Religion and Secularism

– “Religion and Secularism” (A commentary on Michael Novak and Roger Scruton), in Religion and the American Future, ed. Christopher DeMuth and Yuval Levin (Washington, D.C.: AEI Press, 2008).
Excerpt: Theology is not a fruitful point of contact between the religions. Morality is. There is an important difference between Judaism and Christianity. In Judaism, morality trumps theology, practically always. In Christianity, theology trumps morality,… More

My “Public Interest”

– "My 'Public Interest'," The Weekly Standard, December 18, 2006.
Excerpt: In 1965, through a series of circumstances that need not be recounted here, the stars became properly aligned so that my wish could become a reality. Dan Bell and I were able to start a new magazine devoted exclusively to domestic social and economic… More

A Tory Revival Starts With a 10% Tax Cut

– "A Tory Revival Starts With a 10% Tax Cut," [London] Sunday Times, March 29, 2005.
Excerpt: Although I am always reluctant to do what that famous Yankee baseball player claimed that his predecessor had done — “He learnt me his experience” — I can’t resist the temptation to answer the question being put by Britain’s Tories in the… More

Forty Good Years

– "Forty Good Years," The Public Interest, Spring 2005.
Excerpt: Yet The Public Interest, it should be said, transcended any political ideology, or even any political “disposition.” Inevitably, to be sure, my own political identity spilled over into the public perception of the magazine; there was no… More

Notice to Our Readers

– "Notice to Our Readers," The Public Interest, Spring 2005.
Excerpt: The issue you hold in your hands will be The Public Interest’s last. No journal is meant to last forever, and this one won’t try to. We have decided, after forty years, to call it a day.

It Wasn’t Inevitable

– "It Wasn't Inevitable," The Weekly Standard, June 21, 2004.
Excerpt: It is generally conceded–even by Senator Kennedy!–that Reagan’s Cold War militancy helped bring about the collapse of Communist Russia. But that’s a deceptive statement. He didn’t help bring it about. He brought it… More

Robert L. Bartley, 1937-2003

– "Robert L. Bartley, 1937-2003," The Weekly Standard, December 22, 2003.
Excerpt: Bob Bartley was one of the most influential journalists of the 20th century. He was also a most admirable human being. Although his controversial opinions, strongly expressed, made him enemies, he himself had no enemies. Petty passions were simply… More

The Neoconservative Persuasion: What It Was, and What It Is

– "The Neoconservative Persuasion: What It Was, and What It Is,"  The Weekly Standard, August 25, 2003.
Excerpt: Viewed in this way, one can say that the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of… More

The Education, So to Speak, of a Neoconservative or Why American Conservatism Is Exceptional

– "The Education, So to Speak, of a Neoconservative or Why American Conservatism Is Exceptional" (Bradley Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute), October 15, 2001.
Irving Kristol Bradley Lecture The Education, so to speak, of a Neoconservative [EDITED TRANSCRIPT] A few years ago the journals rang me up and asked, do you think neo-conservatism lives, or has it been absorbed into the larger conservative movement? And I… More

Is Technology a Threat to Society?

– "Is Technology a Threat to Society?" The Public Interest, Spring 2001.
Excerpt: I think there is some loose thinking about this whole problem of scientists, engineers, and their social responsibilities. When scientists say they want to live up to their social responsibilities, what they usually mean is that they want more power… More

The Two Welfare States

– “The Two Welfare States,” Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2000.
Excerpt: The most notable aspect of the current presidential election has been the division that has emerged between the two versions of the welfare state envisaged by the two parties. An older, masculine, paternalistic version of the welfare state is… More

Arguing the World

Arguing the World: The New York Intellectuals in Their Own Words, ed. Joseph Dorman (New York: Free Press, 2000). (Transcript of TV interviews from 1998.)

Faith à la Carte

– "Faith à la Carte," The Times Literary Supplement, May 26, 2000.
Excerpt: With an unprecedented level of prosperity and the end of the Cold War, the American people say they want change—it is practically un-American for someone to say he does not want change—but it is clear they will not be dismayed if they don’t get… More

On the Political Stupidity of the Jews

– "On the Political Stupidity of the Jews," Azure, Autumn 1999.
Excerpt: The novelist Saul Bellow is fond of recalling a political incident from his youth. Saul, then an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, was, like so many of us in the 1930s, powerfully attracted to the ideologies of socialism, Marxism, Leninism… More


– “Censorship?” (A symposium), The Weekly Standard, August 23, 1999.
Excerpt: For years now, conservatives have been waiting for “the people” to rise up against the institutional elites who have imposed their culture on us. But the people can’t be bothered. There are many reasons for this. They are too busy working,… More

Liberties and Licences

– "Liberties and Licences," Times Literary Supplement, July 9, 1998.  (A review of Freedom and Virtue: The Conservative/Libertarian Debate edited by George W. Carey.)

A Note on Religious Tolerance

– “A Note on Religious Tolerance,” Conservative Judaism, Summer 1998.
Excerpt: I am all in favor of Americans of a particular religion learning about other religions. On the other hand, I have little use for all these Christian-Jewish dialogues that are so popular nowadays. They are incredibly superficial— nothing more than… More

Petrified Europe

– “Petrified Europe,” Wall Street Journal, February 2, 1998.

Conflicts That Can’t Be Resolved

– "Conflicts That Can't Be Resolved," Wall Street Journal, September 5, 1997.
Excerpt: Peace processes are proliferating all over the world, along with the violence that gave birth to them. There is the Middle East peace process, of course, but peace processes are also at work in the Cyprus conflict between Greeks and Turks, the… More

The Emerging American Imperium

– "The Emerging American Imperium," Wall Street Journal, August 18, 1997.
Excerpt: The world has never seen an imperium of this kind, and it is hard to know what to make of it. In its favor, it lacks the brute coercion that characterized European imperialism. But it also lacks the authentic missionary spirit of that older… More

Is There a Jewish Agenda for America?

– "Is There a Jewish Agenda for America?" (A Symposium), Reform Judaism, Summer 1997.
Excerpt: We Jews are a bit over two percent of the American population–and this percentage is inexorably declining as a result of a low-replacement birth rate and a sky-high rate of intermarriage. How can anyone take seriously “our” agenda?… More

The Welfare State’s Spiritual Crisis

– “The Welfare State's Spiritual Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, February 3, 1997.
Excerpt: By now it is obvious to all who wish to see that we are experiencing a profound crisis of the welfare state. Several crises, in fact. There is the financial crisis now evident in all the Western democracies, where all governments–whether left… More

The Tipping-Point Election

– “The Tipping-Point Election: Will Future Americans Look Back at the 1996 Vote and Say 'Bingo'?” American Enterprise, November/December 1996.

The Right Stuff

– “The Right Stuff,” Prospect, October 1996.
Excerpt: I remember the day very well, back in 1956, when I arrived at my office at Encounter-of which I was then co-editor-and found on my desk an unsolicited manuscript by Michael Oakeshott. This, I thought, is the way every editor’s day should begin,… More

The Feminization of the Democrats

– “The Feminization of the Democrats,” Wall Street Journal, September 9, 1996.
Excerpt: The current breakup experienced by the American family is having a profound effect on American politics, as well as on American society. One can go further and say that the social problems we are confronting, problems either created or exacerbated by… More

A Post-Wilsonian Foreign Policy

– “A Post-Wilsonian Foreign Policy,” Wall Street Journal, August 2, 1996.
Excerpt: Everyone from American scholars to foreign statesmen finds American foreign policy very puzzling. And so the basic tenor of all commentaries on this policy, at any time and from any source, tends to be critical. When was the last time you read an… More

Sex Trumps Gender

– “Sex Trumps Gender,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 1996.  

The National Prospect

– "The National Prospect" (A Symposium), Commentary, November 1995.
Excerpt: I am persuaded that a serious religious revival is under way in this country. But just how this revival will make out when it confronts the hedonism of our popular culture and the libertarianism of so many of even our politically conservative young… More

American Conservatism, 1945-1995

– "American Conservatism, 1945-1995," The Public Interest, Fall 1995.
Excerpt: THE Public Interest was born well before the term “neoconservative” was invented, and will—I trust—be alive and active when the term is of only historical interest. That time may even be now, as the distinction between conservative and… More

An Autobiographical Memoir

– “An Autobiographical Memoir” from Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea, (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1995).
Excerpt: Is there such a thing as a “neo” gene? I ask that question because, looking back over a lifetime of my opinions, I am struck by the fact that they all quality as “neo.” I have been a neo-Marxist, a neo-Trotskyist, a neo-socialist, a… More

America Dreaming

– “America Dreaming,” Wall Street Journal, August 13, 1995.

Taking Religious Conservatives Seriously

– “Taking Religious Conservatives Seriously,” Foreword to Disciples and Democracy: Religious Conservatives and the Future of American Politics, ed. Michael Cromartie (Grand Rapids, MI: Ethics and Public Policy Center and William Eerdman's, 1994).
Excerpt: For the past century the rise of liberalism has been wedded to the rise of secularism in all areas of American life. In the decades ahead, the decline of secularism will signify the decline of liberalism as well. Already, on the far-left fringes of… More


– "Countercultures," Commentary, December 1994.
Excerpt: Countercultures are dangerous phenomena even as they are inevitable. Their destructive power always far exceeds their constructive power. The delicate task that faces our civilization today is not to reform the secular, rationalist orthodoxy, which… More

Why Religion Is Good for the Jews

– "Why Religion Is Good for the Jews," Commentary, August 1994.
Excerpt: In any event, being Jewish in a multiracial, multiethnic, and religiously pluralist society is the challenge of the hour. Or, to be more precise: the challenge is to find a way of incorporating the crucial religious dimension of “being Jewish”… More

My Cold War

– “My Cold War,” The National Interest, Spring 1993.
Excerpt: The truth is that, by the time I came to Encounter, anticommunism or anti-Marxism or anti-Marxist-Leninism or anti-totalitarianism had pretty much ceased to interest me as an intellectual project. As a young Trotskyist in my college days, I had… More

All That Jazz

– “All That Jazz,” The National Interest, Summer 1992.

The Capitalist Future

– “The Capitalist Future,” Francis Boyer Lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, December 4, 1991.
Excerpt: This cultural nihilism will have, in the short term, only a limited political effect—short of a massive, enduring economic crisis. The reason it will not happen—this is still the good news—is that a bourgeois, property-owning democracy tends to… More

Interview with Tom Bethell

– Interview with Tom Bethell, American Spectator, December 1991.
Excerpt: “The Democratic party is falling apart,” he said. “Which is lucky for us. It’s completely out of sync with the public. What’s happening to the Democratic party is the same as what has been happening to the Labour party… More

The Future of American Jewry

– "The Future of American Jewry," Commentary, August 1991
Excerpt: Is this picture of 21st-century America good or bad? Specifically, is it good for the Jews or bad for the Jews? The instinctive response of most Jews, committed to their secular liberalism at least as fervently as to their Judaism, will be that it is… More

Standing Room Only

– “Standing Room Only,” Times Literary Supplement, July 16, 1991.

Standing Room Only

– “Standing Room Only,” Times Literary Supplement, July 12, 1991. (A review of American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion by Judith Shklar.)

Taking Political Things Personally

– “Taking Political Things Personally,” Times Literary Supplement, March 5, 1991. (A review of The American "Empire" and Other Studies of US Foreign Policy in a Comparative Perspective by Geir Lundestad and US Foreign Policy in the 1990s edited by Greg Schmergel.)

Books for Christmas

– “Books for Christmas” (A symposium), American Spectator, December 1990.
Excerpt: Here are three recommendations. They are all fiction, all twentieth century, are available in paperback, but are not contemporary. I keep meeting people who do not know these works, which I have recently reread. Not one of them has any political… More

It’s Obscene but Is It Art?

– “It's Obscene but Is It Art?” Wall Street Journal, August 7, 1990.
Excerpt: But one interesting and important fact has already become clear: Our politics today is so spiritually empty, so morally incoherent, that—except for a few brave souls—liberals have been quick to dismiss as “yahoos” anyone who dares to… More

There Is No Military Free Lunch

– ''There Is No Military Free Lunch," New York Times, February 2, 1990.
Excerpt: Will we tolerate such a diminution of our position as a world power? Are we willing to relinquish the possibility of intervening anywhere, ever, to help shape a world order in flux? Will we count on our nursing homes and day care centers, rather than… More

Second Thoughts: A Generational Perspective

– “Second Thoughts: A Generational Perspective,” Second Thoughts: Former Radicals Look Back at the Sixties, ed. Peter Collier and David Horowitz (New York: Madison Books, 1989).

On the Character of American Political Order

– “On the Character of American Political Order,” In The Promise of American Politics: Principles and Practice after Two Hundred Years, ed. Robert Utley (New York: University Press of America, 1989).

This Is the Place to Be

– “This Is the Place to Be” (Interview with Ken Adelman), Washingtonian, July 1989.

The End of History?

– “The End of History?” (A symposium), The National Interest, Summer 1989.

Christmas, Christians, and Jews

– “Christmas, Christians, and Jews,” National Review, December 30, 1988.
Excerpt: Once upon a time, long before the idea or phrase “sensitivity training” was born, the various religious groups in our heterogeneous society had developed a strategy for getting along with one another. It was a strategy based on civility… More

Freedom and Vigilance: Ronald Reagan

– "Freedom and Vigilance: Ronald Reagan," (Remarks for a symposium), American Enterprise Institute, December 7, 1988.
Excerpt: As Ronald Reagan prepares to leave the White House, he also leaves those of us who study American politics and American history with an interesting question: What is it that has made him so successful a president—indeed so successful a democratic… More

Liberalism and American Jews

– "Liberalism and American Jews," Commentary, October 1988.
Excerpt: How long this condition of “cognitive dissonance” will continue, and where it will end, is not now foreseeable. Everything will depend on how the Western democracies themselves adapt to this new situation. What is certain, however, is that… More

Why I Left

– "Why I Left," The New Republic, April 11, 1988.
Excerpt: But there is one area in which Washington is an intellectual center, and that is public policy: economic policy, social policy, foreign policy, today even educational policy. This area now is dominated by a wide assortment of social scientists.… More

Liberally Applied, It’s Not Voodoo

– “Liberally Applied, It's Not Voodoo,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 1988.
Excerpt: Let us see if we can clear up some of the myths about Ronald Reagan’s economic policies and economic performance over the past eight years. A good way to begin is to imagine that Reagan lost the election of 1980 to a liberal Democrat more… More

Don’t Count Out Conservatism

– “Don't Count Out Conservatism,” New York Times Magazine, June 14, 1987.
Excerpt: WHAT THE REAGAN Administration has not been able to do is articulate any kind of comprehensive conservative viewpoint. This is an Administration that from the beginning has been a transitional affair, but has lacked the self-consciousness to know it.… More

The Spirit of ’87

– "The Spirit of '87," The Public Interest, Winter 1987.
Excerpt: THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION is a highly paradoxical document. Rhetorically, it is dry, legalistic, lacking in eloquence. Substantively, too, while it may not in fact have been “the work of men who believed in original sin,” as James Bryce thought,… More

“Human Rights”: The Hidden Agenda

– “'Human Rights': The Hidden Agenda,” The National Interest, Winter 1986-87.
Excerpt: A final point: There are some conservative (or non-left) “human rights” activists who feel that this theme can be exploited for purposes of anti-communist and anti-totalitarian propaganda. It is impossible not to admire the diligence with… More

Room for Darwin and the Bible

– “Room for Darwin and the Bible,” New York Times, September 30, 1986.
Excerpt: The current teaching of evolution in our public schools does indeed have an ideological bias against religious belief – teaching as ”fact” what is only hypothesis. But religious instruction in our public schools is something we have… More

What Every Soviet Leader Wants

– "What Every Soviet Leader Wants," Fortune, September 1, 1986. (A review of The Soviet Paradox: External Expansion, Internal Decline by Seweryn Bialer.)
Excerpt: What should American policy toward the Soviet Union be? Nobody can answer that question without confronting another: What are Soviet intentions? I am not referring to short-term, tactical intentions of the kind that an intelligence network might… More

The David I Knew

– “The David I Knew,” Wall Street Journal, May 9, 1986.

New York Intellectuals

– “New York Intellectuals,” Washington Times, April 7, 1986. (A review of Prodigal Sons: The New York Intellectuals and Their World by Alexander Bloom.)

Ideas Shape Every Generation

– “Ideas Shape Every Generation,” in American Business and the Quest for Freedom (Washington, D. C.: Ethics and Public Policy, February 86).

After New Models

– “After New Models,” Times Literary Supplement, December 6, 1985. (A review of The Trouble with America by Michael Crozier.)

The Changing World of New York Intellectuals

– "The Changing World of New York Intellectuals" (A letter to the editor), New York Times, September 29, 1985.
Excerpt: In his article on New York’s intellectuals, James Atlas quotes me as saying that it was a tradition among New York intellectuals to marry money. Obviously, Mr. Atlas misheard some remark or other in the course of our brief telephone… More

Skepticism, Meliorism and The Public Interest

– "Skepticism, Meliorism and The Public Interest," The Public Interest, Fall, 1985.
Excerpt: Indeed, The Public Interest has always emphasized the modestly positive along with the skeptical. Ours has always really been a meliorist frame of mind. The world is not coming to an end, and American society is not going to collapse, merely because… More

International Law and International Lies

– “International Law and International Lies,” Wall Street Journal, June 21, 1985.
Excerpt: This new version of international law, and the liberal internationalist foreign policy associated with it, has played out its string. The senselessness of its assumptions becomes more apparent with every passing day. The American people… More

Kristol’s Nato

– “Kristol's Nato” (A reply to a letter), Encounter, June 1985.

The Twisted Vocabulary of Superpower Symmetry

– “The Twisted Vocabulary of Superpower Symmetry” (remarks originally delivered as part of a conference in May 1985), in Scorpions in a Bottle: Dangerous Ideas About the United States and the Soviet Union, ed. Lissa Roche (Hillsdale, MI: Hillsdale College Press, 1986).

A Choice of Blind Alleys

– “A Choice of Blind Alleys,” Times Literary Supplement, November 23, 1984. (A review of Politics and the Pursuit of Happiness by Ghita Ionescu.)

The State of the Union

– “The State of the Union,” The New Republic, October 29, 1984. (A review of The Good News Is the Bad News Is Wrong by Ben Wattenberg.)

Jewish Voters and the “Politics of Compassion”

– "Jewish Voters and the 'Politics of Compassion'," (A reply to letters), Commentary, October 1984.
Excerpt: Now, compassion is indeed a virtue, much prized in the Jewish tradition. But it is worth recalling, as the etymology of the word itself indicates, that compassion is—a passion. It is one among several of our passions that can lead us to a virtuous… More

Reflections of a Neoconservative

– “Reflections of a Neoconservative,” Partisan Review, no. 4, 1984.
Excerpt: Even to raise that question, of course, is to define oneself as some kind of conservative, if only an incipient kind of conservative. Just what “conservative” means, politically and culturally, in the last quarter of this turbulent twentieth… More

The Political Dilemma of American Jews

– "The Political Dilemma of American Jews," Commentary, July 1984.
Excerpt: In short, while American Jews have for the most part persisted in their loyalty to the politics of American liberalism, that politics has blandly and remorselessly distanced itself from them. For the first time in living memory, Jews are finding… More

Let Europe Be Europe

– “Let Europe Be Europe,” New York Times Book Review, June 10, 1984. (A review of Antipolitics by George Konrad.)

What’s Going On Out There?

– ''What's Going On Out There?" (Proceedings of a conference held May 11-13, 1984 in Washington, D.C.), The State of the Nation: A Conference of the Committee for the Free World, ed. Steven C. Munson (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1985).

Life with Sid: A Memoir

– “Life with Sid: A Memoir,” in Sidney Hook: Philosopher of Democracy and Humanism, ed. Paul Kurtz (New York: Prometheus Books, 1983).

What’s Wrong with NATO?

– "What's Wrong with NATO?" New York Times Magazine, September 25, 1983.
Excerpt: If we have learned anything from the NATO experience of the last 30 years, it is the rediscovery of an old truth: Dependency corrupts and absolute dependency corrupts absolutely. To the degree that Europe has been dependent upon the United States,… More

The Dubious Science

– “The Dubious Science,” The New Republic, June 6, 1983. (A review of Dangerous Currents: The State of Economics by Lester Thurow.)

Our Country and Our Culture

Our Country and Our Culture (Proceedings of a Committee for the Free World conference held February 12-13, 1983 in New York), (New York: Orwell Press, 1989).

“No First Use” Requires a Conventional Build-Up

– “'No First Use' Requires a Conventional Build-Up,” in The Apocalyptic Premise: Nuclear Arms Debated, ed. Ernest W. Lefever and E. Stephen Hunt (Washington, D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Committee, 1982).

The Feminist Attack on Smut

– "The Feminist Attack on Smut," The New Republic, July 25, 1981. (A review of Pornography and Silence by Susan Griffin.)
Excerpt: It was utterly predictable that freedom of pornographic speech and action would sooner  or later come into conflict with the women’s movement. Pornography, after all, has long been recognized to be a predominantly male fantasy involving the… More

A New Look at Capitalism

– “A New Look at Capitalism” (A symposium on Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder), National Review, April 17, 1981.

Ideology and Supply-Side Economics

– "Ideology & Supply-Side Economics," Commentary, April 1981.
Excerpt: The terms being applied—by the media, by politicians, by economists—to President Reagan’s economic program, and most particularly to the tax-cutting aspect of this program, are “bold,” “revolutionary,” “a risky experiment,” and so… More

William Baroody, Sr., Recipient of the 1980 Boyer Award

– “William Baroody, Sr., Recipient of the 1980 Boyer Award” (Remarks for a symposium), December 11, 1980.
Excerpt: It is a truth generally acknowledged that, the older one is, the less the likelihood of acquiring good and close friends. I count myself fortunate in having experienced some exceptions to this rule, and easily the most exceptional exception was my… More

Rationalism in Economics

– "Rationalism in Economics," The Public Interest, Special Issue 1980.
Excerpt: IT is widely conceded that something like a “crisis in economic theory” exists, but there is vehement disagreement about the extent and nature of this crisis. The more established and distinguished leaders of the so-called… More

Foundations and the Sin of Pride: The Myth of the Third Sector

– “Foundations and the Sin of Pride: The Myth of the Third Sector,” A speech before the Annual Conference of the Council on Foundations, May 30, 1980.
Excerpt: I want to make one final point, which is really my original point. Foundations came into existence originally to do all the things that needed to be done that the government did not do in the 19th and early 20th centuries. That was the right thing… More

The Goal

– “The Goal,” Encounter, March 1980.

Some Personal Reflections on Economic Well-Being and Income Distribution

– "Some Personal Reflections on Economic Well-Being and Income Distribution," in The American Economy in Transition, ed. Martin Feldstein (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).
Excerpt: It is my understanding, from surveying various studies of trends in income distribution in the United States over the past three decades, that economists have found very little significant change to have taken place. There does seem to have been a… More

Waste of Time

– ''Waste of Time” (A contribution to a symposium), Business and Society Review, Summer 1979.

No Cheers for the Profit Motive

– “No Cheers for the Profit Motive,” Wall Street Journal, February 20, 1979.
Excerpt: It is, in my opinion, as absurd to praise the profit motive—i.e., economic action based on self-interest—as it is to condemn it. The human impulse to such action is, like the sexual impulse, a natural fact. So far from being a virtue,… More

The Spiritual Roots of Capitalism and Socialism

– “The Spiritual Roots of Capitalism and Socialism,” in Capitalism and Socialism: A Theological Inquiry, ed. Michael Novak (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1979).

The Disaffection from Capitalism

– “The Disaffection from Capitalism,” in Capitalism and Socialism: A Theological Inquiry, ed. Michael Novak (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1979).

Human Nature and Social Reform

– “Human Nature and Social Reform,” Wall Street Journal, September 18, 1978.
Excerpt: What it comes down to is that our reformers simply cannot bring themselves to think realistically about human nature.  They believe it to be not only originally good, but also incorruptible (hence the liberal tolerance for pornography). When a slum… More

Is America Moving Right? Ought It?

– ''Is America Moving Right? Ought It?” (A conversation with Irving Kristol and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.), Public Opinion, September/October, 1978.

Urban Utopias vs. the Real World

– “Urban Utopias vs. the Real World,” Fortune, July 1978. (A review of Urban Utopias in the Twentieth Century by Robert Fisher.)

Thoughts on Equality and Egalitarians

– “Thoughts on Equality and Egalitarians,” in Income Redistribution, ed. Colin D. Campbell (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1977).

How Equal Can We Be?

– “How Equal Can We Be?” (An interview), Business and Society Review, Fall 1977.

Professors, Politicians and Public Policy

Professors, Politicians and Public Policy: A Round Table Held on July 29, 1977 (AEI Forum No. 10), ed. John Charles Daly (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1977).

Toward a “New” Economics

– “Toward a 'New' Economics,” Wall Street Journal, May 9, 1977.
Excerpt: It is hard to overestimate the importance of the fact that, for the first time in half a century, it is the economic philosophy of conservatives that is showing signs of intellectual vigor, while the economic philosophy of liberalism keeps tying… More

What Is a “Neo-Conservative”?

– “What Is a ‘Neo-Conservative’?” Newsweek, January 19, 1976.
Excerpt: 1.  Neo-conservatism is not at all hostile to the idea of a welfare state, but it is critical of the Great Society version of this welfare state.  In general, it approves of those social reforms that, while providing needed security and comfort… More

Adam Smith and the Spirit of Capitalism

– “Adam Smith and the Spirit of Capitalism,” in The Great Ideas Today, ed. Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1976).

The High Cost of Equality

– “The High Cost of Equality,” Fortune, November 1975. (A review of Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff by Arthur Okun.)

On Corporate Capitalism in America

– "On Corporate Capitalism in America," The Public Interest, Fall 1975.
Excerpt: Whether for good or evil—and one can leave this for future historians to debate–the large corporation has gone “quasi-public,” i.e., it now straddles, uncomfortably and uncertainly, both the private and public sectors of our… More

Is Technology a Threat to Liberal Society?

– “Is Technology a Threat to Liberal Society?” (Lecture at Science, Technology and Modern Society symposium of Polytechnic Institute of New York), March 13-14, 1975.

World Perspective

– “World Perspective” (Interview with Boardroom Reports), February 15, 1975.

Secrets of State

– “Secrets of State,” Wall Street Journal, November 14, 1974.

Moral and Ethical Development in a Democratic Society

– "Moral and Ethical Development in a Democratic Society" (Lecture at the 1974 Educational Testing Service conference), printed in Moral Development (Princeton, NJ: ETS, 1975).
Excerpt: Properly understood, authority is to be distinguished from power, which is the capacity to coerce. In the case of authority, power is not experienced as coercive because it is infused, however dimly, with a moral intention that corresponds to the… More

Taxes, Poverty, and Equality

– "Taxes, Poverty, and Equality," The Public Interest, Fall 1974.
Excerpt: Taxation, poverty, and equality are all and always proper subjects for concern and reformist action. But the first step toward effective reform is to disentangle these three themes. And this first step cannot itself be taken unless one appreciates… More

How Hiring Quotas Came to the Campuses

– “How Hiring Quotas Came to the Campuses,” Fortune, September 1974. (A review of Anti-Bias Regulations of the University: Faculty Problems and Their Solutions by Richard A. Lester and The Balancing Act by George Roche.)

Discipline as a Dirty Word

– “Discipline as a Dirty Word,” Saturday Review, June 1, 1974. (A review of Raising Children in a Difficult Time by Benjamin Spock.)

Republican Virtue vs. Servile Institutions

– “Republican Virtue vs. Servile Institutions” delivered at and then reprinted by the Poynter Center at Indiana University, May 1974. (Reprinted in The Alternative, February 1975.)
Excerpt: This is a serious matter. For the American democracy today seems really to have no other purpose than to create more and more Scarsdales—to convert the entire nation into a larger Scarsdale. That is what our political leaders promise us; that is… More

Notes on the Yom Kippur War

– “Notes on the Yom Kippur War,” Wall Street Journal, October 18, 1973.
Excerpt: One of the things that most exasperated me in Israel was the unwillingness to face up to Arab realities. Many of my Israeli friends could not confront the fact that the Arab nations do not accept, and will not in the foreseeable future accept,… More

The American Revolution as a Successful Revolution

– “The American Revolution as a Successful Revolution” (lecture delivered at American Enterprise Institute, October 12, 1973), printed in America's Continuing Revolution: An Act of Conservation (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1975).
Excerpt: As we approach the bicentennial of the American Revolution, we find ourselves in a paradoxical and embarrassing situation. A celebration of some kind certainly seems to be in order, but the urge to celebrate is not exactly overwhelming. Though many… More

Vice and Virtue in Las Vegas

– “Vice and Virtue in Las Vegas,” Wall Street Journal, September 13, 1973.
Excerpt: In short, when government gets into the gambling business it necessarily assumes the responsibilities for seeing that this business grows and prospers. In effect, it proclaims that gambling is not a necessary evil but an inherently good thing.… More

The Ironies of Neo-Isolationism

– “The Ironies of Neo-Isolationism,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 1973.
Excerpt: To be sure, if the U.S. were to revert to a strictly isolationist position in foreign affairs, then it wouldn’t much matter whether we had a conscript or volunteer army. But the chances of any such reversion are remote, despite Vietnam. Our… More

Capitalism, Socialism and Nihilism

– "Capitalism, Socialism and Nihilism," The Public Interest, Spring 1973.
Excerpt: WHENEVER and wherever defenders of “free enterprise,” “individual liberty,” and “a free society” assemble, these days, one senses a peculiar kind of nostalgia in the air. It is a nostalgia for that time when they were busily engaged in… More

Equality and Justice

– "Equality and Justice" (A reply to letters), Commentary, February 1973.
Excerpt: I still do believe that any society has to be governed by a principle of justice which legitimates particular inequalities, and that our own society is having trouble finding such a principle. But I have never believed, as you imply, that justice and… More

About Equality

– "About Equality," Commentary, November 1972.
Excerpt: So this, it appears to me, is what the controversy “about equality” is really about. We have an intelligentsia which so despises the ethos of bourgeois society, and which is so guilt-ridden at being implicated in the life of this society, that it… More

Of Populism and Taxes

– "Of Populism and Taxes," The Public Interest, Summer 1972.
Excerpt: There is no conspiracy—but there is a problem. It is not a problem of income distribution or of inequities of taxation. The problem is the bureaucratization of American society—and the fact that this bureaucratization has failed to accomplish the… More

Our Gang and How It Prospered

– “Our Gang and How It Prospered,” Fortune, April 1972. (A review of The Gang and the Establishment by Richard W. Poston.)

The Need for a Philosophy of Education

– “The Need for a Philosophy of Education” (remarks originally delivered as part of a conference at Rockefeller University on February 21-22, 1972) in The Idea of a Modern University, ed. Sidney Hook, Paul Kurtz, and Miro Todorovich (New York: Prometheus Books, 1974).

Welfare: The Best of Intentions, the Worst of Results

– “Welfare: The Best of Intentions, the Worst of Results,” Atlantic, August 1971.
Excerpt: Is it surprising, then, that — unmanned and demoralized — he removes himself from family responsibilities that no longer rest on his shoulders? That he drifts out of his home — or is even pushed out of his home — into the male… More

From Priorities to Goals

– "From Priorities to Goals," The Public Interest, Summer 1971.
Excerpt: Controversies over matters of political philosophy, since they are controversies over fundamental beliefs, are exceedingly dangerous for any nation. They certainly ought not to happen too often, for they then make civilized political life very… More

The Urban Crisis (Cont’d)

– "The Urban Crisis (Cont'd)" (A reply to letters), Commentary, January 1971.
Excerpt: Usually, and fortunately, the kind of disagreement that has emerged between Mr. Zukosky and myself tends to remain “academic.” In settled times, the modes of civility in daily life are not controversial issues—though individuals may, at their… More

“Capitalism” and “the Free Society”

– "'Capitalism' and 'the Free Society'," (a reply to John K. Jessup), The Public Interest, Winter 1971.
Excerpt: Now, there is only one rejoinder that someone like Jessup can make to this point. It is the libertarian answer given by Hayek and Friedman: what legitimates a “free society” is the high degree of personal liberty it makes possible. In… More

Is the Urban Crisis Real?

– "Is the Urban Crisis Real?" (a rejoinder to Jerome Zukosky), Commentary, November 1970.
Excerpt: In short, I do think that the “real” crisis in America today is largely—not entirely, of course, but largely—a moral-philosophical one, and that it cannot be dealt with simply by a “practical,” pragmatic, matter-of-fact approach. This… More

History and Human Survival

– "History and Human Survival," New York Times, August 2, 1970. (A review of Essays on the Young And Old, Survivors And the Dead, and on Contemporary Psychohistory by Robert Jay Lifton.)

Urban Civilization and Its Discontents

– "Urban Civilization and Its Discontents," Commentary, July 1970.  (Adapted from the inaugural lecture as Henry R. Luce Professor of Urban Values at New York University, delivered April 15, 1970.)
Excerpt: What has happened, clearly, is that provincial America—that America which at least paid lip service to, if it did not live by, the traditional republican morality—that America which, whether on the farm or in suburb or small town, thought it… More

A University’s Business

– “A University's Business” (A reply to a letter), New York Times Magazine, April 19, 1970.

Barbarians from Within

– “Barbarians from Within,” Fortune, March 1970. (A review of Decline of Radicalism: Reflections on America Today by Daniel Boorstin.)

In Search of the Missing Social Indicator

– “In Search of the Missing Social Indicator,” Fortune, August 1969. (A review of Toward a Social Report, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.)

Who Knows New York?—and Other Notes on a Mixed-Up City

– "Who Knows New York?—and Other Notes on a Mixed-Up City" (with Paul Weaver), The Public Interest, Summer 1969.
Excerpt: TOMAS WOLFE once entitled a memorable short story, “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn.” Who knows New York? Not very many among the living, it would seem. New York is not different from any other city in that basic statistical data are fragmentary and… More

Interview with R. Emmett Tyrrell

– Interview with R. Emmett Tyrrell, The Alternative, May 1969.
Excerpt: TYRRELL: Is the new left really that new? Where did it come from? KRISTOL: Well, what is new about the new left is its identification of a political mythology with a generational mythology. The major difference between the new left and the old left… More

The New Era of Innovation

– “The New Era of Innovation,” Fortune, February 1969. (A review of The Age of Discontinuity: Guidelines to Our Changing Society by Peter Drucker.)

The New York Intellectuals: An Exchange

– “The New York Intellectuals: An Exchange” (with Irving Howe), Commentary, January 1969.
Excerpt: Behind Mr. Howe’s perspective there lies an unexamined premise: that there is something unnatural in an intellectual being anything but politically radical, a man of the Left. The reason this premise remains unstated and unexamined is that it… More

Paying for Protection

– “Paying for Protection,” The New Leader, December 2, 1968. (A review of Varieties of Police Behavior by James Q. Wilson.)

Ten Years in a Tunnel: Reflections on the 1930s

– “Ten Years in a Tunnel: Reflections on the 1930s,” in The Thirties: A Reconsideration in the Light of the American Political Tradition, ed. Morton J. Frisch and Martin Diamond (De Kalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois University Press, 1968).

The Don Comes Up Like Thunder

– “The Don Comes Up Like Thunder,” Washington Post, August 25, 1968. (A review of A Runaway World? by Edmund Leach.)

Why It’s Hard to Be Nice to the New Left

– “Why It's Hard to Be Nice to the New Left,” Fortune, August 1968. (A review of Permanent Poverty: An American Syndrome by Ben Seligman and Toward a Democratic Left by Michael Harrington.)

The New Regulators

– “The New Regulators,” Fortune, June 15, 1968. (A review of Report of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Traffic, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.)

Why I Am for Humphrey

– "Why I Am for Humphrey," The New Republic, June 8, 1968.
Excerpt: Mr. Humphrey, in contrast, seems to me to be capable of moulding and leading the right kind of majority–one that does not wish to repudiate American traditions (and, yes, even the “American way of life”) but is nevertheless… More

Decentralization for What?

– "Decentralization for What?" The Public Interest, Spring 1968.
Excerpt: I began this essay by suggesting that, at this time and this place, bureaucratic nightmares might not be the worst imaginable nightmares. I also believe that, if by some miracle these bureaucracies did not now exist, we should have to invent them, as… More

Men on the Move

– “Men on the Move,” Fortune, March 1968. (A review of American Occupational Structure by Otis Dudley Duncan.)

Who’s in Charge Here?

– “Who's in Charge Here?” Fortune, November 1967. (A review of The Power Structure by Arnold Rose.)

Common Sense about the Urban Crisis

– “Common Sense about the Urban Crisis,” Fortune, October 1967. (A review of Metropolitan Enigma, United States Chamber of Commerce.)

As Goes Demand, So Goes Invention

– “As Goes Demand, So Goes Invention,” Fortune, September 1967. (A review of Invention and Economic Growth by Jacob Schmookler.)

American Intellectuals and Foreign Policy

– “American Intellectuals and Foreign Policy,” Foreign Affairs, July 1967.
Excerpt: An intellectual may be defined as a man who speaks with general authority about a subject on which he has no particular competence. This definition sounds ironic, but is not. The authority is real enough, just as the lack of specific competence is… More

The Times: An Exchange

– "The Times: An Exchange" (a rejoinder to Clifton Daniel), The Public Interest, Spring 1967.
Excerpt: Seriously, though, I am disappointed by Mr. Daniel’s reaction to my article. That article tried to make some general points about the fundamental intellectual weakness of American journalism today and, inevitably, I took the New York Times as… More

The Underdeveloped Profession

– "The Underdeveloped Profession," The Public Interest, Winter 1967.
Excerpt: It is becoming high fashion, in some circles, to sling an occasional shot at the New York Times. The temptation is both powerful and understandable. The Times is such a big, smug, solid target that any individual is bound to add a journalistic cubit… More

The Pauper Problem

– “The Pauper Problem,” The New Leader, December 5, 1966. (A review of The Poorhouse State by Richard M. Elman and The Despised Poor by Joseph P. Ritz.)

New Left, New Right

– "New Left, New Right." The Public Interest, Summer 1966.
First, on all the evidence, the one worst way to cope with this crisis in values is through organized political-ideological action. Most of the hysteria, much of the stupidity, and a good part of the bestiality of the twentieth century have arisen from… More

A Talk-In on Vietnam

– “A Talk-In on Vietnam” (A Symposium), New York Times Magazine, February 6, 1966.

The Troublesome Intellectuals

– "The Troublesome Intellectuals," The Public Interest, Winter 1966.
Excerpt: The American intellectual has not yet been favored with tax loopholes, nor has he been supplied with his own official depreciation schedule; but in every other respect he is now clearly regarded as a valuable resource of American democracy. … More

What’s Bugging the Students

– “What's Bugging the Students,” Atlantic, November 1965.
Excerpt: What they seek is a pure and self-perpetuating popular revolution, not a “planned economy” or anything like that. And this is why they are so attracted to Castro’s Cuba and Mao’s China, countries where the popular revolution has not… More

What Is the Public Interest?

– "What Is the Public Interest?" (with Daniel Bell), The Public Interest, Fall 1965.
Excerpt: The aim of THE PUBLIC INTEREST is at once modest and presumptuous. It is to help all of us, when we discuss issues of public policy, to know a little better what we are talking about — and preferably in time to make such knowledge effective.… More