Does Liberalism Have a Future?

Martin Peretz is worried that liberalism has no future in America. Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic, Peretz writes of his concern in a major article published in the 90th anniversary issue of his magazine. “Not Much Left,” is a cry from the heart, offered by Peretz to what remains of a liberal movement in America. Peretz begins by arguing that, in the 1960s, it was conservatism that was devoid of ideas and facing a dismal political future. In the words of economist John Kenneth Galbraith, conservatism was “bookless” and intellectually bankrupt. Now, Peretz argues it is liberalism “that is now bookless and dying.” Peretz has good reason for alarm. He–and the magazine for which he writes–represent a form of liberalism that is now largely without constituency in the Democratic Party and the political left. Peretz longs for the day when the progressivism of Theodore Roosevelt and the liberalism of Franklin Delano Roosevelt ruled the left and served as a fertile greenhouse for the incubation of potent political ideas.

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A New Great Plague? A Timely Warning

The fear of infectious diseases is, for the most part, a relic of times past. In the great age of antibiotics, we fear few diseases, and Americans are more likely to suffer death by accident than death by infectious disease. We can all too easily forget that such diseases have been some of history’s great killers–and can be again.

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Democrats Turn to Dean–Will It Work?

“Howard Dean’s energy and passion will add to the political discourse in this country, and he will be a strong leader for his party.” That comment came from Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, in a statement congratulating former Vermont governor Howard Dean on his unanimous election as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. What Mr. Mehlman could not say is that his party is relishing the opportunity to watch the Democrats self-destruct under their hyperventilating new chairman.

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The Courage of Citizenship–A Day of Hope in Iraq

“Do you hear that, do you hear the bombs?” asked Hassan Jawad, a 33-year-old election worker at Lebanon High School in Baghdad. As the shells exploded in the neighborhood, fired by insurgents trying to intimidate Iraqis from voting, Jawad made clear that Iraq would not be intimidated. “We don’t care. Do you understand? We don’t care. We all have to die. To die for this, well, at least I will be dying for something.” As The New York Times then reported, Mr. Jawad then went back to his task, helping an Iraqi woman to cast her ballot.

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Inaugural Observations–Democracy on Display

“On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country. I am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the consequential times in which we live, and determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed.” With those words President George W. Bush accepted the nation’s trust and began his second inaugural address.

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Inaugural Observations–The Day Before

The District of Columbia just can’t help admitting a sense of excitement this week–but it’s sure not about the weather. For some reason known only to God, the weather for presidential inaugurations seems to turn extraordinarily nasty. Washington enjoyed unseasonably warm weather last week, but what is known here as an “Arctic Clipper” has the nation’s capital in a cold grip. Thousands of travelers to the city–including the Mohler family–waited in distant airports for the weather to clear sufficiently for landings at Reagan Washington National Airport to resume.

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But What Does Europe Say?–On Citing Foreign Court Decisions

Observers of the U.S. Supreme Court have noted a disturbing pattern in recent court decisions: Some justices are citing foreign court decisions in framing their own interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. This amounts to an internationalizing of the United States Constitution and raises disturbing and difficult questions about the future of the U.S. Supreme Court and its stewardship of our nation’s most fundamental document. Writing just last year, former judge Robert H. Bork issued an eloquent warning that America’s rule of law was being subverted by a rule of judges. Furthermore, those judges are increasingly looking to foreign court decisions as grounds for pushing what amounts to a cultural revolution at the expense of the U.S. Constitution.

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An Uncaptive Mind at Rest

The recent death of poet Czeslaw Milosz robs the world of one of its most prophetic and powerful voices. As one of the world’s most famous and celebrated men of literature, Milosz was a titan of poetry and prose. Nevertheless, his moral vision and prophetic insights should be of great interest even to those who are not readers of contemporary poetry, for Czeslaw Milosz was one of the most honest men of our times.

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A Thin Wet Line of Khaki: D-Day 60 Years Later

Sixty years ago yesterday, American and Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, launching the greatest armed invasion in military history. The stakes could not have been higher. The success or failure of that bold assault would mean the difference between Nazi tyranny and the liberation of Europe.

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The Bishop’s Boys and the Centennial of Flight

The twentieth century was the greatest century of human invention. The scale of technological and scientific development produced during that hundred years staggers the imagination and defies adequate analysis–even in the present. The century saw the development of antibiotics, the widespread application of electricity, the harnessing of the power of the atom, the development of the transistor and the microprocessor, and the electronic revolution. The commercial development of the automobile and the widespread use of the internal combustion engine led to a revolution in human mobility that literally changed the shape of American life.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson at 200: Still Shaping the American Mind

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” That short sentence encapsulates the philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the quintessential philosopher of the American mind and prophet of self-reliance. The year 2003 marks the 200th anniversary of Emerson’s birth, and this bicentennial invites a reconsideration of Emerson’s life and influence.

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The Life and Legacy of Carl F. H. Henry: A Remembrance

“Everyone has a theology,” wrote Carl F. H. Henry. “It may be a very shoddy one, and if it is shoddy, it will rise to haunt one in a crisis of life. It’s my conviction that only a theology which has the living God at its center and that is rooted in Christ, the crucified and risen Redeemer, has the intellectual struts to engage the modern secular views effectively.”

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