The Crisis of Liberal Democracy

A Straussian Perspective

Edited by Kenneth L. Deutsch & Walter Soffer

Subjects: Political Theory
Series: SUNY series in Political Theory: Contemporary Issues
Paperback : 9780887063879, 320 pages, January 1987
Hardcover : 9780887063886, 320 pages, January 1987

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Table of contents

Joseph Cropsey

I. The Work of Leo Strauss-- An Appraisal

An Overview Leo Strauss: Three Quarrels, Three Questions, One Life
Michael Platt On Natural Right
The Problem of Natural Right and the Fundamental Alternatives in Natural Right and History
Victor Gourevitch

Evolutionary Biology and Natural Right
Roger D. Masters A Critique Political Theory and Politics: The Case of LEo Strauss and Liberal Democracy
John. G. Gunnel
II. Issues in Liberalism

Strauss on Liberalism Leo Strauss and the Crisis of Liberal Democracy
Hilail Gildin

A Reply to Gildin
Victor Gourevitch

A Response to Gourevitch
Hilail Gildlin Straussian Applications Aristotle and Machiavelli on Liberality
Richard H. Cox

Aristotle and the Moderns on Freedom and Equality
Laurence Berns

The Innocent, the Ignorant, and the Rational: The Content of Lockian Consent
Judith A. Best

Nihilism and Modern Democracy in the Thought of Nietzsche
Thomas L. Pangle

Why Wasn't Weber a Nihilist?
Robert Eden
III. Liberalism and the American Experience

Private Interest and Public Choice The Crisis of Liberal Democracy: Liberality and Democratic Citizenship
Stephen G. Salkeve

Liberalism as the Aggregation of Individual Preferences: Problems of Coherence and Rationality in Social Choice
William T. Bluhm Editors and Contributors

Explores Strauss’s teaching on natural right and the tradition of political philosophy and how his perspectives have influenced European and American liberal theory.


The Crisis of Liberal Democracy is the first book devoted exclusively to Leo Strauss, one of the most influential and controversial political thinkers of the twentieth century. This work includes essays which illustrate and evaluate Strauss' teaching on natural right and the tradition of political philosophy and demonstrate how Strauss' perspectives have influenced European and American liberal theory. In keeping with Strauss' commitment to philosophical inquiry, essays critical of his work are included as well.

At the State University of New York at Geneseo, Kenneth L. Deutsch is Professor of Political Science. He has written three books on political philosophy and constitutional rights. Walter Soffer is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Geneseo.


"This book challenges the primacy of the behavioral persuasion in political science, documents the influence of Leo Strauss, and provides ready access to a number of important articles. " — Dante Germino, University of Virginia