The Boldness of Hedgehogs  

Justice for Hedgehogs by Ronald Dworkin Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011, 528 pp. Reviewers ought not to begin apologetically. It undermines their credibility. Nonetheless, I feel diffidence in the face of Justice for Hedgehogs. It is an astonishing …



Higher Education and New Labour  

One of the greater oddities of British politics this winter has been the Labour Party’s travails over higher education. The government issued its White Paper on Higher Education in January 2003-“White Papers” are arcane BritSpeak for the publications in which …



Ten Years After 1989: Alan Ryan  

Bertrand Russell was not the most successful of political prophets. If he had not died almost thirty years ago of extreme old age, he would surely have been astonished to see that humanity has not yet blown itself to bits. …



Britain: Recycling the Third Way  

In britain, the intellectual credibility of the third way is at its lowest ebb since the election of May 1997. Many commentators now declare that reality is catching up with a flawed idea. Harsher critics dismiss the suggestion that there …



New Labour–New Start?  

The extraordinary thing about the Labour landslide on May 1 was that it was utterly predictable and utterly unexpected. Because Britain had been forced to retreat ignominiously from the exchange rate mechanism of the European Community in September 1992—devaluing the …



Republican Nostalgia  

democracy’s Discontent by Michael Sandel Harvard University Press, 1996. 417 pp. $24.95. Much of what follows will be rather critical of Michael Sandel’s new book. It would be particularly wicked therefore not to begin by praising some of its many …





Learning in America  

Here is a book that is easier to praise and to agree with than to review and to criticize. Its main theme is simple, right, and rather mysteriously neglected on all sides: the “culture wars” have been an enormous diversion …



Is Egalitarianism Dead?  

What follows is something I feel uncomfortable writing, to some degree uncomfortable even thinking. Growing up on R.H. Tawney’s Equality, I have always believed that some form of egalitarianism-it may be hard to say just what form-is simply definitive of …



The Legacy of John Dewey  

JOHN DEWEY AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, by Robert Westbrook. Cornell University Press, 1991. 579 pp. $29.95. Athough it cannot compare with the collapse of the theory and practice of Marxian socialism in intellectual interest or geopolitical significance, the current revival of …



Philosophy and Public Life  

All too often, the kind of essay in political thought that hits the bookstores wearing the wrapper of a distinguished university press makes one’s heart sink. As an academic production it is often admirable. It usually adds at least a …



Screen Wars: The Battle for Vietnam  

The Reagan era has bequeathed to us much, including, ironically, a new version of the materialist theory of the politics of culture. The essential claim of this theory is seductively simple: cultural expression reproduces, through all the appropriate “mediations,” the …