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Isaiah Berlin's Liberties

August 22, 2014

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik shows the Hebraic significance of Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts of Liberty.” Negative liberty, or freedom from, is recognizable in the Hebrew word chofshi and, not coincidentally, in Hatikvah. Despite its significance in the Israeli national anthem, it is not negative liberty, but rather positive liberty that, according to Rabbi Soloveichik, is celebrated by the […]

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Just like Thomas Paine’s political thought, Edmund Burke’s sees liberty as a core aim of a good society. But “liberty” means something very different for Burke. While Paine defines liberty as the freedom to do whatever you want so long as you are not harming another, Burke speaks of “ordered liberty.” In this clip from […]

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Possibly Leo Strauss’s greatest essay, “Progress or Return?” is crucial to understanding Strauss’s political thought, especially his famed reason/revelation distinction. In this clip, Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution summarizes the entire argument of the essay in four short propositions.

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Thinking About Revelation

August 13, 2014

During Tikvah’s advanced institute “Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews,” Eric Cohen, Yuval Levin, and Meir Soloveichik tried to sort through the deep dilemma facing the modern, post-Enlightenment Jew who also holds a Burkean respect for old ways. Eric Cohen began by pointing out how peculiar the claims of historical revelation are, so peculiar as to strain […]

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What is the proper relationship between Jews and political power? To what extent should Jews eschew worldly power for the sake of piety? How Machiavellian can Jews allow themselves to be? Two of the Jewish world’s most esteemed intellectuals, Ruth Wisse and Moshe Halbertal, examined these questions for participants in the Tikvah Fund’s Summer Fellowship […]

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Children and Freedom

August 13, 2014

Yuval Levin of National Affairs and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik explore in this clip the tensions between the social aim of liberty and the need for child-rearing. Bringing in Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and John Locke, Levin and Soloveichik show how this tension comes down to the foundational question of the nature of man. How much […]

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Prophetic Judaism

August 12, 2014

While Rabbinic Judaism—the Judaism of everyday laws—has declined in the modern era, Prophetic Judaism—the Judaism of profound, universalist ethical proclamations—has risen to the forefront of Jewish self-understanding. Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution explains in this clip why Prophetic Judaism flourished after the Haskalah: Judaism as an ethical code was most compatible with the Jews’ […]

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Theory and Practice

August 11, 2014

Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, takes on the relationship between theory and practice. We tend to think that political theories are dreamed up absent society and then played out in a society. But, drawing on Burke and Tocqueville, Levin postulates that “the ways in which we understand ourselves become the ways in which we live.” […]

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Is there an authentically Jewish view of economics? Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution argued during Tikvah’s advanced institute “Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews” that there is and there isn’t. As with medical care, there are technical dilemmas in economics that do not have an authentically Jewish solution, like the granular questions of monetary policy […]

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As part of Tikvah’s advanced institute “Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews”, Tikvah’s executive director Eric Cohen offered two philosophical dilemmas for conservatives. The first is how to reconcile the tension between an economics that praises creative destruction and a preference for cultural, political, and religious continuity. The second is the dilemma of conservatism’s metaphysical roots: […]

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