Bruce Chapman

Cofounder and Chairman of the Board of Discovery Institute


The Federal Bureaucracy in Check

Congress, despite many chances, has not been willing to take responsibility for checking “the administrative state,” as the aggrandizing bureaucratic power of federal agencies has come to be known. Arrival of a Democratic House makes it still less likely that Capitol Hill will resist the continued expansion of federal rules and regulations. As executive, President Trump has tried to slow Read More ›

Disappearing Access to Public Places and Officials

Overlooked perhaps in the cultural shift that we have been observing in recent months is the continuing decline of public access to the public’s officials — and, for that matter, to public spaces. The perpetrators of civil disorder are doing that to us. President Trump was criticized for saying that synagogues should hire armed guards, but the largely unreported reality ...

Caesar’s Wife and the Politics of Destruction

Senate Democrats wrote President Trump Wednesday asking him to withdraw Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. It’s reminiscent of the old saying that in a position of public trust, one must be “like Caesar’s wife, above reproach.” Yet no one is above reproach. Neither was Caesar’s wife.

Make the Seattle City Council Great Again

This city used to build dams, now it just taxes
There seem to be cycles in city politics. Fifty years ago a small band of Young Republicans and Young Democrats came together in an unusual alliance to overturn the existing Seattle City Council. They called themselves CHECC: Choose an Effective City Council. It took a couple of elections, but they prevailed and it was then — in the 1970s — that formerly ...

Darwin, Marx, and Something Called Political “Science”

The materialist influence of 19th-century thinkers still chills 21st-century thinking. It is true in biology, economics, culture, and government. In much of  the popularization and misuse of the claims of natural science and in much of modern German philosophy, tendencies toward atheism and gnosticism (searching for hidden meanings) are found. So are economic determinism and a serene resolve to change human nature. It was considered foolish by many 19th- and early 20th-century intellectuals to believe in God or self-evident truths, but “advanced” to aspire to the perfectibility of man.

New Book Says Politicians Are “The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for All the Others”

Political “middlemen” who infringe on the relationship between the people and their elected representatives constitute a growing danger to democracy, according to new book, Politicians, by Bruce K. Chapman. “Politicians themselves are partly to blame for ceding responsibilities to unelected powers,” says Chapman, himself a former elected and appointed official. “Those powers include bureaucrats and judges, but also media, academics, non-profit cause groups, ‘professional reformers’ and  campaign businesses that ‘live off of’ politics, rather than ‘for it.” A good example of shifted responsibility, says Chapman, is Congress’ relinquishment of authority to government regulatory agencies. Another, Chapman says, is the “scandal business” that increasingly monopolizes public attention and is incentivized by unrealistic federal legislation. The advent of social media, which might Read More ›


The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for All the Others
About the Book Americans love to trash their politicians as corrupt and self-interested, but they don’t agree on a solution. How can America attract good leaders to the thousands of elective offices in the land? In Polticians: The worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for All the Others, Bruce Chapman lays out a bold plan for the changes we need Read More ›

Science and Faith and Alaska

Some 150 members of the Discovery Society, including speakers and staff, are finding that there is more to the island expanses of Southeast Alaska than can be covered in a week.

A New Freedom, Both Free and Important

The government expansionists have had their eyes on the Internet ever since Al Gore claims he invented it. Of course, the Feds’ DARPA did help birth the Internet, but there is no reason why Washington now should imitate the Iranian mullahs or the Chinese and start restricting access and imposing financial or technical controls. It is not just because the technology is new that it has made such a huge contribution to our economy; it’s also because the new technology has been relatively unfettered by the government. The whole subject of federal regulation re-emerges in a major way in coming weeks. Watch this space. Meanwhile, Mark Landsbaum of the Orange County Register (in a column that I missed when it Read More ›

Israel is Now “The Startup Nation”

When it comes to technology, entrepreneur Jonathan Medved told George Gilder’s Telecosm 2009 conference in Tarrytown, New York this week, Israel is the world’s “startup nation,” now eclipsing everyone else in the world (even the U.S. on a per capita basis). There was great enthusiasm for Medved and other speakers at this year’s Gilder show, which was built around The Israel Test, George’s new book. A video greeting from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened the conference.

The Israel Test: a Substitute for the Ad Campaign Israel Needs?

John Wohlstetter is prejudiced in his praise of The Israel Test; he’s a friend of the author, George Gilder. Of course, a review by an author’s friend has never happened anywhere else, has it? Regardless, John is a friend and colleague of mine, too, and I know what he does when he disapproves of a friend’s views: he goes silent. This article in The American Spectator is, in fact, a very good introduction to the George Gilder’s book. The best lines are these, at the end: Israel could be the economic engine for the entire Mideast. This is the new Israel, no longer a financial ward of America. It is this Israel that most Americans know not of. “Israel Inside” Read More ›

Buzz Building on The Israel Test

George Gilder’s new book, The Israel Test, is starting to get around. We ourselves have already filled over 1,000 book orders in house. (Actually, we recommend that purchasers go to to order. For both orders you can still come to us.) Mona Charen had a terrific column a few days ago on George’s appearance at the AEI. David Pryce Jones has a fine article out in the National Review, and The American has published a long excerpt of the book. The growing buzz may have somthing to do with the fact that there really is an Israel test going on right now in international affairs. We definitely are on the case — led by George.

Now a Democracy Joins Internet Blockers

Authoritarian regimes from China to Iran have made it their business to try to control what their peoples can see or do on the internet. It is usually about politics. Now Turkey joins the pack, even while its leader quips about how easy it is to thwart the government’s censorship efforts. In this useful article from Radio Free Europe, Claire Berlinski wonders how Turkey thinks it is going to get into the European Union when it employs such behavior.

North Koreans May be Attacking U.S. Cyber Sites

What George W. Bush named “The Axis of Evil” included Iraq, North Korea and Iran. Iraq is relatively, if perhaps deceptively, quiet, but Iran is “hot” and North Korea seems bent on getting into our faces whether we want to see them there or not. This AP story by Lolita Baldor should push the federal government–as well as the private sector–to greater defensive action. Computer security is national security, and in that light it is worth noting that cyber attacks have increased almost three fold in three years. This is the kind of story that, in retrospect, may be seen as a lot more significant than what is daily emphasized in most of our hedonistic, anesthetized media. Both hardware and Read More ›

Who is Going to do Investment Banking Now?

The answer, George Gilder tells me, may be hedge funds. The disappearance of Lehman Brothers and the transformation of Morgan and Goldman Sachs into heavily regulated commercial banks presents an opportunity for entrepreneurial risk taking by someone else. Such as hedge funds. New technologies make it possible for them to stay in touch with clients and handle trades quickly. The turmoil in the markets world-wide disagregates the economy and makes new entitites possible. Dispossessed “animal spirits” will surely find a new home. It is worth pausing here to recall that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac helped over several decades to get home ownership up to 70 percent in this country. Very good, up to a point. They were distinguished by Read More ›