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Jim Sleeper
Jim Sleeper lectures in political science at Yale and posts frequently at TPM. He has been a New York newspaper columnist and is the author of The Closest of Strangers and Liberal Racism. His website is

Entries by Jim Sleeper

The 'Blame the Campus Liberals' Campaign Targets Yale

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2016 | 1:33 PM

On February 7 the New York Times published two jaw-droppingly credulous and/or duplicitous accounts, linked below, of Yale childhood psychologist and student-residence associate master Erika Christakis' supposed martyrdom on the altar of free speech by censorious liberal students and colleagues. The truth is that a national campaign to blame campus...

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How I Escaped Puritanism's Creepy Side By Embracing Its Noble Side

(8) Comments | Posted November 14, 2015 | 5:27 PM

Three weeks before the publishing industry commenced its huge promotion of Stacy Schiff's energetically researched, dazzlingly narrated, ideationally empty The Witches: Salem 1692 -- with a 500-person Manhattan armory gala, dinners up and down Park Avenue, a book tour rivalling Odysseus' travels or David Niven in "Around the...

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Can Yale's Pivot to India Offset Its Mistakes in Singapore?

(1) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 2:57 PM

For more than a year now, headlines in Singapore's government-controlled press and some independent outlets have taken shots at the three-year-old Yale-National University of Singapore College, an experiment in liberal-arts education in Asia that some of us warned would encounter obstacles underestimated by Yale's globe-trotting trustees and administrators....

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From Columbine to Umpqua, It's Not Just Bullets We're Dodging

(5) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 2:20 PM

Once again, we've heard that the gunman was deranged. Once again, we've heard that gun control is imperative. What we aren't hearing is that Americans, for many more years and with greater intensity than inhabitants of other countries, have been groped and goosed and pummeled by a sophisticated, multi-trillion dollar...

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Punched Bloody by a Hand We Think Is Invisible, We See Only Trump and Fox. But There's Worse

(2) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 6:06 PM

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard 'round the world.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Concord Hymn," 1837

For centuries most Americans believed that "the shot heard 'round the world" in...

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Hebdo's Dubious PEN-Pals: Privileged Conservative Pundits

(12) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 5:13 PM

Explaining last week in The New York Times why the Poets, Essayists, and Novelists American Center is honoring Charlie Hebdo at a gala ceremony, PEN officers wrote, "The question for us is not whether the cartoons deserve an award for literary merit but whether they disqualify Charlie Hebdo...

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American Leaders Swooning Over Singapore's Thuggish Founder Are Blind Politically, Not Just Morally

(13) Comments | Posted April 2, 2015 | 11:20 AM

To judge only by appearances, the outpouring of grief by a million-and-a half Singaporeans at the funeral of their country's founder and long-time prime minister Lee Kuan Yew last week resembles that of Americans at the funeral of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. But, it also mirrors North Koreans' weeping...

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Texas Newspapers Could Carry Democracy From... Hong Kong!

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 9:55 AM

The most energetic, persuasive case I've heard for a civic-republican/democratic movement to dethrone both Republicans and Democrats who won't take big money out of elections was made this month to an audience of hundreds at Bard College's Hannah Arendt Center conference on "The Unmaking of Americans" by Harvard...

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Where Henry Kissinger's Dark Wisdom Blinds Him

(1) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 6:03 PM

For a man who's well-known to be prickly about what he's well-known for -- and who has just published World Order, a lofty, butt-covering assessment of how the world is unraveling without his grand strategy -- former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger can't have been happy to find...

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Let Singapore's Apologists Do Their Homework

(4) Comments | Posted October 3, 2014 | 1:59 PM

Most Americans and Singaporeans -- like most Israelis, Palestinians, and other people the world over -- are far more decent, discerning, and trustworthy in daily life than are their leaders and champions in government and media. "States hover like crows over the nests that nations make," the historian Robert Wiebe...

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For Yale in Singapore, It's Deja-vu All Over Again

(3) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 2:41 PM

Once again, the liberal-arts college in Singapore to which Yale has given its name, prestige, energy, and talent finds itself dancing awkwardly with the government over a right that liberal education depends on and should foster: the right to show Tan Pin Pin's documentary film, "To Singapore With Love," which...

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Ukraine's Neo-con Champions Champion Mainly Themselves

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 1:14 PM

Leon Wieseltier's self-published remarks opening a conference of intellectuals that he and the historian Timothy Snyder have assembled in Kiev (the text is in The New Republic, where Wieseltier is literary editor) almost beg for Karl Marx's observation:

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and...
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A Foreign-Policy Problem No One Talks About

(1) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 5:53 PM

Cries for American military preparedness are growing louder and louder by the day, rising, circling, and echoing one another in a frenzy that even the awfulness of events in the Ukraine and many other places doesn't quite explain. The reason for the cries, according to New Republic literary editor Leon...

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A Strong Voice Democracy Is Lost

(1) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 1:27 PM

The writer Jonathan Schell died last night, of cancer, in his home in Brooklyn. Although I doubt he would have put it this way or even thought of himself this way, he was a luminous, noble, bearer of an American civic-republican tradition that's inherently cosmopolitan and embracing but...

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A Commentator Lost in Washington's House of Columns

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 5:50 PM

"There is the question of how to respond practically to Putin's aggression and there is the question of how to respond intellectually," writes Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, in his most recent "Washington Diarist" column. "The latter is no less important than the former, because...

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Not So Fast, Fareed!

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 2:39 PM

Like a computer's virtual rendering of himself as neo-liberal consciousness-shaper of the hour, Fareed Zakaria returned triumphally yesterday to his "Yale family," as his host at the Center for the Study of American Politics called it, and delivered a most excellent stump speech on the very important question, "Is the...

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David Brooks Explains More Than He Intended

(20) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 3:07 PM

Some Yale students who took David Brooks' faintly self-serving course on "Humility" last year are buzzing about his New York Times column today, which skewers a certain type of elite college student's ambition to become a "Thought Leader."

"The Thought Leader is sort of a highflying, good-doing...

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Singapore Migrants Riot, Websites Chill, but Yale-in-Singapore Keeps Warm

(5) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 9:45 AM

Yesterday a South China Morning Post account of a riot by Indian and Bangladeshi migrant workers in Singapore noted that "Singapore is persisting with a four-year campaign to reduce its reliance on foreign workers, after years of open immigration policy led to voter discontent over increased competition for...

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In NYC's Election, a Learning Curve, Not a Pendulum Swing

(4) Comments | Posted November 3, 2013 | 9:08 PM

Last week The New Republic resurrected from its archives and re-showcased a 20-year-old cover story, "The End of the Rainbow?," first published on the eve of Rudy Giuliani's election as mayor of New York in November, 1993.

That story heralded a new, but now two-decade-old, era of...

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This Brave Congressman Taught Me How to Break News

(1) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 9:51 AM

I first learned how to break news in 1982 thanks to Major R. Owens, a canny yet noble fighter for economic and social justice who served 12 terms in Congress and died this week.

My lesson came one Saturday morning in 1982, when Owens had just won...

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