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. During 2019, he is 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

Analysis and Commentary

Conflating Ideas Weakens Constitutional Principles

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Like an individual mixed up about his convictions, a nation perplexed about its principles is prone to self-inflicted wounds. Both are likely to wander aimlessly and choose friends poorly while falling for the blandishments of adversaries. They are prone to misjudge their interests and misconstrue justice. A nation perplexed about its principles exacerbates citizens’ muddle about their convictions. 

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Wisdom in Nationalism

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 25, 2019

Israel has long sought both a distinctively Jewish identity and modern nationhood. Wise leadership can enable it to achieve each.

Analysis and Commentary

Crafting A Constructive Gaza Policy

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Wednesday, December 26, 2018

“The situation for 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is worse now than it has ever been since the start of the Israeli military occupation in 1967,” according to “The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion.” The report, published by a coalition of non-government organizations, describes an alarming shortage of humanitarian and commercial supplies in Gaza. Drinking water and electricity fall well below demand. Sewage flows into the Mediterranean Sea. With unemployment around 40 percent, the economy is collapsing.

Featured

What The New Congress Can Learn From Aristotle

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The swearing in of the 116th Congress next month returns divided government to Washington. A Democratic-controlled House coupled with a fortified Republican Senate majority is likely to exacerbate the rancor and vitriol that have suffused national politics since long before Donald Trump’s theatrical announcement in the summer of 2015 that he was running for president.

Featured

Liberal Education As An Antidote To Identity Politics

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, November 25, 2018

Donald Trump’s presidency has provoked an outpouring of anguished commentary about the norms — that is, customary behavior and moral standards — that underlie liberal democracy in America. The president has certainly disrupted settled patterns of campaigning, politics, and governance. The reasons for his success, the limitations of his style, and the consequences for the nation deserve careful examination.

Policy BriefsFeatured

Peter Berkowitz On The Prevention Of Abuses Of Power

by Peter Berkowitzvia PolicyEd
Thursday, November 8, 2018

A well-designed constitution protects individual freedoms by preventing the abuse of power by the government. Each branch of government acts to check and balance the other branches of government. The real protection of our freedoms is the prevention of abuses of power through the wise structure of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.

Featured

Conservatism And Populism Go Back Centuries

by Peter Berkowitzvia The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

[Subscription Required] Of all the strange and remarkable features of politics in the Trump era, among the least surprising is the alliance between conservatism and populism. 

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Hapless in Gaza

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 29, 2018

The world continues to feed Palestinians’ delusions that they will one day return to land that is now part of Israel—encouraging the Palestinians to spurn peaceful solutions that could actually be attained.

The Statue of Liberty.
Analysis and Commentary

Anti-Liberal Zealotry Part V: Rediscovering Liberalism

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Friday, September 28, 2018

In “Why Liberalism Failed,” Patrick Deneen makes an eye-opening contribution to the critique of liberalism. Equating liberalism with the modern tradition of freedom, he distills abuses of state power, nature, culture, technology, and education that are undertaken in freedom’s name yet leave citizens less self-sufficient, less disposed to cooperate, and less capable of looking beyond material goods and social status to the cultivation of character and to the claims of duty.

Featured

Anti-Liberal Zealotry Part IV: Classical And Modern Lessons Of Moderation

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Policy
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

In “Why Liberalism Failed,” Patrick Deneen contends that today’s liberal regimes deserve to perish because they do not live up to the classical conception of political excellence. But the spirit of his critique clashes with the purpose of the ancients’ examination of the best regime. 

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