No Longer Conspicuous By His Absence

Leo Strauss Center at U. Chicago uploading his lectures.
Greater familiarity with Strauss's lectures may demolish this myth of him as a neoconservative Svengali. Instead, people may come to recognize him as, among other things, an engaging teacher.
Students loved Strauss because he rebelled against his profession's norms, especially historicism—the belief that all thought is the product of its time and place. Aristotle, historicism contends, believed the Greek city-state was the best regime because he lived in one. His insights are inapplicable to a modern liberal democracy.
This tenet still infects political science today, causing students excruciating boredom in their (typically, required) classes on political theory. Why should students care about Plato if they're taught that his philosophy is obsolete?
Gosh, I love the Journal. What other paper would include an argument against historicism in an op-ed? Here's a little more:
Instead of cataloging philosophers for rows of classroom note takers, he throws students into an ongoing argument: How should we live? He forces students not merely to study political philosophy but to engage in it.
For example, in one class he asks whether a leader should have guiding principles or he should judge each situation independently.
On the tape, we hear Mr. Levy, a student, ask cheekily, "Did Montgomery have to know anything about Aristotle to win the battle of El Alamein?"
"That is an entirely different question," Strauss replies—referring to Aristotle's written works—"whether rules means rules to be found in this or that book."
"I was just using that as an example," Mr. Levy fires back.
"There was one thing I believe which was quite clear in the case of Montgomery," Strauss responds, "that he had to win it…. [I]n the case of politics as distinguished from generalship, the end is somewhat more complicated…the political good consists of a number of ingredients which cannot be reduced to the simple formula, victory."
And this is fun:
he spent so much time answering students' questions that his class often ran past its allotted time. "At times a course went on for so long that Mrs. Strauss had to come in and stop it," says Werner Dannhauser, a former student of Mr. Strauss.