ancient pedigree on their own politicalnagendas; but all Straussians indulge innthe same vitium principale. They seeknto project their own preferred values —nwhich are secular and rationalist —nonto long-dead thinkers. And they trynto make this enterprise plausible bynlimiting their ancients to a handful ofnGreeks and by treating those Greeks asnclever skeptics.nThus Strauss and his disciples challengenthe notion that Plato believedneither in divinity or in eide akineta kainaidie (immovable, eternal ideas). Puttingnaside his references to the divine,nthey insist that as a philosopher Platonwas also a religious skeptic, but likenthemselves obliged to feign fidelity tonpublic orthodoxy. When all else fails,nStraussians will also claim that theirnfavorite authors wrote esoterically.nThough at bottom rationalists likenthemselves, it is argued, these authorsnwere forced to hide their innermostnthoughts and doubts in order to avoidnindiscretion or ruin.nThere is one side of the Straussianndoctrine that is provable beyond doubt:nthe stress on the gullibility of piousnpatriots, many of whom do believe then”noble lies” that Straussians tell aboutnthemselves and the ancients. Straussiansnhave convinced others — othersnbeing simpleminded conservativesnrather than trained scholars — thatnwhat they do is both morally upliftingnand intellectually rigorous. In point ofnfact it is neither. At their worst theynengage in cynical con games, and atntheir best they are often automata,nrepeating fictions (such as Aristotle’snalleged support in the Politics, BooknOne, of sexual and racial equality) thatn42/CHRONICLESnLIBERAL ARTSnON COMPARABLE WORTHnthey themselves have begun to believe.nRosen is different from most studentsnof the late Leo Strauss becausenof his relentless, uncompromised honesty.nHis books on Plato’s Sophist andnSymposium show the marks ofnStrauss’s reading of the same thinker.nRosen is also scornful of attempts by,namong others, Eric Voegelin to presentnPlato as a mystic paidagogos eisnChriston. His Plato is Strauss’s Plato: anpolitical philosopher and epistemologistnwho, like his teacher Socrates, keptna critical distance from the conventionalnpieties of the city. One is free tondisagree with the sweeping judgmentnthat is both explicit and implicit in thisnreading. But Rosen does approachnPlato’s dialogues through exhaustive,ntightiy reasoned expUcations de texte.nRosen’s honesty comes through innhis newest anthology no less than in hisnearlier books. Unlike other Straussians,nhe does not attribute to Plato andnAristotle the 18th-century rationalismnthat he embraces for himself (albeitnwith some reservations). He also mocksnthe attempt to find a fit between Plato’snand Aristotle’s politics and modernnliberal values. He knows that the twonare basically irreconcilable — particularlynPlato’s concern over virtuenand a “radically defective human nature,”nwhich requires “the steadyntransformation of the city into annarmed camp.” It is moderation as compromise,nnot Platonic sophrosune asndiscipline, that Rosen holds as the chiefnstrength of the liberal epoch. (By liberalnhe is referring to something closernto 19th-century Europe than tonthe Democratic Party of MichaelnDukakis.) Rosen praises the willingnessnThe genesis of [the women’s] movement seemed to confinenit completely to the course of subjective culture. Insofar asnwomen proposed to move into the forms of life andnachievements of men, for them the question concerned theirnpersonal participation in cultural goods that already existednand to which they had merely been denied access, regardlessnof whether these goods might provide them with a newnsource of happiness, new obligations, or a new form ofnpersonality.n—from On Women, Sexuality, and Lovenby Georg Simmelnnnof the liberal West to shun paradigmsnof political perfection. He defends thenideal of “moderate Enlightenment”nagainst the Utopian rationalism that henassociates with the French Revolutionnand with modern revolutionary movements.nOne is based on the possibilitynof philosophical discourse in a societynthat makes compromises with Virtuenand Justice. The other form of Enlightenment,nby contrast, demands thatnthe world be reconstructed for the sakenof a particular scheme of human perfection.nRosen’s two Enlightenments bearnremarkable resemblance to other attemptsnat distinguishing two streams ofnreform descending from the 18th century.nOne is said to have producednliberal institutions, and the other revolutionarynviolence. This taxonomic divisionnpervades Jacob Talman’s commentsnon liberal and totalitarianndemocracy. It also results in distinctionsnbeing made between the English-nScottish and French Enlightenments,none leading to capitalism and constitutionalnrepublicanism, and the other tonthe French Reign of Terror. Alas, suchndistinctions are too often contrived.nThus David Hume, an avowed Torynand a father of historical conservatism,nis seen as a precursor of liberal reformnbecause of his skeptical, analytic philosophy.nThe same honor is sometimesnextended to the French aristocratnMontesquieu, an Anglophile who attractednadmirers in early America. Enlightenmentnhas also been attributed tonEdward Gibbon, a rationalist skepticnand devotee of pagan antiquity, butnpolitically a high Tory. Distinctions ofnthis kind are often tortured attempts tonturn classicism or Whiggery into anbenign variant of the French revolutionarynideology.nIt may be argued that Rosen is notndefending the Enlightenment after all,nand that this may be one more distinctionnbetween himself and conventionalnStraussians. He is a European liberalnwho admires Hegel, the philosophernwhose ideas run through many ofnRosen’s own writings. He turns tonHegel’s view of consciousness as selfknowledgenin defining Platonic Eros;nand he pays tribute to the same thinkernin his political statements. Rosen’sn”moderate Enlightenment paradigm”nis Hegel’s Protestant, Germanicncivilization — the final phase in then