Putting Dynamism in Its Place

Oren Cass

The phrase "economic dynamism" has become so ubiquitous, its connotations so obviously desirable, that we accept uncritically the case made for its virtues and imagine it might involve no tradeoffs. And because more economic dynamism is better, public policy must always be oriented toward nurturing it. Merely inquiring as to the basis or veracity of these axioms risks exposing oneself as unsophisticated and, perhaps worst of all, insufficiently "pro-growth." But an inquiry is very much needed. That disruption and dynamism can deliver enormous benefits is certainly true — but we do ourselves no favors by disregarding the prerequisites for their doing so, or ignoring the costs involved.

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How to Think about Patriotism

Wilfred M. McClay

Patriotism in the American context has always involved both a devotion to an intricate latticework of ideals, sentiments, and overlapping loyalties, and also a commitment to our unique traditions, culture, history, people, and land. These two types of American patriotism are undeniably in tension, but the tension has been a healthy one throughout our history. Since its founding, our nation's universal ideals have meshed with, and derived strength from, Americans' local and particular sentiments.

the public interest

Science and ideology in economics

Robert M. Solow

The Public Interest was a quarterly public policy journal founded by Irving Kristol and Daniel Bell in 1965. Throughout its four decades of publication, ending in 2005, it offered incomparable insight and wisdom on a vast range of challenges at the intersection of public affairs, culture, and political economy—helping America better understand and govern itself in a tumultuous time. National Affairs now hosts its archives, free of charge.

The Most Dangerous Branch

Joshua D. Hawley

Many conservatives felt betrayed by the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision, sensing they had lost an important political battle at the hands of a supposed ally. Justified or not, this sense of betrayal points to a much greater problem: the fact that the Court is viewed as capable of resolving political disputes at all. Today, the judiciary weighs in far too often on matters that should be left to the political branches of our government — a tendency toward overreach rooted in the Constitution itself.

Religion and the American Republic

George F. Will

America has generally marked out a division of labor between the institutions of politics and those of civil society, including and especially those of religion. It is as the foremost of our civil-society institutions that religious organizations play a crucial role in sustaining our distinctive system of government — as shapers of citizens, and as limiting counterparts to the state. That is why citizens concerned for our tradition of limited, constitutional government should be friendly to the cause of American religion — even if they are not believers themselves.

The First American Founder

James W. Ceaser

Americans revere the nation's founders, and it seems perfectly natural that we should. But we are never quite clear about exactly who counts as a founder, and exactly for what. Our country had more than one beginning, and has several uses for its several foundings. In fact, the idea of a national founding needed to be introduced into our political vocabulary and developed into the core of our self-understanding. The concept of the American founding itself had a founder. 

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