Features Archives

French Curtains

12:00 AM, Dec 08, 2014
French readers follow the herd. They believe in prizes. When a French author wins the Goncourt or the Nobel, people rush to bookstores and send his books rocketing to the top of the bestseller lists. But today the French have other things on their minds. President François Hollande is France’s... Read more

Let’s Tax Carbon

12:00 AM, May 26, 2014
Having lived through and survived Richard Nixon’s promise of energy independence, Jimmy Carter’s effort to substitute a hair shirt and a woolly sweater for a thermostat set at comfortable levels, George W. Bush’s insistence that Americans surrender their incandescent light bulbs, other... Read more

The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas

12:00 AM, Dec 01, 2014
1. The Return of Original Sin  Every day she must search her conscience. Every day she must confront her flaws—discern the dark that dwells within her, seek the grace to turn toward the light. Oh, she is a moral person, she believes: good willed and determined to do good deeds,... Read more


12:00 AM, Nov 24, 2014
One month short of his 78th birthday, and 27 years after his self-immolation, Gary Hart has been given a present of sorts by writer Matt Bai, who in All the Truth Is Out recasts the past as Hart wants to see it, a great man brought low by a change (for the worse) in the national zeitgeist that... Read more

Obamacare’s State of Crisis

12:00 AM, Nov 24, 2014
In their final push to enact Obamacare, Nancy Pelosi urged her fellow Democrats to “pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” They probably should have found out first. Now they need the Supreme Court to “find” once again in their favor. Last week, the Court announced that it... Read more

Berlin, 25 Years Later

12:00 AM, Nov 24, 2014
Berlin On August 17, 1962—exactly one year after barbed-wire barricades began to be reinforced with the concrete that would become the Berlin Wall—Peter Fechter made an impetuous, and ultimately tragic, decision. The 18-year-old East Berliner had left school four years earlier to begin an... Read more

The Afghan Handover

12:00 AM, Nov 17, 2014
Kabul With less than two months to go until the end of the mission, the International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul can feel a little forlorn. You still encounter an amazing mix of uniforms, headgear, ethnicities, and accents, with Macedonian troops brushing shoulders... Read more

Virtues, Past & Present

12:00 AM, Nov 10, 2014
In November 1993 an unlikely book appeared at the top of the bestseller lists. William J. Bennett’s The Book of Virtues was a tome: 832 pages of moral instruction. People ate it up. Newsweek called it “just what this country needs,” and Time said it “ought to be distributed, like an... Read more

The End Game

12:00 AM, Nov 10, 2014
On September 2, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln received a telegram from General William Tecumseh Sherman that read, “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.” This was more than a victory. It was deliverance. All summer Atlanta—like Petersburg, Virginia—had been a city under siege, and as these two... Read more

Among the Palefaces

12:00 AM, Nov 03, 2014
As a lifelong white person​—​or Person Without Color, for the more sensitively inclined​—​I have nothing against white people. I mean, sure, at this late date in their history, I’m all too aware of the dubious and disheartening white-people statistics. Nearly all Prius owners, Vineyard Vines... Read more

A Constitutional Congress?

12:00 AM, Oct 27, 2014
What difference will it make if the Republicans win the Senate and hold the House in November? The House can already block Democratic legislation Republicans do not like, and President Obama would still be able to veto Republican legislation he does not like. The Republicans are talking of a... Read more

Failure Upon Failure

12:00 AM, Oct 20, 2014
A year before his first inauguration, Barack Obama laid out the objective of his presidency: to renew faith and trust in -activist government and transform the country. In an hourlong interview with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal on January 16, 2008, Obama said that his... Read more

Neo-Victorianism on Campus

12:00 AM, Oct 20, 2014
Sexual liberation is having a nervous breakdown on college campuses. Conservatives should be cheering on its collapse; instead they sometimes sound as if they want to administer the victim smelling salts.  It is impossible to overstate the growing weirdness of the college sex scene.... Read more

The Silence of the Liberals

12:00 AM, Dec 23, 2013
Obamacare may or may not survive its inauspicious beginnings. It has become dangerously unpopular and accident-prone and faces a minefield of difficulties. Still, the Obama administration has a plausible strategy: to titrate the program’s numerous taxes, subsidies, mandates, and restrictions so... Read more

A Gentleman and a Scholar

12:00 AM, Mar 19, 2012
  I got up my nerve to introduce myself to James Q. Wilson when I was a Harvard junior casting around for a senior thesis topic. I approached his office in Harvard’s Littauer Center daunted and therefore well prepared. Littauer was then (1967) home to a dazzling array of pathbreaking... Read more

The Real Cliff

12:00 AM, Dec 24, 2012
It is important to understand that the fiscal cliff is a charade. There are, to be sure, many conscientious debt reformers working to avert our proclaimed year-end epic fall​—​along with many cynics who are using the occasion to advance pet projects that will make the debt problem worse. But... Read more


12:00 AM, Oct 13, 2014
The great medieval historian Ibn Khaldun centered his understanding of history on asabiyya , which is perhaps best translated as esprit de corps mixed with the will to power. In his masterpiece, the Muqaddima , or Prolegomena , the Arab historian saw as the primary locus of asabiyya the... Read more

House of Cards

12:00 AM, Oct 06, 2014
Boston When Massachusetts voters go to the polls in November to pick their next governor, they will also define the legacy of their last one. You might think that legacy had something to do with liberation. When Deval Patrick came to power in 2006, all the talk was of his being the first... Read more

Millennial Mongers

12:00 AM, Sep 29, 2014
As far as newspaper corrections go, it was a whopper. On August 24, the editors of the New York Times sucked the air out of a windy essay that had blown through its pages a few days before. The original article bore the headline “Generation Nice.” It was adorned with color photos of... Read more

The Party of Reason?

12:00 AM, Sep 22, 2014
It has become a staple of the political left to brand Republicans the anti-science, anti-reason party. This narrative congealed in a breathless 2005 book by journalist Chris Mooney entitled—does the phrase sound familiar?— The Republican War on Science . Those fueling the narrative today seize... Read more

Getting There

12:00 AM, Sep 22, 2014
Obamacare—or at least the version of it that the president and his advisers currently think they can get away with putting into place—has been upending arrangements and reshuffling the deck in the health system since the beginning of the year. That’s when the new insurance rules, subsidies, and... Read more

A Muslim Identity Crisis

12:00 AM, Sep 15, 2014
The massive sexual abuse case in Rotherham, England, has revealed again how awkward and self-defeating the Western response often is to matters that touch on religious identity. Although the independent inquiry led by Professor Alexis Jay is tersely graphic about the 1,400-plus girls, some as... Read more

Al Qaeda Wasn’t ‘on the Run’

12:00 AM, Sep 15, 2014
In the early morning hours of May 2, 2011, an elite team of 25 American military and intelligence professionals landed inside the walls of a compound just outside the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. CIA analysts had painstakingly tracked a courier to the compound and spent months monitoring the... Read more

They Have a Strategy

12:00 AM, Sep 15, 2014
During a press conference on August 28, Barack Obama had a rare moment of candor. “We don’t have a strategy yet,” the president said in response to a question about the prospect of using military force against the Islamic State in Syria. Obama’s declaration drew widespread criticism, as the... Read more

Rotherham’s Collaborators

12:00 AM, Sep 15, 2014
Two weeks ago, the British press broke the news contained in Professor Alexis Jay’s “Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham.” Between 1997 and 2013, Jay estimated, 1,400 young girls in that Yorkshire town were exploited: gang-raped, trafficked to other cities,... Read more

September 1914

12:00 AM, Sep 08, 2014
The Great War did not begin in the trenches, in rain, mud, and dark futility. At first, the fighting was out in the open under blue skies and late summer sunshine. There were bugles and drums, and sometimes the troops even sang when they charged. French officers leading these attacks wore white... Read more

‘The Fog of Cease-fire’

12:00 AM, Sep 08, 2014
For the moment, the Gaza war of 2014 is over. Anyone trying now to figure out who won and who lost should recall the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. Then, Israelis had a great sense of letdown because they had not “won.” They had not destroyed Hezbollah, and the organization loudly... Read more

On the Origin of ISIS

12:00 AM, Sep 08, 2014
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist army many thousand strong now rampaging through the Levant, embraces such an extreme, violent ideology that it makes even al Qaeda squeamish, argue many Western experts. On this reading, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri was forced to distance... Read more

Nobody’s Fault

12:00 AM, Sep 01, 2014
All of a sudden, people have noticed that we are in trouble, and many are saying it isn’t the president’s fault. All the bad news, from Iraq to Ukraine, from Libya and Syria to the Mexican border, just seems to have happened: Obama was standing there, golfing or shaking hands with donors, and,... Read more

No Law, No Order

12:00 AM, Sep 01, 2014
Ferguson, Mo. "I JUST SAW SOMEONE DIE OMFG,” wrote Emanuel Freeman, a teenage rap aficionado who lives in the Canfield Green housing project in Ferguson, Missouri. It was about noon on Saturday, August 9, when Michael Brown, a hulking 18-year-old recently graduated from a failing high school... Read more