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DOES ORWELL MATTER? George Orwell

with David Brooksvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 28, 2003

George Orwell was one of the great journalists and political writers of the twentieth century. His writings on the great political struggles of that century—imperialism, fascism, Stalinism—in books such as Homage to Catalonia, Animal Farm, and 1984, are revered. But is Orwell relevant to the main political and cultural issues of our present day? Or should we read Orwell merely out of an appreciation for language and history?

THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING: Postwar Diplomacy

with David Brooks, Jan Kavanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 28, 2003

Now that the war with Iraq is over, will our strained relations with our longtime European allies and the United Nations return to "normal"? Is that even desirable? Or are we witnessing the emergence of a fundamentally new structure of international relations?

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Democracy in Iran

with Michael McFaul, Abbas Milani, Guity Nashatvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 28, 2003

It's been nearly twenty-five years since the shah of Iran was overthrown in a popular revolution. The ensuing American hostage crisis marked the beginning of an era of mutual hostility between Iran and the United States—Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini often called the United States "the Great Satan"; more recently President Bush placed Iran on the so-called axis of evil. But an increasingly visible democratic reform movement supported by young Iranians born after the revolution suggests that Iran may be entering a new era of change. Just how powerful is the reform movement in Iran? And what should the United States do, if anything, to help bring about a new Iran?

PEACEABLE KINGDOM: Animal Rights

with Richard A. Epstein, David Blattevia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 28, 2003

The past decade has seen the emergence of an increasingly vocal animal rights movement in this country. Although many of the specific goals of the movement have to do with promoting the humane treatment of animals, the underlying argument is that certain basic legal rights should be extended to animals as well. Should we recognize that animals have legal rights, or should we continue to regard animals as property, as resources to use as humans see fit? Just what rights, if any, should animals have? And how could these rights alter the relationship between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom?

CASTLES MADE OF SAND: The United States and Saudia Arabia

with Abraham D. Sofaer, As'ad AbuKhalil, Daniel Pipesvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, March 20, 2003

Is Saudi Arabia an ally or an adversary? Saudi Arabia remains an autocratic monarchy, where the rights of women and the press are severely restricted. Saudi money is a principal source of funding for the Wahhabi sect, which promotes a militant form of Islam throughout the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen participants in the attacks of September 11 came from Saudi Arabia. And yet, for more than 50 years, the United States has treated Saudi Arabia as an ally. Why? What role have Saudi oil and Saudi oil money played in shaping our relationship? Is it time to recognize that Saudi Arabia may threaten American national interests? If so, what should U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia be?

PIGS AT THE TROUGH? Restoring Confidence in Corporate America

with David Brady, David R. Henderson, Arianna Huffingtonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, March 20, 2003

A series of devastating accounting scandals at Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco, to name a few, have shaken the public's trust in the ethics and business practices of America's large corporations. What are the underlying factors behind this recent wave of scandals? Is deregulation the culprit? If so, do we need more regulation or merely better enforcement of existing regulations? Does the confluence of corporate lobbying and campaign contributions encourage corporate malfeasance? If so, what political reforms are necessary?

A FORK IN THE ROAD: Is the Transatlantic Alliance Dead?

with Victor Davis Hanson, Charles Kupchanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Over the past year, the clashes between the Bush administration and European leaders over the best way to handle Saddam Hussein have led many observers to suggest that the half-century-long alliance between Western Europe and the United States is dead. How serious is the rift between Europe and America, and why has it emerged? Is it still in the strategic interest of the United States to maintain tens of thousands of troops in Europe, or should we pull out of NATO altogether?

CARNAGE AND CULTURE: The Western Way of War

with Victor Davis Hansonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Is the culture of the West—the line of cultural tradition that connects modern America and Europe with ancient Greece and Rome—particularly lethal in war? Victor Davis Hanson contends that, from the time of the Greeks on, Western culture has created the deadliest soldiers in the history of civilization. What is it about the Western tradition that has so often led to victory on the battlefield over non-Western armies? What does this tradition mean for the battles that America will face in the future?

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: The Supreme Court and the Texas Homosexual Conduct Law

with Pamela S. Karlan, Douglas W. Kmiecvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 28, 2003

A case currently before the Supreme Court challenges the constitutionality of the Texas Homosexual Conduct Law, which in 1974 legalized heterosexual sodomy but not same-sex sodomy. Does the Texas law violate the constitutional rights of homosexuals, or are states permitted to pass such laws if they choose? If the Supreme Court does strike down the Texas law, what implications will that have for other civil rights that gays and lesbians are seeking, such as same-sex marriage?

OFF TO THE RACES: The Supreme Court and Affirmative Action

with Vikram David Amar, Douglas W. Kmiecvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 28, 2003

The Supreme Court will soon announce its decisions on two cases that are being called the most important for affirmative action in a quarter century. These cases both challenge the use of racial preferences in the admissions policies at the University of Michigan. On one side of the legal dispute over the Michigan policies are those who argue that creating racial diversity on college campuses is a "compelling interest" that justifies the use of certain types of racial preferences in the admissions process. On the other side are those who argue that any system that rewards people solely on the basis of race is unconstitutional. Who's right? And how will the Supreme Court's decision affect the future of affirmation action?

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