On the way to the airport in Atlanta last week, I stumbled upon a radio debate between Michael Medved and Christopher Hitchens on the topic of Hitchens’ latest book - namely, whether or not religion poisons everything...
Progressives are fond of saying that they stand for empathy and compromise, and are quick to blame conservatives for polarizing our politics. Their feverish reaction last week to the Supreme Court’s thoughtful 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. shows that progressives could use more of the virtues they claim as their own.
Liberalism, most people would agree, stands for the state's responsibility to actively improve the social, economic, and political quality of citizens’ lives. In a more fundamental sense liberalism also denotes certain qualities of mind and character, among them tolerance, generosity, the capacity to engage civilly competing opinions, and a determination to base politics on reason rather than physical force or arbitrary authority.
This week came news that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant burned alive a Jordanian pilot in a metal cage. Thursday morning's National Prayer Breakfast speech represented the first sign that President Obama is prepared to acknowledge a connection between Islam and the violence -- beheadings, mass murders, rape, human slavery, state sponsorship of terrorism, and military conquest -- jihadists are perpetrating in Muhammad’s name.
In April, former New York Times journalist Judith Miller revealed in “The Story” that by manipulating her memory through tendentious questioning and withholding exculpatory evidence, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald induced her to give false testimony that in 2007 helped convict I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby of obstruction of justice, false statements, and perjury.
A few years ago on a lazy Friday afternoon, my friend Ronit Vardi—a veteran journalist and longtime resident of this frenetic city perched between the Mediterranean and the Middle East—looked askance when I told her that I was headed to Jerusalem to teach a seminar on Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
The 2016 election campaign has proved a trying one for citizens who seek sobriety, integrity, and fidelity to principle in their presidential candidates. The two major party nominees’ glaring deficiencies have provoked cries of despair from many high-minded voters. But that is a luxury the nation can ill afford.
In “Why Liberalism Failed,” Patrick Deneen makes an eye-opening contribution to the critique of liberalism. Equating liberalism with the modern tradition of freedom, he distills abuses of state power, nature, culture, technology, and education that are undertaken in freedom’s name yet leave citizens less self-sufficient, less disposed to cooperate, and less capable of looking beyond material goods and social status to the cultivation of character and to the claims of duty.
According to an email obtained by the Independent, Claremont McKenna College (CMC)—ranked number one for free speech among California colleges—is in the process of rolling out the Open Academy initiative. This initiative seeks to bring additional funding to expand viewpoint diversity in the Athenaeum speaker series—already recognized as a haven for speakers of many ideological perspectives —, in the classroom, and to help students build skills to engage in effective dialogue with those whom they disagree.
In the United States, conservatism and liberalism — often to the consternation of conservatives and liberals — are ineluctably intertwined. This turns out to be true of foreign affairs as well as of domestic affairs. Attention to this entwinement helps bring into focus the key question concerning the contemporary dispute about the post-World War II international order and the United States’ role in maintaining it: What policies best advance America’s interest in conserving freedom?
Many progressives think that independence from religious belief is a crucial source of the power of human rights. According to many conservatives, the spurning of faith reflects a dangerous delusion inscribed in human rights doctrine. Amid the bad blood and casual vituperation that do daily damage to American politics, correcting the error common to the left and right that human rights are one thing and religion entirely another might contribute to rebuilding common ground.
The term “liberalism” ranks among the most contested in our political lexicon. It should also be regarded as among the most vital. In the large sense, liberalism names the modern tradition of freedom. Liberalism so understood was the dominant strand in our nation’s founding. Appreciating the standard accusations against it and why it is worthy of defense is crucial to conserving the best of the American constitutional tradition.
In early July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched the Commission on Unalienable Rights. “The commission’s mission,” he explained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “isn’t to discover new principles but to ground our discussion of human rights in America’s founding principles.” The announcement of the panel’s existence and mandate immediately triggered a barrage of skepticism, indignation, and anger. The misunderstandings that the criticisms embody underscore the urgency of the commission’s work.
Perhaps at no time since the decade or so preceding the Civil War have debates about America’s commitment to fundamental rights been as rancorous as today. Yet at no time have fundamental rights in the United States been enjoyed by so wide and diverse a population as they are now. The contrast in contemporary America between the public rancor and the political reality reflects an estrangement from history and an accompanying loss of perspective.
For several decades, the number of students attending college in the United States has been growing rapidly: Over the last 20 years or so, enrollments have risen by about 50 percent, and over the last 50 years they have more than quadrupled. During this time, especially the last two decades, the polarization of our politics has markedly intensified.
The never-ending controversy over Peyton Manning’s backside has several uncomfortable tensions at work: factual uncertainty, failed accountability and the urge to seek a correction now for something 20 years ago. But all of it amounts to a supercharged distraction from the real question: Why aren’t we talking about current events at Tennessee instead of a murky one 20 years ago?
On May 8, the Duke University student newspaper published a stirring letter addressed to the school community that was co-signed by 101 students and former students. The letter protested the decision of the university’s Sanford School of Public Policy to decline to renew the contract of Evan Charney, associate professor of the practice of public policy and political science, and called on the provost to reverse the decision.
A few years ago I asked a friend and business owner why he put value on a college diploma when talking with entry level talent who had majored in subjects incredibly tangential to his job descriptions. . . .
A program at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, will bring together 25 of the country’s best and brightest students in August in an effort to train the next generation of leaders in the principles of liberal democracy and the ideas that constitute the foundation of the state...
The presidential election of 2000 highlighted the significant demographic divisions between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The strength of the Republicans lies in the South and in the middle of the country. But the voters that carried those regions for George W. Bush, mostly white and Protestant, are shrinking as a proportion of the overall United States population. Are these demographic changes a serious problem for the Republicans? If so, what can they do to bring groups that have traditionally been Democratic—Hispanics, blacks, and Catholics, for example—into the Republican Party?