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The False Appeal Of Socialism

by Ayaan Hirsi Alivia Defining Ideas
Monday, September 21, 2020

Even in its new, fashionable, incarnation, socialism cannot fulfill people’s economic needs or their yearning for freedom.

The Electoral College

by Daniel Heil featuring the work of John H. Cochrane, Morris P. Fiorina, David Davenport, Richard A. Epsteinvia Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions
Monday, September 21, 2020

How does this uniquely American institution work? And does its existence still make sense in the modern world?

Trump And McConnell, Beware

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, September 21, 2020

Filling a Supreme Court vacancy now is not worth an all-out confirmation fight—and whatever consequences may follow.

Markets vs. Malthus

by Terry Andersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, September 17, 2020

Free enterprise has the power to harmonize environmentalism with people’s needs—and to protect land, water, and air for future generations.

The Saudi Riddle

by Fouad Ajamivia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Iraq war and the jihad in nearby Anbar and Baghdad were on the margins of Saudi life. Four or five years after 9/11, after the (usual) speculations about the troubles of the Saudi state, the ship had been steadied. There was that Arabian luck which had seen this realm through many a crisis, and it would come in the nick of time. In the summer of 2005, the ailing King Fahd, incapacitated for the full length of a decade and barely conscious of his surroundings, died and was succeeded by his half-brother Abdullah.

The California Brownout Disaster Is Manmade

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Friday, September 11, 2020

One August day I received a notice on the website Nextdoor. It was titled “Rotating Power Outages Likely to Occur Monday Afternoon and Evening,” and here’s the first paragraph: PG&E [Pacific Gas and Electric] urges customers to conserve electricity in response to the California Independent System Operator’s (ISO) statewide Flex Alert called for Monday (Aug. 17) from 3 to 10 p.m. CAISO is the organization that manages the state’s power grid.

Clearing A Path To Economic Freedom

by John B. Taylorvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, September 10, 2020

In Choose Economic Freedom, a book George Shultz and I published this year, we explained why one must choose a path that opposes socialism. Economic freedom, or free market capitalism, the term of art used in the Hoover Institution’s important Human Prosperity Project, means a rule of law, predictable policies, reliance on markets, attention to incentives, and limitations on government. Socialism, on the other hand, means arbitrary government actions replace the rule of law, policy predictability is no virtue, central decrees can replace market prices, incentives matter little, and government does not need to be restrained.

The American Meltdown

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, August 31, 2020

The anti-racism trope about police is wrong and dangerous.

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Socialism and The Constitution

by Michael McConnellvia Defining Ideas
Friday, August 28, 2020

Is the U.S. Constitution indifferent to the nature of the country's socioeconomic regime?

Is China An Economic Threat?

by David R. Hendersonvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, August 27, 2020

A look at the facts behind the political rhetoric. 


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The Libertarian

Richard Epstein
Richard Epstein presents his classically libertarian perspective on national developments in public policy and the law. The Libertarian archives »


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Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions


Policy Insights answers important policy questions by pulling together relevant op-eds, books, podcasts, and videos from Hoover fellows. Readers are given a one stop shop that guides them through big issues and points them in the direction of more Hoover resources.

The Caravan

Visit the Caravan, a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemnas of the greater Middle East.

With its distinct intellectual assets and ongoing programs of policy-oriented research, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University is a uniquely distinguished contributor to the marketplace of ideas.

Defining Ideas builds on the strength of Hoover’s research: publishing on-line the original work of Hoover fellows and affiliated scholars, as well as that of task force and working group members, whose scholarship lies within the fields of economics, history, law, and political science.

This online journal is the result of our concerted efforts to be part of America’s most important conversations, conveying to the public and to lawmakers an in-depth understanding of key public policy issues. Crucial to this effort is a commitment to develop enduring solutions for the challenges that face our nation and our world—in effect, to advance ideas defining a free society.

Throughout history, ideas have had consequences for the human condition, both beneficial and detrimental. The Hoover Institution’s working groups have been convened to promote ideas that advance freedom, peace, and prosperity. Defining Ideas is intended to illuminate the work of these groups.



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The opinions expressed in Defining Ideas are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hoover Institution or Stanford University.