I have written about Bronze Age Pervert's Bronze Age Mindset (here and here). So I was interested in the recent essay by Blake Smith identifying Bronze Age Pervert as Costin Alamariu, who wrote a doctoral dissertation--The Problem of Tyranny and Philosophy in Plato and Nietzsche--under the supervision of Steven Smith, a Straussian political theorist at Yale University. Blake Smith shows how Alamariu's dissertation explains the Straussian philosophic grounding for Bronze Age Mindset.
This connection of Alamariu's Nietzschean fascism to Strauss fits a remarkable pattern of Straussian influence with other contemporary exponents of Nietzschean fascism that I have considered on this blog. Richard Spencer studied under Michael Gillespie at Duke University. Michael Millerman studied under Clifford Orwin at the University of Toronto, although Orwin resigned from his dissertation committee after some newspaper stories publicized Millerman's fascist political philosophy. Alamariu, Spencer, and Millerman were all shaped in their thinking by Leo Strauss's interpretation of Nietzsche's fascism as the best illiberal alternative to liberal democracy.
This seems to confirm what William Altman was arguing ten years ago--in a series of three books on Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Strauss--that Strauss was the secret theoretician of National Socialism. Altman presented his "German trilogy" of books as following a tripartite structure suggested by Strauss in his "Three Waves of Modernity." According to Strauss, the First Wave of modernity came with Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke; the Second Wave came with Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel; and the Third Wave came with Nietzsche and Heidegger. If each wave comes through a sequence of three thinkers, who is the third thinker of the Third Wave? Surely, Altman suggested, it must be Strauss himself. And if the Third Wave leads to fascism, as Strauss indicated, then this would point to Strauss as the thinker who most fully worked out the theory of fascism or Nazism as the anti-liberal solution to the crisis of liberal democracy.
As I have indicated in my posts on Altman, I have found him to be an insightful commentator on Strauss. But I do disagree with him on two points. First, I think he overstates his Strauss-as-a-Jewish-Nazi thesis. In fact, he implicitly concedes some of the weaknesses in this thesis. He recognizes that Strauss regarded Hitler as a fool. He also recognizes that there is no evidence that Strauss ever developed any positive program for moving towards a National Socialist society.
Still, I am persuaded that Altman has shown that Strauss is open to the criticism that he was not emphatic enough in defending liberal democracy against the ideas of Nietzsche, Schmitt, and Heidegger. Strauss never really offered a thorough refutation of these ideas, and instead he showed some attraction to them--most clearly in his lectures on "German Nihilism" and the "Introduction to Heideggerian Existentialism." Significantly, these lectures were not published until after Strauss's death.
My second point of disagreement is that unlike Altman and Strauss, I see Nietzsche in his middle period (Human, All Too Human, Dawn, and the first four books of The Gay Science) as providing an alternative--based on his Darwinian liberalism--to the positions he took in his early and late writings. Nietzsche's Darwinian writings do not suffer from the contradictions that Altman rightly sees in his other writings. Nor do the Darwinian writings provide any encouragement to the Nazis who appropriated ideas from the other writings. Nietzsche's Darwinian aristocratic liberalism is intellectually, morally, and politically superior to his Dionysian aristocratic radicalism. Strauss and the Straussians fail to see this as the Nietzschean way to defend liberalism against its illiberal critics.