A Kojeve and “the Christian”

I am hoping that we have not taken full advantage of a week that is shortened not in time, but in class-room time, and therefore enjoys more time for reading. And, so, I am hoping that students are enjoying A Kojeve’s critique of L Strauss.

To gain the fullest enjoyment of A Kojeve, students should bear in mind that A Kojeve is as much a member of the Chicago School as is L Strauss. (It is A Kojeve who will set a fire beneath A Bloom student, Francis Fukuyama, and will bring Fukuyama to reconceptualize the revolutions of 1989 as neo-liberal revolutions; something, perhaps, that L Strauss could have imagined and helped generate, but which, in the end, he would have found repulsive, because banal.)

A Kojeve pulls through an important theme—the anti-Christian theme—that was already woven into T Veblen’s pack. We could say that this is pure Nietzsche, but it is more than this. What Strauss and Kojeve (and subsequently Fukuyama) bring to the table is a fundamental hostility toward what might be called “grace.” The language of “recognition,” of “honor” and “virtue”—whether in the form of Straussian isolation or in the form of Kojevean engagement—is always also the language that despises grace and therefore prefers the pagan/renaissance/heroic to the christian/medieval/servile.

Which makes the neoliberal obeisance to Christian values all the more curious; but, therefore, transparent. Christianity is a mere tool and Christians mere human beings to be used in the interests of Strauss’s (or Xenophon’s) “real men.” This does not entirely explain the preponderance of alpha male homosexuals—in the classical Greek sense—among Chicago’s intellectual elites. But it may help to explain why none imagined themselves “on the bottom” as it were. Christians are “on the bottom.”