League of Acceptable Nations

Email Print

by Paul Gottfried: Leo
Strauss and the ConservativeMovement

In his recent
syndicated column “A
U.N. for the good guys
,” Jonah Goldberg evokes the mindset
of seventeenth-century puritanism. This is entirely understandable.
Much of what the American left teaches, including its neoconservative
element, resembles American Calvinism – albeit in a warmed-over
form. In Puritan New England, Congregationalists – the only
authorized communicants – were deeply troubled that unredeemed
polluted their assemblies. Those who considered themselves visible
saints were forced to break bread with those who could not properly
prove their divine election. This led to a sectarian split that
resulted in Rhode Island’s settlement by breakaway Calvinists
disgusted by the toleration of impure religious assemblies in
Massachusetts. This determined group of dissenters formed a purified
congregation of the saints

In a similar
way Jonah is looking for pure souls. He is agitated that Russia
and China would not vote for “a fairly toothless U.N. resolution
condemning the regime in Syria and calling for President Bashar
Assad, the lipless murderer who runs the place, to step down.”
Jonah points to a terrible spiritual defect in the governments
that opposed the resolution. To him it is an outrage that the
UN Security Council assigns seats to countries “because they
are powerful, not because they are decent, wise or democratic.”
This stems from what Jonah says is a “category error”:
“There is nothing in the UN Charter…that says a government
has to be democratic or even care for the welfare of its people.”
The UN does something even more grievous from the neoconservative
standpoint: It serves as a “counterweight to the United States”
and allows morally reprehensible countries to thumb their noses
at America..

Jonah holds back on the idea of “getting rid of the UN”
completely, he says it may be possible to create a “league,
or concert, of democracies” under American ideological leadership.
Here the pure of heart would be able to assemble and act in concert
because “good nations want to see good things done.”


A permanent
global clubhouse for democracies based on shared principles
would make aiding growing movements easier and offer a nice
incentive for nations to earn membership in a club with loftier
standards than mere existence.

the rest of the article

18, 2012

Gottfried [send him mail]
is Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown
College and author of Multiculturalism
and the Politics of Guilt
, The
Strange Death of Marxism
in America: Making Sense of the American Right
, and Encounters:
My Life with Nixon, Marcuse, and Other Friends and Teachers
His latest book, Leo
Strauss and the American Conservative Movement: A Critical Appraisal
was just published by Cambridge University Press.

Best of Paul Gottfried

Email Print