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In his recent book Betrayal, ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl writes: We now live in a nation where a large part of the population does not trust our elections. There are many reasons for this, but none greater than Donald Trump and the lies he told about the 2020 election. Based on extensive interviews with Donald Trump, key m…
 
A professor of linguistics at Columbia University and author of the recent book Woke Racism, John McWhorter has been an outspoken critic of woke politics. The appeal to wokeness, he argues, presents a simplistic view of race and attempts to discredit any contrary points of view about ideas and policies. According to McWhorter, the woke end up havin…
 
Where do things stand with Covid-19? How has the emergence of the Omicron variant changed the situation? What can we expect in the short term and throughout 2022? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. While noting that much still remains unknown about the Omicron var…
 
In a recent essay, Shep Melnick, a distinguished scholar of American politics at Boston College, writes: Few federal laws have achieved their initial objective more completely than Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Yet today Title IX is more controversial than ever before. The story of its evolution is a cautionary tale about how good i…
 
Why have the costs of basic goods and services been increasing in recent months? Will shortages in stores and delays in orders for durable goods persist—and what is the meaning of the often invoked supply-chain issues? What public policies might help ameliorate the situation? In this Conversation, Scott Lincicome, a senior fellow at the Cato Instit…
 
In recent years, immigration has become a major flashpoint in our politics. Our increasingly rancorous quarrels often serve to obscure rather than clarify policy choices, and make it more difficult to achieve sound policies. As a result, even as attention is given to problems at the border, surprisingly little attention is paid to reforming our bro…
 
But since my intent is to write something useful to whoever understands it, it has appeared to me more fitting to go directly to the effectual truth of the thing than to the imagination of it. — Niccolo Machiavelli, in Chapter 15 of The Prince. According to Harvey Mansfield, these lines including the phrase effectual truth—a term invented by Machia…
 
In a recent law review article, University of Chicago law professor William Baude writes, After the 2020 presidential election, the peaceful transfer of power can no longer be taken for granted. How well did our institutions respond to the challenges? What vulnerabilities in our electoral processes and loopholes in our laws represent the most criti…
 
Eight months into his presidency, how is Joe Biden doing politically? How should we understand the current dynamics in the Democratic and Republican parties? What key things should we look for as we head toward the midterm elections in 2022? To consider these questions, we are joined by veteran Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, a shrewd and incisiv…
 
Donald Kagan (1932 - 2021), who passed away this summer, was a preeminent historian of both the ancient and modern worlds. In 2015, we were privileged to host Professor Kagan for a wide-ranging Conversation about the major themes of his work. We are pleased to re-release the Conversation here. In the Conversation, Kagan and Kristol discuss what hum…
 
How will the American withdrawal from Afghanistan influence US-China relations? How should we understand China’s geostrategic ambitions—and the threat to Taiwan in particular? How is America dealing with the challenge? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by Princeton professor Aaron Friedberg, author of A Contest for Supremacy and the f…
 
Civilian control over the military, and a non-partisan military, have been bedrock principles of American government since the founding of the country. In recent times, however, significant strains have developed in our civil-military relations. Why should we be alarmed about the growing politicization of the military in America? Why must partisan …
 
Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to defend the ratification of the Constitution, The Federalist has long been recognized as a fundamental text in American political thought. Yet the complexity and subtlety of The Federalist as a work often is not sufficiently appreciated. In this Conversation, David Epstein, author of The …
 
Where do things stand with Covid-19? How has the emergence of the Delta variant changed the situation? How might things look in the US as we had into the fall? To discuss these questions, we are joined again by Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Jha explains why the highly-contagious Delta variant, coupled with gr…
 
First released in June 2014, this Conversation is the first in our series of Conversations with Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield, one of the leading students of political philosophy. In it, Mansfield reflects on the importance of studying political philosophy and discusses, in brief, his work on great thinkers of political philosophy s…
 
The Biden Administration has announced that all American troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of August. This would, in Biden’s words, bring to end America’s longest war. In this Conversation, Eric Edelman shares his perspective on the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. While recognizing the challenge of rallying the nation througho…
 
Where do the Republican and Democratic parties stand almost six months into the Biden presidency? How could changes in emphasis and legislative priorities for each party influence the direction of our politics? What are possible paths forward for the parties' electoral coalitions as we look toward the 2022 midterms and beyond? In this Conversation,…
 
How has America become so polarized? Has negative partisanship opened the floodgates for disinformation and propaganda in our politics? How is cancel culture related to information warfare? How can those who believe in free government fight back? In this Conversation, Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, shares his perspect…
 
What is the nature of comedy? How does it differ from tragedy? What can we learn from Shakespeare’s comedies that we might miss if we focus only on tragedies? In this Conversation, Paul Cantor presents a tour-de-force analysis of the nature of comedy—and explains how and why Shakespeare's comedies exemplify it. As Cantor shows, comedy portrays huma…
 
What is the role of immigration in the history of the United States—and the idea of America? Why has America been uniquely successful at integrating immigrants while other countries often fail? What is the connection between immigration and American patriotism? Joining us to discuss is Roya Hakakian, the distinguished author and poet, who emigrated…
 
How should we analyze the economic policies advanced by the Biden Administration? What are the possible effects of the trillions of dollars in government spending and the various programs proposed by the administration? What is America’s overall economic outlook coming out of the pandemic—and how might things play out under various scenarios? Joini…
 
What can reason tell us about rights, freedom, responsibility, and the common good? What obstacles stand in the way of human beings developing clear thoughts about politics and its role within nature? How can attention to our experiences—for example, of freedom and rights—help us understand the nature of these political phenomena? In this Conversat…
 
How has Joe Biden done in the first months of his presidency? What role might Donald Trump play in the Republican Party as we look ahead to 2022 and 2024? What challenges do the parties face—from the culture wars to economics? We are delighted to be joined for the first time on Conversations by James Carville, the veteran Democratic strategist. Car…
 
What makes a people a people? What forms its communal identity? The second book of the Bible, Exodus, tells of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, their journey through the wilderness, the giving of the law at Mount Sinai, the building of the tabernacle, and much else. Exodus and its abiding mysteries have been studied for millennia…
 
What are the latest developments in Russia with the Putin regime? How have recent protests surrounding the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny affected it? What is the nature of Putin’s power and why have his tactics so often been effective? To discuss, Bill Kristol is joined again by former world chess champion and human rights activist Gar…
 
How should we think about fiscal stimulus in an era of low interest rates? Is $1.9 trillion too much? Is the proposed relief package sufficiently well targeted? In this Conversation, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers shares his analysis of the American economy and the challenges we face. Summers argues for substantial fiscal stimulus bu…
 
Where do things stand in the US and around the world with Covid-19? How is the vaccine rollout affecting the course of the pandemic? How concerned should we be about new variants? When will we get kids back in school and the country open for business again? To discuss these and other questions, we are joined by Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown Uni…
 
In this special audio release, Claremont McKenna professor of political philosophy Mark Blitz talks to Bill Kristol about German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889 - 1976). While stressing the problematic features of Heidegger's thought and his deplorable political activity, Blitz explains why Heidegger cannot simply be ignored. Video of Blitz and …
 
What has the Covid-19 pandemic and the race for vaccines taught us about government and private sector capabilities? How should we think about questions related to free trade, the global economy, and collaboration among scientists internationally? According to Scott Lincicome, a leading international trade attorney and senior fellow at the Cato Ins…
 
While presidential transitions always present challenges, few take place in crisis situations like the one we confront today. What lessons can we learn from past transitions? How should the Biden administration navigate the complexities of the current moment? Joining us to consider these questions is Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary during…
 
What role have conspiracy theories played in American political history? What is the connection between conspiracism and demagogy? How do the conspiracies circulating in our time compare to the conspiracies of the past? Using the classic work by Richard Hofstadter The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1964) as a springboard, Princeton historian …
 
Where do things stand in the US with Covid-19? How quickly might the rollout of vaccines improve the situation? What lessons have we learned about America’s biomedical infrastructure and society during the course of the pandemic? To discuss these questions, we are joined by Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Accor…
 
Every new presidential administration faces its own set of foreign policy challenges, whatever the political climate at home and abroad. According to Eric Edelman, the incoming Biden administration faces an increasingly complex and dangerous world, as well as a fractious political environment at home. How should the Biden administration navigate Am…
 
What did we learn about the American electorate and the state of our politics from the elections of 2020? What do the results tell us about partisanship, the divisions between red and blue America, and the possibilities for heightened polarization or compromise going forward? To consider these questions, we are joined by Senior Editor at The Atlant…
 
The educator, orator, and thinker Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915) has long been considered one of the most important figures in the post-Civil War era. But, as Diana Schaub explains, his thought and actions often have been misunderstood. In this Conversation, Schaub, a leading interpreter of American political thought, attempts to recover Washin…
 
Where do things stand in the presidential race with two weeks to go until Election Day? Why have the polling averages been so stable even as events have been tumultuous? To discuss, we’re delighted to welcome back veteran Republican operative and frequent guest, Mike Murphy who has been sharing his wisdom, insight, and humor with us throughout the …
 
Where do things stand in the presidential race after the first debate? What should we look for in the final five weeks before Election Day? To discuss, we’re delighted to welcome back veteran Republican operative and frequent guest Mike Murphy. After assessing the debate performances, Murphy explains why he thinks Biden now possesses a substantial …
 
How well have political and legal norms held up in our politics during the Trump presidency? In November 2017, Jack Goldsmith, a professor of Law at Harvard and a former Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, shared his assessment of the early days of the Trump presidency. Now, as we head to the end of 2020, Goldsmith re-joins u…
 
Where do things stand in the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden as we head into the final two months of the campaign? What strategies are the candidates pursuing? What pitfalls do they have to watch out for? What expected or unforeseen events might shape the race? Joining us this week is veteran Republican operative and frequent guest Mike Mur…
 
How should we grade American universities on their performance in educating young people? What role do universities play in American life today? How might we think about the opportunities for education beyond the traditional on-campus model? In this Conversation, the University of Virginia’s Paul Cantor argues that universities often are failing in…
 
Where do things stand in the US with the Covid-19 pandemic? How should we judge the response so far? How can we do better in the months ahead? In this Conversation, leading Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch shares his expertise on the Covid-19 crisis. Lipsitch argues that the country remains in a bad situation with respect to viral transmission,…
 
How should we think about the American founding? What role does slavery play in the history of the United States? What should be done about Confederate monuments? How might we think about the legacies of revered figures from America's past? Over the past year, these perennially important questions have been unusually central to our public life. In …
 
What is the state of the presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden? How might decisions such as Biden’s vice-presidential pick and campaign events like the conventions change—or not change—the race? What possible moves might we expect from the Trump and Biden campaigns as we head toward the fall? In this Conversation with Bill Kristol, v…
 
What are the motives and impulses behind the current wave of online denunciations of incorrect opinion? What is distinctive about the recent rise of mob violence? How does political extremism threaten American principles of government like toleration, free speech, and compromise? In this Conversation, Christine Rosen, a senior writer at Commentary,…
 
Born in 1950 in New York City and raised in Montreal, Charles Krauthammer, who died two years ago on June 21, 2018, was an indispensable voice in American public life for nearly four decades. His writing and speaking—covering politics, religion, religion, technology, sports, and many other subjects—enriched our public life profoundly. A staunch def…
 
What is the current economic situation of the US in light of the ongoing public health crisis? How successful have policies been in addressing the economic crisis? What are possible paths forward for the American economy in the short and medium term? In this Conversation, Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute shares his perspective on th…
 
Tensions between the United States and China have been rising as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. There is urgent need to think about the U.S.-China relationship and how the U.S. should confront the challenge. In this Conversation, Princeton professor and author of A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia, …
 
What will the campaign between Donald Trump and Joe Biden look like amidst the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis? What strategies might each candidate pursue? What strategies should they pursue? Joining us—in our first socially-distanced audio Conversation—is veteran Republican operative and frequent guest Mike Murphy to discuss the state of…
 
What is liberal democracy? What parts of human nature does liberal democracy rely on and try to cultivate? How can Aristotle help us understand America? In this thought-provoking and challenging Conversation, Harvey Mansfield shares his interpretation of liberal democracy as a regime that relies on both the democratic and aristocratic parts of huma…
 
What reforms would most benefit American education? What are the obstacles to putting them in place? What changes to the education sector should we anticipate in the coming years? In this Conversation, Chester Finn, a former assistant secretary of education and veteran scholar of education policy, shares his perspective on the state of American edu…
 
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