p. 66.

Now that's positively Straussian.

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