Sheldon S. Wolin is Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton.

Reagan Country

What is the meaning of the election of Ronald Reagan? The initial reaction of most commentators was that Reagan’s victory was evidence of a “conservative tide,” a tide so strong and deep that some described it as “revolutionary,” others as a “turning point” to the “right.” The most telling evidence …

Stopping to Think

The life of the mind is, under the best of circumstances, a somewhat solitary calling, although, as these posthumous volumes attest, not so solitary as to be an exception to the rule that human things are best nurtured in friendship. Through the efforts of her friends we have the work …

Carter and the New Constitution

One sign that our society is undergoing a transformation of its identity is the way that programs and policies produce the opposite of their original intentions. Democracy is gradually undercut by programs designed to strengthen it. Social legislation is introduced with the avowed aim of improving the health and well-being …

The State of the Union

…When these prodigies Do so conjointly meet, let not men    say, “These are their reasons: they are    natural.” For, I believe, they are portentous    things…. Julius Caesar, I, iii Over the past fifteen years the American public consciousness has been witness to …

The Rise of Private Man

Richard Sennett’s The Fall of Public Man is an original and courageous book; it is, also, a troubling book: shoddy in its execution, arbitrary in its methods. Practically every reviewer, including those who have praised it highly, has remarked upon its insensitivity to the ordinary conventions of grammar and literary …

Consistent Kissinger

He shall in strangeness stand no farther off Than in a politic distance. —Othello, III, iii Henry Kissinger has been something of an enchanter, difficult to describe, impossible to interpret. Instinctively one resorts to superlatives only to discover that they are euphemisms for avoiding something. Kissinger may …

The New Conservatives

Robert Nisbet’s Twilight of Authority is the most recent illustration of the perplexities of conservatism in America. The difficulty for theoretically minded conservatives is to find the appropriate categories for identifying continuities in a society so passionately dedicated to change that the only consistent conservatives may be the conservationists. The …

A Special Supplement: The Meaning of Vietnam

In early May, The New York Review asked some of its contributors to write on the meaning of the Vietnam war and its ending. They were asked to consider the questions of the responsibility for the war; its effect on American life, politics, and culture, and the US position in …

Looking for “Reality”

Phrases such as “political realities,” “the real world,” “the facts of political life,” and Realpolitik are part of the natural language of politicians and their intimates. In the past, knowledge of political reality has proven elusive. Reality, as Marx noted, “does not stalk about with a label.” Broadly speaking, before …

From Jamestown to San Clemente

“How in the world did we get from the Federalist Papers to the edited transcripts?” This question by a member of the House Judiciary Committee is both improper and proper to consideration of these volumes by Daniel Boorstin. Improper because he has not been concerned with the aspects of the …

Prometheus in America

Musing upon America’s fortunate condition, with its vast stretches of unoccupied land and seemingly inexhaustible resources, Tocqueville concluded that “the great privilege of Americans is to be able to commit reparable mistakes.” The “happy republic,” he thought, could afford its pragmatic and undemanding politics as long as material abundance and …

Gilding the Iron Cage

“Does practice ever square with theory?” One way of resolving Plato’s rhetorical question is to turn it around and ask whether theory can ever be made to square with reality and, if so, what the nature of that reality is and why theory feels the need for a harmonious relationship …

Is a New Politics Possible?

What were the major educational changes during the Sixties? Some of the major assumptions, many of the practices, and most of the myths of higher education were badly shaken. There is no doubt that some transformations took place. There is considerable question, however, whether the transformations provided the foundation for …

Where We Are Now

On February 1, 1960, four neatly dressed freshman students from a Negro college took seats at the whites-only Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, politely asked for coffee, and refused to leave until the store closed. Ten years and a thousand marches later, Fred Hampton lay dead in Chicago, …

Education and the Technological Society

As this is being written, the colleges and universities are digging in for another round of campus troubles. Since the outbreak at Berkeley in 1964, the campuses have become a problem of national concern and, despite the many diagnoses, a matter of puzzlement. Although the head of one major university, …

Berkeley: The Battle of People’s Park

Shortly before 5:00 A.M., on Thursday, May 16, a motley group of about fifty hippies and “street-people” were huddled together on a lot 270 x 450 feet in Berkeley. The lot was owned by the Regents of the University of California and located a few blocks south of the Berkeley …

Berkeley and the University Revolution

During the recent crisis on the Berkeley campus, the favorite quotation among the cognoscenti was Marx’s aphorism that great historical events occur twice, “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” Two years ago, the Berkeley campus was shaken by a series of events culminating on December 2, 1964 …

A Special Supplement: Berkeley and the Fate of the Multiversity

It isn’t often that a great university suddenly goes smash, yet that is what happened to the Berkeley campus during the first week of last December. During that week the University of California (Berkeley), numbering 27,000 students, 12,000 faculty and non-academic employees, numerous research laboratories, institutes, old-fashioned classrooms, and …