Fifty years ago, Harry B. Hollins, a leading banker, publisher, and founder of the World Paper teamed up with C. Douglas Dillon, the secretary of the treasury under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and formed an international organization to develop policies that might prevent war and devastation. This year, the World Policy Institute, the parent of this magazine, is celebrating its half-century by paying tribute to five of our core themes—media and conflict, water scarcity, world financial risk, migration, and new security priorities. In this issue, our cover deals with the first of these themes by focusing on the use and abuse of language and how it impacts democracy.

For almost a decade, World Policy Institute senior fellow Susan Benesch has been studying dangerous speech, so it’s appropriate that she should define our agenda in our lead essay. Next, our Anatomy of...

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