- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Tyranny and myth

“This is the most complicated part of [Leo] Strauss’s thinking and the most important in terms of understanding the current political situation. … Strauss referred to an ancient teaching on tyranny with which he contrasted a problematic modern tyranny. In the ancient teaching … it is possible for the wise man to move a tyranny toward its best possible form … in which the tyrant rules beneficially for his subjects, but does so beyond the law. …

“For Strauss, tyranny is a problem in the modern sense, not in the ancient sense, and I would suggest that his admiration for [Winston] Churchill and [Abraham] Lincoln is because they actually mirror, to some degree, the ancient notion of the tyrant, especially Lincoln, who sidestepped the Constitution during the Civil War.

“Straussians love Lincoln, and they love him for a couple of reasons, one of which is that he was not reluctant to set the law aside when he felt it was necessary. But they also venerate Lincoln because he quite consciously set about the business of constructing a mythology about American identity, a patriotic mythology.”

Nicholas Xenos, writing on “Leo Strauss and the Rhetoric of the War on Terror,” in the spring issue of Logos

Secular threat

“For all the Jews who fear American Christianity, the most tolerant and philo-Semitic ideology the world has ever seen, I challenge you: Look at history.

“It was the Nazis who were the secularists — their sophisticated secularism led millions of Jews to gas chambers. The waves upon waves of white crosses marking the resting places of American dead pay silent tribute to the fact that American Christians, not secularists, died to liberate the death camps.

“It was the communists who were secularists — their hatred for God led thousands of Jews to the gulag. …

“It is the secularists of France who ally with Muslim fanatics bent on a second Holocaust. It is the American secularists who defend the rights of terrorists bent on murder and destruction. It is the moral relativists of the American left who excuse terrorism based on the notion of diverse worldviews and hold up the United Nations as a moral paragon.”

Ben Shapiro, writing on “It’s time for American Jews to open their eyes,” last Thursday in WorldNetDaily at www.worldnetdaily.com

Teen trend

“With television shows like ‘The Swan’ showcasing plastic surgery, more teens view breast augmentation as a commonplace procedure.

“A 17-year-old who saw Dr. Edward Melmed before graduation ‘thought it would be a fun thing to do,’ said the Dallas plastic surgeon. … ‘They regard it as having your hair done or getting a new watch. She had no concept that this was a serious operation.’

“‘We tell them it’s real surgery,’ said [Dr. Rod] Rohrich, chair of plastic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. ‘It has real risks.’

“But for many teens, appearance trumps caution. ‘Our biggest concern with adolescents is that they may not necessarily appreciate the relative permanence of the changes,’ said Dr. David Sarwer, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Human Appearance in Philadelphia. He has gathered anecdotes about ‘suburbs of big cities where cosmetic surgery is a relatively common Sweet 16 or high school graduation gift.’”

Susan Kreimer, writing on “Teens Getting Breast Implants for Graduation,” June 6 in Women’s E-News at www.womensenews.org

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