Arguing America

Steve F. Hayward, The Weekly Standard, January 26, 2015.


Nothing could prepare a student for the shock of hearing Harry Jaffa in the classroom for the first time. From virtually his first word, you could tell that this was not going to be political science or political philosophy as usually taught. Above all, it was instantly clear that the course would involve engagement with the most serious political matters at the highest level—notably, “the crisis of the West.” There was no pawing at the ground with methodological preliminaries, no “on the one hand, on the other hand.” We plunged headlong into the assigned texts—Aristotle and Aquinas—whose themes and implications Jaffa illuminated with a peripatetic brilliance that ranged from Plato to Shakespeare to Thackeray; from architecture to drama, music, and poetry; modern culture and sports, all without a single note. And that was just the first 15 minutes.

The Weekly Standard