In the midst of the Great Recession California students protest in favor of themselves. . . .
What is the proper role of the intellectual in public life? Plato believed that philosophers should govern society. He founded his famous Academy with the hope of creating such "philosopher kings." Another philosopher, Immanuel Kant, however, believed that "the possession of power unavoidably spoils the free use of reason." Therefore, he argued that intellectuals should keep a proper distance from the political realm. Who is right, Kant or Plato?
The spread of democracy around the world was one of the most significant developments of the twentieth century. At the beginning of the last century, democracy was limited to a handful of Western nations, while today perhaps 120 nations have some form of democratic government. Yet among Muslim countries, democracy is rare, and among Arab states, essentially nonexistent. Why? Is the Islamic faith compatible with the essential features of a democratic society—separation of church and state, freedom of expression, and women's rights, to name a few—or not? Just what is the future of democracy in the Arab world?
Peter Berkowitz on Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life by Anthony T. Kronman
The dean brings charges of ‘unprofessional conduct’ for a vigorous defense of free inquiry.
The former FBI directors tend to investigate Republicans far more zealously than Democrats.
Use the power of the purse to abolish speech codes—making public colleges into a model for private ones.
Few top colleges explain their purpose to students. They want to talk gender and inequality instead.
For nearly a thousand years after the death of the prophet Muhammad, the Islamic world was powerful, creative, and self-confident. In science, in trade, and in the arts, Muslim civilization rivaled and often surpassed the best achievements of the European world. But beginning sometime around the seventeenth century, Islamic power and dynamism began to wane, to be eclipsed by the West. Today, by nearly every measure of social and economic development, Islamic nations fall far short of Western nations. Why? Did the historical rise and decline of Islam result from processes internal to the Muslim world or from its interaction with the West? What can and should be done to revive Islamic civilization?
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?
Is America a divided nation? Sharp regional voting patterns were evident in the 2000 presidential election: rural, Midwestern, and southern voters went for Bush; urban and coastal voters went for Gore. These regional voting patterns have led some to describe America as one nation with two cultures. Is this an accurate way of looking at American society? Or is America divided along economic rather than cultural lines? Just how fundamental are these differences, and what impact will they have on the American political landscape?
The Prussian military historian Carl von Clausewitz famously observed that "war is merely a continuation of politics by other means." These "other" (violent) means have been used on countless occasions throughout human history to settle conflicts over land, resources, and political rule. But what is the utility of war in the modern world? In a world with weapons of mass destruction, have the means of war delegitimized its use? In a world of expanding democracy, and cultural and economic interdependence, has the use of force become outdated?
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 contributors reveal how public policy in the United States has weakened the institutions of civil society that play a critical role in forming and sustaining the qualities of mind and character crucial to democratic self-government. The authors show what can be done, consistent with the principles of a free society, to establish a healthier relationship between public policy and character.
The causes, the players, and the likely consequences of the Arab eruptions. A conversation with Hoover fellows Peter Berkowitz, Victor Davis Hanson, and Peter Robinson.
Peter Robinson, former Reagan speechwriter, who wrote the Tear Down That Wall Speech on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. . . .
Presidential communication in this age of shock tweets and nonstop news cycles.
Fifteen years later, how have the September 11 attacks shaped the West's response to the threat of terrorism.
Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and Palantir, discusses his essay “The Straussian Moment,” describing how the ancients believed in the power of the intellect and the weakness of the will, but how today we believe the opposite. We want machines to do the thinking, because we don’t trust rationality. Also, Thiel gives his overview on the current American political scene and discusses whether he will endorse President Trump in 2020.
In this Uncommon Knowledge interview from November 24, 2008, Thiel argues that a book published in France in 1968, Le Defi Americain (The American Challenge), has a lot to say to us in 2008, including why the United States has failed to rise to the heights predicted by its author, J. J. Servan-Schreiber. In explaining what’s wrong with the US economy, Thiel points out that, although we have benefited from growth that is both extensive (e.g., free trade) and intensive (e.g., technology), we have not featured enough of each. He asserts that the credit crisis of 2008 had nothing to do with the failings of the free market but rather is a by-product of government entanglement, nurtured by the motors of economic growth, working less well than expected. (38:56)