NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 31, No. 1 (Spring 1964)
In recent years increasing attention has been directed to the “lower class” -those existing at the economic and social margins of society. The current concern with the limited economic prospects of school drop-outs, the discussions of “hard-core” and “multi-problem” families, the casualties of the welfare state, the analysis of the number of Americans living below the “poverty line,” and of the “submerged fifth” in Britain -all reflect the growing awareness of the underprivileged in presumably affluent welfare societies of a high level of industrialization. Much confusion exists in these discussions.
It was once fashionable to contend that the United States Constitution itself precludes judicial choice, that its commands are so clearly articulated, at least to the judges, as to leave no scope of interpretation. This fiction was widely believed. These ideas, so prevalent in earlier writing about constitutional law, were in great measure derived from the fact that the 19th century achieved a strong, if far from unanimous, consensus about the function of the Supreme Court in American society.
Professor Leo Strauss' book On Tyranny was published in 1948. In 1954 a French translation was published with an accompanying essay by Monsieur Alexandre Kojeve, entitled Tyrannie et Sagesse, and a reply to Kojeve by Strauss. In 1959 Strauss included his reply to Kojeve in English in What Is Political Philosophy? The article’s purpose in writing is not to give summary of the controversy between Strauss and Kojeve. Rather I intend to comment on certain propositions and arguments in that controversy which are of interest because they appear to be fundamental to political theory.
The events of the 20th of July, 1944 in Germany were the culmination of conspiratorial discussions which had begun in 1938. The major theme of the essay is that the anti Nazi Resistance Movement must be connected with the earlier Resistance Movement against the Weimer Republic in Germany.
In the world’s “post-modern” period, two factors seem to be especially difficult to measure: first, the role of outstanding individuals in important social and cultural changes; and second, the place of ideologies and ethics in political discourse. It is all the more difficult to consider seriously these factors together, that is, the extent of the influence which an individual leader of certain ideological and moral commitments brings to bear on the various aspects of contemporary life. It is with this complex and fascinating problem, namely, the surviving influence of Gandhi, that this paper is concerned.
In a review by Mr. Henry M. Pachter of my book, The Hard Way to Peace: A New Strategy, appearing in the Spring, 1963 issue of Social Research, were included several statements about the content of my book which are incorrect. This commentary addresses them.
Review of book by George E. Gordon Catlin. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962. 434 pp.
Review of book by Fritz Croner. Koln and Berlin: Kiepenheuer and Witsch, 1962. 310 pp.
Review of book by Robert E. Lipsey. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963. 487 pp.
The Urban Condition: People and Policy in the Metropolis Review of book by Leonard J. Duhl. New York: Basic Books, 1963. 410 pp.
Review of book by Arun K. Banerji. New York: Asia Publishing House, 1963. 255 pp.