Cambridge University Press (CUP) is not generally in the habit of publishing monographs by extreme right-wingers hailing from obscure liberal arts colleges in rural Pennsylvania. What then explains its publication of Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal by Paul Edward Gottfried, the Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College?
The key must lie in the book's subtitle, "A Critical Appraisal". Leo Strauss has become a bête noire of the academic Left, being portrayed as the chief ideologue of the Iraq War, even though he died in 1973. For them Strauss is the evil genius behind the most sinister ideology of our age, neoconservatism, and the spiritual godfather to hate figures such as former US Deputy Defense Secretary and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.
Gottfried is also highly critical of Strauss and even more so of his followers, but comes at it from a very different angle. For the Left, Strauss is an ultra-elitist reactionary who rejected modernity, believing that the masses must be duped and harnessed through the construction of politically expedient myths. For Gottfried, Strauss is a dangerous believer in liberal internationalism and a modernist who rejects custom and tradition. It seems that for CUP any stick to beat Strauss will do.