Articles

How Colleges Are Strangling Liberalism
The Chronicle of Higher Education

August 20, 2017


Donald Trump is president of the United States. This momentous event has turned our campuses upside down. The day after his victory some professors held teach-ins, some students asked to be excused from class, and now many have gotten engaged and have been joining marches and attending raucous town-hall meetings...

The Dog that didn’t Bark: The Disappearance of the Citizen
Eurozine

August 18, 2017


Anyone who was raised during the Cold War, as I was, was brought up with a strong sense that liberal democracy had external enemies. The Second World War had been fought against the fascists, and afterwards the Soviet Union, China, and their client states challenged democratic governments around the world...

The Liberal Crackup
The Wall Street Journal

August 11, 2017


It is time to admit that American liberalism is in deep crisis: a crisis of imagination and ambition on our side, a crisis of attachment and trust on the side of the wider public. The question is, why? Why would those who claim to speak for and defend the great American demos be so indifferent to stirring its feelings and gaining its trust? Why, in the contest for the American imagination, have liberals simply abdicated?

The End of Identity Liberalism
The New York Times

November 18, 2016


It is a truism that America has become a more diverse country. It is also a beautiful thing to watch. Visitors from other countries, particularly those having trouble incorporating different ethnic groups and faiths, are amazed that we manage to pull it off...

How The French Face Terror
The New York Review of Books

March 24, 2016


Intellectuals, no less than politicians, respond to crises based on what they think they learned from earlier ones. It is difficult to see what is genuinely new in an emergency, harder still to admit ignorance in the face of it...

France: Is There a Way Out?
The New York Review of Books

March 10, 2016


Economic stagnation, political stalemate, rising right-wing populism—this has been France’s condition for a decade or more. So has nothing changed since the Charlie Hebdo killings?

La fin des illusions d’une France sans frontières (French)
Le Monde

November 21, 2015


En août 2014, j’arrivai à Paris pour y passer une année sabbatique et écrire en toute tranquillité. Vu de New York, Paris m’apparaissait un petit hameau où je pourrais flâner et bien bouffer, loin de la marche de l’Histoire...

The Strangely Conservative French
The New York Review of Books

October 22, 2015


Two and a half weeks after the Swedish Academy announced that the French novelist Patrick Modiano would receive the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature, the French minister of culture, Fleur Pellerin, appeared on a popular television show to talk about herself and her work...

Slouching Toward Mecca
The New York Review of Books

April 2, 2015


The best-selling novel in Europe today, Michel Houellebecq’s Soumission, is about an Islamic political party com- ing peacefully to power in France. Its publication was announced this past fall in an atmosphere that was already tense...

France: A Strange Defeat
The New York Review of Books

March 19, 2015


For three days the sirens never stopped in Paris. They began on the morning of January 7 right after two French Muslim terrorists infiltrated the offices of Charlie Hebdo in the Marais and killed twelve people...

France on Fire
The New York Review of Books

March 5, 2015


On January 13, two days after millions in France marched to commemorate those assassinated by Islamist radicals the week before, Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls gave a stirring speech in the French National Assembly that was celebrated by socialists and conservatives alike as among the best in recent memory...

Isaiah Berlin Against the Current
The New York Review of Books

April 25, 2013


It was an anecdote he liked to tell. In 1944, while working at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., Isaiah Berlin was called back to London on short notice, and it happened that the only plane available to take him was a loud, uncomfortable military bomber...

Daniel Bell (1919–2011)
The New York Review of Books

April 7, 2011


It is a great advantage in life to have had a god that failed. Nothing human, and certainly nothing modern, will be alien to you...

The Beck of Revelation
The New York Review of Books

December 9, 2010


The weather cooperated with Glenn Beck on the August morning of his “Restoring Honor” rally. Or maybe it was a higher force. The skies were clear, it was hot but not Washington unbearable, and the crowd, prepared with lounge chairs and water bottles, was serene...

The Tea Party Jacobins
The New York Review of Books

May 27, 2010


A little over a decade ago I published an article in these pages titled “A Tale of Two Reactions”. It struck me then that American society was changing in ways conservative and liberal commentators just hadn’t noticed...