October 30, 2006 at 10:39 pm | Posted in Globalization, History, Military, Philosophy, Research, Science & Technology, USA | Leave a comment







Office of Net Assessment

Andrew Marshall

United States Department of Defense

The United States Department of Defense‘s Office of Net Assessment was created in 1973. It operates as an internal think tank for the Department. Andrew Marshall was named its
first director, a position he still holds.

Staff members have included:

Andrew Marshall (foreign policy strategist)

Andrew Marshall is the director of the United States Department of Defense‘s
Office of Net Assessment. Appointed to the
position in 1973 by United
States President
Richard Nixon, Marshall has been
re-appointed by every president that followed.

External links

Andrew Marshall

Andrew W. Marshall, “the Pentagon’s 81-year-old futurist-in-chief, fiddles with his
security badge, squints, looks away, smiles, and finally speaks in a voice that sounds
like Gene Hackman trying not to wake anybody. Known as Yoda in defense circles, Marshall
doesn’t need to shout to be heard. Named director of the Office of Net Assessment (“the
Pentagon’s internal think tank[1]) by

Richard M. Nixon and reappointed by
every president since, the DOD’s most elusive official has become one of its most
influential. Today, Marshall – along with his star protégés Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz – is drafting President Bush’s
plan to upgrade the military.” “The Marshall
Plan” by Douglas McGray, Wired, February 2003

“Put in charge of the Bush
‘s proposed major military overhaul by Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, he has sharply polarized the defense community. Marshall’s allies and proteges
revere him, calling the Office of Net Assessment ‘St. Andrew’s Prep.’ His enemies despise
him, deriding his acolytes as ‘Jedi Knights’.”[2]
(See Andrew Marshall
Acolytes / Jedi Knights
for a listing.)

“Marshall played a major role in, among other things, the conceptualization of the
in military affairs
‘ (RMA) and is currently
playing a major role in the Bush administration’s defense review (
Quadrennial Defense
). Much of the work of ONA is highly
classified, and it has been difficult to understand just what is involved in ‘net

Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest identify Marshall as a neoconservative.[3]

The February 10, 2001, Washington Post article “Bush
Review Of Pentagon Sets Stage for a Shake-Up”
Thomas E. Ricks states that

“The military’s opposition to Mr. Marshall’s recommendations is ‘likely to be
fierce,’ predicted a person involved in the review. … But Mr. Marshall holds two aces.
He has a decades-long relationship with Mr. Rumsfeld. And the Bush campaign’s defense
stance, laid out in a speech at the Citadel in South Carolina in September 1999, relied
heavily on ideas nurtured by Mr. Marshall over the years.

“The publicity-shy Mr. Marshall is something of a legend in national security
circles, both for his longevity and for his far-reaching network of acolytes across the
government, academia and the defense industry. At 79, he is said to be the only current
Pentagon official who participated in virtually the entire Cold War, beginning in 1949 as
a nuclear strategist for Rand Corp., then moving to the Pentagon as a civilian official in
1973. He has been kept in his current job by every president since Richard M. Nixon.

“Despite his age and experience, Mr. Marshall’s views are hardly conservative. In
recent years, he has gained a reputation as a radical reformer and has antagonized many
top officers.”

“‘Today, our military is still more organized for Cold War threats than for the
challenges of a new century – for Industrial Age operations, rather than for
Information Age battles,’ Mr. Bush said
then. It was a line that could have been taken from any number of reports produced by Mr.
Marshall’s office, formally known as
‘the Adviser to
the Secretary of Defense for Net Assessment.'”

Jason Vest, “The
Dubious Genius of Andrew Marshall
, American Prospect, February 15, 2001:

“…according to [author] Ken
, if there’s a good description of Marshall it’s that he’s, ‘one of the
most effective pork-seeking missiles ever deployed by the military brass.’ While this may
be overstating matters a bit, given Marshall’s desire to gut a slew of conventional
weapons programs, it seems to ring true if you’re interested in national missile defense.
As a key witness before Donald Rumsfeld’s Commission to Assess the
Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States
, Marshall played no small role in
convincing the commission — whose findings have been cogently criticized by numerous
analysts — that a real threat is imminent.

“‘Though Rumsfeld’s commission made no recommendation whatsoever on National
Missile Defense, it dealt with the issue very artfully,’ says Jonathan Pollack. ‘In fact, if that
commission had a methodology, it was a very Marshallian methodology — you can posit these
circumstances, and if you posit the following it’s feasible this next thing could happen.’
National Missile Defense deployment should, Pollack adds, be looked at under the larger
rubric on the — currently in vogue — doctrine of ‘homeland defense,’ which focuses on
protection from ballistic missiles and terrorism, and offers a lot of moneymaking
potential to defense contractors. ‘This
is going to be a gravy train,’ he says.”

From “Inside the
Ring”, April 6, 2001

“If you want to research the writings of Andrew
to see where his Pentagon strategy review is likely headed,
a security clearance is mandatory. Mr. Marshall, director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net
Assessment, rarely publishes his thinking in unclassified forms.

“The key, associates say, is to read the writings of his disciples. Or, as one
Marshall friend framed it in a ‘Star Wars
analogy, study the Jedis to learn the teachings of Yoda.

“One Jedi is Andrew F.
, a former Army officer who worked with Mr. Marshall
in the Net Assessment Office
, a bastion of futuristic brainstorming.

“Mr. Krepinevich, who directs the private Center for
Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
, has taken on added importance. He is working on
the Pentagon’s future strategy study group headed by Mr. Marshall. It is one of about 12
panels assembled by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to plot a new course for the U.S.

“When Mr. Krepinevich writes, as he did recently, that four Trident submarines
should be converted to land-attack missile platforms, it’s a good guess that Mr. Marshall
endorses the idea.

“Marshall watchers say his ideas show up in the writings of other proteges, such
as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and James
G. Roche
, a retired Navy officer who is in line to be the next Air Force secretary.

“‘There’s this whole network of Marshallites out there and that’s how his work
gets out,’ says John Hillen, who has
participated in Mr. Marshall’s yearly military study program at the Naval War College in
Newport, R.I.”

“The Illusion of a Grand
by James Der Derian, New York Times, May 25, 2001:

“Andrew Marshall … was handpicked by Mr. Rumsfeld to guide
the strategic review. Yet Mr. Marshall and his views remain enigmatic. Well-known if not
adored by a tight circle of civilian and military strategists — the so-called church
of St. Andrew
— Mr. Marshall has been nearly invisible outside the defense
establishment. A RAND Corporation nuclear
expert beginning in 1949, he was brought by Henry
onto the National
Security Council
then appointed by President Nixon to direct the
Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment.

“He has been there ever since, despite efforts by some defense secretaries to get
rid of him. His innocuous-sounding office comes with a big brief: to assess
regional and global military balances and to determine long-term trends and threats.

“Insiders say Mr. Marshall was behind some of the key strategic decisions of the
Reagan years. His strategy for a protracted nuclear war — based on weapons modernization,
protection of governmental leaders from a first strike and an early version of Star Wars
— effectively beggared the Soviet war machine. He advocated
providing Afghan resistance fighters with the highly effective Stinger missiles.
tagged AIDS as a national security issue.

“Supporters call Mr. Marshall iconoclastic and delphic; his
detractors prefer paranoiac or worse. No one has ever called him prolix. At a
future-war seminar that he sponsored, Mr. Marshall mumbled a few introductory words and
then sat in silence, eyebrows arched, arms folded, for the remaining two days. His only
intervention came at the end. He suggested that when it came to the future, it would be
better to err on the side of being unimaginative. After that experience, I better
understood why he has been called the Pentagon’s Yoda.”

Nicholas Lehman, in “Dreaming
About War”
published in The New Yorker, July 16, 2001, writes:

“The most important promoter of the R.M.A. in America has been Andrew W. Marshall,
the head of the Pentagon’s obscure Office of Net Assessment, a cult figure in his own
right, and one of the most curious and interesting figures in the defense world. People
with decoder rings knew that Bush’s speech at the Citadel had been drafted by Marshall’s
corps of allies and that it endorsed Marshall’s main ideas.

“Bush promised that, as President, he would order up ‘an immediate, comprehensive
review of our military’ and give the Secretary of Defense ‘a broad mandate to challenge
the status quo.’ Sure enough, this February, only a couple of weeks into the Bush
Administration, newspaper stories reported that the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld,
would be conducting a broad review of the military–or, rather, that Andrew Marshall would
be conducting it on his behalf. During the Clinton Administration, William Sebastian Cohen, as the
Secretary of Defense, tried, without success, to exile the Office of Net Assessment and
Marshall, who is seventy-nine, to the National Defense University. Now,
in 2001, it looked as if Andy Marshall was back–emphatically so, in a position of higher
influence than at any other point in his long career.

“Marshall is the last active member in government of a cadre of strategic thinkers
that took form more than fifty years ago at the original think tank, the RAND Corporation,
in Santa Monica, California. The best-known member of the group, and still a hero to
conservatives, was Albert Wohlstetter;
other members were Daniel Ellsberg, who
leaked the Pentagon Papers;
Herman Kahn, a model for Dr. Strangelove; and James Schlesinger,
later the Secretary of Defense and the man who, in 1973, created the Office of Net
and installed Marshall as its head. All these people were
involved in what
Kahn liked to
call ‘thinking the unthinkable’; that is, working through precise scenarios, based on game
theory and statistics, for what would happen in the event of a nuclear war with the Soviet
Union. There was particular emphasis on how the United States might survive a first strike
and still be able to launch a second strike.

“In his early years at the Pentagon, Marshall concerned himself with other
matters. In the eighties, he performed studies concluding that the Soviet Union had become
much weaker than most people imagined it to be. For the past decade and a half, every July
at the Naval War College, in Newport, Rhode Island, he has conducted his celebrated
‘summer studies,’ in which invited experts spend a week pondering a question posed by him.

“Marshall, a small, bald man with wire-rimmed spectacles who dresses in the manner
of an unreconstructed nineteen-fifties organization man, has a peculiarly strong mystique.
For a defense intellectual, he hasn’t published much, and in public settings he doesn’t
say much, either, often mumbling in a low voice, or questioning but not answering, or
simply saying he has nothing to add to the discussion. The medium through which he works
is his protégés, who are extremely loyal. These days, the people he knows in high places
include Rumsfeld; the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz; the Deputy Secretary of
State, Richard Armitage (a principal
author of Bush’s speech at the Citadel); and the Secretary of the Air Force, James Roche,
who worked for Marshall in the seventies.

“The Revolution in Military Affairs, Marshall’s main cause for the past ten years,
can be seen as a return to his RAND roots. There is a substantial R.M.A. literature, and
one should be cautious about attributing all its main points to Marshall, but most of it
posits a version of conventional war that would be waged in much the same way as nuclear
war, with strategists at remote computer screens targeting precision missile strikes. The
R.M.A. has been up and running–in seminar rooms, at least–for long enough now that it
has a language all its own (such as ‘deep-strike architecture,’ ‘systems of systems,’
‘info dominance,’ and ‘asymmetric competitors’), which, like all insider jargon, has the
effect of pushing non-members away.”

From “Missile defence is about money and it’s here to stay” by Elaine Lafferty, Irish Times, July 25, 2001.

Andrew Marshall “was part of a group formed nearly 50 years ago at the Rand
Institute in Santa Monica, California, whose job it was, in the words of a member named
Herman Kahn, a model for Dr. Strangelove, to ‘think the unthinkable’. In other
words, they played war games and imagined horrifying scenarios.

“Since the 1980s Mr Marshall has been a promoter of an idea first posited in 1982
by Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, then chief of the Soviet general staff, called RMA, or
‘Revolution in Military Affairs’. The RMA, in general terms, opines that technological
advances have changed the very nature of conventional war.
than conflict conducted by ground troops, the new conventional war will be conducted
almost like a nuclear war, managed by strategic defence and computers at remote locations
targeting missiles at enemies.

“The ‘battlefield’, as it once was known, would no longer exist. War, in the RMA
lexicon, would be conducted by spy satellites and long-range missiles, by computer viruses
that would disable the enemies’ offensive and defensive systems, and by a ‘layered’
defence system that would make the US

“For most of the last decade, and certainly under the Clinton administration, Mr Marshall and
his protégés, who include both Mr Wolfowitz and the Secretary of Defence, Donald
Rumsfeld, and secretary of the air force James Roche, languished in various hinterlands,
including a stint for Mr Rumsfeld in the pharmaceutical industry. Mr Marshall
ran seminars at the Naval War College in Rhode Island. Neither technological advances nor
the political climate existed to make the RMA feasible.

“What a difference a vote in Florida can make. During the campaign Mr Bush had
promised an ‘immediate, comprehensive review of our military’. And just weeks into the new
administration, Mr Rumsfeld ordered exactly that, to be carried out by . . . Mr

“The ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’ Has An Enemy: Politics” by Michael
Cantanzaro, American Enterprise
, October 2001:

“Perhaps the most renowned theorist of a revolution in military affairs is Andrew Marshall. Director of the Pentagon’s internal think tank
known as the Office of Net Assessment, and the intellectual leader of Rumsfeld’s review,
Marshall has at times been treated as a pariah by the Pentagon establishment. He
is a survivor, though, and at age 79, having worked on military strategy, for a period
longer than the entire Cold War, has become a cult figure around whom reformers rally.
‘Marshall is something of a revered figure among those who know him and worked for him,’
said D. Robert Worley, a Marshall protege,
and now a senior researcher at the Potomac Institute for Policy
, a defense think tank.

“Marshall’s career began in 1949 at the California-based RAND Corporation. For
over 20 years, he, along with like-minded thinkers such as Albert Wohlstetter,
Herman Kahn, and James R. Schlesinger (Nixon’s defense
secretary), used elaborate war-gaming, incorporating advanced new concepts in statistics
and game theory, to test the best strategies for corralling the Soviet Union.
According to Eliot Cohen, another Marshall acolyte,
Marshall and a team of researchers pushed development of weapons systems that ‘would
render obsolete large portions of the Soviet arsenal, or which would impose
disproportionate costs’ on Soviet military budgets.”

“During the Clinton administration, Defense Secretary William Cohen and others
tried to ostracize Marshall and the Office of Net Assessment. Now, having caught
Rumsfeld’s ear, Marshall is a central figure in setting future Pentagon priorities.”

Andrew Marshall “grew up in Detroit and received a graduate
degree in economics from the University
of Chicago
. He took a job at the RAND Corporation in 1949 and worked with nuclear
intellectuals such as
Herman Kahn and Albert Wohlstetter. While there, Marshall and several colleagues played an
important if hidden role in the 1960 presidential election when they served as advisers to
John F. Kennedy and devised the bogus
‘missile gap,’ which JFK used to pillory Richard Nixon.”[4]

“At the broadest level of national policy, discussions of US strategy for
competing with the Soviet Union began in the late 1940s, when our relations with the
Soviets began to change fundamentally for the worse and there was little or no prospect of
a favorable turn of events in the foreseeable future.
Studied interest in systematic planning for competing with the Soviets
over the long term waned until 1968, when Andrew W. Marshall replaced James Schlesinger as
director of strategic studies at RAND
. Marshall’s quest for a
framework for structuring and giving direction to RAND’s program of strategic studies led
to his report Long Term Competition with the Soviets:
A Framework for Strategic Analysis, published in 1972. This document was a seminal contribution to US strategic
thinking in the post-World War II era. It reflects the strong influence of Marshall’s
interest, beginning in the early 1960s, in the subject of organizational behavior and in
the efforts at the Harvard Business School to develop the field of business policy and
strategy” [5]

From Fortune
, January 26, 2004
, by David Stipp:

What would abrupt climate change really be like? Scientists generally refuse to say much
about that, citing a data deficit. But recently, renowned Department of Defense planner
Andrew Marshall sponsored a groundbreaking effort to come to grips with the question. A
Pentagon legend, Marshall, 82, is known as the Defense Department’s “Yoda”–a
balding, bespectacled sage whose pronouncements on looming risks have long had an outsized
influence on defense policy. Since 1973 he has headed a secretive think tank whose role
is to envision future threats to national security
. The Department of Defense’s push
on ballistic-missile defense is known as his brainchild. Three years ago Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld picked him to lead a sweeping review on military
“transformation,” the shift toward nimble forces and smart weapons.

Note: “Since 1973 he has headed a secretive think tank whose role is to
envision future threats to national security
One could
wonder what this group was thinking about during the first eight months of 2001, while
they had access to the extensive Hart-Rudman Task Force
on Homeland Security

External Links

  • Net Book: Zalmay Khalilzad, John White, Andrew Marshall, “Strategic Appraisal:
    The Changing Role of Information in Warfare”
    (full report), RAND Corporation,
    1999. “Explores the opportunities and vulnerabilities inherent in the increasing
    reliance on information technology.”
  • The Definition of
    Strategic Assessment
    . In particular, scroll down to the section on “Department of
    Defense Net Assessments.”
  • Past
    Revolution, Future Transformations
    , RAND
    , 1999. Complete book online. Also see Bibliography for
    names and article related to ONA and Andrew Marshall.
  • Thomas Parker, High-Tech to the Rescue in
    the Persian Gulf
    , Middle East Quarterly/Middle East Forum, June 1999: “Defense
    intellectuals tend to support the revolution in military affairs and its quest for a new
    generation of weapons systems; in contrast, those with vested interests to protect are
    RMA advocates include senior Reagan and Bush officials such as Paul Wolfowitz,
    Richard Perle (both now advising Governor George W. Bush), Richard Armitage (author of a
    recent Congressionally-mandated study on the subject), Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins
    University, and Zalmay Khalilzad of RAND. Andrew Marshall, the head of the Department of
    Defense’s Office of Net
    an in-house think tank, has pushed hard for the RMA; while he had a close relationship
    with former secretaries of defense Cheney and Perry, his office was almost moved outside
    of the Pentagon under Secretary Cohen.”
  • Ken Silverstein, The Man
    From ONA
    , The Nation, October 25, 1999.
  • Bill Keller, The Fighting
    Next Time
    , Why War?, March 10, 2002: “But Marshall’s real public face is
    the legion of prolific
    R.M.A. proteges in policy institutes and universities whose work he has sponsored. His consistent
    theme (and theirs) for at least a decade has been that the nature of warfare is in for one
    of its periodic upheavals as nations adjust to two major developments. … One is the
    perfection of long-range precision strike weapons that enable armies to fight from great
    distances and that make massive, conspicuous platforms like carriers and air bases more
    vulnerable. As our adversaries acquire more accurate missiles, Marshall argues, wars will
    probably be fought either from long range or by quick and comparatively small units that
    get in and out quickly. The other change is the emergence of information warfare, in which the most
    valuable assets are more powerful sensors–satellites, airborne cameras, handheld global
    positioning system equipment, robotic snoopers–that give the advantage to the side that
    can better read the battlefield and more quickly disseminate information to its
  • Bruce Berkowitz, War in the
    Information Age
    , Hoover Institution,
    Spring, 2002: “These technologies are turning over many traditional notions about how
    to wage war. Much of this new thinking can be traced to the
    Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment and its director, Andrew Marshall. Although little known to the general public, the office has often been much more
    influential than its obscure title suggests. It is an in-house think tank for DOD charged
    with looking 10 or 20 years into the future, sizing up the threats the United States will
    face, and analyzing how we will match them.
    … In
    the early 1990s, Marshall began to speak about a ‘revolution in military affairs’ (RMA).
    This revolution was driven mainly by the great changes that were under way in
    information technology. As a result of these changes, military forces would be able to
    have a better picture of the adversary and would be able to strike at him with precision
    weapons from great distance. The military would also need to become more mobile because
    large, stationary forces would be too vulnerable. … Over the course of three decades,
    many promising majors, lieutenant commanders, and GS-13 civilians have done a tour through
    Office of Net Assessment.
    These officers are now generals, admirals, and members of the Pentagon’s
    Senior Executive Service
    and have considerable influence in drafting war plans and
    designing new weapons programs.”
  • George Lewis, Pentagon Defense
    Strategist Previews Future Warfare
    , University of Kentucky Public Relations, July 11,
  • Amrish Sehgal, China
    and the Doctrine of Asymmetrical Warfare
    2003: “That some of Andrew Marshall’s worst fears are coming true is already evident.
    Japan’s economy has been in the doldrums for the last 7 years. Its biggest market, USA, is
    itself locked in the throes of a recession. Given the major onslaught of Korean companies,
    perhaps the only large markets left to Japan are India and China. India’s market for range
    of products that Japan makes, unfortunately for Japan, is already highly competitive,
    consumer oriented and service-intensive. China on the other hand is still somewhat of a
    command economy and is as large, if not larger, a market than India. Moreover, political
    considerations in China allow a better deal to be given to Japan than to South Korea.
    Indeed, China is going all out to woo Japan Inc. The day is not too far away when China
    emerges as Japan’s largest investment market and trading partner. Chinese political
    pressure upon Japan to distance itself from USA can certainly be envisioned at such a
  • James G. Roche, Serving
    the Patriots of America’s Air Force
    . Remarks at the Order of the Sword Induction
    Ceremony, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. September 13, 2003: “I also want to point out
    that one of my most important mentors is here tonight. He is my mentor, Bill Bodie‘s mentor, General Lance Lord‘s mentor, and he is
    Brigadier General Rich Hassan‘s
    mentor — Andrew Marshall, one of the finest men in the Department of Defense. Andy was
    the head of the
    Office of Net Assessment when Admiral Farragut was around and was appointed to the job by General George
    Washington just before he relinquished command of the Continental Army. He celebrated his
    50th wedding anniversary last night. And ladies and gentlemen, tonight is his 82nd
    birthday. He is still working full time at our Pentagon. General John Jumper and I have often
    relied on one of his many sayings to help you cope with tough times. He once said to me,
    ‘There simply are limits to the stupidity any one may can prevent.’ General Jumper and I
    call upon that time after time.”


October 30, 2006 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Globalization, History, Military, Science & Technology | Leave a comment







Global empire

Global Empire

A global empire involves the extension of a state’s sovereignty over territories all around the world. The essential
criterion demands that, when navigating around the world, the longest trip between the
possessions be half of the
circumference of the planet. "Global" is therefore a function of longitude,
not of
latitude. For example, because of the Spanish Empire‘s territories around the
globe, it was often said in the
that " the sun never sets on
the Spanish Empire
." This phrase was later
applied to the
Russian Empire and British


Early empires

Earlier empires were largely confined to the American or African and Eurasian continents.
Nations such as ancient Egypt, the Aztec
Empire, the Roman Empire, the Incan
Empire, India and China could in one
sense be considered early superpowers, but not Global

Some of these early superpowers which spread across different continents include:

Only after the circumnavigation of the globe by Ferdinand Magellan‘s expedition (15191522) could
states begin to achieve a global presence.

European contenders

The first global empires were a product of the European Age of Exploration
that began with a race of exploration between the then most advanced maritime powers, Portugal and Spain, in the late 1400s. The initial impulse behind these dispersed maritime empires
and those that followed was trade; driven by the new ideas and of the capitalism that grew
out of the European Renaissance.

Portugal began establishing the first global trade network
and empire under the leadership of prince Henry the Navigator.

During its Siglo de Oro, the Spanish Empire had
possession of the Netherlands, Luxembourg,
Belgium, Portugal, most of Italy, parts of Germany, parts of France, and many colonies in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. With
the conquest of inland Mexico, Peru,
and the Philippines in the 16th century, Spain established overseas dominions on a scale and world
distribution that had never been approached by its predecessors (the Mongol had been
larger but was restricted to Eurasia). Possessions in Europe, Africa, the Atlantic, the Americas, the Pacific, and the Far East qualified the Spanish
as attaining a global presence in this sense.

It is a little known fact that, for a few brief years in the 1650s, the tiny Duchy of Courland, located in what is now Latvia, simultaneously maintained overseas colonies within the
territories of modern-day Gambia and Trinidad and Tobago. Thus, going by the above
definition, this unlikely Latvia-Gambia-Tobago combination was, strictly speaking, a
"Global Empire", although its total acreage was relatively small. (See Courland colonization.)

Subsequent global empires included the French, Dutch, and British
empires. The latter, consolidated during the period of British maritime hegemony in the 19th century, became the largest empire in history by virtue
of the improved transportation technologies of the time (nominal claims to huge tracts of
uninhabited and uninhabitable land in the Arctic and in Australia, for instance, went uncontested). At its height, the British Empire covered a quarter of the Earth‘s land area and comprised a quarter of its population. By the
1860s, the Russian Empire– and it’s heir the Soviet Union– became the largest contiguous state in the
world, and the latter’s main successor continues to be so to this day. The present-day Russian Federation, despite having "lost"
its Soviet periphery, has 12 time zones, stretching
slightly over half the
world’s longitude.

Global Empires

Related links

Retrieved from ""


October 30, 2006 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Books, Globalization, History, Literary | Leave a comment






The World State

The World State

The World State is the primary setting of Aldous Huxley‘s 1932 dystopian
Brave New World. In the novel, The World State is a unified government which administers the entire planet, with a few isolated exceptions.

The motto of The World State is Community, Identity, Stability.


The citizens of The World State use a calendar which takes the year 1908 as its
starting point, as this was the first year in which the
Model T automobile was produced by the Ford Motor Company.

According to the novel, the "Nine Years’ War" broke out in Year 141, or the
2049 of our calendar. Very little is revealed of The Nine Years’ War, but it
can be inferred that the conflict broke out in Europe, affected most of the planet, and
caused massive physical damage. It is repeatedly stated that chemical and biological
weapons were heavily used during the war, particularly in mass air-raids against cities.
Following the war, which seems to have petered out rather than been ended by a decisive
the global economy
collapsed and created an
worldwide economic crisis. To deal with the two catastrophes of the Nine Years’ War and
the Great Economic Collapse, the new world leaders tried to forcibly impose their new
ideologies on Earth’s populations.

This met with widespread resistance, including large-scale riots at Golders Green and a massacre at the British Museum. Realising that they could not force people
to adopt the new lifestyle, the World Controllers instead united the planet into the
One World State and began a peaceful
campaign of change. This campaign included the closing of museums, the suppression of
almost all literature published before 2058, and the destruction of the few historical
world monuments that had survived the Nine Years’ War.
By the time the novel is set, The World State is fully established and
almost all citizens of Earth are under its full control.

Political geography

At the time of the novel, the entire planet is united as The One World State, governed
by ten World Controllers, headquartered in various key cities
. A few
isolated areas have been left as "savage reservations", including parts of New Mexico, Samoa, and a small group
of islands off the coast of New Guinea. Toward the end of
the novel, a conversation between John and Western Europe’s World Controller, Mustapha Mond, reveals further details of the
World State’s political geography. Mond
explains that areas which have very few resources or languish in unpleasant climates are
not "civilised" by the government, as it would be uneconomical. Subsequently,
these areas are left as reservations, and local life continues. Small islands across the
planet, such as the Falkland Islands and the Marquesas Islands, are reserved for citizens of the
World State who do not wish to live in, or
do not fit into the normal society.


The two billion inhabitants of the World State are rigidly divided into five classes or castes. Society is controlled by Alphas
and their subordinates, Betas. Below them, in descending order of intelligence and
physique, are Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. Each caste is further subdivided into Plus and
Minus, and are distinguished by colour-coded work clothes. Epsilons are dressed in black,
Deltas in khaki, Gammas in green, Betas in mulberry, and Alphas in grey. At the very
pinnacle of society sit Alpha Double-Plus, who are destined to be the future scientists
and top administrators of the world. People in different castes are conditioned to be
happy in their own way – they do not feel resentment towards other castes, but rather
feel a slight contempt for people not members of their own caste. At the same time,
however, all members of society are repeatedly taught that everyone is equally important
to society.

Citizens of the World State
enjoy racial harmony across the planet. Although England is seen to be mostly populated
with Caucasians, the population also contains substantial ethnic proportions, and across
the planet, people of different racial heritage live alongside one another in harmony.
When visiting an electrical products factory in London, John
witnesses Caucasians and black Senegalese working together. The only "feely"
(see below) in the novel features a black hero with a white heroine. An official at the
Central London Hatchery explains that Negro fetuses are easier to grow than Caucasians, as
they are said to be hardier. In the first pages of the novel, the Director of Hatcheries
describes how babies are grown regardless of ethnic group, and that Caucasians, Negroes,
and Chinese are all produced in the Central London Hatchery alone.

In addition to racial harmony, gender disparities appear to have been eliminated in The World State. Both men and women are equals in society.
However, a third pseudo-gender has been engineered: freemartins,
an hermaphrodidic group of humans who appear to have
been grown as females, but have been sterilised and exhibit traits of both the male and
female genders. While freemartins appear female, they exhibit some male characteristics,
including the growth of facial hair.

Ageism is a thing of the past in The World State. Biological engineering has
eliminated the impact of old age upon the human body; using blood transfusions, chemical enhancements, and hormone replacement therapy, as well as the
standard devotion to physical sports, people maintain young, strong bodies for the
duration of their lives, and do not exhibit any physical indications of old age, even
appearing young when they eventually expire from natural causes. Without these physical
signs, it is virtually impossible to gauge a person’s age based on appearance, and as a
result, ageism is non-existent.


The World State operates a command
, in which prices, production, and trade are all regulated by the state.
Furthermore, the economy is based on the principles of mass
and mass consumerism. Citizens of the World
State have access to a vast array of very high-quality foods, goods, and services, whilst
the manufacture and provision of these goods and services creates jobs for all members of
society. In order to enhance consumerism and so keep the economy strong, people are
encouraged to throw away old or damaged possessions and buy new ones. In this way, every
citizen of the World State is kept happy, with a plentiful supply of creature comforts and
a permanent job. Later in the novel, World Controller Mustapha
explains that approximately one third of the global population is employed
permanently in agricultural occupations, a surprisingly
high proportion for such a high-tech, industrialised society.


Culture in the World State
is homogenous and appears to be fairly similar across the entire planet. Music is very popular, and makes use of the latest gadgets to
enhance listening pleasure by adding light shows and pleasant aromas. Television and "feelies" (see below) are widespread
throughout the World State. Sport is a cornerstone of culture
and is very popular, consisting of various bizarre games played using a bewildering array
of high-tech gadgets, in order to keep factories busy. Games such as "Centrifugal
Bumble-Puppy", "Riemann Surface Tennis", "Escalator Squash", and "Electro-Magnetic
Golf" are major distractions for all levels of society,
alongside more recognisable sports, including wrestling and swimming. Citizens of the World State enjoy many frequent holidays, and global travel allows
people to journey across the planet for relaxation. Advertisements in Western Europe are seen promoting holidays to "the
gorgeous East"
. One surprising holiday destination
is a large (but apparently unimpressive) hotel complex at the North
. It is possible that holidays to the moon are available,
but as such trips are only given one vague, passing reference in the novel, lunar
recreation can neither be confirmed nor denied.


Life in the World State in (anno Ford or After Ford) A.F. 632 is
dominated by very advanced technology, which influences all aspects of life. Sport is a
pillar of the
World State,
consisting of various games and activities which use very high-tech equipment. Another key
aspect of entertainment are the "feelies" – the World
high-tech version of "movies". In the
later part of the novel, Lenina takes John to a feely, where the concept is explained.
Users rest their hands on metal knobs protruding from the arms of their chair, allowing
them to feel the physical sensations of the actors on-screen (these seem to be used almost
exclusively for sexual films). Various other high-tech entertainment devices feature
heavily in the book, including Synthetic Music Boxes, Scent Organs (musical instruments
which combine music with pleasant aromas), Colour Organs (combining music with a dazzling
light show), and televisions.

Transport technology is also highly advanced. The main form of urban transport is the helicopter, with variations including "taxicopters"
and expensive, long-range "sporticopters". For the lower castes, high-speed monorails are used to travel around the countryside. Global
travel is conducted using rocket planes, which are colour-coded according to their

In the Hatcheries and Conditioning Centres, advanced technology is used in the creation
of new embryos. In addition to high-tech laboratory equipment, the Hatcheries rely on
machines to condition bottled embryos to heat, sudden motion, and disease, allowing the
embryos to fulfill their predestined jobs in specific climates. Newly hatched children in
the Conditioning Centres are exposed to a variety of technologically advanced devices
which help to mould them into their predetermined roles. In one early scene, Delta
children are trained to hate the countryside and books through operant conditioning involving klaxons and
electrocution. Hypnopædia is conducted using speakers
built into the beds. The speakers themselves are fed by machines which convert printed
material into softly spoken words.

Other aspects of life are greatly influenced by advanced technology. Most clothes are
made from fine synthetic materials such as acetate
and viscose. Architecture is dominated by
"vitra-glass" and "ferroconcrete"
skyscrapers. Men shave using electrolytic
and consume sex-hormone chewing gum. Citizens
can relax using "vibro-vac" massage machines and the
ever-present soma (the novel reveals that although this is ingested in tablet form,
it can also be vaporised to form an anaesthetic cloud).

The novel repeatedly explains that the reason for such advanced technology is to keep
workers busy manufacturing products. Interestingly though, the citizens of the
World State could enjoy significantly
better devices. In a conversation towards the end of the novel, World Controller Mustapha Mond explains to John that countless plans and
designs for more advanced technologies already exist.
The World State could, he explains, synthetically
manufacture all of its food products and use highly efficient labour-saving machines.
However, more advanced technology is not developed, as the World Controllers fear that
high-tech machines would result in people having too much time on their hands. This,
explains Mond, is not in the
World State’s best interests, following a previous experiment in Ireland,
which revealed that more advanced technology simply led to widespread boredom and
increased use of soma . Although the citizens
of Brave New World enjoy very advanced gadgets, they
are unaware that human technology has in fact reached an artificial peak.


October 30, 2006 at 1:42 pm | Posted in Books, Globalization, History, Judaica, Literary, Philosophy | Leave a comment






Strauss noted that thinkers of the first rank, going back to Plato, had raised the<br /> problem of whether good and effective politicians could be completely truthful and still<br /> achieve the necessary ends of their society

Leo Strauss

September 20, 1899October 18, 1973

Since his death, he has come to be regarded as an intellectual source of neoconservatism in the United States.

Leo Strauss (September 20, 1899October 18, 1973), was a German-born American political philosopher who specialized in the study
of classical philosophy. He spent most of his
career as a Political Science Professor at the University
of Chicago
, where he taught several generations of devoted students, as well as
publishing fifteen books. Since his death, he has come to be regarded as an intellectual
source of neoconservatism in the United States.


Leo Strauss was born in the small town of Kirchhain, Hessen, Germany, on September 20, 1899,
to Hugo and Jennie Strauss née David. According to Allan
‘s 1974 obituary in Political Theory, Strauss "was raised as an
Orthodox Jew", but in fact the family’s relationship to Orthodox practice was
not completely faithful, and may be categorized as conservative in light of the German
language study Mittelhessen- eine Heimat für Juden? Das Schicksal der Familie Strauss
aus Kirchhain
or Central Hessen- a homeland for Jews? The fate of the Strauss
Family from Kirchhain
by Joachim Lüders and Ariane Wehner, 1989. In "A Giving of
Accounts", published in The College 22(1) and later reprinted in Jewish
Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity
, Strauss noted he had come from a
"conservative, even orthodox Jewish home", but one in which there was little
Jewish knowledge beyond a strict adherence to ceremonial laws. His father and uncle
operated a farming supply and livestock business that they inherited from their father,
Meyer (1835-1919), a prominent and outspoken leader of the Jewish community. Leo Strauss
would dedicate his second book to his father.

After attending the Kirchhain Volksschule and the private, Protestant Rektoratsschule,
Leo Strauss was enrolled at the famous Gymnasium Philippinum
in nearby Marburg (from which Johannes Althusius and Carl J. Friedrich also
graduated) in 1912, graduating in 1917.
During that time, he boarded with the Marburg Cantor Strauss
(no relation); the Cantor’s residence served as a meeting place for followers of the
neo-Kantian philosopher, Hermann Cohen. Strauss served
in the German army during World War One from July 5,
1917 to December 1918.

Strauss subsequently enrolled in the University of Hamburg,
where he received his doctorate in 1921, his thesis "On the Problem of Knowledge in the Philosophical
Doctrine of F. H. Jacobi" supervised by Ernst Cassirer. He also attended courses at the
Universities of Freiburg and Marburg,
including some by Edmund Husserl and his pupil Martin Heidegger. Strauss kept some distance from
Heidegger. Strauss’s closest friend was Jacob Klein but he also was friendly and intellectually
engaged with Karl Löwith, Gerhard Krüger, Julius Guttman, Hans-Georg
, Franz Rosenzweig (to whom Strauss
dedicated his first book), Gershom Scholem, Alexander Altmann, and the
great Arabist Paul Kraus, who
married Strauss’s sister Bettina (Strauss and his wife later adopted their child, when
both parents perished in the Middle East). With several of these old friends, Strauss
carried on vigorous epistolary exchanges later in life; many of these letters are now
being published in the Gesammelte Schriften as well as elsewhere, some in
translation from the German. Strauss had also been engaged in an important discourse with Carl Schmitt, who was instrumental in Strauss’ receiving a Rockefeller Fellowship; when Strauss left Germany,
he reportedly ceased communication with Schmitt and failed to reply to his overtures.

After receiving a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1932, Strauss left
his position at the Academy of Jewish Research in Berlin for
Paris. He returned to Germany only once, for a few short days 20 years later. In Paris he
married Marie (Miriam) Bernsohn, a widow with a young child whom he had known previously
in Germany. He adopted his wife’s son. At his death he was survived by his son Thomas, his
daughter Jenny Strauss Clay and three grandchildren. Strauss became a lifelong friend of Alexandre Kojeve, and was on friendly terms with Raymond Aron, Alexandre
, and Etienne Gilson. Because of the Nazi rise
to power, he refused to return to his native country. Strauss found shelter, after some
vicissitudes, in England, where in 1935 he gained temporary
employment at University of Cambridge. While
in England, he became a close friend of R. H. Tawney.

Unable to find permanent employment in England, Strauss moved in 1937 to the United States, under the patronage of Harold Laski, who generously bestowed upon Strauss a brief
lectureship. After a short and precarious stint as Research Fellow in the Department of
History at Columbia University, Strauss secured a
tenuous position at the New School for
Social Research
in New York City, where, between 1938 and 1948, he eked out a
hand-to-mouth living on the political science faculty. He became a US citizen in 1944, and
in 1949 he became a professor of political science
at the University of Chicago and received for the first time in his life a decent living
wage. Strauss held

the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professorship there until 1969 when
he moved to Claremont Graduate School in
California for a year, and then to St. John’s
in 1970, where he was the Scott Buchanan Distinguished Scholar in Residence
until his death in 1973.


For Strauss, politics and philosophy were necessarily intertwined at their roots. He
regarded the trial and death of Socrates as the moment in
which political philosophy, as understood by Strauss, came to light. Until Socrates’ life
and death in Athens, philosophers were relatively free to pursue the study of nature and
politics. Strauss mentions in The City and Man that Aristotle
traces the first philosopher concerned with politics to have been a city planner many
generations before Socrates. Yet Socrates was not a political philosopher in the modern
sense, Socrates did not philosophically study political phenomena; rather, Socrates was
the first philosopher forced by the polis to treat philosophy politically. Thus Strauss
considered one of the most important moments in the history
of philosophy
to be the argument by Socrates and his
students that philosophers or scientists could not study nature
without considering their own human nature, which, in the
famous phrase of Aristotle, is "political." The trial of Socrates was the first
act of "political" philosophy, and Plato’s
dialogues were the purest form of the political treatment of philosophy, their sole
comprehensive theme being the life and death of Socrates, the philosopher par
for Strauss and many of his students.

Strauss carefully distinguished "scholars" from "philosophers",
identifying himself as a scholar. He wrote that today, most self-described philosophers
are in actuality scholars, cautious and methodical rather than bold. He contended that
great thinkers are bold but wary of pitfalls, whereas scholars benefit from sure ground.
Strauss concluded that scholars exist because great thinkers disagree on fundamental
points, and these fundamental disagreements enable scholars to reason.

In Natural Right and History Strauss begins with a critique of the epistemology of Max Weber,
follows with a brief engagement with the relativism of Martin Heidegger (who goes unnamed), and continues with
a discussion of the evolution of Natural Right in analyzing the
thought of Thomas Hobbes and John
. He concludes by critiquing Jean-Jacques
and Edmund Burke. At the heart of the book
are excerpts of classical political philosophy, such as Plato, Aristotle and Cicero. A selection of
Strauss’s essays published under the title, The Rebirth of Classical Political
offers an introduction to his thinking: "Social Science and
Humanism", "An Introduction to Heideggerian Existentialism", "On
Classical Political Philosophy", "Thucydides and the Meaning of Political
History", and "How to Begin to Study Medieval Philosophy" are among his
topics. Much of his philosophy is a reaction to the works of
Heidegger. Indeed, Strauss wrote that Heidegger’s thinking must be understood and
confronted before any complete formulation of modern political theory is possible. For
Strauss, Plato was the philosopher who could match

Strauss partially approached the ideas of Friedrich
and Søren Kierkegaard through his
understanding of
which he placed under the general rubric of "existentialism",
a movement with a "flabby periphery" but a "hard center" (see his 1961
essay, Relativism and the Study of Man). He wrote that Nietzsche was the first
philosopher to properly understand relativism, an idea
grounded in a general acceptance of Hegelian historicism. Yet Martin Heidegger sanitized and politicized Nietzsche.
Whereas Nietzsche believed "our own principles, including the belief in progress,
will become as relative as all earlier principles had shown themselves to be" and
"the only way out seems to be… that one voluntarily choose life-giving delusion
instead of deadly truth, that one fabricate a myth", Heidegger himself believed that
the tragic nihilism of Nietzsche was itself a
"myth" formed by mankind, not guided by the defective Western conception of Being Heidegger traced to Plato. For Strauss, as evidenced in his
published correspondence with Alexandre Kojève, the
possibility that Hegel was correct when he postulated an end of
history meant an end to philosophy, and an end to nature as understood by classical
political philosophy. Strauss was much more sympathetic to Nietzsche’s idea of tragedy in
this prospect compared to
Heidegger’s belief that nihilism, properly understood, contained the possibility of
mankind’s salvation.

Strauss on reading

In 1952 Strauss published Persecution and the Art of
; a work that advanced the possibility that philosophers wrote esoterically to
avoid persecution by the state or religious authority, while also being able to reach
potential philosophers within the pious faithful. From this point on in his scholarship,
Strauss deepened his conception of this means of communication between philosophers and
"potential knowers". Stemming from his study of Maimonides
and Al Farabi, and then extended to his reading of Plato (he
mentions particularly the discussion of writing in the Phaedrus)
Strauss thought that an esoteric text was the proper type for philosophic learning. Rather
than simply outlining the philosopher’s thoughts, the esoteric text forces readers to do
their own thinking and learning. As Socrates says in the Phaedrus, writing does not
respond when questioned but this type of writing invites a kind of dialogue with the
reader, thereby reducing the problems of the written word. It was therefore also a
teaching tool, and even a filter to help prevent the creation of Alcibiades-like students. One of the political dangers Strauss
pointed to was the danger of students’ too quickly accepting dangerous ideas. This was
indeed also relevant in the trial of Socrates, where his relationship with Alcibiades was
used against him.

Ultimately, Strauss believed that philosophers offered both an "exoteric" or
salutary teaching, and an "esoteric" or true teaching, which was concealed from
the general reader. By maintaining this distinction, Strauss is often accused of having
written esoterically himself. This opinion is perhaps encouraged because many of Strauss’
works are difficult and sometimes mysterious. Moreover, a careful reading of Strauss will
show that he also emphasized that writers using this lost form of writing often left
contradictions and other excuses to examine the writing more carefully. There are many
examples of this in Strauss own published works, and thus is a source for much debate
surrounding Strauss.

Therefore a controversy exists surrounding Strauss’ interpretation of the existing
philosophical canon. Strauss believed that the
writings of many philosophers contained both an exoteric and esoteric teaching which is
often not perceived by modern academics. Most famously, he believed that Plato’s Republic should never have been read as a proposal for a real
regime (as it is in the works of Karl Popper for example).
But, according to Strauss, generally this kind of exoteric/esoteric dichotomy became
unused by the time of Kant. Similarly well known are his
espousals of the philosophical credentials of Machiavelli
and Xenophon.

Strauss on politics

According to Strauss, modern Social Science was
flawed. It claimed the ground by which truth could be discovered on an unexamined
acceptance of the fact-value distinction.
Strauss doubted the fact-value distinction was a fundamental category of the mind and
studied the evolution of the concept from its roots in Enlightenment philosophy to Max Weber, a thinker Strauss credited with a "serious and
noble mind". Weber wanted to separate values from science, but according to Strauss
was really a derivative thinker, deeply influenced by Nietzsche’s relativism. Therefore, Strauss treated politics not as
something that could be studied from afar. A political scientist examining politics with a
value-free scientific eye, for Strauss, was impossible, not just a tragic self-delusion. Positivism, the heir to the traditions of both Auguste Comte and Max Weber, in making purportedly
value-free judgments, failed the ultimate test of justifying its own existence, which
would require a value-judgment.

While modern liberalism had stressed the pursuit
of individual liberty as its highest goal, Strauss felt that there should be a greater
interest in the problem of human excellence and political virtue. Through his writings,
Strauss constantly raised the question of how, and to what extent, freedom and excellence
can coexist. Without deciding this issue, Strauss refused to make do with any simplistic
or one-sided resolutions of the Socratic question: What is the good for the city and man?

Liberalism and nihilism

Strauss taught that liberalism in its modern form
contained within it an intrinsic tendency towards relativism, which in turn led to two
types of nihilism. [citation
] The first was a "brutal" nihilism, expressed in Nazi and Marxist regimes. These ideologies, both descendants of Enlightenment thought, tried
to destroy all traditions, history, ethics and moral standards and replace it by force
with a supreme authority from which nature and mankind are subjugated and conquered. [citation needed] The second type- the
‘gentle’ nihilism expressed in Western liberal democracies- was a kind of
value-free aimlessness and hedonism, which he saw permeating
the fabric of contemporary American society. [citation
] In the belief that 20th century relativism, scientism,
historicism, and nihilism were all implicated in the
deterioration of modern society and philosophy, Strauss
sought to uncover the philosophical pathways that had led to this state. The resultant
study lead him to revive classical political philosophy as a source by which political
action could be judged.

Noble lies and deadly truths

Strauss noted that thinkers of the first rank, going back to Plato, had raised the
problem of whether good and effective politicians could be completely truthful and still
achieve the necessary ends of their society. By implication, Strauss asks his readers to
consider whether
"noble lies" have any role at all to play in uniting and guiding the polis. Are
"myths" needed to give people meaning and purpose and to ensure a stable
society? Or can men and women dedicated to relentlessly examining, in Nietzsche’s
language, those "deadly truths", flourish freely? Thus, is there a limit to the
political, and what can be known absolutely? In The City and Man, Strauss discusses
the myths outlined in Plato’s Republic that are
required for all governments. These include a belief that the state’s land belongs to it
even though it was likely acquired illegitimately, and that citizenship is rooted in
something more than the accidents of birth. Strauss has been interpreted as endorsing
"noble lies," myths used by
political leaders seeking to maintain a cohesive society. [1] [2] [3]

According to Strauss, Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies had
mistaken the city-in-speech described in Plato’s Republic
for a blueprint for regime reform–which it was not. Strauss quotes Cicero,
"The Republic does not bring to light the best possible regime but rather the
nature of political things- the nature of the city." (History of Political
, p.68). Strauss himself argued in many publications that the city-in-speech
was unnatural, precisely because "it is rendered possible by the abstraction from eros
(Strauss’ italics). (HPP, p.60). The city-in-speech abstracted from eros, or
bodily needs, thus it could never guide politics in the manner Popper claimed. Though very
skeptical of "progress," Strauss was equally skeptical about political agendas
of "return" (which is the term he used in contrast to progress). In fact, he was
consistently suspicious of anything claiming to be a solution to an old political or
philosophical problem. He spoke of the danger in trying to ever finally resolve the debate
between rationalism and traditionalism
in politics. In particular, along with many in the pre-World
War II
German Right, he feared people trying to force a "world state" to come into being in the future, thinking
that it would inevitably become a tyranny.

Ancients and Moderns

Strauss constantly stressed the importance of two dichotomies in political philosophy: Athens and Jerusalem (Reason vs. Revelation) and Ancient
versus Modern political philosophy. The "Ancients" were the Socratic
philosophers and their intellectual heirs, and the "Moderns" start with Niccolo Machiavelli. The contrast between Ancients
and Moderns was understood to be related to the public presentation of the possibly
unresolvable tension between Reason and Revelation. The Socratics, reacting to the first Greek philosophers, brought philosophy back to earth, and
hence back to the marketplace, making it more political. The Moderns reacted to the
dominance of revelation in medieval society by promoting the
possibilities of Reason very strongly — which in turn leads to problems in modern
politics and society. In particular, Thomas Hobbes,
under the influence of Bacon, re-oriented political science to what was most solid, but
most low in man, setting a precedent for John Locke, and the later economic approach to
political thought, such as initially in David Hume, and Adam Smith.

Not unlike Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Thomas Jefferson, Strauss believed that the vices of a
democratic regime must be known (and not left unquestioned) so that its virtues might
triumph. However, insofar as his teaching suggested that the argument for the pre-eminence
of democracy is not an apodictic principle (i.e. not self
evident or beyond contradiction), he has gained the reputation for being an enemy to

Strauss in the Public View

Strauss is a controversial figure,[1] not only for his political
views, but because some of his students and their followers are themselves controversial
public figures. Allan Bloom, best known for his critique
of higher education The Closing of the
American Mind
, was very close to Strauss (their relationship is lampooned in Saul Bellow‘s quasi-biographical novel Ravelstein, where the minor character Davarr represents
Strauss and the central character Ravelstein represents Bloom). Harry V. Jaffa, another student of Strauss, served as a
speechwriter for 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry
and is a proponent of Declarationism
constitutional theory. Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary
of Defense during the United States
invasion of Iraq
and later President of the World Bank,
was briefly a student of Strauss; Wolfowitz attended two courses which Strauss taught on
Plato and Montesquieu‘s Spirit of the Laws. James Mann claims that Wolfowitz chose the University of
Chicago because Strauss taught there and believed him to be "a unique figure, an
irreplaceable asset," recommended to him by teacher Allan Bloom who taught at Cornell
when Wolfowitz was an undergraduate there. Wolfowitz himself has claimed to be more of a
student of Albert Wohlstetter. The Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans, which worked under
Wolfowitz to gather intelligence for the Iraq War, was headed
by Abram Shulsky, another of Strauss’s students.[4] Harvey C. Mansfield, though never a student of
Strauss, is a noted Straussian (as followers of Strauss frequently identify themselves)
and prominent neoconservative whose notable students
include Andrew Sullivan, Elliott Abrams, Alan Keyes,
and Bill Kristol.

Critics of Strauss also accuse him of elitism and anti-democratic sentiment. Shadia Drury, author of 1999’s Leo Strauss and the
American Right
, argues that Strauss taught different things to different students, and
inculcated an elitist strain in American political leaders that is linked to imperialist
militarism and Christian fundamentalism. Drury accuses Strauss of teaching that
"perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical because they need
to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what’s good for them." Drury
adds, "
The Weimar Republic was his model of liberal democracy… liberalism in Weimar, in Strauss’s
view, led ultimately to the Nazi
Holocaust against the Jews."

In 2004 Adam Curtis produced a
three-part documentary for the BBC on the threat from organised terrorism called the Power
of Nightmares
. This television documentary claimed that Strauss’ teachings, among
others, influenced neo-conservative and thus, United
States foreign policy, especially following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Two students of
Strauss, Wolfowitz and William Kristol, are cited, and
Kristol discusses Strauss’s influence in the film. Since they were students of Strauss,
the documentary claims that their later political views and actions are a result of
Strauss’ philosophy and teaching. The central theme of the documentary is that the
neoconservatives created myths to make the Soviet Union
and terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda appear to be
better organized and coordinated, as well as more threatening than they actually were, and
that such "nightmares" enabled the neoconservatives to gain disproportionate
power in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations.

Others, such as Steven Smith, question[5] the link between
Strauss and neoconservative thought, arguing that
Strauss was never personally active in politics, never endorsed imperialism, and
questioned the utility of political philosophy for the practice of politics.[6]
Those who do make such a link, Smith argues, misread Strauss’s published writings.


The silence of a wise man is always meaningful.

—Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli, , U. Chicago Press, 1958, page 30

The most superficial fact regarding the Discourses, the fact that the number of
its chapters equals the number of books of Livy’s History, compelled us to start a
chain of tentative reasoning which brings us suddenly face to face with the only New
Testament quotation that ever appears in Machiavelli’s two books and with an enormous

—Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli, , U. Chicago Press, 1958, page 49

[W]e believe that failing to call a spade a spade is not scientific.

—Leo Strauss, Thoughts on Machiavelli, , U. Chicago Press, 1958, page 50

…no bloody or unbloody change of society can eradicate the evil
in man: as long as there will be men, there will be malice, envy and hatred, and hence
there cannot be a society which does not have to employ coercive restraint.

—Leo Strauss, The City and Man, page 5

It is safer to try to understand the low in the light of the high than the high in the
light of the low. In doing the latter one necessarily distorts the high, whereas in doing
the former one does not deprive the low of the freedom to reveal itself as fully as what
it is.

—Leo Strauss, Liberalism Ancient and Modern, page 225

Only a great fool would call the new political science diabolic: it has no attributes
peculiar to fallen angels. It is not even Machiavellian, for Machiavelli’s teaching was
graceful, subtle, and colorful. Nor is it Neronian. Nevertheless
one may say of it that it fiddles while Rome burns. It is excused
by two facts: it does not know that it fiddles, and it does not know that Rome burns.

—Leo Strauss, Liberalism Ancient and Modern, page 223

At the time and in the country in which the present study was written, it was granted
by everyone except backward people that the Jewish faith had not been refuted by science
or by history… [O]ne could grant to science and history everything they seem to teach
regarding the age of the world, the origin of man, the impossibility of miracles, the
impossibility of the immortality of the soul, and of the resurrection of the body, the
Jahvist, the Elohist, the third Isaah, and so on, without abandoning one iota of the
substance of the Jewish faith.

—Leo Strauss, Liberalism Ancient and Modern (ISBN 0-226-77689-1),
U. Chicago Press, 1968, page 231; from the Preface to Spinoza’s Critique of Religion

Liberal relativism has its roots in the natural right tradition of tolerance or in the
notion that everyone has a natural right to the pursuit of happiness as he understands
happiness; but in itself it is a seminary of intolerance.

—Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), 6.

Bibliography (of Published texts)

  • Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Heinrich Meier, Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 1996-present; 3
    volumes thus far, as follows: vol. 1, Die Religionskritik Spinozas und zugehoerige
    ; vol. 2, Philosophie und Gesetz, Fruehe Schriften; vol. 3, Hobbes’
    politische Wissenschaft und zugehoerige Schriften-Briefe
  • Leo Strauss: The Early Writings (1921-1932), trans. Michael Zank, from the
    preceding, Albany: SUNY Press, 2002.
  • La Critique de la religion chez Hobbes: une contribution a la comprehension des Lumieres
    , Paris: Presses universitaires de France; a translation, by Corine
    Pelluchon, of an unpublished and unfinished manuscript of a book on Hobbes, written
    1933-34, and first published in the Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 3.
  • Die Religionskritik Spinozas als Grundlage seiner Bibelwissenschaft: Untersuchungen zu
    Spinozas Theologisch-politischen Traktat
    , Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1930.
  • Spinoza’s Critique of Religion, New York: Schocken, 1965; a translation of the
    preceding, by Elsa M. Sinclair.
  • Philosophie und Gesetz: Beitraege zum Verstandnis Maimunis und seiner Vorlaeufer,
    Berlin: Schocken, 1935.
  • Philosophy and Law, Albany: SUNY Press, 1995; a translation of the preceding, by Eve
  • Hobbes’ politische Wissenschaft in ihrer Genesis, Neuweid am Rhein: Hermann
    Luchterland, 1965 (the published version of a book completed in 1936 but for political
    reasons unpublishable at that time).
  • The Political Philosophy of Hobbes: Its Basis and Its Genesis, Oxford: Clarendon
    Press, 1936; a translation, with some notable modifications, of the preceding, by Elsa M.
  • "The Spirit of Sparta or the Taste of Xenophon," Social Research 6
    (1939) 502-36.
  • "On a New Interpretation of Plato’s Political Philosophy," Social
    13 (1946) 326-67.
  • "On Collingwood’s Philosophy of History," Review of Metaphysics 5
    (June, 1952) 559-86.
  • "On the Intention of Rousseau," Social Research 14 (1947) 455-87.
  • On Tyranny: An Interpretation of Xenophon’s Hiero in On Tyranny, Rev ed. New
    York: Free Press (orig. publ. 1948).
  • Persecution
    and the Art of Writing
    , Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1952.
  • Natural Right and History, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953.
  • Thoughts on Machiavelli, Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1958.
  • What is Political Philosophy?, Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1959.
  • History
    of Political Philosophy
    , co-editor with Joseph Cropsey, 3rd. ed., Chicago:
    University of Chicago Press, 1987.
  • The City and Man, Chicago: Rand McNally, 1964.
  • Socrates and Aristophanes, New York: Basic Books, 1966.
  • Liberalism Ancient and Modern, New York: Basic Books, 1968.
  • Xenophon’s Socratic Discourse: An Interpretation of the "Oeconomicus",
    Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1970.
  • Xenophon’s Socrates, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972.
  • The Argument and the Action of Plato’s LAWS, Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
  • Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy, with an introduction by Thomas L. Pangle,
    Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.
  • The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism: An Introduction to the Thought of Leo
    Strauss—Essays and Lectures by Leo Strauss
    , ed. Thomas L. Pangle, Chicago:
    University of Chicago Press, 1989.
  • On Plato’s Symposium, ed. Seth Benardete, Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
  • Faith and Political Philosophy: the Correspondence Between Leo Strauss and Eric
    Voegelin, 1934-1964
    , ed. Peter Emberley and Barry Cooper, University Park, PA: The
    Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.

Writings about Maimonides and Jewish philosophy

  • Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity: Essays and Lectures in Modern
    Jewish Thought
    , ed. Kenneth Hart Green, Albany: State University Press, 1997.
  • Spinoza’s Critique of Religion
  • Philosophy and Law
  • "Quelques remarques sur la science politique de Maimonide et de Farabi," Revue
    des Etudes juives
    100 bis (1937) 1-37.
  • "Der Ort der Vorsehungslehre nach der Ansicht Maimunis," Monatschrift fuer
    Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums
    81 (1937) 448-56.
  • "Maimonides’ Statement on Political Science," Proceedings of the American
    Academy for Jewish Research
    22 (1953) 115-30.
  • "Notes on Maimonides’ Book of Knowledge,’ in Studies in Mysticism and Religion
    Presented to G. G. Scholem
    , Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1967, pages 269-83.
  • "How to Begin to Study The Guide of the Perplexed," in The Guide of the
    Perplexed, Volume One
    , translated by Shlomo Pines. Chicago: University of Chicago
    Press, 1963.
  • "The Literary Character of The Guide for the Perplexed" in Persecution and
    the Art of Writing
    , Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952, 38-94.
  • Maimonide, ed. Remi Brague, Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1988.

Bibliography on Leo Strauss

  • "A Giving of Accounts," Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity
    – Essays and Lectures in Modern Jewish Thought
    , ed. Kenneth H. Green. Albany:
    SUNY Press, 1997.
  • Benardete, Seth, Encounters and Reflections: Conversations with Seth Benardete,
    Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 229 pages, 2002.
  • Bloom, Allan, "Leo Strauss," in Giants and Dwarfs: Essays 1960-1990,
    New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990, 235-56.
  • Brague, Rémi, "Leo Strauss and Maimonides," in Leo Strauss’s Thought,
    ed. Alan Udoff, Boulder: Lynne Reiner, 1991, 93-114.
  • Bruell, Christopher, "A Return to Classical Political Philosophy and the
    Understanding of the American Founding," Review of Politics 53 (1991) 173-186.
  • Drury, Shadia B., The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss, New York: St. Martin’s
    Press, 256 pages, 1988.
  • Drury, Shadia B., Leo
    Strauss and the American Right.
    Palgrave Macmillan, 1999.
  • Green, Kenneth, Jew and Philosopher – The Return to Maimonides in the Jewish
    Thought of Leo Strauss
    . Albany: SUNY Press, 1993.
  • Holmes, Stephen, Anatomy
    of Antiliberalism
    Harvard University
    1996, ISBN
  • Ivry, Alfred L., "Leo Strauss on Maimonides" in Leo Strauss’s Thought,
    ed. Alan Udoff. Boulder: Lynne Reiner, 1991, 75-91.
  • Kinzel, Till, Platonische Kulturkritik in Amerika. Studien zu Allan Blooms The Closing
    of the American Mind. Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 2002.
  • Kochin, Michael S., "Morality, Nature, and Esotericism in Leo Strauss’s Persecution
    and the Art of Writing
    ." The Review of Politics 64 (Spring 2002): 261-283.
  • Lampert, Laurence, Leo Strauss and Nietzsche, Chicago: University of Chicago
    Press, 229 pages, 1996.
  • Macpherson, C. B., "Hobbes’s Bourgeois Man," in Democratic Theory:
    Essays in Retrieval
    , Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972.
  • McAllister, Ted V. Revolt Against Modernity : Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin & the
    Search for Postliberal Order
    . Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1996.
  • McWilliams, Wilson Carey, "Leo Strauss and the Dignity of American Political
    Thought," Review of Politics 60 (1998) 231-46.
  • Meier, Heinrich, "How Strauss Became Strauss," in Enlightening Revolutions:
    Essays in Honor of Ralph Lerner
    , ed. Svetozar Minkov, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books,
    2006, pp. 363-82.
  • Meier, Heinrich, "Editor’s Introduction" to each of the volumes of the Gesammelte
    , Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 1996-present (three volumes thus far).
  • Meier, Heinrich, Leo Strauss and the Theologico-Political Problem, Cambridge:
    Cambridge University Press, 183 pages, 2006.
  • Meier, Heinrich, Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss: The Hidden Dialogue, Chicago:
    University of Chicago Press, 136 pages, 1995.
  • Melzer, Arthur. "Esotericism and the Critique of Historicism." American
    Political Science Review
    . 100, (2006) 279-295.
  • Minowitz, Peter, "Machiavellianism Come of Age? Leo Strauss on Modernity and
    Economics," The Political Science Reviewer 22 (1993) 157-97.
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo, "Hermeneutics and Classical Political Thought in Leo
    Strauss," in Essays on Ancient and Modern Judaism, Chicago: University of
    Chicago Press, 1994, 178-89.
  • Neumann, Harry, Liberalism, Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 336 pages, 1991.
  • Norton, Anne, Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire, New Haven &
    London, Yale University Press, 2004.
  • Pangle, Thomas L., Leo Strauss: An Introduction to His Thought and Intellectual
    , Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 182 pages, 2006.
  • Pangle, Thomas L., "Leo Strauss’s Perspective on Modern Politics," Perspectives
    on Political Science
    33:4 (Fall, 2004), 197-203.
  • Pangle, Thomas L., "The Epistolary Dialogue Between Leo Strauss and Eric
    Voegelin," Review of Politics 53:1 (1991), 100-125.
  • Pelluchon, Corine, Leo Strauss: une autre raison d’autres Lumieres; Essai sur la
    crise de la rationalite contemporaine
    , Paris: J. Vrin, 2005.
  • Smith, Steven, Reading Leo Strauss, University of Chicago Press, 256 pages, 2006.
    ISBN 0-226-76402-8
  • Sullivan, Andrew. Unknown Titles. Andrew Sullivan an
    English-American journalist, blogger and former editor of The New Republic has
    published on Strauss and Neoconservatism.
  • Rosen, Stanley, "Hermeneutics as Politics" in Hermeneutics as Politics,
    New York: Oxford University Press, 1987, 87-140.
  • Tanguay, Daniel, Leo Strauss: une biographie intellectuelle. Paris, 2005. 408
    pages. ISBN
  • Tarcov, Nathan, "Philosophy and History: Tradition and Interpretation in the Work
    of Leo Strauss," Polity 16 (1983), 5-29.
  • Tarcov, Nathan, "On a Certain Critique of ‘Straussianism,’" Review
    of Politics
    53 (1991), 3-18.
  • Tarcov, Nathan and Thomas L. Pangle, "Epilogue: Leo Strauss and the History of
    Political Philosophy", in: Strauss, Leo and Joseph Cropsey (eds.), History of
    Political Philosophy
    (1963), Chicago & London, University of Chicago Press, 1987
    (Third Edition), pp. 907-938.
  • Verskin, Alan, "Reading Strauss on Maimonides: A New Approach,", Journal of
    Textual Reasoning Vol. 3, No. 1 (June 2004)
  • West, Thomas G. Perspectives on Political Science. "Jaffa Versus Mansfield
    Does America Have A Constitutional or A "Declaration of Independence"
    Soul?" 31 (Fall 2002), 235-46
  • Zuckert, Catherine H., Postmodern Platos, Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
    351 pages, 1996

Bibliography on Strauss Family

  • Lüders, Joachim and Ariane Wehner (1989). Mittelhessen – eine Heimat für Juden? Das
    Schicksal der Familie Strauss aus Kirchhain
    . Marburg: Gymnasium Philippinum. (Title
    translates to English as Middle Hesse – a Homeland for Jews? The fate of the Strauss
    Family from Kirchhain


  1. M.F. Burnyeat, "Sphinx Without a Secret," New York Review of Books, May
    30, 1985.

See also

External links


October 30, 2006 at 3:14 am | Posted in Asia, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History | Leave a comment








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Denim denotes a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two<br /> (twi- "double") or more warp fibers, producing the familiar diagonal ribbing<br /> identifiable on the reverse of the fabric, which distinguishes denim from cotton duck


Denim denotes a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two (twi- "double") or more warp
fibers, producing the familiar diagonal ribbing identifiable on the reverse of the fabric,
which distinguishes denim from

A popular etymology of the word denim is a contraction
of serge de
Nîmes in France.

Denim was traditionally colored blue with indigo dye
to make blue "
jeans," though "jean" denoted a different, lighter
cotton textile. This is because our usage of jean comes from the French word for
Genoa, Italy
(Gênes), for whom the first denim trousers were made. In
1789 George Washington toured a Massachusetts factory producing machine-woven cotton denim.

A similarly-woven traditional American cotton textile is the diagonal warp-striped
hickory cloth that was once associated with railroadmen’s overalls, in which blue or black
contrasting with undyed white threads form the woven pattern. Hickory cloth was as rugged
as hickory timber and was worn by "hicks," although
that is not the origin of that slang word, from a nickname for "Richard".
Records of a group of New Yorkers headed for the California gold fields in 1849 show that
they took along four "Hickory shirts" apiece. Hickory cloth later furnished some
"fatigue" pantaloons and shirts in the American
Civil War

The word dungarees, to identify heavy cotton pants such as overalls
can be traced to a thick cotton country-made cloth, Dongari Kapar, which was sold
in the quarter contiguous to the Dongari Killa, the fort of what was then known as
Bombay (Hobson
Johnson Dictionary
). The word entered
English with just this meaning in 1696 (
OED). Dongri Fort was rebuilt in 1769 as Fort George, Bombay, where
the first cotton mill was established in 1854. Dyed in indigo, the traditional cloth was
used by Portuguese sailors and cut wide so that the legs could be swiftly rolled up when
necessary. Thus dungarees have a separate history.

Double Denim

Double denim is term used
to describe two denim garments being worn simultaneously, for
instance a woman wearing denim jeans and a
denim jacket. Double denim can be either co-ordinated, where the two
items of clothing are the same colour and shade, or they can be different, ie. a dark blue
jacket with light blue jeans. Whether the
denim is blue, red, black or white, it can still be classified as double denim. Wearing double denim
is generally considered to be an horrific fashion faux pas, with the wearer
presenting themselves as a target of ridicule.

Denim and modern culture

Since the mid-1950s denim jeans have consistently been favorites in American youth culture,
but have changed style and significance throughout the years.

  • In the 1930s dude ranches became popular, and Easterners
    and city people saw at first hand the jeans they knew from movie Westerns. The tradition of wearing out former good
    clothes behind the plow disappeared from American life, as "work clothes" were
    marketed through Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs.
  • In the 1940s US Navy servicemen spent the war years in blue denim
    "dungarees." (Flight suits and fatigues also became familiar comforts to
    American men.)
  • In the 1950s a "biker" sub-culture among
    de-mobilized veterans of the Korean War, a tough ("butch") gay subculture in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the blue-collar style of the Beat generation, widely-seen cult movies starring James Dean and Marlon Brando,
    and a spate of TV westerns independently made jeans a fixture of American life. Jeans were
    banned in many US public high schools, adding to their allure.
  • In the 1960s young women began wearing jeans as well as men. Hippie
    women embroidered colorful designs on theirs and for their men. Button-fly Levi 501s were marketed even on the US East Coast.
  • In 1970 Elio Fiorucci
    showed designer jeans in Milan. In 1978 the first
    "designer jeans" came onto the US market, marketed under the brands Jordache, Gloria Vanderbilt
    and Sergio Valente.
    Seasonal novelty variations in jeans were marketed as "design statements". Jeans
    were being worn by Europeans who were not even radical students. In the Soviet bloc, young
    American tourists exchanged their jeans for valuable goods. As part of the 1970s
    "country" look, denim prairie skirts became
    fashionable, usually worn over lace or eyelet-trimmed
  • In the 1980s, tight stone-washed and acid-washed jeans were very
  • In the early 1990s, very baggy jeans were in fashion, due in
    part to the hip hop and urban culture (either
    originated in the graffiti scene, so that the writer could carry several cans or
    originated in prison, as belts were not allowed to be worn since it can be used to either
    hang oneself,or to be used as a weapon.
  • Now in the 2000s pants are much less baggy and the
    stone-washed and acid washed styles from the 1980s are
    returning, though with some differences. The lengths are longer to keep from bunching up
    at the feet, and the stressed fabric patterns are "down the middle" to trick the
    eye into seeing a slimmer body. Denim pants are sold in many
    different styles: boot cut, relaxed, skinny, straight, baggy,
    flare, cuffed, cropped, pegged, etc.
  • Expensive high-fashion jeans in the mid-2000s feature hand distressing and other
    finishing techniques to realistically mimic wear and flatter the figure through optical
    illusion and shading.
  • Whiskering simulates lightly worn creases from the bottom of the fly to the hips,
    roughly in the shape of a cat’s whiskers, and is marketed as visually slimming the hips.
  • Sanding on the front of the thighs lightens the fabric there and gives the illusion
    of more slender thighs.
  • Cuffs may be tacked in folds before pre-washing to
    create natural-looking wear at the ankles.

Denim has also been a traditional material used in England and
Wales for many years. Due to its hard wearing nature its been highly popular in
agriculture since the 1900’s.

Many blue jean companies had this name as company name.

Denim jackets (or jean jackets), originally worn by
cowboys as an alternative to a cotton duck "chore coat", have also
gained fashion status since the 1950s. Many pop-culture icons
are closely associated with the denim jacket, including:

See also

External links

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