Offering an Alternative

“Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you,” said Peter Dinklage’s character, a clever dwarf in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Sage advice for complex times. But what might it be like to wear your identity like armor? One […]

Optimism and Realism in the Holy Land

As President Barack Obama prepares to visit Israel, what should he say about prospects for peace in the Middle East? Most commentators are pessimistic: they believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict is unsolvable: The two-state solution is at an impasse. Israel refuses to dismantle its West Bank settlements. The Palestinians refuse to renounce the right of […]

What is Marriage? What is Chess?

Last month, Harvard Law School hosted “What is Marriage? A Debate” between Andrew Koppelman, a professor at Northwestern Law School (arguing for same-sex marriage) and Sherif Girgis, a student from Yale Law School (arguing for traditional marriage). In arguing for same-sex marriage, Professor Koppelman used an interesting analogy: He compared marriage to the game of […]

Can MOOCs Pass the “Heft Test”?

“You wasted $150,000 on an education you coulda got for a buck fifty in late charges at the public library.” So said Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting, a 1997 film about a clever janitor who easily solves math problems that leave MIT students stumped. He raised an interesting argument: Why attend college when […]

Women in Combat: Every Coin Has Two Sides

The Pentagon’s decision to lift the ban on women in front-line combat has led to both commendation and criticism. Supporters of the Pentagon’s move believe that having women in combat will increase opportunities for women and increase diversity. “Combat experience—and especially leadership of combat units—is a key factor in promotion decisions,” writes University of Southern […]

The Retirement of Ron Paul

Once in a generation, America encounters a non-traditional politician like Ron Paul. As a presidential candidate, Ron Paul was principled, but unelectable. Most of his ideas involved taking a sledgehammer to voters’ most cherished assumptions. Most of his political proposals, such as shuttering the Department of Education, were too radical for the average voter to […]

Uncle Sam Always Pays His Debts

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses […]

Don’t Blame Mitt

We live in a world where people often get judged based on results. We celebrate winners and criticize losers. In the coming months, Mitt Romney will likely face great criticism, especially as the Republican Party engages in “soul-searching” at its “crossroads.” Journalists and commentators will argue that Romney was a flawed candidate who ran a […]

Billy Graham and the Last Crusade

At 93, the Rev. Billy Graham knows that his winter has come. He has been widowed for five years, having lost his wife of six decades. He has lost much of his vision and hearing. He can barely move his limbs. Over the past decade, his ailments have included bronchitis, hydrocephalus, pneumonia, pelvic fractures, prostate […]

Why Naim Matters

Author’s note: Most of the facts in this story are taken from a 1998 law journal article by Prof. Gregory Michael Dorr. The article, titled “Principled Expediency,” can be accessed at the following URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/846216. Seventy years ago, a Chinese sailor named Ham Say Naim embarked on an American adventure. Born in Canton, Ham sought […]

America’s Next Great Rival

Separated from the United States by an ocean lies a great power. Some might call it a sleeping dragon. It is the cradle of one of the world’s finest civilizations, representing a race that comprises one-sixth of humanity. This great power has built vast tracks of high-speed rails, and frequently incurs large trade surpluses with […]

Does Affirmative Action Benefit White People?

Let me say upfront that I respect the intentions of those who defend affirmative action. Many of them sincerely believe that race-based preferences, as practiced by schools and universities, serve to increase minority representation, promote diversity, and provide a remedy for historical injustices. But although I respect the good intentions of those who promote affirmative […]

Swinging the Swing States

Americans represent only 5 percent of the world’s population. Given America’s superpower status, the remaining 95 percent of humanity surely has preferences about whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney sits in the Oval Office. This begs a question. Is it possible that the swing states that will decide the U.S. presidential election might not be […]

An Introvert for All Seasons

An effervescent character he is not. He is introverted, reserved, and maintains an expressionless face. He seldom tells jokes. He gives boilerplate speeches that rarely draw lasting attention. He is old, wears thick glasses, and stands a whole head shorter than Barack Obama. Yet, he is one of the most successful leaders in the world […]

Senate Seat Is Warren’s to Lose

Is it possible that in a state as blue as Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown would be able to repeat his 2010 feat and win a second race for Ted Kennedy’s seat? The conventional wisdom is that Brown might be able to prevail in a close election. The latest Kimball poll has Brown leading Elizabeth Warren […]