Two Liberalisms of Fear

John Gray

In the longer perspective of history, “multiculturalism” does not denote one moment in a local debate about American identity; it signifies the normal condition of humankind.

The New Political Economy and Its Culture

Richard Sennett

I look at the practice of democracy not so much as a fixed set of procedural requirements, but as a process that needs to have certain kinds of symbolic markers and consummations that define where people are in relation to each other.

The Meaning of Secularism

Charles Taylor

For the people to be sovereign, they need to form an entity and have a personality.

Why a Hyper-Polarized Party System Weakens America’s Democracy

William Galston

The unending high-decibel partisan warfare has led many Americans to look back with nostalgia to the old consensual, if muddled party systems.

Polarization and the Crisis of Legitimacy

James Davison Hunter

The nature and purposes of the family, education, science, faith, business, the media, and government itself are all disputed at a fundamental level.

The Myth of a Non-Polarized America

Carl Desportes Bowman

American differences are neither random nor ad hoc.

Non-Public Opinion

Jeffrey K. Olick and Andrew J. Perrin

The Frankfurt School scholars were motivated by their admiration for and their critique of American social science.

An Interview with Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell

Richard Madsen

When people’s personal friendship networks become more religiously diverse, that seems to make them more accepting of other faiths, but it also turns out that if you add friends within a congregation, more church friends, you actually become more civically engaged.

Meaningful Work and Politics

Russell Muirhead

The relationship of money to the romantic ideal of meaningful work is profound and problematic.

One Nation Under Fear

Mark Edmundson

We have become a nation and a people that simply cannot abide risks.

Re-enchantment and Iconoclasm in an Age of Images

Anna Marazuela Kim

Much like the old wars of religion that shaped Europe, the new wars are fought on the ground of the image.

On Frank Speech

Matthew B. Crawford

The role of frank speech in democratic culture is something worth considering, especially in light of the renewed ferment over political correctness.

A Distant Elite

Wilfred M. McClay

Rule by merit is, after all, no respecter of persons.

The Jefferson Brand

Timothy C. Jacobson

Between Jefferson’s profession of faith in the virtues of republican simplicity and the style of his own life the contradiction could hardly be greater.

Liberal Democracy and the Unraveling of the Enlightenment Project

James Davison Hunter

The question now is whether contemporary American democracy can even be fixed. 

Not Melting into Air

John M. Owen

Today the threat against liberalism is one of atrophy rather than violent death.

Belonging to Europe

Jonathan D. Teubner

Far from being the hope of cosmopolitan liberal democracy, Europe is experiencing a reemergence of the national identities and antagonisms that European values and the union they were meant to bring about were supposed to prevent.

Return of the Repressed

Jonathan D. Teubner

The post-Auschwitz consensus that made overt anti-Semitism strictly forbidden is rapidly fading.

There Are Only Alternatives

Ajay Singh Chaudhary

If there is one, overarching, redeemable quality to our moment, it is that ours is a time in which there can only be alternatives.

Friedman’s Demon

Phil Christman

Can neoliberalism’s conceptual structure be traced directly to medieval Western Christianity?

The Phantom Economy

Joseph E. Davis

The highly abstract and immaterial phantom economy is inextricable from the “real economy.”

The Roots of the Arab Spring

Joseph E. Davis

While structures of power may change quickly, the building of a new social order is a longer and more precarious process.

Truth and Consequences

Sophia Rosenfeld

Untruth—information that could be described as unverified, misleading, or an out-and-out lie—has been spreading with new ease and abandon, and often to undemocratic effect.

Liberalism Strikes Back

Rita Koganzon

Liberalism today finds itself in the strange position of being the political philosophy that everyone lives by and no one wants to defend.

Does Philanthropy Subvert Democracy?

Nick Burns

Is modern-day philanthropy a disease in the democratic body politic?

The Great Wall of Trump

Nancy Isenberg

What historical category truly contains a Trump? 

You Are What You (Don’t) Eat

James McWilliams

The personal diet has become not only a cult; it has become a political statement.

The King’s Two Bodies and the Crisis of Liberal Modernity

Isaac Ariail Reed

We are living through a vertigo in political culture.

You Know This

John Thomason

A neglected hard-boiled novelist wrote on the greatest conspiracy of all.

Richard Nixon, Modular Man

Phil Christman

What to make of Richard Nixon?

The Odd Couple

Natasha Zaretsky

Both Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey endorse the same belief: that there are only winners and losers.

Unbecoming American

Johann N. Neem

As a child, I thought that to be American was to believe in individuality, to support pluralism and equality, and to celebrate common holidays and eat common foods.

The Means of Production

Bradley Babendir

Could the great size of companies like Apple and Walmart actually be a good thing?

A Grand Turk in Washington

Kevin Blankinship

Writing a book about Thomas Jefferson means entering a very crowded field.


Nadav Samin

America is at an inflection point.

Dissent and Solidarity

James Davison Hunter

King’s arguments for freedom and justice were not only constitutional but also profoundly ethical.

To Make the World Select for Democracy

John M. Owen

Cosmopolitan liberalism has reshaped international institutions and practices.

Scientific Authority and the Democratic Narrative

Jason Blakely

Democracy and science can be mutually reinforcing only if there is a recognition of the limited authority of each.

America, the Exceptional?

Steve Lagerfeld

Once attacked for rejecting American exceptionalism, liberals now are in almost sole possession of it.

Why I Am a Socialist

Sam Adler-Bell

It is the irreducibly human dimensions of the radical life that are to be most cherished, and most feared.

Another Betrayal of the Intellectuals

Jonathan D. Teubner

A historian charts the evolution of her own center-right liberalism.


B.D. McClay

Cancel ’s murkiness has made it a very useful word for pushing already contentious or delicate matters into the realm of total confusion.

Thinking the Worst of Ourselves

Jackson Arn

We might be murderers, and we might not, but isn’t it safer to assume we are and be proven wrong? Maybe not.

Puritans’ Progress

Peter Skerry

What do we mean by culture? Don’t ask me, I’m a political scientist.

Left Behind

Nancy Isenberg

The trouble with euphemism.

The Unchosen Condition

Malloy Owen

Is there really anything left to say about White Fragility?

By Whose Waters We Wept…

Charles Mathewes

“White Christian nationalism” remains a grievance-driven mode of whiteness.

The Brass Ring

Jonathan B. Imber

Is credentialism “the last acceptable prejudice”?

The Man Who Saved Capitalism from Itself

Charlie Tyson

In studying Keynes, we watch radical ideas emerge filtered through a conservative sensibility.

Through a Monocle, Selectively

Jackson Arn

As a history of art and thought in the Cold War era, The Free World is enthralling but unsatisfying, inevitably so.

Opinion Fetishism

Alexander Stern

In any case, trying to use Twitter as a public square is like hiking the Matterhorn at Disneyland. Like the Matterhorn, Twitter is an amusement, not a place for exploration.

The Long, Withdrawing Roar

Philip S. Gorski

Over the last half century, there has been a transition from regular to irregular forms of cultural and political combat.

The Endless Pursuit of Better

Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

What is clear is that the great divisions in our country rest on our different systems of cultural capital.

Identity Tethering in an Age of Symbolic Politics

Mark Dunbar

The less politics effects change, the more politics will affect mood.

Is There a Place for Utopia?

S.D. Chrostowska

Consider embracing utopia at once as indeterminate speculation about a qualitatively better future and as a hypothesis, by assuming it to be possible.

Democracy’s Thorn

Nancy Isenberg

If not minimized as an aberration, mob violence is often justified as the legitimate expression of popular will.

Awareness Daze

Phoebe Maltz Bovy

Awareness is not the opposite of ignorance. Rather, it’s a stand-in for performative gestures of all kinds.

Masks Off

Charlie Riggs

The pandemic-era “doctrine of masks” contained no playfulness or irony.

Authenticity in Fashion

Richard Thompson Ford

Concern with authenticity seems to be unique to societies marked by conspicuous racial or ethnic hierarchies.

The Fake Book of Negroes

Gerald Early

Black Americans still embrace the exodus story as the defining trope of their collective experience.

You’re Not the Boss of Me

Rita Koganzon

The liberty of the adult citizen depends on the subordination of the prepolitical child.

The House Always Wins

Malloy Owen

Virtual worlds have to be built by someone, and whoever builds them tells the story, writes the rules, composes the laws of physics, inscribes the boundaries of the possible, exerts an imperceptible influence on every thought, act, and outcome.

A Happier Enlightenment

Richard Hughes Gibson

We can’t properly define the Enlightenment without making reference to happiness.

There Goes the Neighborhood

Stephen Assink

For Marc J. Dunkelman, the verdict is clear: “The township, in essence, is dying.”

The Daily Show in the Age of Irony

Johann N. Neem

Jon Stewart and the age of irony.

Can Evangelicals Agree With Bernie Sanders?

Jeffrey Guhin

Bernie Sanders at Liberty University is more than a momentary truce in the culture war.

What’s Behind Trump’s Wall?

Johann N. Neem

Do Trump’s supporters represent a new Know-Nothing movement?

Speaking Truth to Power

Leann Davis Alspaugh

As we remember the Challenger disaster, let’s not forget the engineers who tried to convince NASA not to send up the Space Shuttle on a cold morning thirty years ago.

It’s the System, Stupid

Ned O’Gorman

In identifying “the system” as the issue of this election, Trump has managed to find a singular concept by which to encompass issues from wage stagnation to political corruption.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Politics

Ned O’Gorman

Many began watching last night’s debate wondering: Which Trump would it be? But there’s only one.

High Hopes

Carl Desportes Bowman

Just as Obama became a symbol of progressive diversity, Trump has become a symbol of longing for a pre-Obama America.

The Art of the Possible

B.D. McClay

A zero sum reality, in which every win is someone else’s loss, exists in a constant state of crisis.

Liberalism Strikes Back

Rita Koganzon

Liberalism today finds itself in the strange position of being the political philosophy that everyone lives by and no one wants to defend.

False Positive

Eric B. Schnurer

How are we to respond when faced with competing  uncertainties?

Wearing a Mask in France Would Be a Revolution

Frédéric Keck

In France, wearing a COVID-19 mask will mean a real revolution in norms governing behavior in its public space. 

Our Once and Future Citizens

Richard Hughes Gibson

How might the pandemic alter civic engagement?

Healthy, Wealthy, or Wise?

Mark Hoipkemier

Aristotle and the pandemic debates we aren’t having.

The Price of Freedom

Eric B. Schnurer

The point of reopening is not to free voluntary workers but to place more into the category of “mandatory worker.”

Our Chekhov Moment

Eric B. Schnurer

Who will emerge as the new elite from this particular moment’s cast of winners and losers?

Alexander Herzen and the Plural World

Alan Jacobs

Herzen won’t stop striving for social transformation with every ounce of energy he has, but also won’t pick up Chernyshevsky’s axe.

When Disaster Is an Invaluable Lesson

Jay Tolson

Donald Trump’s manner was a declaration of indifference toward the values that make democracy possible.

A History Lesson from Alexander Hamilton

Richard Hughes Gibson

The events of January 6 went off script.

Is Trumpism Marxism?

Ronald Osborn

On the dangerous absurdity of political caricature.

More Than Just a Word

Richard Hughes Gibson

Americans have been making arguments about the nature of their unity from the beginning.

Dare We Call It Charisma?

Mark Edmundson

A trick that only the most gifted demagogues can bring off.

Frederick Douglass and the American Project

Richard Hughes Gibson

It would be hard to blame him if he had lost faith in the republic.

The Compatibility Trap

Siobhan Lyons

As the titans of big tech see it, the reticence to upgrade is nothing less than resistance to progress. But a willingness to upgrade does not benefit customers in the long run.

Critical Theory and the Newest Left

Alexander Stern

Corporations are not defanging a threatening ideology but welcoming it back home from a field trip.

Who Killed Essentialism?

Charlie Riggs

We seem to be unable to do without our essences.

Changing Times

Mark Edmundson

Once upon a time there was a publication that was doing all it could to tell a straight story and to listen to all sides.

Finding Fukuyama’s Ends

Addis Goldman

Western liberal democracy is something worth aspiring toan optimal destiny, not an imminent fate.

In the Sideshadows

Richard Hughes Gibson

Everyone contributes to the pandemic, so all bear responsibility.

Looking Under the Hood of AI’s Dubious Models

Ethan Edwards

Models are only valuable in the long run if we are free to take them apart.

Where the Critics of Liberalism Go Wrong

Andrew Lynn

Postliberalism comes to embody a form of cultural criticism that ultimately does not believe in culture itself.

Neither This Nor That

Rhoda Feng

We view the concept of “compromise” from all sorts of oblique angles.

A Vision on a Summer Night

Alan Jacobs

Perhaps the older Auden merely wants to have the humility to accept the terms on which agape offers itself.

Why Carl Schmitt Matters to China

Addis Goldman

It would be prudent to take the Chinese at their word––especially if it is bound up in the mystifying language of Carl Schmitt.