Down the Straussian Rabbit Hole - by Damon Linker
It’s become quite common among readers of Strauss to recognize that his mature writings (from roughly the early 1940s on) contain two teachings: a morally edifying surface message for public consumption and another, deeper, more subversive teaching fit only for his most careful and discerning readers. This is how Strauss claimed the greatest works in the history of political philosophy from the ancient Greeks on down to the late 19th century were written, and it’s now widely assumed the often-elliptical formulations and unresolved paradoxes in his own books and essays point to the same strategy in his own work.
The challenge, as always, is deciphering the hidden, or “esoteric,” teaching and separating it out from the surface, or “exoteric,” message.
Smith, following Canadian author Shadia Drury and others, including Alamariu, suggests that Strauss’ esoteric teaching is, in most respects, indistinguishable from Nietzsche’s: radically inegalitarian, contemptuous toward democracy, thoroughly anti-Christian, and favoring a strict aristocratic hierarchy with Great Philosophers who break violently and gleefully from the restraints of ordinary morality, patriotism, and piety at the tippy-top.
Damon Linker, Down the Straussian Rabbit Hole