Thanks to Ms. [Julie] Englander for a very thorough article on the Strauss controversy ["Defending Strauss," August 24]. Unfortunately, it was not thorough enough. The author ignored the fact that Strauss quite clearly expressed his own political views in a letter to a fellow German-Jewish emigre in 1933. Furthermore this letter has been discussed extensively on the Internet: balkin.blogspot.com/2006/07/letter_16.html.
In the letter, Strauss declares that the excesses of the Nazi regime ought not discredit true right-wing principles, which he defined as "fascist, imperialist and authoritarian." That he held such a view is incontestable; whether he changed his opinion after emigrating to the U.S. is the real question that his partisans and critics must ask.
Alice B. Tokeview
Julie Englander replies:
The letter from Strauss, like others, complicates the task of determining Strauss's political views. Incidentally, whether or not his views changed over time will be the topic of a roundtable at the American Political Science Association's meeting in Chicago this Saturday, September 1.