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The Past Must Not Be Prologue

by George P. Shultzvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Energy is a large and critical component of the economy. Getting energy policy wrong and adopting unnecessarily costly, economically inefficient policies will negatively affect our standard of living.

Jack Goldsmith

Does Europe Believe in International Law?

by Jack Goldsmith, Eric Posnervia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

American politicians frequently express their skepticism about international law, while European politicians loudly proclaim its central role in their value systems, even when they are defying it.

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No One Washes a Rental Car

by Terry Anderson, Laura E. Hugginsvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If natural resources are unowned, users have little incentive to protect them; if they are owned, long-term stewardship will follow.

Harvey Mansfield

On Religion and Rational Control

by Harvey C. Mansfieldvia Defining Ideas
Monday, November 3, 2008

Rational control has replaced individual virtue, which is subject to vagaries and may not be active or awake.

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Corporate Governance: Promises Made, Promises Broken

by Jonathan Maceyvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It is more accurate to characterize corporate governance as being about promises than as being about contracts.

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The Misplaced Math Student

by Tom Lovelessvia Defining Ideas
Monday, September 22, 2008

One hundred and twenty thousand eighth graders are misplaced in algebra classes.

Benjamin Wittes

The Real Guantanamo

by Benjamin Wittesvia Defining Ideas
Sunday, June 1, 2008

As the move to close the detainee center at Guantanamo continues, let us look at why Guantanamo is actually an ideal detention site.

William Damon

Beyond a Culture of Short Horizons

by William Damonvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Helping the next generation find purpose in life

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The New Mask of Terrorism

by Philip Bobbittvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Some one-third of all international terrorist attacks between 1968 and September 10, 2001, involved American targets.


Do National Security and Environmental Energy Policies Conflict?

by Gary S. Beckervia Defining Ideas
Sunday, July 22, 2007

Prospects for consensus on energy policies are dim for the many approaches that put the environment ahead of national security.


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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.



While Defining Ideas welcomes comments from readers, we exercise the right to monitor the comments we receive. We will not publish comments that include obscenities, swear-words and vulgarisms; ad hominem attacks; racist expression; rudeness or discourtesy; violations of copyright; or any other transgression of taste or civility that the editors deem unpublishable on a Hoover Institution Web site. We reserve the right, also, to close down comments on a particular essay if the editors believe we have reached "saturation" point. 


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.