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


Capitalism, Socialism, And Freedom

by Peter Berkowitzvia Socialism and Free Market Capitalism: The Human Prosperity Project
Monday, February 24, 2020

Despite the fundamental distinction between the two, misunderstandings of capitalism and socialism — and their implications for freedom — abound, and usually in favor socialism. In these circumstances, a return to the basics is warranted. The 17th-century writings of John Locke in defense of political and economic freedom and the 19th- century critique by Karl Marx of political and economic freedom represent classics of the genre. 


1619, And Respecting The Facts Of America's Founding

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Beneath the rancor of our everyday politics rages a longstanding debate instigated by professors and journalists about the convictions that truly underlie the founding and unfolding of the United States of America. The bitter clashes between politicians grab most of the headlines. 


Remedying Polarization With Constitutionalism

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

To secure the rights that inhere in all persons, American constitutional government weaves together competing principles and promotes compromise among rival interests even as it presupposes a citizenry disposed to tolerate a variety of opinions.

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From Berlin to Ground Zero

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 20, 2020

The “End of History” thesis saw a world at equilibrium. But when does the center ever hold?


America's Proud Legacy Of Liberty

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Friday, December 27, 2019

As the second decade of the 21st century draws to a close, the American experiment in free and democratic self-government confronts two decisive challenges. One stems from an illiberal and anti-democratic great power abroad. The other arises from an obdurate attack on America’s commitment to freedom and democracy at home. Despite disparate sources, they are interconnected: To meet the challenge from without, the United States must prevail over the challenge from within.

Analysis and Commentary

Unalienable Rights, Reconstruction, And Constitutional Continuity

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, October 19, 2019

Perhaps at no time since the decade or so preceding the Civil War have debates about America’s commitment to fundamental rights been as rancorous as today. Yet at no time have fundamental rights in the United States been enjoyed by so wide and diverse a population as they are now. The contrast in contemporary America between the public rancor and the political reality reflects an estrangement from history and an accompanying loss of perspective.


Best Of Peter Berkowitz: "The Fact That We Lost To Trump Tells Us Something About Us, About The Left." 1 Of 2

interview with Peter Berkowitzvia The John Batchelor Show
Saturday, October 19, 2019

(Part 1) Hoover Institution fellow Peter Berkowitz discusses his Defining Ideas article "What’s The Point Of A Liberal Education? Don’t Ask The Ivy League."


Best Of Peter Berkowitz: "The Fact That We Lost To Trump Tells Us Something About Us, About The Left." 2 Of 2

interview with Peter Berkowitzvia The John Batchelor Show
Saturday, October 19, 2019

(Part 2) Hoover Institution fellow Peter Berkowitz discusses his Defining Ideas article "What’s The Point Of A Liberal Education? Don’t Ask The Ivy League."

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Indispensable Free Speech

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Free speech defends our other freedoms and offends would-be autocrats. It’s time to revive this bedrock American principle.


Criticisms Illustrate Need For State Dept. Human Rights Panel

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, September 15, 2019

In early July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched the Commission on Unalienable Rights. “The commission’s mission,” he explained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “isn’t to discover new principles but to ground our discussion of human rights in America’s founding principles.” The announcement of the panel’s existence and mandate immediately triggered a barrage of skepticism, indignation, and anger. The misunderstandings that the criticisms embody underscore the urgency of the commission’s work.