Here is the value of Strauss, and what you aren’t going to get from H
And since the seamy side is politically very important, the student of politics has to learn quite a few things
He’s speaking to my heart. He says in political societies rhetoric is not friendship of the highest kind.
An emotional animal you have to adjust your words for will never be your “friend” in a real sense. This is what “being in a society” is about. It is benevolence that we show people, not friendship. “Oooh that’s why my life is empty, I remember now.”
You might recall the other day my designation of the rabble and their rousers as “the true enemy” in the Spinozan sense? These are the ones controlled by passions. The Rhetoric is about passions. In contrast, the Nicomachean Ethics presupposes those passions. I.e. given people are the way they are (vice-prone), what is virtue?
Carrying on, leave it to Strauss to show how caesar bacon salad departed from Aristotle on the subject of the passions and inaugurated the new political philosophy of the 17th and 18th centuries. What is glaringly significant about this observation, any guesses? This is the Age of Revolutions that we still live in the horizon of today. Thank Lord Bacon for this sordid plight.
Puh he’s really one to talk here
the ancient politiques in popular states were wont to compare the people to the sea, and the orators to the winds; because as the sea would of itself be calm and quiet if the winds did not move and trouble it; so the people would be peaceable and tractable if the seditious orators did not set them in working and agitation
Modernity had to be done, there’s no point in lamenting it! Now we need a new modernity. Simple really.
Seriously though, that’s why I study. To figure out how we can get one of those. The jews will be serving me a new modernity on a silver platter, any day now, just you watch.
Going from Heidegger to Strauss, it feels like not even the same text is being discussed. It’s funny how Strauss’s courses are more dialogical involving students in the discussion, while Heidegger’s are basically speaking ex cathedra in a monologue- it reflects their preferences for Plato and Aristotle, respectively. And besides form, I do have to note that with Strauss there is ironically more of the feeling of being in Plato’s cave. Oh wait, we’re supposed to be talking about politics here, I must have gotten distracted for a second.
Lure the jews in with their ethnonarcissist passions and then, WHAM, that’s when you strike.
Talking about rhetoric itself- now, that’s real friendship.
“He’s trying to manipulate me… the next thing I know I’ll be waking up in striped pajamas.”
No, seriously though- I’ve gone into it several times now how talk of the exo/eso distinction itself is non-existent (in any substantial sense) within the social sphere, and how that makes interactions so artificial. So I’m glad to be your real friend, even if you cannot reciprocate.
This will help clarify why H privileges the Rhetoric
You mention that . . . includes malevolence among the dozen or so primitive passions.
So men generally are bad. There’s no question this was Aristotle’s view. Aristotle was not a babe in the woods, or what they now call an optimist.
Now that you see this about the Rhetoric you might better understand my somewhat sinister musings about Aristotle’s obsession with animals…
The Rhetoric is an extension of the Physics, and so is the Biology. Political science is a form of biology. One could create a “taxonomy” of Aristotle-interpreters.
Just some hinting thoughts
And one would have to have great rhetorical gifts—as Churchill did—to make that case, but it can be done.