– "A Missive from Harvey Mansfield," Harvard Magazine, December 10, 2018.
Harvey Mansfield writes in Harvard Magazine on his late wife Delba Winthrop‘s work, Aristotle: Democracy and Political Science. — MY LATE WIFE, Delba Winthrop, submitted her doctoral dissertation to the Harvard government department in 1974. She… More
– "Interview with Harvey Mansfield on Manliness," Laure Mandeville, Le Figaro, November 27, 2018.
Par Laure Mandeville Mis à jour le 27/11/2018 à 11h07 | Publié le 26/11/2018 à 19h33 GRAND ENTRETIEN – Figure du conservatisme américain, l’universitaire critique un féminisme déconstructeur qui nie la réalité des différences entre… More
– Harvey Mansfield, "Stuck in the Middle with Virtue," Weekly Standard, May 11, 2018.
Harvey Mansfield reviews Leslie Rubin’s America, Aristotle, and the Politics of a Middle Class. Excerpt: Here is a fine comparison of America’s founders with Aristotle on the value of a middle class. Aristotle wrote the first treatise on politics,… More
– "Q & A with Harvey Mansfield," Boston Magazine, August: 2017.
Harvey Mansfield interviewed in Boston Magazine (August 2017). Much has changed since Harvey Mansfield arrived at Harvard in 1949. The university went coed and campus politics have drifted left. Yet Mansfield, the famously outspoken conservative professor… More
– Harvey Mansfield, "The Vulgar Manliness of Donald Trump," Commentary, August 14, 2017.
The most striking aspect of the rise and reign of Donald Trump has been his unabashed display of vulgarity and the ease (so far) with which he gets away with it. “Vulgar,” a term of condescension, is not often heard in democracies, where it most applies.… More
– Harvey Mansfield, "The Suicide of Meritocracy," The Weekly Standard, August 14, 2017.
Grade inflation has popped up again in the news, this time with the disclosure that it has spread to American high schools. High schools, public and especially private, now serve up 50 percent A’s to their students, just like the universities. It’s part… More
– Harvey Mansfield. "Why We Won't Agree," Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2017.
Excerpt: What is a political party? James Campbell explores our politics’ characteristic dividedness in an excellent new book, starkly titled Polarized, that deserves to be read widely and carefully. Campbell, who teaches political science at the… More
– Harvey Mansfield, "The Vulgar and the Sophisticates," City Journal, January 20, 2017.
Excerpt: “One thing I’ve said to him directly, and I would advise my Republican friends in Congress and supporters around the country, is just make sure that as we go forward, certain norms, certain institutional traditions, don’t get eroded, because… More
– Mansfield, Harvey. "Aristotle and Human Flourishing." In Economic Freedom and Human Flourishing: Perspectives from Political Philosophy, edited by Michael R. Strain and Stan A. Veuger. American Enterprise Institute Press, 2016
Excerpt: To introduce this large topic, it is fitting to consider Aristotle, for centuries “the master of those who know” (as Dante called him). By contrast to our thinking, Aristotle wrote comprehensively on both economics and the flourishing life.… More
– "Why Donald Trump is No Gentleman," Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2016.
The Wall Street Journal Why Donald Trump Is No Gentleman Like Machiavelli, he makes clear that winning dishonorably is better than losing honorably. By Harvey C. Mansfield July 29, 2016 6:23 p.m. ET The most obvious observation about Donald Trump is one… More
– "Tocqueville on Religion and Liberty," American Political Thought, Spring: 2016.
Abstract: Tocqueville declares himself to be a “new kind” of liberal, and the most striking feature of his reform is to propose, and to find in America, an alliance, rather than hostility, between religion and liberty. As opposed to an overt foundation in… More
– "Machiavelli's Enterprise," Machiavelli's Legacy, Timothy Fuller ed., University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, 2015.
Mansfield has an essay in the volume Machiavelli’s Legacy: The Prince after Five Hundred Years, just out from the University of Pennsylvania Press. From the publisher: Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince is one of the most celebrated and notorious… More
– "Are All Men Created Equal?" Hoover Institution "Defining Ideas," November 18, 2015.
Harvey Mansfield looks at equality, with particular reference to America and modern democracy more generally. Excerpt: The movement to reduce income inequality appeals to a very traditional sense of justice known both to Aristotle and the Bible, arising from… More
Commencement remarks delivered at the John Adams Academy, a charter high school in Roseville, California, on June 5, 2015. Excerpt: A graduation ceremony is a moment of pride in which we do honor to our graduates—and congratulations to you all—and to… More
– Harvey Mansfield, "Our Parties: Part II," City Journal, Spring: 2015.
Mansfield continues his two part exploration of the character of American political parties in the Spring 2015 issue of City Journal. Excerpt: Our parties, as liberal and conservative, oppose each other over progress in the drive toward ever-greater equality.… More
Harvey Mansfield reviews Arthur Melzer’s Philosophy Between the Lines in the Spring 2015 Claremont Review of Books. Excerpt: It is not easy to say just how good a book Arthur Melzer’s Philosophy Between the Lines is. It does not constitute the… More
– Harvey C. Mansfield, "Scholars of American Politics: The contributions of Walter Berns and Harry Jaffa," Weekly Standard, February 9, 2015.
In this essay, Mansfield assesses the work of two late scholars of American politics, Walter Berns and Harry V. Jaffa. Excerpt: “Among followers of [Leo] Strauss, one issue is the importance of politics in the relationship of politics and philosophy.… More
– "Our Parties, Part One," City Journal, Winter, 2015.
Excerpt: Our parties are the Democrats and the Republicans as electoral and governing bodies, liberals and conservatives in ways of thinking. Increasingly, Democrats are liberals and Republicans are conservatives, the phenomenon known as polarization, by… More
– "The Contradiction that Rules Feminism," Hoover Institution "Defining Ideas" December 18, 2014.
In this article for the Hoover Institution, Mansfield discusses current OCR regulations and the relation to the modern ideology of feminism. Excerpt: Feminism in the universities is nothing new. The movement had its start among intellectuals outside… More
– "Seeing America in the Spirit of Tocqueville: A Conversation on Democracy in America with Harvey Mansfield," Interview by Chris Barker and Tao Wang, Anamnesis Journal, Fall, 2014.
In the online journal Anamnesis, Chris Barker and Tao Wang interview Harvey Mansfield about Alexis de Tocqueville: Excerpt: HM: Democracy in America especially is a book on political education. He says right at the beginning that it’s necessary to… More
– "Rediscover Men's And Women's Differences" in "Ideas for Renewing American Prosperity," Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2014.
Rediscover Men’s And Women’s Differences By Harvey Mansfield Amid the damage caused by bad ideas in our time, let us not overlook that done by the scourge of feminism—together with the male timidity and misplaced male gallantry that suffer it to… More
– “Feminism and Its Discontents,” Weekly Standard, June 23, 2014.
Excerpt: Feminism is in control of America’s colleges and universities, where its principles at least are held as dogmas unquestioned and unopposed. Yet in what should be a paradise with those principles at work, women speak of a “rape culture” that… More
– Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthop, “Tocqueville's Machiavellianism,” Perspectives on Political Science 43, no. 2 (Apr.–June 2014): 87–92.
Abstract: Tocqueville’s sole reference to Machiavelli in Democracy in America is a nicely located misquotation. This article makes much of it, more than one would likely think possible. Tocqueville’s mission was to replace Machiavelli in his role… More
– “Politics without the Regime,” Claremont Review of Books (Winter 2014).
Harvey Mansfield reviews Yuval Levin’s work on Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke, The Great Debate. While praising Levin’s work, Mansfield wonders whether the in some ways very eighteenth-century debate between Burke and Paine needs to be supplemented by… More
– “Science and Non-Science in Liberal Education,” The New Atlantis (Summer 2013).
Excerpt: Allan Bloom in his famous book The Closing of the American Mind (1987), drawing on Max Weber, calls the “fundamental issue” of our time “the relation between reason, or science, and the human good.” I would say that in the university today… More
– “Machiavelli’s Enterprise,” The New Criterion (October 2013).
Excerpt: To create the modern world Machiavelli initiated a two-fold transformation of politics and philosophy that would bring them together: politics with the elevation of philosophy and philosophy brought down to earth. These two motions come together in… More
– "Birth of the Modern," Wall Street Journal, 23 June 2013.
Excerpt: For this grand role, the mind of Machiavelli must have been capable of acting on its own, informed but not dictated by the events of the time. Machiavelli had much to say on this issue himself. The prince, he said, must act “according to the… More
– "The Higher Education Scandal" Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2013.
Excerpt: Today’s liberals do not use liberalism to achieve excellence, but abandon excellence to achieve liberalism. They have effectually eliminated conservatism from higher education and intimidated—“marginalized”—the few conservatives … More
– "What Is the Future of Conservatism?," Commentary Magazine, January 2013.
Excerpt: It’s possible to be too concerned with the future–or to be judged too concerned–as conservatives discovered in the election of 2012. In winning, liberals paid almost no attention to impending trouble in the economy, in society, abroad, in… More
– "The Crisis of American Self-Government," interview with Sohrab Ahmari, Wall Street Journal, 30 November 2012.
Excerpt: Equality untempered by liberty invites disaster, he says. “There is a difference between making a form of government more like itself,” Mr. Mansfield says, “and making it viable.” Pushed to its extremes, democracy can lead to… More
– "Obama's Ennui: And Romney's Achievement," Weekly Standard, 15 October 2012.
Excerpt: Two things were notable in the debate on October 3: the ennui of Barack Obama and the twist made by Mitt Romney. President Obama looked ill at ease, as if he were tired of his office. Does he really want to stay for another four years? Certainly he… More
– "Are You Smarter Than a Freshman?", Defining Ideas, 30 August 2012.
Excerpt: Here are some thoughts and some readings for freshmen (or first-years) excited about our election and heading for college. They also apply to the rest of us long-time voters who might care to think about the meaning and the nature of elections. Do we… More
– “BS in New Zealand: Social Science Run Amok,” Weekly Standard, 18 June 2012.
Excerpt: Actually BS here stands for “benevolent sexism.” An article by two New Zealand psychologists has come my way that deserves to become a classic of social science. The title “Why are Benevolent Sexists Happier?” promised to warm my conservative… More
– "Too Much Government, and Not Enough Politics," interview, The European, 4 June 2012.
Excerpt: There is a lot of worry about America becoming less political, but I don’t think that is accurate. I see the polarization of American politics into two parties, with each determined to defeat the other. The aisle in between them has pretty much… More
– "On the Majesty of the Law," Wiley Vaughn Lecture, Harvard Law School, 4 April 2012.
Excerpt: In the choice of my topic I have stumbled upon the title of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s memoirs. I had meant to call upon what is awesome and venerable in the law, as I think the good Justice did as well. Majesty is not in our style of… More
– "Democracy without Politics," review of Democracy without Politics, by Steven Bilakovics, Defining Ideas, 14 March 2012.
Excerpt: Steven Bilakovics has written a promising first book that will give concern to all who reflect on democracy today. It begins from the simple observation that although everybody loves democracy, everybody is disgusted by democratic politics. Yet what… More
– "Political Scientist, Par Excellence," Weekly Standard, 12 March 2012.
Excerpt: James Q. Wilson, a longtime teacher in the government department at Harvard, and an all-time political scientist, has died. He was a Californian who went to college at the University of Redlands, got his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and then… More
– "A Truly American Scholar: James Q. Wilson Was Able to Make Students Enthusiastic over Prudence, While Other Teachers Gained Applause Only with Displays of Liberalism or Extremism," Wall Street Journal, 5 March 2012.
Excerpt: Scholar James Q. Wilson, who died last week at the age of 80, hated to be praised. He was truly modest. Now that he has departed he can do no more, and it is up to those he left behind to secure his reputation. So what did Wilson have to teach us? It… More
– "Turning Point: Is Lucretius the Gateway to the Modern World?" review of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt, Weekly Standard, 13 February 2012.
Excerpt: Stephen Greenblatt’s book on the influence of Lucretius is clever and curious—and notable for the ambition expressed in its title. Written as a scholar’s lecture but with a writer’s finesse in its many useful asides and pleasing digressions,… More
– "Optimistic or Pessimistic About America: Harvey Mansfield," Commentary Magazine, 04 November 2011.
Excerpt: On the whole, I am optimistic about America’s future. But I do not take “optimistic” to mean that things are bound to get better, or even that they have a tendency to do so. Rather than try to predict, it is better to understand things as open… More
– "The Vexing Virtue," review of Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue, by Eric Felten, Defining Ideas, 1 September 2011.
Excerpt: Eric Felten, an entertaining man who has written on the making of cocktails, has produced a book on the virtue of loyalty. It is a serious book, though not conveyed in the spirit of the classroom, but as if it were introduced and accompanied by… More
– "On the Road with Alexis," Hoover Digest, 13 July 2011.
Excerpt: Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America is a book that every American who reads should read. There’s no better book on democracy and none better on America, first home of modern democracy. Among a wave of new translations and analyses in… More
– "Manliness and Morality: The Transgressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn," Weekly Standard, 6 June 2011.
Excerpt: What with Arnold and DSK, male transgression is once again in the news. Let’s not equate the two cases—one is forgivable, the other, if the accusations are true, is not. Together with these male transgressions is the reaction to them, still more… More
– "Sociology and Other 'Meathead' Majors: Archie Bunker Was Right to Be Skeptical of His Son-in-Law's Opinions," Wall Street Journal, 31 May, 2011.
Excerpt: In this happy season of college graduations, students and parents will probably not be reflecting on the poor choices those students made in selecting their courses and majors. In colleges today, choice is in and requirements are out. Only the… More
– "Principles That Don’t Change: Remarks on Accepting the Bradley Prize," City Journal, May 2011.
Excerpt: I want to tell you what it has been like to spend my life as a professor at Harvard, the most prestigious university in America, perhaps the world. In my time there, Old Harvard, a place of tradition with its prejudices, has become New Harvard, a… More
– "Is the Imperial Presidency Inevitable," review of The Executive Unbound, by Eric A. Posner and Adrian Vermeule, New York Times, 13 March 2011.
Excerpt: In “The Executive Unbound,” Eric A. Posner and Adrian Vermeule, law professors at Chicago and Harvard, respectively, offer with somewhat alarming confidence the “Weimar and Nazi jurist” Carl Schmitt as their candidate to succeed James Madison… More
– "To the Heart of American Exceptionalism," Wall Street Journal, 5 February 2011.
Excerpt: Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” is a book that every American who reads should read. There’s no better book on democracy and none better on America, first home of modern democracy. Among a wave of new translations and… More
– "The Wisdom of the Federalist," New Criterion, February 2011.
Excerpt: The wisdom of the American Founders does not come to us in authoritative phrases such as “Confucius says” or in what we have unfortunately come to call our “values,” but mostly in the form of a Constitution. The Constitution has been best… More
– "The Degradation of Modern Democracy," review of The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life, by Kenneth Minogue, Claremont Review of Books, 3 January 2011.
Excerpt: Nowadays it is conservatives rather than liberals who stand up for liberty. Liberals have given themselves over to the advance of democracy, knowing not where it leads, and caring little for what might happen to liberty along the way of progress.… More
– "Providence and Democracy," Claremont Review of Books, Winter/Spring 2010/2011.
Excerpt: Alexis de Tocqueville was a liberal, but, as he once wrote, a “new kind of liberal.” For us, no feature of his new liberalism is more remarkable than the alliance between religion and liberty that he saw in America and proposed to be… More
– "Washington Square," review of Washington Square, by Henry James, Claremont Review of Books, 18 October 2010.
Excerpt: Henry James’s short novel Washington Square is about Dr. Austin Sloper, a resident of that Square in New York City, who cannot persuade his daughter Catherine not to marry Morris Townsend, whom he correctly regards as an idle mercenary.… More
– "Too Much Justice?," interview in The Utopian, 30 March 2010.
Excerpt: Does justice consist in just institutions? Nowadays, we tend to think of it that way. For us, justice consists, for example, in the separation of powers or an independent judiciary because they keep our liberty secure and our policies moderate.… More
– "A New Kind of Liberalism," New Criterion, March 2010.
Excerpt: In view of Alexis de Tocqueville’s criticisms of philosophy, it may seem paradoxical and presumptuous to call him a philosopher; yet it was through his critique of philosophy that he set forth a new, rethought liberalism. In Democracy in America,… More
– "What Obama Isn’t Saying: The Apolitical Politics of Progressivism," Weekly Standard, 8 February 2010.
Excerpt: The words are those of President Barack Obama speaking to Congress on health care reform on September 9, 2009. They contain the secret of his appeal—and the cause of his first-year failure. His appeal from the first has been to be beyond ordinary… More
– "Is Courage a Masculine Virtue?" In Character, Winter 2009.
Excerpt: Courage is not solely for men, but it is mainly for men. The Greek word for courage is andreia, which comes from he-man and also means manliness. The Greek philosopher Aristotle was, however, critical of the implication in his language that courage… More
– "Consequential Ideas: Exploring the Subtle Dangers of 'Soft Despotism' in Democracies," review of Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville and the Modern Prospect, by Paul A. Rahe, Weekly Standard, 22 June 2009.
Excerpt: Paul Rahe is a distinguished and prolific historian in the field of intellectual history who ventures with deliberate intent into political philosophy, judging what he sees. His territory is republicanism, ancient and modern, and he shares it with… More
– "Bush's Determinism and the Rule of Law," Harvard Crimson, 4 June 2009.
Excerpt: Every once in a while I feel obliged to do my alma mater Fair Harvard a favor by showing the world that not everyone here is morally naïve and politically correct. I am grateful to The Crimson for providing the opportunity and wish only that… More
– "A Question for the Economists," Weekly Standard, 13 April 2009.
Excerpt: One group of those involved in the present financial crisis has so far escaped notice–the economists. They are masters in the science of prediction, but as a group, if not to a man, they failed to predict a crisis that has wiped out nearly half… More
– "Men, Science, and Evolutionary Theory," review of Men: Evolutionary and Life History, by Richard Bribiescas,
Forbes Magazine, 26 Februaruy 2009.
Excerpt: Imagine Larry Summers making that statement when he was president of Harvard, instead of the much milder query he raised about the capacity of women in science that was surely one factor in his ousting as president. Yet here is a Yale professor,… More
Excerpt: By his own admission, Harvey Mansfield has barely left Harvard‘s campus since 1949. A teacher of political philosophy since 1962, Mansfield is also a distinguished research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His latest… More
– "Was Feminism Necessary?" Forbes Magazine, 15 September 2008.
Excerpt: Was feminism necessary to produce Sarah Palin’s fine performance at the Republican Convention? She is of course no heroine to radical feminists, who disliked everything she said, but could one rightly say–could they say–that she is… More
– "Man of Courage: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 1918-2008," Weekly Standard, 25 August 2008.
Excerpt: Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a hero with the hero’s virtue of courage. He displayed courage, he reflected on it. The display was for all to see, the reflection was deep, difficult, and reserved. Back to this in a moment. But first: A hero… More
– "The Cost of Affirmative Action," Harvard Crimson, 4 June 2008.
Excerpt: In the Government Department where I happily reside at Harvard, there are about 50 professors and about three conservatives. In a politics department, mind you. This is the result of affirmative action, a policy in effect for over three decades… More
– "Hook-Up or Shut Up," review of Sex and the Soul, by Donna Freitas, Wall Street Journal, 29 April 2008.
Excerpt: However high-minded their courses may sound – “Mirror of Princes,” say, or “The Political Philosophy of Aristotle” – college students today enter a low hook-up culture when they leave the classroom. In case you don’t… More
– "The Common Form of All the Virtues," a sermon delivered in Appleton Chapel, Harvard University, February 12, 2008, Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2008.
Excerpt: The tongues of men still praise charity, though never in words of such surpassing beauty as these. But what of the deeds of men? A recent book by the economist Arthur C. Brooks, titled Who Really Cares? (2006), finds that liberals and conservatives… More
– "When the Giving is Good: Saving Christmas from the Economists," Weekly Standard, 14 Jan 2008.
Excerpt: The wrappings are off and the Christmas gifts stand exposed to the light of day. Did you get what you wanted? Christmas is under attack not only for materialism, not only for multicultural failure, but now also for lack of utility. Economists as… More
– "Timeless Mind," review of Eugene Sheppard’s Leo Strauss and the Politics of Exile and Daniel Tanguay’s Leo Strauss, Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2007/08.
Excerpt: These two books on Leo Strauss—two more!—cover the development of Strauss’s thought. They differ in two obvious ways. Daniel Tanguay is sympathetic to Strauss and might reasonably be called a Straussian, a particularly supple and elegant… More
– "You Can Have It Too," Atlantic Magazine, November 2007.
Excerpt: The American idea is obscured today in smoke arising from combat between liberals and conservatives. If we go back to our Founders, however, we can still discern an experiment in self-government that held promise for all mankind. Though intended … More
– "The Tough-Guy Liberal: Lee Bollinger Tries to Take on Ahmadinejad," Weekly Standard, 9 Oct 2007.
Excerpt: In his grand confrontation with the Iranian president, President Lee Bollinger of Columbia University did his best to satisfy his American critics. He was tough, not soft; he avoided euphemisms, called the man whom he was addressing a “petty… More
– "Atheist Tracts," Weekly Standard, 13 August 2007.
Excerpt: As if we were back in eighteenth-century France, atheist tracts are abroad in our land, their flamboyant titles defiant. The God Delusion, God Is Not Great, Letter to a Christian Nation, Atheist Manifesto, Atheist Universe: These are not subtle… More
– "How to Understand Politics," revised version of 2007 Jefferson Lecture, First Things, August/September 2007.
Excerpt: For some time we have taken political science for granted, as if it did not require some nerve to come out of a university to tell everyone else how to understand politics. In my case I mean to show more modestly how to understand, not how to… More
– "The Case for the Strong Executive," Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2007, pp. 21-24, reprinted in the Wall Street Journal, 2 May 2007.
Excerpt: Complaints against the “imperial presidency” are back in vogue. With a view to President Bush, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., has expanded and reissued the book of the same name he wrote against Richard Nixon, and Bush critics have taken up… More
– "Lacking Elevation," review of Hugh Brogan’s Alexis de Tocqueville: A Life, New Criterion, May 2007, pp. 64-67.
Excerpt: To write the biography of a thinker is a difficult thing. His thought claims our attention at a level above the doings and deeds of his life, the latter irrelevant to the truth of his thought. “Aristotle was born, philosophized, and… More
– "The Forgotten Virtue: How Plato Perceived the Importance of Courage," review of Plato and the Virtue of Courage, by Linda R. Rabieh, Weekly Standard, 29 January 2007.
Excerpt: Courage is a very common virtue, its presence observed by all, even by children, and its absence sometimes severely blamed, more often excused with disdain. Your reputation will suffer a good deal if you are seen to be a coward. Nor can you take… More
– "How to Understand Politics: What the Humanities Can Say to Science," 2007 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2007.
Excerpt: You may think I have some nerve coming from a university to Washington to tell you how to understand politics. Well, I mean how to understand, not how to practice. In any event the understanding I propose comes from practice, not really from a… More
– Interview with Bruce Cole, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2007.
Excerpt: BRUCE COLE: How would you describe your scholarly activity or intellectual interests? HARVEY MANSFIELD The book I recently published on manliness is my most topical and has attracted the most attention by far. That has a good amount of political… More
– “La Démocratie et la Providence,” Raymond Aron et la Démocratieau XXIe Siècle, Elisabeth Dutartre, ed., Actes du Colloque International, Paris, 11-12 mars 2005, Paris: Editions de Fallois, 2007, pp. 37-40, 52.
– "Democracy and Greatness: The Education Americans Need," Weekly Standard, 11 December 2006.
Excerpt: We sometimes hear of the place of the great books in a democratic education (not, unfortunately, at Harvard). When it is spoken of approvingly, that place is at the center or in the foundation of education or both. We also sometimes hear of the need… More
– "Have It Your Way," Wall Street Journal, 16 November 2006.
Excerpt: The recent Harvard faculty report on general education has made waves for its new requirements to study America and religion. These may be good — we shall see — but the report is more remarkable for the trendy thinking it reveals in the… More
– "At Universities, Little Learned From 9/11: After Five Years, Universities Remain Committed to Multiculturalism above All Else," Weekly Standard, 14 September 2006.
Excerpt: FIVE YEARS have now passed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and what have our universities been doing? I can tell you about Harvard, and the answer is not reassuring. Harvard has just welcomed the former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami to… More
– “Rational Control,” The New Criterion, September 2006, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 39-44.
Excerpt: In the brand new building where I work, the lights go on and off, the shades go up and down, and the toilets flush, automatically, without your having to turn a switch or push a handle. Rational control has replaced individual virtue, which is… More
– "What’s So Special about Democracy?," review of Democracy: A History, by John Dunn, New York Sun, 26 July 2006.
Excerpt: Why is it that democracy is now the sole legitimate form of government throughout the world? Democracy had been deplored, even despised, from Plato to “The Federalist” — more perhaps for inconstancy and unreliability than viciousness.… More
– "Unmanly Athletes," Wall Street Journal, 19 June 2006.
Excerpt: The fact that professional athletes, possibly including the great slugger Barry Bonds, have been using steroids opens a new chapter in the modern history of drug use. Professional athletes, as distinct from other professionals such as doctors,… More
– "A New Feminism," Imprimis, June 2006, reprinted in Society, January/February 2007.
Excerpt: Having recently written a book on manliness, I have been asked whether I have anything to say on femininity or womanliness. I do, but it takes the form of suggestions. I don’t want to speak for women, as I think that each sex needs to speak for… More
– "The Debacle at Harvard," Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2006.
Excerpt: It is a debacle at Harvard: a great university getting rid of its most outstanding president since James B. Conant, the only outstanding president at a major university today, and doing this for no stated reason. His unofficial detractors brought up… More
– "Stranger in a Strange Land," review of American Vertigo, by Bernard-Henri Lévi, Wall Street Journal, 27 January 2006.
Excerpt: In the mid-1970s, the “new philosophers” of France, stirred by Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago,” rebelled against the Marxism that dominated Parisian intellectual culture. They made history by doing so, and… More
– "The Law and the President," Weekly Standard, 16 January 2006.
Excerpt: EMERGENCY POWER FOR SUCH UNDERHANDED activities as spying makes Americans uncomfortable and upset. Even those who do not suffer from squeamish distaste for self-defense, and do not mind getting tough when necessary, feel uneasy. A republic like ours… More
– "The Cost of Free Speech: In the Universities It's Almost as High as the Tuition," review of Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus, by Donald Alexander Downs, Weekly Standard, 3 October 2005.
Excerpt: SENSITIVITY HAS TAKEN OVER OUR society, and nowhere more securely than in our universities. To see what has happened, consider this small fact. Half a century ago, a liberal Harvard psychologist, Gordon W. Allport, published a book, The Nature of… More
– “Older and Wiser?,” contribution to a symposium in the Weekly Standard, 19 September 2005.
Excerpt: AT MY AGE it is difficult to learn, but it’s still possible to relearn. From 9/11, the salient event of the last 10 years, I relearned the distinction between friend and foe. For the United States to be hit in a manner so viciously effective… More
– "Greek Books, American Life: The Wisdom of Eva Brann, Tutor and Philosopher," review of Open Secrets / Inward Prospects: Reflections on World and Soul, by Eva Brann, Weekly Standard, 20 June 2005.
Excerpt: LET US CELEBRATE EVA BRANN, the kind old lady of St. John’s College. St. John’s is the Great Books school (actually two schools, in Annapolis and Santa Fe) where high thinking is carried on with democratic courtesies. The students address… More
– "Fear and Intimidation at Harvard: What Do Academic Women Want?" Weekly Standard, 7 March 2005.
Excerpt: AT LAST WEEK’S HARVARD FACULTY MEETING, President Larry Summers saved his job, but he took a pummeling from his angry critics. Summers is easily the most outstanding of the major university presidents now on the scene–the most… More
– "The Manliness of Theodore Roosevelt," excerpt from Manliness, New Criterion, March 2005.
Excerpt: The most obvious feature of Theodore Roosevelt’s life and thought is the one least celebrated today, his manliness. Somehow America in the twentieth century went from the explosion of assertive manliness that was TR to the sensitive males of our… More
– "A More Demanding Curriculum," Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2004.
Excerpt: Our curriculum is what we, the faculty, choose to put before our students. It is what we collectively choose. Individually, we choose courses to teach that arise from our research and that we expect will forward it, and also courses that we think… More
– “An Undergrad in Full,” review of I am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe, Wall Street Journal, 5 November 2004.
Excerpt: Tom Wolfe was of course known as a social satirist long before he became the novelist we know today. One thinks, for instance, of “The Intelligent Coed’s Guide to America.” It includes a section in which Mr. Wolfe describes being on… More
– "Love in the Ruins: Men, Women, and the Way We Live Now," review of Taking Sex Differences Seriously,
by Steven E. Rhoads, Weekly Standard, 2 August 2004.
Excerpt: “I DON’T PAY THEM to come over. . . . I pay them to leave.” So says a handsome actor regarding the prostitutes he patronizes. It’s a statement that reveals a great deal about sex differences, one is tempted to say: Women want… More
– "The Captive Woman," Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2004.
Excerpt: Not many sermons these days concern the laws of war for the Israelites as distinguished from the Israelis. But consider that the captive woman, though beautiful and fairly won, presents a risk—a non-Jewish wife for a Jew. In 397 A.D., St. Jerome… More
– "Be a Man," review of From Chivalry to Terrorism, by Leo Braudy, Wall Street Journal, 29 October 2003.
Excerpt: In “From Chivalry to Terrorism” (Knopf, 613 pages, $30), Leo Braudy, a literary historian, aims to challenge those who rely on biology to assert that masculinity is something fixed in human nature. Presenting the “social… More
– "The Christian Socrates," review of Dissent and Philosophy in the Middle Ages: Dante and His Precursors, by Ernest L. Fortin, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2003.
Excerpt: The late Ernest L. Fortin was a priest in the Assumptionist order who taught for many years at Assumption College and Boston College. This book is a translation of the original edition, published in French in 1981. It is the work of a man not solely… More
– "The Manliness of Men," The American Enterprise, September 2003.
Excerpt: Today the very word “manliness” seems obsolete. There are other words, such as “courage,” “frankness,” or “confidence,” that convey the good side of manliness without naming a sex. But to use them in… More
– "Liberty and Virtue in the American Founding,"Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic, Peter Berkowitz, ed., Hoover Institution Press, 2003.
Excerpt: Liberty and virtue are not a likely pair. At first sight they seem to be contraries, for liberty appears to mean living as you please and virtue appears to mean living not as you please but as you ought. It doesn’t seem likely that a society… More
– “Political Correctness,” Gladly to Learn and Gladly to Teach: Essays on Religion and Political Philosophy in Honor of Ernest L. Fortin, A.A., Michael P. Foley and Douglas Kries, eds., Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2002, 257-270.
– "To B or Not to B?," Wall Street Journal, 20 December 2001.
Excerpt: Harvard is now considering what to do about grade inflation. Having at last awakened to the scandal of giving its students 51% A’s and A-‘s and graduating 91% of them with honors, Harvard is now ready — let’s be optimistic… More
– "Seth Benardete, 1930-2001," Weekly Standard, 3 December 2001.
Last week Seth Benardete died, a most extraordinary man, a scholar and a philosopher. His post in life was to be a classics professor at New York University, but he was not an especially prominent professor. Nor was he much known in the world of… More
– The Founders’ Honor: There's More to American Politics Than Self-Interest or Principle, Weekly Standard, 3 September 2001.
Excerpt: THE WORD “HONOR” is not one we hear much these days. It sounds quaint when we read it of the past and pretentious if applied to the present. We prefer to speak more realistically, more candidly, of self-interest. Yet the biggest recent… More
– "Those Hell-Hounds Called Terrorists," Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2001.
Excerpt: These are the words of Edmund Burke, referring to a corps of irregulars used to enforce the tyranny of the French Revolution. I hope I will not be drafted into the “blame America” crowd if I briefly expound on the place of terror in the… More
– “What Tocqueville Would Say Today,” with Delba Winthrop, Hoover Digest, Summer 2001, No. 3, pp. 179-188.
Excerpt: Russell Baker once said that in our time people cite Tocqueville without reading him even more than they do the Bible and Shakespeare. Every American president since Eisenhower has quoted him, no doubt without reading him, and some of our professors,… More
– "Grade Inflation: It's Time to Face the Facts," Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 April 2001, B24. Reprinted in The Long Term View 5 (Spring 2002): 39-44.
Excerpt: This term I decided to experiment with the grading of my political-philosophy course at Harvard. I am giving each student two grades: one for the registrar and the public record, and the other in private. The official grades will conform with… More
– "What We'll Remember in 2050," Chronicle of Higher Education, 5 January 2001, B16. Reprinted in Bush v. Gore, E. J. Dionne, Jr. and William Kristol, eds., Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2001, 340-41.
– "Governing a Divided America: Cling to Principle," The American Enterprise, 2001.
Excerpt: Politics in a democracy ordinarily produces more frustration than satisfaction. There is always a further victory to secure. The other side never goes away. The losers must grind their teeth and struggle to come back. The systems are set up to… More
– "Be a Man, Take Risks, Win Money and Honor," The American Enterprise, September 2000, pp. 38-39.
Excerpt: Until recently, manliness had been beset by criticism from feminists, who declared it undemocratic because it excludes women. But something new is stirring in feminism: Naomi Wolf has been telling Vice President Gore to be an alpha male, and Susan… More
– “The Twofold Meaning of Unum,” Reinventing the American People, Robert Royal, ed., Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1995, pp. 103-113. French translation, "E pluribus unum: la double signification du principe d'unité dans la devise des Etats-Unis," Esprits Libres, Politique et Culture, No. 1, Spring 2000, pp. 6-18.
– "The Trouble with Stanley," review of The Trouble with Principle, by Stanley Fish, National Review, 7 February 2000, 46-48.
Excerpt: The trouble with principle, we learn from Stanley Fish, is that it does not necessarily accord with what we like. And when it doesn’t, instead of sacrificing our desires to principle—as we should—we sacrifice principle to our desires. It’s… More
– “Majority Tyranny in Aristotle and Tocqueville,” Friends and Citizens: Essays in Honor of Wilson Carey McWilliams, Peter Dennis Bathory and Nancy L. Schwartz, eds., Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, pp. 289-297.
– "Response to Francis Fukuyama's 'Second Thoughts'," National Interest, no. 56 (Summer 1999): 34-35.
Excerpt: It is a pleasure to comment again on Fukuyama’s remarkable article of ten years ago. I continue to think “The End of History” to be an overinterpretation of the fall of communism, but I also still wonder at the ingenuity and breadth… More
– "Whatever Happened to Scepticism?" review of New Federalist Papers, by Alan Brinkley, Nelson W. Polsby, and Kathleen M. Sullivan, and The Reopening of the American Mind, by James W. Vice, Times Literary Supplement, 26 February 1999.
– "Defending Propriety," Weekly Standard, 21 February 1999.
Excerpt: WHEN I LAST APPEARED IN THESE PAGES it was to complain that the Republicans had not made an issue of President Clinton’s misconduct during the election campaign last year. After the impeachment I withdraw that point. Reluctantly, but with… More
– "A Nation of Consenting Adults: The Democrats Are the Party of Moral Laxity, and the Republicans Are the Party of Moral--What?," Weekly Standard, 15 November 1998.
Excerpt: The election was about sex even if it wasn’t. It wasn’t, because the Republicans failed to make an issue of President Clinton’s escapades. They were following the polls, and in keeping with the idea behind the… More
– "Why a Good Man is Hard to Find: Feminism Liberated Men, Too," The Women’s Quarterly, no. 17 (Autumn 1998), pp. 4-6.
Excerpt: IN OUR NEW world of choice Dad seems to have gone, departed, left the scene, flown the coop. Many dads are literally gone, and they make up the statistics of male abandonment, the dead-beat dads whom we denounce. Other dads are physically present but… More
– "The City of Manent: A French Political Philosopher Examines Modernity," review of The City of Man, by Pierre Manent, Weekly Standard, 15 June 1998.
Excerpt: A book like Pierre Manent’s The City of Man doesn’t come along every day. Originally published in France in 1994 and now brought out in English by Princeton University Press, its is a fundamental book, and it raises a fundamental… More
– "Backlash," review Women and the Common Life: Love, Marriage, and Feminism, by Christopher Lasch, Weekly Standard, 14 April 1997.
Excerpt: The late Christopher Lasch was one of those rare men who take women seriously. He did this by taking their arguments seriously, an effort which in our time begins with taking feminism seriously. In Women and the Common Life, a collection of his last… More
– "The Election of 1996: And Our Coming Choice Between Freedom and Entitlement,” The American Enterprise, Jan-Feb. 1997, pp. 28-31.
Excerpt: The results of the 1996 elections were a relief for Republicans, who expected to lose the presidency and thought they might lose the Congress, and a disappointment for Democrats, who took a presidential victory for granted and hoped for more. There… More
– “Virilité et Libéralisme,” Archives de Philosophie du Droit, Vol. 41 (1997), pp. 25-42.
Excerpt: La virilité est une qualité – pour ne pas parler de vertu – aujourd’hui fort en disgrâce. N’importe quelle femme dotée d’un zeste de féminisme – pour être bref, disons toutes les femmes – la regarde d’un oeil torve, tandis que… More
– "The Virtues of C-SPAN," The American Enterprise, 1997.
Excerpt: With a healthy, unexciting breakfast, you need a zesty appetizer to start the day. I receive mine from c-SPAN, where the morning talk show, “Washington Journal,” gets my parti-san juices flowing. A liberal and a conservative politician pick… More
– "The Tragedy of Weber: John Patrick Diggins, Max Weber," review of Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy, by John Patrick Diggins, Weekly Standard, 8 December 1996.
Excerpt: John Patrick Diggins, a provocative academic who writes primarily on American politics, has the happy faculty of raising your interest without entirely satisfying it. His latest book seems at first glance a departure from his previous work, but it… More
– "Re-Politicizing American Politics: What a 'Living Constitution' Really Means," Weekly Standard, 29 July 1996.
Excerpt: How remarkable it is that Americans feel so dependent on government and at the same time so contemptuous of it! This is a political situation that gives hope to both Democrats and Republicans. The hope is conservative in each case. The Democrats… More
– "Harvard Loves Diversity," Weekly Standard, 25 March 1996.
Excerpt: A 58-page report from the president of Harvard on “Diversity and Learning” may not seem like hot stuff — and it isn’t, really — but it shows where American education is today. Since Harvard is run by liberals and has… More
Excerpt: Richard Brookhiser remarks, and laments, that George Washington is no longer first in the hearts of his countrymen. Brookhiser’s aim is to restore him in our hearts by way of our minds, an aim that if accomplished would better both our hearts and… More
– "A Great-books Junior College," symposium entitled "Nineteen Great Ideas for Repairing Civic Life," Policy Review, March-April 1996, p. 23.
Excerpt: My idea is to create a new one- or two-year junior college for bright students (or even not-so-bright students) to earn the education they did not receive in high school and won’t get in college. Actually I heard this idea first from Hillel… More
– "Bring Back Respectability," The American Enterprise, 1996.
Excerpt: Picking up trash, removing graffiti, asking the beggars to move on-at first I had trouble deciding which of these activities (any one of which would be easy to carry out) would be my choice for making our communities more livable. Then it occurred to… More
– "Enlightenment Supporter Sees a Dark Future for Democracy," review of On the Eve of the Millennium: The Future of Democracy through an Age of Unreason, by Conor Cruise O'Brien, Washington Times, 10 December 1995, B8.
– "The National Prospect," a symposium, Commentary Magazine, November 1995, 85-86.
Excerpt: Lack of virtue is dimming our national prospect. This is a simpler statement than the one posed for the symposium, which lists possible causes of moral decline rather than calling it by name. We Americans would rather not use that name. We are all of… More
– "Friends and Founders," review of The Republic of Letters: The Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson & James Madison, John Morton Smith, ed., New Criterion, May 1995.
Excerpt: The publication of the Jefferson–Madison correspondence is an event, for all who take a serious interest in American politics, that should have happened a long time ago. The letters have been available in older, separate editions of the works of… More
– "Foolish Cosmopolitanism," reply to Martha Nussbaum, Boston Review, October-November 1994, 10.
Excerpt: Martha Nussbaum is one of the most eminent female philosophy professors of our time, but when it comes to politics, she’s a girl scout. Indeed, she has less useful acquaintance with American politics than a schoolchild of either sex who has… More
– "The Unfinished Revolution," Three Beginnings: Revolution, Rights, and the Liberal State, Stephen F. Englehart and John Allphin Moore, Jr., eds., New York: Peter Lang, 1994, pp. 9-30. Reprinted in The Legacy of the French Revolution, Ralph C. Hancock and L. Gary Lambert, eds., Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996. pp. 19-41.
– "Returning to the Founders: the Debate on the Constitution," review of The Debate on the Constitution, Bernard Bailyn, ed., New Criterion, September 1993.
Excerpt: The publication of The Debate on the Constitution, in two new volumes of the Library of America, is an occasion for reflection. Edited by Bernard Bailyn, now the foremost professor of American history, these books are not intended for historians,… More
– "Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., The Question of Conservatism," interview in Harvard Review of Philosophy, Spring 1993, pp. 30-47.
Excerpt: HRP: What, in your view, is political philosophy and why should students and others care about it? Mansfield: Let me answer from the standpoint of philosophy. I would saythat political philosophy is about self-knowledge. You cannot think… More
– Review of Machiavelli in Hell, by Sebastian de Grazia, and The Machiavellian Cosmos, by Anthony J. Parel, American Political Science Review, vol. 87 (1993): 764-65.
Excerpt: Here are two books on Machiavelli of unusual distinction, composed by authors who have spent a good portion of their lives in loving study of a great man whom they need to understand and so do not wish to deconstruct. The wisdom resulting from their… More
– "The Great Edmund Burke," review of The Great Melody, by Conor Cruise O'Brien, New Criterion, November 1992.
Excerpt: The publication of The Great Melody is an event not just in the small circle of Edmund Burke scholarship but also in the larger community of historians. Still more, and above all, it is a gift to anyone who wants to understand politics. Conor… More
Excerpt: Who is Ross Perot? He is a businessman who wants to be president and thinks he sees an opportunity to get there despite the system that stands in his way. Most conventional opinion holds, with increasing nervousness, that the system, consisting of… More
– "The State of Harvard," review article in The Public Interest, No. 101 (Fall 1990), pp. 113-123.
Excerpt: HARVARD is either the best American university or close to it, and according to Henry Rosovsky, two-thirds of the world’s best universities are American. Rosovsky was dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at Harvard from 1973 to 1984, and… More
– "Straussianism, Democracy and Allan Bloom, II: Democracy and the Great Books," New Republic, 4 April 1988, 33-37. Also published in French as "La Démocratie et les Grands Livre," Commentaire 11 (Summer 1988): 492-96.
– "Constitutional Government: The Soul of Modern Democracy," The Public Interest, No. 86 (Winter 1987), pp. 53-64.
Excerpt: ALTHOUGH modern democracy is unhappy with the word “soul,” it has one nonetheless; and its soul is not healthy today. The disease is widely known as “dependeney,” the popular disposition, denounced mainly by conservarives, to depend on… More
– "Beauty and the Beast: Review Article of George Gilder's Men and Marriage," Policy Review, Winter 1987, pp. 76-78.
Excerpt: I n this revision of his book Sexual Suicide, George Gilder continues and expands his lonely opposition to feminism. He is the one male who has the gall, or the courage, to say that “the woman’s place is in the home.” Because he is pretty much… More
– Comment on "Aristotle’s Polis: A Community of the Virtuous," by Lloyd Gerson, Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, J. Cleary, ed., Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1987, pp. 226-228.
– "The Partisan Historian," review of The Cycles of American History, by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., American Spectator, February 1987.
Excerpt: The author of these sparkling essays (republished, but rewritten) is much more partisan than most other historians think proper. Whereas they see partisanship as a danger to be guarded against and try to prevent their politics from dictating their… More
– "Edmund Burke," History of Political Philosophy, Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, eds., 3rd ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
Excerpt: For almost all his adult life, Burke was a politician; for almost thirty years he was a member of the House of Commons, busy with the affairs of his party in the daily management of men and issues. His speeches, pamphlets, and books sound the grand… More
– "A Summer Seminar on the American Experiment," with Delba Winthrop, This Constitution, no. 9 (1985): 34-37.
Excerpt: Because America is so familiar to Americans, we take for granted the experimental nature of our politics. But this is the very theme of the two best books on American politics, The Federalist and Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.… More
– "The Forms and Formalities of Liberty," The Public Interest, No. 70 (Winter 1983), pp. 121-131.
Excerpt: This statement is long for an epigraph but dense enough to require explanation, and deep enough to reward reflection. Speaking of “forms,” Tocqueville directs our attention to institutions or practices in which the manner of action is… More
– Review of John Locke and the Theory of Sovereignty: Mixed Monarcy and the Right of Resistance in the Political Thought of the English Revolution, by J. H. Franklin, Review of Metaphysics, vol. 32 (June 1979): 752-54.
– "The Religious Issue and the Origin of Modern Constitutionalism," How Does the Constitution Protect Religious Freedom?, Robert A. Goldwin and Art Kaufman, eds., Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1978, pp. 1-14.
– "Thomas Jefferson," American Political Thought, M. Frisch and R. Stevens, eds., New York, 1971, pp. 23-50; republished in Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson, H.C. Mansfield, Jr., ed., Crofts Classics, 1978.
– Review of Corruption, Conflict, and Power in the Works and Times of Niccolo Machiavelli, by Alfredo Bonadeo, and Machiavelli and the Art of Renaissance History, by Peter Bondanella, Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 1 (1975): 68-70.
– "Defending Liberalism," The Alternative, April 1974.
Excerpt: LYNDON JOHNSON’S death on the day before the peace settlement in Vietnam was announced gave Richard Nixon the opportunity, while making the announcement, of vindicating Johnson against his critics. It was a chance befitting the course of… More