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

Advantage: Democracy

by Peter Berkowitzvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Why free nations emerge from crises stronger than do repressive regimes.


Peter Berkowitz On Unalienable Rights, The American Tradition, And Foreign Policy

interview with Peter Berkowitzvia The Tikvah Fund
Monday, August 3, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Peter Berkowitz discusses the thinking behind the the new Commission on Unalienable Rights’s report and the conclusions it presents.


Regrounding U.S. Diplomacy In America’s Founding Principles

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, July 19, 2020

The yearlong controversy over the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights illustrates the potency of the intolerant and uncivil passions afflicting the nation. It also underscores the urgency of the commission’s report, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presented to the public last Thursday in a speech in Philadelphia at the National Constitution Center and in a Washington Post op-ed.


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.