Amitai Etzioni (; born Werner Falk, 4 January 1929) is an Israeli-American sociologist, best known for his work on socioeconomics and communitarianism. He leads the Communitarian Network, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to support the moral, social, and political foundations of society. He was the founder of the communitarian movement in the early 1990s and established the Communitarian Network to disseminate the movement’s ideas. His writings emphasize the importance for all societies to have a carefully crafted balance between rights and responsibilities and between autonomy and order. In 2001, Etzioni was named among the top 100 American intellectuals, as measured by academic citations, in Richard Posner's book, Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline. Etzioni is currently the Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at George Washington University.
Early life and education
Amitai Etzioni was born Werner Falk in Cologne, Germany in 1929 to a Jewish family. Etzioni's earliest memory is being thrown out of a car in Cologne, Germany in January 1933. Etzioni was only four years old when the car he was driving in made a sharp turn and in response, he grabbed a handle that opened the door. Etzioni was pulled back into the car at the last moment by his father, but as noted in his memoir, this memory foreshadowed the upcoming doom that would overtake his homeland during the Nazi rule. Later in 1933, Etzioni and his grandparents were walking through the forest next to Frankfurt when they came upon a forest fire. Suddenly, Hitler Youth ventured into the forest riding in two trucks. Etzioni's grandparents reacted by grabbing Etzioni and hiding behind nearby trees. The grandparents then took Etzioni and rushed down the hill without explaining to him what happened during their close encounter with the Nazi regime. When Etzioni had turned five, both of his parents had escaped to London to avoid the Nazi regime, which left Etzioni in the care of his grandparents. Etzioni was smuggled out of Germany soon afterwards to a train station in Italy by a non-Jewish relative who soon reunited Etzioni with his parents. Etzioni was stuck with his parents in Athens, Greece unable to enter Palestine since his family was awarded a bachelor permit instead of a family permit. The family was stuck midway between Germany and Haifa for a whole year. During this year, Etzioni attended a Greek school learning the language. When the paperwork was finally resolved, Etzioni found himself in Haifa, Mandatory Palestine in the winter of 1937 where he had to learn another language, Hebrew.
It was at this time he began to go by his first name Amitai instead of Werner since the principal of Etzioni's new school strongly encouraged that Etzioni introduce himself by his Hebrew name. Etzioni's Hebrew name was printed in the front of the family Bible, which was left in Germany, so he was given the name Amitai which means truth (emet) and was the name of Jonah's father in the Old Testament. Etzioni moved once again with his family to a small village, Herzliya Gimmel, which served as a base for a new emerging community called Kfar Schmaryahu. When Etzioni was eight, his family moved to the new village, Kfar Schmaryahu, where his family was assigned to a small, boxlike new house that was used as a lot for farming. In the spring of 1941, Etzioni's father left home once again to join the Jewish Brigade, which was a Jewish unit formed within the British army. Etzioni, at the age of thirteen, was struggling at school, which then caused his mother to send him to a boarding school called Ben Shemen.
The Ben Shemen teachers, upon Etzioni's graduation, recommended that he enroll in a good liberal arts high school, however, Etzioni enrolled in a vocational school near his home in Kfar Shmaryahu. Etzioni’s intent was to become an electrician. In the spring of 1946, at the age of sixteen, Etzioni dropped out of high school to join the Palmach, the elite commando force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Jewish community of Palestine, and was sent to Tel Yosef for military training. During this time, young Amitai chose to fully distance himself from his past as Werner Falk and adopted the surname Etzioni.
During Etzioni's time in the Palmach, underground Jewish groups, mainly the Irgun and Lehi militias, and to a lesser extent the Palmach, were carrying out a violent campaign against the British authorities to compel them to allow more Jewish immigration to Palestine and leave the country to enable a Jewish state to be established. Etzioni participated in a Palmach operation to blow up a British radar station near Haifa being used to track ships carrying illegal Jewish immigrants attempting to enter Palestine. Etzioni's team managed to breach the fence protecting the radar station and plant and detonate a bomb, and escaped after the British shot their team leader through the head. After the Israeli Declaration of Independence and the outbreak of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Etzioni's Palmach unit participated in the defense of Jerusalem, which was under siege by the Arab Legion. They sneaked through Arab lines and for the next few months, fought to defend Jerusalem and to open a corridor to Tel Aviv, participating in the Battles of Latrun and the establishment of the Burma Road.
Following the war, Etzioni spent a year studying at an institute established by Martin Buber. In 1951 he enrolled in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he completed both BA (1954) and MA (1956) degrees for his studies in classical and contemporary works in sociology. In 1957 he went to the United States to study at the University of California, Berkeley, and was a research assistant to Seymour Martin Lipset. He received his PhD in sociology in 1958, completing the degree in the record time of 18 months. Etzioni then remained in the United States to pursue an academic career.
Etzioni met Hava while studying sociology at the University in Israel, who he married in 1953. Etzioni and Hava relocated to the United States in 1957. They had two sons together, Ethan born in 1958 and Oren born in 1962. In 1964, Hava and Etzioni divorced when Hava wanted to move back to Israel in order to be near her mother whereas Etzioni wanted to remain in the United States, as sociologists were plentiful in Israel. In his autobiography, Etzioni writes that the divorce was one of his "gravest personal failures. We should have found a way."
In 1966, Etzioni married Mexican scholar Minerva Morales. They had three sons: Michael, David, and Benjamin. Morales was raised Catholic, but converted to Judaism, Etzioni's religion. On December 20, 1985, Morales was killed in a car accident. Etzioni has written of his considerable grief over the death of Morales and his son Michael.
Etzioni is the author of 24 books. In the 1960s, he was concerned with the Cuban Missile Crisis, the nuclear arms race, the Vietnam War and the criticisms of Project Apollo's cost. His early works include his published work on complex organizations called Modern Organizations in 1964. He also published The Active Society in 1968 on social organization. In the 1970s, his interests turned towards bioethics and re-industrialization. In his later works, he dealt with the ideas of the Communitarian movement in The New Golden Rule: Community and Morality in a Democratic Society in 1996. Other influential books include The Moral Dimension (1988), How Patriotic is the Patriot Act: Freedom Versus Security in the Age of Terrorism (2004) and From Empire to Community: A New Approach to International Relations (2004).
Etzioni frequently appears as a commentator in the media. He championed the cause of peace in a nuclear age in The Hard Way to Peace (1962), Winning Without War (1964), and War and its Prevention (Etzioni and Wenglinsky, 1970). His recent work has addressed the social problems of modern democracies and he has advocated communitarian solutions to excessive individualism in The Spirit of Community: The Reinvention of American Society (1993) and New Communitarian Thinking (1996). Etzioni has been concerned to facilitate social movements that can sustain a liberal democracy in The Active Society: A Theory of Societal and Political Processes (1968) and A Responsive Society (1991). He criticized civil libertarians' approach on privacy, claiming it had to be balanced against public order and that ID cards or biometrics technologies could prevent ID theft, and thus enhance, rather than deteriorate, privacy (The Limits of Privacy, 1999).
Etzioni's main communitarian thesis is that individual aspirations should be protected and cultivated into community efforts. Etzioni thus coined the movement Communitarianism to reflect the importance of the role the individual has within the community. He argues that communitarian thinking developed in reaction to the "me-first" attitude of the 1980s, which stressed the importance of individual wellbeing over the community. Etzioni, witnessing the deterioration of the community in response to the rise of capitalist mindsets, advocated for the agenda of communitarianism. The agenda of communitarianism is to create stronger communities that are more reflective and responsive to the needs of society, as once individuals are collectivized into their communities, the citizens are more apt to act in responsible ways. Etzioni also urged the movement to attempt to establish common ground between liberals and conservatives, thus bridging that division. In his book Radical Middle, author Mark Satin identifies Etzioni as a radical centrist communitarian.
In the early to mid 1980s, communitarianism was restricted to the disciplines of Philosophy and Political Science, where the information presented concerning this new idealism was only available to those well-acquainted with sociological theory. Communitarianism took shape in response to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc where laissez faire economics gained popularity. Amitai Etzioni and William Galston, noticing an emphasis on individualism, started holding meetings to begin applying their communitarian ideals to broader social problems. Together, in 1991 the group published the quarterly journal "The Responsive Community" and formed the "Communitarian Network" in 1993. Etzioni founded the Communitarian Network, which is a nonprofit think tank based in Washington D.C. that serves as the biggest intellectual organization for the communitarian agenda.
In Etzioni's view, the communitarian movement works to strengthen the ability of all aspects of the community including families and schools in order to introduce more positive values. In addition, it aims to get people involved in positive ways in all levels of the community and ensure that society progresses in an orderly fashion. These works written between 1990 and the present have given Etzioni his greatest successes and satisfactions in the public realm. He also articulated an early reason-based critique of the space race (in the book The Moon-Doggle) in which he points out that unmanned space exploration yields a vastly higher scientific result-per-expenditure than a manned space program. Amitai Etzioni also coined the word "McJob" in a 1986 article for the Washington Post in which he criticizes the low skilled fast food jobs as being detrimental to youth.
In Simon Prideaux's "From Organisational Theory to the New Communitarium of Amitai Etzioni", he argues that Etzioni's communitarian methods are based upon earlier functionalist definitions of organizations. This is because his methodology fails to address any possible contradictions within the socioeconomic foundations of society. Also Etzioni's communitarian analysis uses a methodology which existed before the development of an organizational theory. According to Prideaux, Etzioni has taken the methodological influence of structural-functionalism beyond the realms of its organizational branch and fabricated it into a solution to solve the problems of modern society. Etzioni's arguments on the creation of a new communitarian society are restricted to the strengths and weaknesses he witnesses in the American society in which he has lived since the 1950s. This bias "neglects and denies the importance of differences within communities and among communities in different countries." Thus, Etzioni makes the assumption in suggesting that only single identities or homogeneous communities exist. Prideaux calls Etzioni guilty of imposing his Americanized version of community on the rest of the western world.
Elizabeth Frazer, in her book The Problems of Communitarian Politics: Unity and Conflict, argues that Etzioni's concept of the "nature of community" is too vague and elusive, in regards to the idea that the community is involved with every stage of government policies. Warren Breed's The Self-Guiding Society provides a critical overview of The Active Society. David Sciulli's Etzioni's Critical Functionalism: Communitarian Origins and Principles evaluates Etzioni's functionalism.
- 1960–61: Fellowship at the Social Science Research Council
- 1965–66: Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
- 1968–69: Guggenheim Fellowship
- 1978–present: Appointment as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- 1987: The Lester F. Ward Distinguished Contributions Award in Applied Sociology
- 1991: The Ninth Annual Jeffrey Pressman Award (Policy Studies Association)
- 2001: John P. McGovern Award in Behavioral Sciences
- 2001: Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Recipient of the Seventh James Wilbur Award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Appreciation and Advancement of Human Values by the Conference on Value Inquiry
- Recipient of the Sociological Practice Association’s Outstanding Contribution Award
- 2016: Officially became a member of the National Academy of Medicine.
- Coughlin M. Richard (Oct 1994). "AMITAI ETZIONI". American Sociological Association. American Sociological Association. Retrieved 6 Oct 2016.
- Etzioni Amitai (24 August 1986). "The Fast-Food Factories: McJobs are Bad for Kids"(PDF). GWD Space. Retrieved 6 Oct 2016.
- Etzioni, Amitai (2 July 2002). "Throw Book at Terrorists Who Hide as Civilians". ProCon. Retrieved 7 Oct 2016.
- Frazer, Elizabeth (1999). The Problems of Communitarian Politics: Unity and Conflict. Oxford [England] ; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191522529.
- Prideaux, Simon (2002). "From Organisational Theory to the New Communitarianism of Amitai Etzioni". Canadian Journal of Sociology. JSTOR 3341413.
- Satin, Mark Ivor, ed. (2007). Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press. ISBN 978-0813341903.
- Sciulli, David (2011). Etzioni’s Critical Functionalism: Communitarian Origins and Principles. Leiden ; Boston: Brill. ISBN 9789004190443.
- "Amitai Etzioni, PhD". ProCon. 2007. Retrieved 6 Oct 2016.
- Etzioni, Amitai, ed. (1995). New communitarian thinking : persons, virtues, institutions, and communities. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
- —, ed. (1998). The essential communitarian reader. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Amitai Etzioni, ed. (1 January 2000). Repentance: A Comparative Perspective. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-0-585-08074-1.
- Political Unification Revisited: On Building Supranational Communities. Lexington Books. 1 January 2001. ISBN 978-0-7391-0273-2.
- The Monochrome Society. Princeton University Press. 1 January 2003. ISBN 0-691-11457-9.
- My Brother's Keeper: A Memoir and a Message. Rowman & Littlefield. 1 January 2003. ISBN 978-0-7425-2158-2.
- Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy. Yale University Press. 1 October 2008. ISBN 0-300-13804-0.
- The Limits Of Privacy. Basic Books. 5 August 2008. ISBN 978-0-7867-2505-2.
- Moral Dimension: Toward a New Economics. Simon and Schuster. 11 May 2010. ISBN 978-1-4391-3653-9.
- Hot Spots: American Foreign Policy in a Post-Human-Rights World. Transaction Publishers. 28 October 2014. pp. 72–. ISBN 978-1-4128-5546-4.
- The New Normal: Finding a Balance between Individual Rights and the Common Good. Transaction Publishers. 5 November 2014. ISBN 978-1-4128-5526-6.
- Foreign Policy: Thinking Outside the Box. Routledge. June 2016. ISBN 978-1-138-67830-9.
- Avoiding War with China. University of Virginia Press. May 2017. ISBN 978-0-813-940038.
- Happiness is the Wrong Metric. Springer. January 2018. ISBN 978-3-319-69623-2.
Critical studies, reviews and biography
- De Carvalho, David (Dec 1995). "The challenge of community". Books. Quadrant. 39 (12): 80–82. Review of New communitarian thinking.
- ^BBC World News: Interview with Amitai Etzioni
- ^ abcdefghhttps://books.google.com/books/about/My_Brother_s_Keeper.html?id=yVgMhwKoLoQC
- ^My Brother's Keeper: pgs. 28–31
- ^My Brother's Keeper
- ^ abStockdale, Jerry (November 2004). "Reviewed work(s): My Brother's Keeper: A Memoir and a Message by Amitai Etzioni". Contemporary Sociology. American Sociological Association. 33 (6): 702–703. doi:10.1177/009430610403300642. JSTOR 3593865.
- ^Satin, Mark (2004). Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now. Westview Press and Basic Books, p. 10. ISBN 978-0-8133-4190-3.
- ^List, Regina A. (2010). International Encyclopedia of Civil Society: Volume 2. Springer Science + Business Media, p. 640-641. ISBN 978-0-387-93997-1.
- ^Etzioni, Amitai (24 August 1986). "The Fast-Food Factories: McJobs are Bad for Kids"(PDF). The Washington post.
- ^https://www.jstor.org/stable/3341413 doi:1
- ^Prideaux, Simon (2002). "From Organisational Theory to the New Communitarium of Amitai Etzioni". Canadian Journal of Sociology. 27 (1): 69. SocINDEX with full text. EBSCO. web. 13 October 2009.
- ^Frazer, Elizabeth (1999). The Problems of Communitarian Politics: Unity and Conflict. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-829563-1.
- ^Breed, Warren (1971). The Self-Guiding Society. Free Press. ISBN 978-0-02-904650-0.
- ^Sciulli, David (2011). Etzioni's Critical Functionalism: Communitarian Origins and Principles. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-90-04-19043-6.
- ^ abchttp://www.asanet.org/about-asa/asa-story/asa-history/past-asa-officers/past-asa-presidents/amitai-etzioni
- ^ abchttps://www2.gwu.edu/~ccps/etzioni/general_biography_information.html
- ^ abhttps://www2.gwu.edu/~ccps/etzioni/short_biography.html
- Boykoff, Jules "How Patriotic is the Patriot Act?: Freedom Versus Security in the Age of Terrorism-Amitai Etzioni." Journal of Politics 68.2 (2006): 470–471 Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. web.14 oct 2009
- Marks, Jonathan. "Moral Dialogue in the thought of Amitai Etzioni." Good Society Journal, 2005, Vol. 14 Issue 1/2, p. 15–18, 4p; (M1834886).
- Jennings, Lane. "Who's Afraid of a Moral Society?" Futurist 35,60. (2001):52. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 14 Oct 2009.
- Etzioni, Amitai. The Spirit of Community: rights, responsibilities, and the communitarian agenda. New York: Crown Publishers, 1993. ISBN 0-517-59277-0
- Gvosdev, Nikolas. Communitarian Foreign Policy: Amitai Etzioni's Vision. 2016. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
- Reese-Schaefer, Walter . "Amitai Etzioni: An Introduction." Translated by Morgan Hangartner.
- Breed, Warren and Etzioni, Amitai. "The Self-Guiding Society" 1971. Free Press.
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Even when those in my generation have reached a state of serenity, wisdom, and relative comfort, what we face can hardly be called the golden years
Baseball’s Loss of Innocence
When the 1919 Black Sox scandal shattered Ring Lardner’s reverence for the game, the great sportswriter took a permanent walk
Unauthorized, But Not Untrue
The real story of a biographer in a celebrity culture of public denials, media timidity, and legal threats
Empathy and Other Mysteries
Neuroscientists are discovering things about the brain that answer questions philosophers have been asking for centuries
To Accept What Cannot Be Helped
At 80, a woman with a fatal disease knows she doesn't want to die in the hospital and discovers, with her family, what that really means
Paula Marantz Cohen
After years of favoring the endurance-test approach to teaching literature, a professor focuses on how to make books spark to life for her students
The Passionate Encounter
A noted midcentury critic has much to say in his journal about his fellow writers and the literary world they shared
Restoration of Rome Open city, the director’s masterpiece, prompts a look at why he later retreated from the neorealism it introduced
Prozac for the Planet
Can geoengineering make the climate happy?
Every Last One
A guy with a weakness for demography goes door to door for the census and discovers what a democracy is made of
"Deep Travel" opens our minds to the rich possibilities of ordinary experience
When a tornado tears through a beloved landscape, is it possible to just let nature heal itself?
We’ll Always Have McSorley’s
How Joseph Mitchell's wonderful saloon became a sacred site for a certain literary pilgrim
What the Earth Knows
Robert B. Laughlin
Understanding the concept of geologic time and some basic science can give a new perspective on climate change and the energy future
All Style, No Substance
What’s wrong with the State Department’s public diplomacy effort
Too Bad Not to Fail
William J. Quirk
Just what are derivatives, and how much more damage can they do?
Voices of a Nation
In the 19th century, American writers struggled to discover who they were and who we are
Hive of Nerves
To be alive spiritually is to feel the ultimate anxiety of existence within the trivial anxieties of everyday life
The Bearable Lightness of Being
If you live long enough and contentedly enough in exile, your feelings of estrangement can evolve into a sense of living two lives at once
Solitude and Leadership
If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts
Reading in a Digital Age
Notes on why the novel and the Internet are opposites, and why the latter both undermines the former and makes it more necessary
Nabokov Lives On
Why his unfinished novel, Laura, deserved to be published; what’s left in the voluminous archive of his unpublished work
They Get to Me
A young psycholinguist confesses her strong attraction to pronouns
When the Light Goes On
How a great teacher can bring a receptive mind to life
To Die of Having Lived
A neurological surgeon reflects on what patients and their families should and should not do when the end draws near
My Brain on My Mind
The ABCs of the thrumming, plastic mystery that allows us to think, feel, and remember
The Stolen Election
An expatriate Iranian writer travels her troubled homeland in the weeks after a disputed presidential vote
Seventy Years Later
The Second World War destroyed Adolf Hitler, but his legacy is showing disturbing signs of life
The physics and poetics of the search for the God particle
Wrestling with Two Behemoths
A longtime New Yorker, and New Yorker writer, gets the cold shoulder from powerful New York cultural institutions
Writing About Writers
Covering the book beat
The Doctor Is IN
Daniel B. Smith
At 88, Aaron Beck is now revered for an approach to psychotherapy that pushed Freudian analysis aside
A Mindful Beauty
Joel E. Cohen
What poetry and applied mathematics have in common
The Renaissance writers and humanists Petrarch and Boccaccio turned to geography to understand the works of antiquity
A daughter examines a life played out in romantic defiance of bad fortune
Not Ready for Mt. Rushmore
Reconciling the myth of Ronald Reagan with the reality
A blast in Baghdad tests the endurance of a soldier and his family
The Devil You Know
John B. Renehan
Keeping the peace in Ramadi calls for a little moral dexterity
Questioning assumptions about intelligence, work, and social class
What I'd really like to tell the bores in my life
A writer in Quebec finds that language creates an unbridgeable divide
Any Way You Slice It
Sundays at the community oven aren't just about the pizza
He bet cautiously at the track, but elsewhere he was drawn to those with the odds stacked against them
The Terminator Comes to Wall Street
How computer modeling worsened the financial crisis and what we ought to do about it
Evolution does not rob life of meaning, but creates meaning. It also makes possible our own capacity for creativity.
Second Chances, Social Forgiveness, and the Internet
We need the means, both technological and legal, to replace measures once woven into the fabric of communities
The Potency of Breathless
Paula Marantz Cohen
At 50, Godard’s film still asks how something this bad can be so good
The Man Who Shot the Man Who Shot Lincoln
Ernest B. Furgurson
The hatter Boston Corbett was celebrated as a hero for killing John Wilkes Booth. Fame and fortune did not follow, but madness did.
Visions and Revisions
Writing On Writing Well and keeping it up-to-date for 35 years
Dawn of a Literary Friendship
In 1969 the writer Robert Phelps first wrote to the novelist James Salter. Here are the letters that forged a bond of two decades.
The Dowser Dilemma
How a town in Vermont found water it desperately needed and an explanation that was harder to swallow
Putting Man Before Descartes
Human knowledge is personal and participant—placing us at the center of the universe
The Future of the American Frontier
Can one of our most enduring national myths, much in evidence in the recent presidential campaign, be reinvented yet again?
Affirmative Action and After
W. Ralph Eubanks
Now is the time to reconsider a policy that must eventually change. But simply replacing race with class isn’t the solution.
Spies Among Us
Military snooping on civilians, which escalated in the turbulent '60s, never entirely went away and is back again on a much larger scale
A Country for Old Men
Having reached the shores of seniority himself, the author finds a surprising contentment in the eyes of his fellow retirees
The Civil War only enhanced George Whitman's soldierly satisfaction; for his brother Walt, however, the horrors halted an outpouring of great poetry
My Bright Abyss
I never felt the pain of unbelief until I believed. But belief itself is hardly painless.
The High Road to Narnia
C. S. Lewis and his friend J. R. R. Tolkien believed that truths are universal and that stories reveal them
The Censor in the Mirror
It’s not only what the Chinese Propaganda Department does to artists, but what it makes artists do to their own work
The Torture Colony
In a remote part of Chile, an evil German evangelist built a utopia whose members helped the Pinochet regime perform its foulest deeds
Where Does American History Begin?
Mixing geography with invention, the first explorers and mapmakers made the New World a very hard place to pin down
Something Called Terrorism
In a speech given at Harvard 22 years ago and never before published, Leonard Bernstein offered a warning that remains timely
The New Old Way of Learning Languages
Now all but vanished, a once-popular system of reading Greek and Latin classics could revitalize modern teaching methods
The Disadvantages of an Elite Education
Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers
The End of the Black American Narrative
A new century calls for new stories grounded in the present, leaving behind the painful history of slavery and its consequences
Revisiting the gritty Roman neighborhood of his youth, a writer discovers a world of his own invention
Knitting a new life in America after a mother’s suicide, long ago in Japan
When George Plimpton, the boyish editor of The Paris Review, went three rounds with the light-heavyweight champion of the world
In literature, as in life, the art of swimming isn’t hard to master
The Broken Balance
The poet Robinson Jeffers warned us nearly a century ago of the ravages to nature we now face
Passing the Torch
Stephen J. Pyne
Why the eons-old truce between humans and fire has burst into an age of megafires, and what can be done about it
The Liberal Imagination of Frederick Douglass
Honoring the emotions that give life to liberal principles
What Kind of Father Am I?
Looking back at a lifetime of parenting sons and being parented by them
Rome’s Gossip Columnist
When the first-century poet Martial turned his stylus on you, you got the point
Janna Malamud Smith
Like Robinson Crusoe after the storm, a daughter salvages what she can after her mother’s death
A Slow Devouring
Banter, beer, and bar food smooth a disciplined but difficult passage through Finnegans Wake
Who Cares About Executive Supremacy?
The scope of presidential power is the most urgent and the most ignored legal and political issue of our time
Moral Principle vs. Military Necessity
The first code of conduct during warfare, created by a Civil War–era Prussian immigrant, reflected ambiguities we struggle with to this day
Dreaming of a Democratic Russia
Sarah E. Mendelson
Memories of a year in Moscow promoting a post-Soviet political process, an undertaking that now seems futile
The Daily Miracle
Life with the mavericks and oddballs at the Herald Tribune
By limiting freedom of expression, we take away thoughts and ideas before they have the opportunity to hatch
Alone at the Movies
My days in the dark with Robert Altman and Woody Allen
Ann Hagman Cardinal
A young woman wins a drawing and learns to give and to receive
As a beloved uncle makes his final journey in the wilderness, a new life begins
The Cradle of Modernism
From the Autumn 1990 issue of The Scholar
Findings: Meditations on the Literature of Spying
From the Spring 1965 issue of The Scholar
To the Rescue of Romanticism
From the Spring 1940 issue of The Scholar
Melvin Jules Bukiet
Come with us to a place called Brooklyn, where the stories are half-baked and their endings bland and soft
Religious groups that have allied themselves with politicians, and vice versa, have ignored at their peril the lessons of Roger Williams and U.S. history
The Trojan War
Now even some environmentalists are supporting the use of nuclear power to generate electricity. One man’s story suggests the industry can’t be trusted
How a precocious group of high school poets learned to provide verse on demand
Lady of the Lake
Writer Brenda Ueland and the story she never shared
Apologies All Around
Today's tendency to make amends for the crimes of history raises the question: where do we stop?
From the Spring 1976 issue of The Scholar
The Mystery of Ales
Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya
The argument that Alger Hiss was a WWII-era Soviet asset is flawed. New evidence points to someone else
The Mystery of Ales (Expanded Version)
Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya
The argument that Alger Hiss was a WWII-era Soviet asset is flawed. New evidence points to someone else
Love on Campus
Why we should understand, and even encourage, a certain sort of erotic intensity between student and professor
What diplomacy can do and why we need it more than ever
Gazing Into the Abyss
The sudden appearance of love and the galvanizing prospect of death lead a young poet back to poetry and a “hope toward God”
‘Mem, Mem, Mem’
After a stroke, a prolific novelist struggles to say how the mental world of aphasia looks and feels
Between Two Worlds
The familar story of Pocahontas was mirrored by that of a young Englishman given as a hostage to her father
The Invasion of Privacy
Richard H. Rovere
From the Autumn 1958 issue of The Scholar
A New Theory of the Universe
Biocentrism builds on quantum physics by putting life into the equation
Can we begin to think about unexplained religious experiences in ways that acknowledge their existence?
In Pursuit of Innocence
From the Spring 1953 issue of The Scholar
The Judge's Jokes
Shards of memory, for better or for worse, from my father the after-banquet speaker
The celebrated Austrian writer Peter Handke appeared at the funeral of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Should we forgive him?
The Cook's Son
The death of a young man, long ago in Africa, continues to raise questions with no answers
One Day in the Life of Melvin Jules Bukiet
Melvin Jules Bukiet
A Manhattan writer runs afoul of the local penal system and lives to tell the tale
Findings: Privacy Revealed
Richard E. Nicholls
From the Archives
First we stopped noticing members of the working class, and now we're convinced they don’t exist
THE SCHOLAR AT 75: An Educated Guess
Who knew that mixing the intelligent and the idiosyncratic would yield a long life for a certain small quarterly?
Not Compassionate, Not Conservative
A political traditionalist critiques our pseudo-conservative president
Scooter and Me
Professing liberal doubt in an age of fundamentalist fervor
Fear of Falling
Working in the mop-and-bucket brigade in college created the perspectives of a lifetime
The posthumous masterwork of an influential black historian tells how slavery itself undermined the Confederacy
Can a friendship really end for no good reason?
Getting It All Wrong
The proponents of Theory and Cultural Critique could learn a thing or two from bioculture
Lincoln the Persuader
Douglas L. Wilson
Seeking to get people behind his policies, he made himself the best writer for all our presidents
My Mother’s Body
Just remembering her is not enough; resurrecting her is the ultimate goal
Tomorrow Is Another Day
An Ethiopian student survives a brutal imprisonment by translating Gone with the Wind into his native tongue
The Ordinariness of AIDS
Can a disease that tells us so much about ourselves ever be anything but extraordinary?
The Sack of Baghdad
The U.S. invasion of Iraq has turned cultural icons into loot and archaeological sites into ruins
Miles from Nowhere
On a return trip to the wilderness of British Columbia, the author revisits a rough and exquisite landscape
Rum and Coca-Cola
The murky derivations of a sweet drink and a sassy World War II song
The Embarrassment of Riches
Do not pity me for having more money than anyone I know. Still, wealth does have its mild difficulties
The Case for Love
Did the friendship of an early Supreme Court justice and the wife of a colleague ever cross the line of propriety?
Leaving Race Behind
Our growing Hispanic population creates a golden opportunity
On the Outside Looking In
Paris and its banlieues in November 2005
Onward, Christian Liberals
Christianity's long tradition of social injustice
What Jesus Did
Forget about Christ as secular sage, historical figure, or even as Christian
Two Strangers, Three Stories
All the lonely people and where they come from
Shouldn’t There Be a Word ... ?
The holes in our language and the never-ending search for words to fill them
The Idea of Bombay
Bollywood epitomized modernity for a boy in a distant province. As an adult, he sees a troubled city.
Henry James vs. the Robber Barons
Why Italian art should stay in England, where it belongs, and not fall into the hands of foreigners
The New Anti-Semitism
First religion, then race, then what?
My Holocaust Problem
If we cannot speak of it—though speak of it we must—how do we remember what happened to the Jews of Europe?
Palladio in the Rough
A South Carolinian builds classical revival houses that really look old
A Sunday-afternoon player of a certain age says his farewell to basketball
The ebb and flow of life in a Newfoundland fishing village
Buster Brown's America
How a Jew from Slovakia became a Catholic from Manhattan, then fell from grace and turned into a real American
A Visit to Esperantoland
The natives want you to learn their invented language as a step toward world harmony. Who are these people?
Teaching the N-Word
A black professor, an all-white class, and the thing nobody will say
The Rise and Fall of David Duke
Lawrence N. Powell
Breaking the code of right-wing populism in Louisana
Finding the ideal of freedom in a rugged prison colony
Custom and Law
Melvin Jules Bukiet
After the death of his father, a not-notably observant Jew turns to the mourning rituals of his faith
Mary Beth Saffo
How chance authors the universe
Twenty-three ways of looking at our ancestors
Roosevelt Redux: Part Two
Thomas N. Bethell
Robert M. Ball and the battle for Social Security
Buy a house in Maine and they will come. And come.
Thomas N. Bethell
Robert M. Ball and the battle for Social Security
The elderly are entitled to what they have earned
All About Eve
What men have thought about women thinking
A Long Cold View of History
How ice, worms, and dirt made us what we are today
The Big Roundup
John Lomax roamed the West, collecting classic songs from the cowboy era
The Glue Is Gone
The things that held us together as individuals and as a people are being lost. Can we find them again?
So Help Me God
What all fifty-four inaugural addresses, taken as one long book, tell us about American history
What We Got Wrong
How Arabs look at the self, their society, and their political institutions
The Coming of the French
My life as an English professor
The Software Wars
Paul De Palma
Why you can't understand your computer
The Crooner and the Physicist
Jacques Brel and The New Yorker profile that never reached critical mass
A Sturdy Man
Notes on a human symphony