Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In 2019-2021, he served as the Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, executive secretary of the department's Commission on Unalienable Rights, and senior adviser to the...
With the Trump administration careening from controversy to controversy, the denizens of Capitol Hill confirming the people’s low opinion of Congress, and much of elite media validating suspicions that they view themselves not primarily as reliable chroniclers of events but as a valiant political vanguard, it is easy to overlook the ideological pincer movement besieging classical liberalism from left and right.
Following a week of relentless criticism from the mainstream media for ham-handed and vacillating responses to the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, President Trump saw his approval rating rise slightly. It’s as if elites have one agenda, and a significant part of the public another.
According to prominent members of the progressive elite — and a few members of the conservative elite — the election of Donald Trump signaled the rise in the United States of fascism or racism or both.
In his new book, Leon Kass shows Americans how to honor the benefits of liberal democracy, including individual freedom and human equality, while recognizing their high costs.
Conservatives—indeed, all Americans—should take heart: The constitutional order is showing its resilience. Whether because of or despite President Trump’s numerous executive orders reducing the regulatory burden on business and the tax reform he signed into law in December, the economy is humming. Unemployment, including for blacks and Latinos, is at or near record lows.
In these confounding times, conservatives would do well to recall that modern conservatism is a creature of confounding times. Both the broad school of politics that emerged in England in the 17th and 18th centuries and the mature, post-World War II American variant arose to combat new threats to freedom -- and freedom’s moral, cultural, and religious preconditions.
Patrick Deneen, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, has written an angry and breathless polemic against liberalism in the large sense — that is, the school of political thought that holds that human beings are by nature free and equal, and that the chief purpose of government is to secure individual rights.
Like an individual mixed up about his convictions, a nation perplexed about its principles is prone to self-inflicted wounds. Both are likely to wander aimlessly and choose friends poorly while falling for the blandishments of adversaries. They are prone to misjudge their interests and misconstrue justice. A nation perplexed about its principles exacerbates citizens’ muddle about their convictions.
Of all the strange and remarkable features of politics in the Trump era, among the least strange and remarkable is the alliance that has emerged between conservatism and populism. That it seems so striking to many conservatives reflects a certain disconnection from their tradition. The uncertainty and agitation that the alliance introduced into conservative ranks underscore the importance of recovering a lively appreciation of conservatism’s origins, major ideas, and perennial task.
Many in the United States worry about the erosion of democratic norms. Too few, however, exhibit concern for the steady deterioration over the last half century of the essential democratic norm of free speech.
Today, according to Claremont Institute President Ryan Williams, “multiculturalism and its politics of identity pose an existential threat to the American political order comparable to slavery in the 1850s or communism during the Cold War.”
The divisions among American conservatives have generally been more evident -- certainly to conservatives -- than the principles that might unite them. President Reagan’s two terms are the exception. The pronounced divisions of today are the rule.
The love of liberty has nourished our nation since before its founding. Yet classical liberalism, which ought to provide common ground for left and right in the United States, is under attack today by prominent elements of both.
Speaking in praise of freedom has fallen out of fashion in American politics. That throws public discourse out of step with the country’s constitutional system, which puts a premium on protecting individual liberty.
To secure the rights that inhere in all persons, American constitutional government weaves together competing principles and promotes compromise among rival interests even as it presupposes a citizenry disposed to tolerate a variety of opinions.
In a June 4, 2010, Wall Street Journal column, republished in her new collection, “The Time of Our Lives,” Peggy Noonan tells the heartbreaking story of 28-year-old Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga.
Here are two interesting takes on free speech (or the lack thereof) on American college campuses. Jason L. Riley, a black conservative and Manhattan Institute senior fellow who often contributes to the Wall Street Journal, says he had an invitation to speak at Virginia Tech yanked.
President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order prohibiting nationals from seven countries roiled by jihadism from entering the United States for three months—and the administration’s bungled roll-out of the order—reminded foreign policy elites in both parties why they feared and loathed Trump. As if they needed a reminder.
In the name of social justice and diversity, students at elite colleges are casting aside the very works that probe those topics so deeply. The central authors of the Western tradition—from Plato and Aristotle to Mill and Orwell—are no longer part of the required curriculum in the social sciences and the humanities. Their absence carries a high price.