Full Bloom

Algis Valiunas, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2015.


Yet is one right to believe that Bloom represented political philosophy at its highest reach, and that he spoke for the best life possible? During the season of Bloom’s irresistible rise and rapturous supremacy, and amid the barrage of trivial and fatuous abuse sent his way, there was nevertheless a concentrated fire of serious criticism that really did cast his achievement into question, and that needed to be answered, though I don’t know that he or his defenders ever did so definitively. One could study in Chicago at that time, be led by Bloom to the enchantments of Leo Strauss, devote one’s best hours to the company of Socrates, Glaucon, and Alcibiades, yet never hear mention of a schism in the ranks of Strauss’s best students and his students’ students: that there were those who placed their faith, as Bloom emphatically did not, in the political genius and moral beauty of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, and in the American citizenry at its best, when it has lived up to the uncommon demands placed on ordinary men and women by these homegrown paragons of democratic nobility.

Claremont Review of Books