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

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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.

The Human Prosperity ProjectFeaturedVideos

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.

Analysis and Commentary

Liberal Democracy's Advantage In Addressing COVID-19

by Peter Berkowitz quoting Josef Joffevia Real Clear Politics
Sunday, March 29, 2020

“While in Beijing, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom [Ghebreyesus] extolled China as a model in the war against SARS-CoV-2, better known as ‘coronavirus,’” reports Josef Joffe in The American Interest. “According to China’s state media, he [the director-general] gushed that ‘China’s speed . . . and efficiency . . . is the advantage of China’s system.’”

Analysis and Commentary

Rediscovering Western Civilization

by Peter Berkowitzvia Real Clear Politics
Saturday, March 14, 2020

Humanities courses in America’s best universities are apt these days to denigrate, or even deny the reality of, Western civilization. Rare are classes devoted to transmitting Western civilization’s leading ideas; examining its continuities and breaks; and cultivating the independence of mind that Western civilization prizes by exploring the several sides of fundamental moral questions and enduring political controversies.

Portrait of Karl Marx
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Liberal Democracy Vs. Communism

by Peter Berkowitzvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, February 27, 2020

Why did communism fail and liberal democracy prosper?


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.