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. 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 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

Analysis and Commentary

Harvard's Latest Enfeeblement Of Liberal Education

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, May 25, 2019

Harvard University’s maladroit defenestration of Ronald Sullivan and his wife, Stephanie Robinson, struck a blow against liberal education. Many of Harvard’s own left-liberal luminaries are up in arms. But the university’s disgraceful act can come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention for the last few decades to higher education in general and to Harvard in particular.


Bridging The Religious-Secular Divide

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, May 19, 2019

Of the many causes of political polarization in the United States, the conflict between religion and secularism is the oldest and deepest. Easing this conflict — desirable for its own sake — stands a chance of also tempering the increasingly entrenched enmity in our politics between right and left.


An American Heresy

by Peter Berkowitzvia The American Mind
Monday, May 6, 2019

Today, according to Claremont Institute President Ryan Williams, “multiculturalism and its politics of identity pose an existential threat to the American political order comparable to slavery in the 1850s or communism during the Cold War.”

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Conservativism for the People

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

When society and politics become degraded, when American communities crumble, merely “conserving” isn’t enough. Conservatism must restore.


Recovering The Christian Foundations Of Human Rights

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, April 20, 2019

Many progressives think that independence from religious belief is a crucial source of the power of human rights. According to many conservatives, the spurning of faith reflects a dangerous delusion inscribed in human rights doctrine. Amid the bad blood and casual vituperation that do daily damage to American politics, correcting the error common to the left and right that human rights are one thing and religion entirely another might contribute to rebuilding common ground.


Defending Democratic Norms Requires Defending Free Speech

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, April 7, 2019

Many in the United States worry about the erosion of democratic norms. Too few, however, exhibit concern for the steady deterioration over the last half century of the essential democratic norm of free speech.


Can The Federal Government Rescue Campus Free Speech?

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, March 31, 2019

The well-documented inability of American colleges and universities to reverse the several-decades-long curtailment of free speech on campus is a matter of considerable public interest. Whether the federal government is capable of producing effective reform is another question. President Trump seems to believe Washington is up to the task.

In the News

Joe Biden’s Stale Postmodernism

quoting Peter Berkowitzvia Powerline
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Earlier today, John wrote about the accusation that Joe Biden touched Lucy Flores inappropriately when he campaigned for her back in 2014. I want to focus on the statement Biden’s team put out in response.

'The Most Politically Intolerant Americans'

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Intolerance of the other political party has become a hallmark of civic life in the United States. But speculation ranges widely about the causes and cures.


Conserving International Order

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, March 9, 2019

In the United States, conservatism and liberalism — often to the consternation of conservatives and liberals — are ineluctably intertwined. This turns out to be true of foreign affairs as well as of domestic affairs. Attention to this entwinement helps bring into focus the key question concerning the contemporary dispute about the post-World War II international order and the United States’ role in maintaining it: What policies best advance America’s interest in conserving freedom?