An article by Richard Martens (“One Door Closes”), in The University of Chicago Magazine (March/April, 2012, Cover, pp. 40-47) recalled the career of George Anastaplo, a University of Chicago alumnus. The article was linked on March 8, 2012 and posted May 11, 2012.
A dozen letters in response to that article were published in the May-June issue of the magazine (pages 4-10), Among them was the letter by George Anastaplo (“Anastaplo responds”) which is reproduced here (along with its accompanying recent photograph of George Anastaplo and his wife).
Included both in the article and in the letter referred to are recollections of Leo Strauss and “Straussians.” There have been posted at this website several articles about Leo Strauss and about some of his students at the University of Chicago, among whom was numbered George Anastaplo.
The “official” Straussians referred to in “Anastaplo responds” seemed to be troubled in part by the critical Anastaplo review of Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind (which was commissioned by Mortimer J. Adler and published in The Great Ideas Today). That review, and other discussions of Allan Bloom’s work generally (as well as a eulogy upon his death) may be found at this website.
George Anastaplo has been a student as well of William W. Crosskey, of the University of Chicago Law School, a determined expositor of the Constitution of 1787. Relevant materials bearing on all these matters may be found in the invaluable Leo Strauss-related bibliography compiled by John A. Murley. The Anastaplo part of that bibliography may also be found here.
I appreciate the generosity of your Mar-Apr/12 article about my career, “One Door Closes.” One could not have reasonably anticipated, more than a half century ago when University of Chicago authorities proved so dubious about my bar-admission stance, that there would ever be, in a University publication, this kind of recognition.
It is noticed in your article that our then new Law School dean [Edward H. Levi, U-High’28 ,PhB’32,]D’35] ,when my troubles with the Illinois Bar began, proved to be (because of his understandable concern for the Law School’s reputation) quite critical of what I was doing. But there should also be said about him what I said in a May 2011 interview posted on the Chicago Bar Association website: “This man had a career in which the more powerful he got, the better he was. He ended up in a very high position in government [attorney general]–and he was very good at it.”
I found most intriguing the report in your article that an imminent appointment of me to a post in our College, ever so many years ago, was stymied because I was considered by some University faculty to be too much of a disciple of Leo Strauss. What makes this particularly curious is that I have always seemed to have been suspected, by some “official” Straussians, of not being “Straussian” enough.
Even so, my own Leo Strauss credentials do include a two-sentence letter (of June 22 , 1961) I received from him after I sent him my Petition for Rehearing to the United States Supreme Court (see this website). This supposed “neocon” could write me on that Cold War occasion: “This is only to pay you my respects for your brave and just action. If the American Bench and Bar have any sense of shame they must come on their knees to apologize to you.” (An article by me, about Mr. Strauss, appeared in the Winter 1974 issue of your magazine.)
Your article has been, during the past year, one of several gratifying recognitions of my career. These have included, besides the Chicago Bar Association interview already referred to, a Graham School celebration of my 55 years of service with the University’s Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults, a panel in March 2012 at the John Jay College in New York City about my bar-admission case, and a Midwest Political Science Association Convention panel in April 2012 about my scholarship.
The only lamentable aspect of all this has been that my Wife, Sara Prince Anastaplo, AM’49, has, because of the traumatic side effects of a heart-valve operation in January 2011, been unable to appreciate what has recently been said in public about the husband she had so gallantly put up with for six decades.
George Anastaplo, AB ’48, JD ’51, PhD ’64
[This color photograph, by Dan Dry, was supplied by the Editors upon publishing George Anastaplo’s letter (“Anastaplo responds”)]