There was a narrow of sliver of time in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001 when it was possible to hope for a united future. Americans rallied around the flag; the world rallied around us. But the years that followed dashed those hopes. A decade on, we are not a stronger country.
We’ve gathered a distinguished group of writers to offer perspective on a sad and enervating decade. From arguments on policy and strategy by Leslie H. Gelb, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Lawrence Korb to reflections on mortality, freedom, and fear offered respectively by Jessica Stern, Orlando Patterson, and Corey Robin, our symposium on the 9/11 decade offers meditations on what went wrong--and how we can make things right again.
Also in the issue, Lew Daly tells the story of the Catholic Church’s role in the rise of collective bargaining in America--and wonders whether progressives’ vigilant secularism may have contributed to labor’s decline. James B. Rule looks at how corporations and the state have encroached into our privacy, and offers ideas on what we can do about it. And there’s more: William Forbath on the progressive constitutional tradition. Lawrence Mishel on the problem with the pro-innovation crowd. Charles Kenny on eradicating global poverty, one small idea at a time. Clay Risen on the civil rights movement before Rosa Parks.
With this issue, Democracy asks: What more should government be doing to encourage greater entrepreneurship?
We’ve gathered a distinguished group of writers, led by William Galston, to answer the question. The symposium touches on a range of subjects—from immigration reform and minority business ownership to innovation clusters and entrepreneurship education—and offers bold new ideas on how to craft a future-oriented progressive agenda.
Also in the issue: the latest installment of our America 2021 roundtable series, this time on the future of climate policy. After the failure of cap-and-trade, what’s next? And in the latest entry in our First Principles series, we have a debate between Geoffrey Stone and William Marshall on one side and Doug Kendall and Jim Ryan on the other on how progressives should interpret the Constitution and fight conservative originalism.
The rest of the issue boasts the usual assortment of top-notch essays and reviews. G. John Ikenberry on the liberal international order. Heather Hurlburt on the military-industrial complex. Harold Pollack on the war against vaccines. David Strauss on William Brennan. And much more.
Finally, it seems that we might have slogged our way through the worst of the economic crisis. But unemployment is still high, and things won’t be back to normal for a long time. The way our government responded to the crisis exposed more than a few inadequacies in the way progressives talk about the economy.
With this issue, we offer some new perspectives on arguing the economy in the second installment of our “First Principles” series. We’ve put together a distinguished line-up: Andrei Cherny, our co-founder and president; David Madland of the Center for American Progress; Elaine C. Kamarck of the Harvard Kennedy School; Paul Pierson of U.C.-Berkeley; and The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait. We think their essays tell a fresh story about what progressives should stand for and why the other side’s ideas are wrong for the country.
The issue also features the usual assortment of top-notch essays and reviews. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Levering Lewis on Mark Twain. Ethan Porter and David Kendall on a taxpayer receipt. Matthew Yglesias on reforming the Federal Reserve. Ezra Klein on inequality. And much more.
If there was a substantive issue at the core of this recent election, it was the role of government. The right demonized government from top to bottom, and the left defended its role (well, sort of).
My parenthetical above actually suggests an important point. Progressives don’t defend government forcefully enough—not only out of cowardice, but because they don’t really have a modern and fresh-sounding vocabulary for doing so. It’s a big problem.
It’s one we try to solve with this issue. We inaugurate a series we’re calling “First Principles,” in which we examine how the conservative argument prevailed in the first place; expose it as the sham it is; and offer a new way forward for progressives. The three pieces in the package that take on those tasks, respectively, are by Rick Perlstein, Alan Wolfe, and Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer, and they are as timely as urgent as they could be.
As fiscal commissions ponder our debt and deficit messes, we have a persuasive case from MIT’s Andrea Louise Campbell for a progressive value-added tax. We also have a wonderful essay by Michael Bérubé on the “Sokal Hoax” at 15, and how anti-objectivity critiques made by the left in the 1990s have been taken up by the right. And we offer the usual run of excellent book reviews, featuring Alan Brinkley and Mary Jo Bane.