Peter Berkowitz

Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
Biography: 

Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In 2019-2021, he served as the Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, executive secretary of the department's Commission on Unalienable Rights, and senior adviser to the Secretary of State. He is a 2017 winner of the Bradley Prize. At Hoover, he is a member of the Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group. In addition, he serves as director of studies for The Public Interest Fellowship.

He studies and writes about, among other things, constitutional government, conservatism and progressivism in the United States, liberal education, national security and law, and Middle East politics.

He is the author of Constitutional Conservatism: Liberty, Self-Government, and Political Moderation (Hoover Institution Press, 2013); Israel and the Struggle over the International Laws of War (Hoover Institution Press, 2012); Virtue and the Making of Modern Liberalism (Princeton University Press, 1999); and Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist (Harvard University Press, 1995).

He is the editor of seven collections of essays on political ideas and institutions published by the Hoover Institution: Renewing the American Constitutional Tradition (2014); Future Challenges in National Security and Law (2010); The Future of American Intelligence (2005); Terrorism, the Laws of War, and the Constitution: Debating the Enemy Combatant Cases (2005); Varieties of Conservatism in America (2004); Varieties of Progressivism in America (2004); and Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic (2003).

He is a contributor at RealClearPolitics, and has written hundreds of articles,essays and reviews on a range of subjects for a variety of publications, including The American InterestAmerican Political Science ReviewThe AtlanticThe Chronicle of Higher EducationClaremont Review of BooksCommentaryFirst ThingsForbes.comHaaretzThe Jerusalem PostLondon Review of BooksNational JournalNational ReviewThe New CriterionThe New RepublicPolicy ReviewPoliticoThe Public InterestThe Times Literary SupplementThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostThe Weekly StandardThe Wilson Quarterly, and the Yale Law Journal.

In addition to teaching regularly in the United States and Israel, Dr. Berkowitz has led seminars on the principles of freedom and the American constitutional tradition for students from Burma at the George W. Bush Presidential Center and for Korean students at Underwood International College at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

He taught constitutional law and jurisprudence at George Mason University School of Law from 1999 to 2006, and political philosophy in the department of government at Harvard University from 1990 to 1999.

He holds a JD and a PhD in political science from Yale University, an MA in philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College.

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Recent Commentary

Featured

Cornell, Due Process, And Liberal Education

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Monday, June 13, 2022

Earlier this month in Vengalattore v. Cornell University, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit provided a welcome affirmation of colleges’ and universities’ obligation to respect due process on campus. The court resolved a technical question of law and remanded the case for consideration on the merits of critical elements of the complaint. 

Featured

Recalibrating Fukuyama’s Remedy For Liberalism’s Discontents

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, June 4, 2022

Despite their manifest differences and mutual aversions, the woke left – encompassing a large swath of progressive elites in the academy, media, entertainment, business, and government – and the new right, which for the most part is confined to a small band of conservative intellectuals, converge in their disdain for what they call “liberalism.”

Interviews

Human Rights, The China Challenge, And American Foreign Policy: A Conversation With Peter Berkowitz

interview with Peter Berkowitzvia The Public Discourse
Thursday, June 2, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow Peter Berkowitz discusses his experience serving in the State Department as a member of the Trump administration. 

Featured

Continetti’s History Of The American Right: A Symposium

by Peter Berkowitzvia Commentary
Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Since the crystallization of a self-consciously conservative movement in post–World War II America, conservatives have been wrangling about conservatism’s meaning. The wrangling suggests the futility of the quest for the “true conservatism.”

Featured

Redefining Conservatism To Remake America

by Peter Berkowitzvia The Washington Free Beacon
Sunday, May 29, 2022

The New Right's intellectual leaders are not the first, even within the post-World War II American conservative movement, to demand purity in the ranks; denounce infidels, heretics, and apostates; and cast out the weak of spirit and the impure of heart and mind. The sense of gloom and doom among national conservatives and common-good conservatives and their zeal for decisive action, however, are not for nothing.

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Overcoming Woke Racism

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Scholar and public intellectual John McWhorter’s new book calls for courage and a rebirth of the liberal spirit.

Interviews

Dr. Peter Berkowitz On His Stanford Conservatism Course

interview with Peter Berkowitzvia Campus Reform
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Hoover Institution fellow Peter Berkowitz talks about his new Stanford course "Varieties of Conservatism in America."
Peter Berkowitz
Analysis and Commentary

Reflections On The Commission On Unalienable Rights

by Peter Berkowitzvia Harvard Law School
Monday, April 25, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow Peter Berkowitz delivers the 2022 Vaughan Lecture titled “Reflections on the Commission on Unalienable Rights.”

Featured

The West’s War On The West

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, April 24, 2022

Exasperated parents have been known to admonish their self-centered, insolent, or sulking teen-agers with the words “You are your own worst enemy.” It is highly unusual, however, for privileged adults to avidly turn on the civilization that has formed them, awarded them high status, and showered them with sundry and unprecedented material comforts. Yet progressive elites in the West revel in making themselves the West’s own worst enemy.

Featured

The China Challenge: Response And Restatement

by Peter Berkowitzvia American Purpose
Friday, April 8, 2022

From 2019 through 2021, I served as director of the U.S. Department of State Policy Planning Staff. Its then-members contributed to researching, drafting, and editing the report The Elements of the China Challenge. On behalf of the team, I thank the distinguished experts who wrote essays for this symposium; the editors of American Purpose, who organized it; and the Hoover Institution, which co-sponsored it.

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