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

Conservatism And The People

by Peter Berkowitzvia City Journal
Friday, March 8, 2019

Of all the strange and remarkable features of politics in the Trump era, among the least strange and remarkable is the alliance that has emerged between conservatism and populism. That it seems so striking to many conservatives reflects a certain disconnection from their tradition. The uncertainty and agitation that the alliance introduced into conservative ranks underscore the importance of recovering a lively appreciation of conservatism’s origins, major ideas, and perennial task.


Conservatism And The People

by Peter Berkowitzvia City Journal
Sunday, March 3, 2019

From Burke to Buckley to Trump, the Right has always had a populist current.

Analysis and Commentary

Rethinking Democracy Promotion And Nationalism

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, March 2, 2019

The first decade of the 21st century called into question the United States’ capacity to advance freedom and democracy abroad. The century’s second decade has provoked controversy about the relation between nationalism and liberal democracy. Greater attention to the preconditions for and impact of freedom and democracy, and to the persistence and varieties of nationalism, would contribute to the formulation of a foreign policy for the third decade of the 21st century that would be more suitable to U.S. interests and principles.

In the News

How Realistic Is An ‘Ivory Tower’ For Conservatives?

quoting Peter Berkowitzvia The College Fix
Monday, February 25, 2019

There’s no doubt that the current aim of higher education – “reproduction of ideology and the formation of like-minded political activists” – is harming America and the students and taxpayers who pay vast sums to these indoctrination factories.


Creating An Ivory Tower Welcoming To Conservatives

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, February 24, 2019

The crisis of higher education imposes severe, if indirect and long-term, costs on the country. The harms it inflicts on conservatives in particular are direct and immediate. All students and the nation at large pay the price when universities replace transmission of knowledge and cultivation of inquiring minds as their primary purpose with reproduction of ideology and the formation of like-minded political activists.

In the News

Berkowitz: How Marx Transformed The Mission Statements Of Ivy League Universities

quoting Peter Berkowitzvia World Tribune
Thursday, February 21, 2019

In his “Theses on Feuerbach,” the young Karl Marx proclaimed, “[P]hilosophers have only hitherto interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it” (emphasis in original). The mission statements of several preeminent colleges and universities in the United States follow suit, an analyst noted.


Colleges' Transformed Mission Misses the Mark

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Friday, February 15, 2019

In his “Theses on Feuerbach,” the young Karl Marx proclaimed, “[P]hilosophers have only hitherto interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it” (emphasis in original). Mission statements of several of our preeminent colleges and universities follow suit. The primary purpose of liberal education, according to these formal pronouncements, is not to understand the world but to remake it.

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.