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HEBREW NATIONALISTS: Why the U.S. Supports Israel

with John Podhoretz, Steven Spiegel, Stephen Zunesvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, June 14, 2002

Recent opinion polls that show that the American public overwhelming wants the United States to avoid taking sides in the conflict in the Middle East. Yet members of Congress have been nearly unanimous in their support of Israel in its actions against the Palestinians. Just why is our government so steadfastly supportive of Israel? Does this support further our legitimate strategic interests in the Middle East? Or is it the result of domestic special interest politics?

CROSS PURPOSES: The Crusades

with William Hamblin, Thomas Maddenvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 22, 2002

The Crusades happened almost a thousand years ago—why do they still provoke an argument? Osama bin Laden has used them to attempt to rally the Islamic world to his cause; President Bush has called the war on terrorism a "crusade." But what is the truth about the Crusades? Were they motivated by savage greed and intolerance or by pious idealism? Were they an unprovoked attack by the West on the Islamic world or a reaction to centuries of Islamic incursions? How should we understand the legacy of the Crusades today, in a time of conflict between the West and radical Islamic terrorists?

THE PENTAGON STRIKES BACK: The Defense Budget

with Thomas Donnelly, Cindy Williamsvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 22, 2002

In his State of the Union speech in January 2002, President Bush promised to spend "whatever it costs to defend our country." That cost, according to Bush's proposed defense budget, would come to $378 billion in 2003, $48 billion more than in 2002 and the largest percent increase in defense spending since the Reagan era. Critics are saying that the proposed 2003 budget perpetuates the Pentagon's most inefficient weapons and spending habits, thereby delaying the true transformation of the military that is needed to protect America in the twenty-first century. Who's right—the Bush administration or its critics?

CULTURE CLASH: A Talk with Hernando De Soto

with Hernando De Sotovia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 22, 2002

In the West, capitalism reigns triumphant. Living standards, wealth, and technological development in the capitalist Western countries surpass anything seen before in human history. But why has capitalism so obviously failed in most developing countries? Why are some saying that capitalism is in a state of crisis today in the Third World? Does the success of capitalism depend on Western cultural values that simply don't translate to the Third World? Or can economic and political reforms, especially reform of property rights, enable developing countries to share the same fruits of capitalism and free enterprise that we enjoy in the West?

TAKING LIBERTIES: Civil Liberties and National Security

with Robert Higgs, Gore Vidalvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed and President Bush signed the USA Patriot Act—legislation intended to thwart the threat of domestic terrorism. Critics were quick to denounce USA Patriot as a dangerous expansion of government power at the expense of our civil liberties. Are the critics right? Or can we win the war on terrorism without sacrificing our civil liberties here at home? And what has the American experience in earlier crises, such as the Civil War and the two world wars, taught us about balancing national security and personal freedom?

ENEMIES OF THE STATE: Why the U.S. Is Hated

with Dinesh D’Souza, Robert Higgs, Gore Vidalvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, April 18, 2002

In a 2002 Gallup poll conducted in ten Muslim nations, only 22 percent of the people questioned viewed the United States favorably. Why does the United States foster such hatred in the Islamic world in particular? Is it our foreign policy—our support of Israel and of repressive Arab regimes in the Middle East? Or is it our culture? Does globalization spread American values that are simply antithetical, thus disruptive, to the traditional Islamic view of society? Just what should we do to win this struggle for the hearts and minds of those who despise us around the world?

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I, SPY: Fixing the CIA

with Robert Baer, Greg Trevertonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 1, 2002

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a budget of about $3 billion and more than 16,000 employees working to identify and protect the United States from foreign threats. Yet the CIA failed to prevent the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. How come? Should the CIA have been able to foresee and prevent this sort of attack? Now that the cold war is over, is it time to abolish the CIA or reform it to respond to the new threat of terrorism? If reform is the answer, should the CIA put more emphasis on high technology or on placing agents in the field?

FOR RICHER OR POORER: The Marriage Problem

with James Q. Wilson, Irwin Garfinkelvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, April 1, 2002

Study after study has shown that married people are healthier and wealthier than unmarried people and that children raised in two-parent homes are generally more successful in life than those who aren't. And yet, according to the U.S. Census, about half of all first marriages end in divorce. Additionally, since 1960 the percentage of children born out of wedlock has grown from single digits to 20 percent. What is going on? Is the decline in marriage a symptom of underlying cultural problems in modern America? Or is it misguided to focus on marriage rather than on the economic problems facing all low-income families, whether married or not?

TOUGH CHOICES: Vouchers and the Supreme Court

with Erwin Chemerinsky, Douglas W. Kmiecvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 22, 2002

In the summer of 2002, the Supreme Court will announce its decision on a Cleveland school voucher case that many are calling the most important case on educational opportunities since Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954. In the Cleveland vouchers program, 96 percent of the participating children use government-funded tuition vouchers to attend religious schools. Is such an arrangement constitutional, or does it violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which has served as the constitutional basis for the separation of church and state? Just how should the Supreme Court rule, and what effect will its ruling have on the future of vouchers in the United States?

TAKING IT TO THE LIMIT: Takings and the Supreme Court

with Erwin Chemerinsky, Douglas W. Kmiec, Joseph Saxvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 22, 2002

Should property owners be compensated for the effects of government regulation? According to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution "No person shall … be deprived of … property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." But what exactly is a property right and what constitutes a taking? Seizure of land by the government may be a taking, but what about environmental or zoning regulations that place restrictions on land use? With one such taking case already before the Supreme Court, the legal battle over these questions could alter the very nature of the relationship between the rights of the individual property owner and those of society as a whole.

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