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POPE AND CIRCUMSTANCE: The Legacy of Pope John Paul II

with Rod Dreher, Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J, Garry Willsvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, June 27, 2002

In 1978, the Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected to the papacy of the Catholic Church, taking the name John Paul II. In the twenty-four years since, Pope John Paul II has traveled more widely and held audiences for more people than any other pope in history. But beyond his long service and high profile, how will John Paul II be remembered? Will he be remembered more for his political impact—many say that he played a crucial role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe—or for his ecclesiastical work? Just how well has John Paul II prepared the Catholic Church for the twenty-first century?

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?

TRADING PLACES: Is Free Trade Faltering?

with Walden Bello, Jagdish Bhagwativia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, June 14, 2002

According to a 1998 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, over the last half century nations that have been more open to trade have experienced double the annual growth rate of those that have been closed. So why would any nation be opposed to free trade? But, in fact, many developing countries are skeptical of free trade—believing that the rules of global trade benefit the rich, developed North at the expense of the poor, developing South. Are the critics right? With even President Bush's commitment appearing to falter, is the drive to greater free trade in crisis?

PROGNOSIS NEGATIVE: Health Care System in Crisis

with Alan M. Garber, M.D., George Halvorson, Helen H. Schaufflervia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, June 14, 2002

Ten years ago, soaring health care costs prompted the Clinton administration to propose sweeping reforms to the health care system, including a substantial new role for the federal government. But the plan drafted under the guidance of First Lady Hillary Clinton was defeated in Congress. A decade later, the problems with our health care system seem to have only gotten worse. In the recent economic downturn, millions lost their insurance along with their jobs, adding to the estimated 40 to 45 million Americans who have no medical insurance at all. Meanwhile the costs incurred by government and businesses to keep the rest of us covered are skyrocketing. Has the HMO model of health care that became predominant in the 1990s failed us? If so, what should replace it?

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?

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?

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?

Streaming video

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?

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