Waller R. Newell is an adjunct fellow at FDD. He is a political theorist and historian of ideas specializing in the history of tyranny and statesmanship from ancient times to the present. His research interests include ideologies of revolutionary extremism and terrorism from the French Revolution to the totalitarian and authoritarian dictatorships of the 20th and 21st centuries, including the roots of Islamist ideologies such as those of al-Qaeda and ISIS in radical European thought. In his view, terrorists are tyrants in waiting, and when they gain power they continue to terrorize their own populations and export terrorism abroad. He has written about political theories, including those of Rousseau, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger and considered whether and to what extent they contributed to political extremism, including the French Revolution, Communism, National Socialism, and contemporary Russian Eurasianist nationalism.
His books include Tyranny and Revolution: Rousseau to Heidegger (Cambridge University Press), Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice and Terror (Cambridge University Press), Tyranny: A New Interpretation (Cambridge University Press), The Soul of a Leader: Character, Conviction and Ten Lessons in Political Greatness (Harper Collins), The Code of Man: Love, Courage, Pride, Family, Country (Harper Collins), What is a Man? 3000 Years of Wisdom on the Art of Manly Virtue (Harper Collins), Ruling Passion: The Erotics of Statecraft in Platonic Political Philosophy (Rowman and Littlefield). His books have been translated into Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, Korean, and Kurdish. He is the author of numerous articles on classical, Renaissance, and modern European political philosophy and literature, including in The American Political Science Review, Political Theory, and History of European Ideas.
His political and cultural commentary has appeared in Tablet Magazine, The Weekly Standard, the Washington Free Beacon, the Jewish World Review, the New English Review, American Educator, the National Post, The Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, The Montreal Gazette, the Heritage Foundation’s First Principles report, and the Claremont Review of Books.
His media and podcast appearances include National Public Radio, the Judith Regan Show, the Agenda with Steve Paikin, ABC World News Overnight, School of War with Aaron Maclean, Powerline with Steve Hayward, the Art of Manliness with Brett McKay, Soundings with Wayne Pond, The Mike Slater Show TALK AM San Diego, and the Netflix series How To Become A Tyrant.
He serves as a professor of political science, philosophy and humanities at Carleton University in Ottawa. He cofounded and teaches in Carleton’s College of the Humanities, Canada’s only four-year baccalaureate in the Great Books. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University and a B.A. in arts and sciences and an M.A. in Political Economy from the University of Toronto. He has been a visiting fellow in humanistic studies at the Black Mountain Institute, University of Nevada Las Vegas; a visiting fellow at the Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts; a John Adams fellow at the University of London; a fellow of the Eccles Center at the British Library; a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC; a fellow at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and a junior fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto. He has also held a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship. He has been a keynote speaker at Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, Peterhouse College at the University of Cambridge, Colgate University, the University of Toronto, University of Richmond, Hamilton College, the Onassis Cultural Center of New York, and the Heritage Foundation. He served as a researcher on the first Reagan administration transition team, specializing in human rights and humanitarian affairs.