In Search of the American Character

Better Angels Debates
I was recently commissioned by California’s Independent Institute  to profile initiatives across the country trying to heal our public discourse. In my first profile, I featured Better Angels Debates, a new initiative that Better Angels is undertaking on college and high schools across the country to foster rigorous discourse and the collective pursuit of truth. We live in a divided moment where issues of the first order are at stake. These issues  need to be discussed, but we also live in an era where there are high costs to have the “wrong” opinion. How can this tension be resolved? Read more and learn about one potential solution!

What Does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Mean Today?
Recently for Quillette, I explored the precepts of one of the most important documents in human history: The Universal Declaration of Human rights, which turned 70 in December. The United Nations may be flawed and—justifiably—unpopular today. But this document—which was created following a half-century that was not only among  the bloodiest in human history but was also filled with some of the most egregious atrocities imaginable—unabashedly declared the irreducible worth of persons, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender or rank. This message is timeless. We are becoming more and more removed from the darkness in our past, with members of that generation, such as George H.W. Bush, passing away. Do we risk losing sight of the ideals that emerged out of this darkness? I explore the history of human dignity and the UDHR in: What Does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Mean Today?

Daily Signal Podcast: Recovering the Lost Art of Civility
The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal generously invited me on their podcast to discuss the state of civility in America today. I was asked what the solution is to our uncivil moment. I said it starts with every American: in electing politicians that will not compromise on core values, such as respecting the personhood of all, and in choosing to respect the dignity of our fellow citizens in our everyday. You can listen to it here: Daily Signal Podcast: Recovering the Lost Art of Civility

Discussing Civility at Indiana Rotary Clubs

I was a privileged to speak on civility and American democracy to the Rotary Clubs of Carmel and Sheridan in Indiana over the last few weeks! Someone asked me: is our era really the most uncivil? It’s a great question. A quick look at our past shows why. Today we’re not fighting a revolutionary or civil war, nor are our public leaders beating one another to death on the Senate floor (as they have in the past!) This history is both a comfort and a caution: It shows us that America has survived through worse, but it also warns us that verbal violence is often not far removed from actual violence. It reminds us why  changing the trajectory of our public discourse is so crucial.


I recently attended a conference on the American National Character in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. As a nation of immigrants, do we have a “national character”? If so, what is it? America is unique from other countries in the world in that our nationality is not attached to “Blut und Boden”—German for “blood and soil.” This is a beautiful thing, as anyone who agrees to our central tenets—rule of law, equal dignity and liberty of all persons, and others—can become an America. But this also presents a challenge, and a need for an artificial national ethos. Have you read anything on this topic that you thought was insightful? If so, please send it to me!

It’s an honor to have been invited to headline the Better Angels national convention, coming up in St. Louis on Friday, June 20th. I’ll be sharing the stage with Hawk Newsome, who leads #BlackLivesMatter in New York. More information about the convention is here

My birthday was April 15th and it was a privilege to dine with Francis Fukuyama that day— one of the great public intellectuals of our era. What else could a girl ask for on her 27th day of birth?