When Is It Right (or Wrong) to Rebel?

Considering Syria Through the Writings of Thomas Hobbes Shows the Promise and Perils of Revolution

When protesters confronted the autocrats of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria early in 2011, many liberally minded people around the world hailed this Arab Spring as a moment of great hope, comparable to the velvet revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe. But the picture soon got complicated. Whereas the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes capitulated relatively peacefully, only the Tunisians secured democracy, as the Egyptian revolution was subsequently overturned.

Libya and Syria both descended into civil war. In Libya, the outcome has so far been an unstable political vacuum. In Syria, the …

More In: freedom

Winning Freedom From Guantánamo With Forbearance and Trust

In the Shadow of Torture and Isolation, an American Lawyer and an Afghan Prisoner Bond Over Melted Mocha Ice Cream

I first visited Obaidullah at Guantánamo Bay in the spring of 2009. Before that first meeting, all I knew were the disturbing accusations against him, that he had fired his …

When the Hunger for Freedom Becomes Self-Destructive

My Bostonian Ancestor Fought the Red Coats. I Fought a Heroin Addiction. Both of Us Are Soldiers.

On April 17, 1775, Samuel Whittemore was toiling in the fields of his Arlington, Massachusetts farm when he spied the British militia returning to Boston from the Battle at Lexington …

Must We Choose Between Freedom and Equality?

Our Declaration

As schoolchildren we learn that all people–and all Americans–are created equal. But sometimes it feels as if this country’s leaders have forgotten that equality is one of the tenets this …

Will Globalization Kill Free Speech?

The First Amendment May Require New Limits in a More Interconnected World

U.S. Supreme Court justices are not supposed to say anything interesting outside of the Court, but in 2010 Justice Stephen Breyer was asked in a rare TV appearance if he …

How Fireworks Divide California

The State’s Regulations on a July Fourth Tradition Don’t Always Make Sense. But They’re Part of What Makes This Country Great.

If you venture out to Fourth of July weekend events around California, you’ll probably hear high talk about how Independence Day is a celebration of the things we Americans supposedly …