As we reflect on the blessings wrought by our pios leaders this year, it is worth taking a moment to consider the source of their spiritual inspiration, and no I don’t mean Jesus. In the 1930s, a little known German philosopher named Leo Stauss came to the United States and began a university teaching career. Among his students were Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol and others neocons who adopted Strauss’s philosophies as the foundation for the political ideals that have taken root so fundamentally in the Bush Administration. To wit:

Strauss viewed religion as absolutely essential in order to impose moral law on the masses who otherwise would be out of control. At the same time, he stressed that religion was for the masses alone; the rulers need not be bound by it. Indeed, it would be absurd if they were, since the truths proclaimed by religion were “a pious fraud.” As Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reason magazine points out, “Neoconservatives are pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers.”

[Strauss believed that] secular society..leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society’s ability to cope with external threats. Bailey argues that it is this firm belief in the political utility of religion as an “opiate of the masses” that helps explain why secular Jews like Kristol in ‘Commentary’ magazine and other neoconservative journals have allied themselves with the Christian Right and even taken on Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Merry friggin’ Christmas.

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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