Peter Berkowitz

Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:

Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Since 2019, he has been serving on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff in the office of the secretary. 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 dean of studies for the Public Interest Fellowship, and teaches for the Tikvah Fund in the United States and in Israel. 

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


The United States, National Traditions, And Human Rights

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, July 5, 2020

After almost a year of study, public meetings, and deliberations, the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights is readying a report for public release. Worries abound on Capitol Hill, in the universities, and among NGOs. 

Analysis and Commentary

Pride, Humility, And America’s Dedication To Human Rights

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, June 7, 2020

The callous taking of George Floyd’s life has provoked both peaceful protests and violent rioting in American cities. The turmoil in our streets underscores the essential importance of a criminal justice system rooted in the rule of law and of a free press that reports accurately on the actions of citizens and government officials. The questions roiling the nation about police brutality, civic unrest, and America's commitment to human rights will linger. 

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Rights And Regulation In The Internet Age

by Peter Berkowitz quoting Jack Goldsmithvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, May 17, 2020

In Book I of “Plato’s Republic,” Socrates observes that master doctors serve as our guardians against the most dangerous diseases while possessing the greatest skills for surreptitiously producing them. The quality of doctors’ character makes all the difference.

Peter Berkowitz October Retreat 2017
In the News

Is Liberal Democracy Strong? Can Liberal Education Show The Way?

featuring Peter Berkowitzvia Tikvah Fund
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

America now finds itself in a moment of national crisis unlike any we have faced in decades. What are the unique strengths of American liberal democracy in facing the political, economic, and social challenges ahead? What can we learn from the American past? And why is the renewal of liberal education so essential to the long-term flourishing of the American regime? 


The Centrality Of Religious Liberty

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, April 26, 2020

Since last month when government officials at all levels began to direct Americans to practice social distancing, avoid events involving more than 10 people, stay at home, and shelter in place, public gatherings have been discontinued without much fuss or fanfare. Bars and restaurants, theaters and concerts halls, and even professional sports quickly and quietly closed their doors, turned off their lights, and sent employees home for the duration. 

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Reclaiming Our Birthright

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2020

To endure the storms of the new decade, cling to the anchor: personal autonomy.

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Why Communism Failed And Liberal Democracy Prospered

by Peter Berkowitzvia PolicyEd
Thursday, April 2, 2020

Liberal democracy triumphs where communism fails because it limits the government’s ability to make important decisions on behalf of its citizens.

Analysis and Commentary

Liberal Democracy's Advantage In Addressing COVID-19

by Peter Berkowitz quoting Josef Joffevia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, March 29, 2020

“While in Beijing, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom [Ghebreyesus] extolled China as a model in the war against SARS-CoV-2, better known as ‘coronavirus,’” reports Josef Joffe in The American Interest. “According to China’s state media, he [the director-general] gushed that ‘China’s speed . . . and efficiency . . . is the advantage of China’s system.’”

Analysis and Commentary

Rediscovering Western Civilization

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, March 14, 2020

Humanities courses in America’s best universities are apt these days to denigrate, or even deny the reality of, Western civilization. Rare are classes devoted to transmitting Western civilization’s leading ideas; examining its continuities and breaks; and cultivating the independence of mind that Western civilization prizes by exploring the several sides of fundamental moral questions and enduring political controversies.

Portrait of Karl Marx
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Liberal Democracy Vs. Communism

by Peter Berkowitzvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Why did communism fail and liberal democracy prosper?