The 11 1/2 Biggest Ideas of the Year

Creating the 2008 Ideas Issue prompted The Atlantic’s editors to start debating which ideas—good and bad—most informed the national conversation over the past twelve months. Herewith the result: a thumbnail intellectual history of the year.

1 The Surge
by James Fallows

2 Renting
by Clive Crook

3 Post-Partisanship
by Jonathan Rauch

4 Mass-Market Atheism
by Ross Douthat

5 We Tortured
by Andrew Sullivan

6 MySpace Politics
by Joshua Green

7 The Return of Regulation
by Clive Crook

8 Personal Genomics
by Charles C. Mann

9 Not Bombing Iran
by Jonathan Rauch

10 Carbon Consciousness
by Megan McArdle

11 The End of 9/11
by James Fallows

11.5 It's Lonely at the Top
by Hanna Rosin

Lists: Ideas Whose Time Has Come

Submit your own suggestions for the idea (or ideas) that have been most important this year. Some submissions may be included in part or in full in a future issue of the magazine.

Presented by

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis. The only problem? He has to prove it works.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Business

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In