February 23, 2024

Isiah Smith, Jr. | Author

Isiah Smith, Jr. is a retired government attorney. He was born in Blakely, Georgia, but considers Miami, Florida, his adopted hometown.

How Old Is Too Old?

Feb. 17, 2024

The United States and its professional politicians are aging. Joe Biden, 81, and Donald Trump, 77, are the oldest candidates to ever run for re-election as president. The median ages of U.S. senators and representatives are among the oldest on record, and some leaders are facing health qu... Read More >>

Real Change Requires Loss

Jan. 27, 2024

Two separate events occurred in the last few weeks. The first was when Harvard President Claudine Gay announced she was stepping down just six months into her presidency amid a firestorm of controversy at the university. The second was the annual MLK birthday celebration.

At a gla...

Where the Lemon Tree Grows: An understanding of the Middle East

Jan. 6, 2024

The war is raging in Gaza, and the Middle East is becoming a disaster zone. Daily, the situation grows more dire. The war is well into its third month, and the almost demonic disregard for human life is inexplicable. The casualties on both sides are massive, and as of this writing, the fi... Read More >>

The Art and Science of Stupidity

Nov. 11, 2023

I have long been fascinated with the subject of cognitive incompetence, better known as stupidity. (You may make of that what you will.) Perhaps it is because we’re increasingly living in a virtually simmering vortex of stupidity. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that sci... Read More >>

What 'Oppenheimer' Didn’t Tell Us

Sept. 9, 2023

The Manhattan Project was essentially a collective of brilliant American physicists united for the sole purpose of using science to create a bomb capable of destroying the entire planet. Never has so much raw brain power been dedicated to such a monstrous purpose. Oppenheimer, th... Read More >>

Affirmative Action and Its Discontents

July 29, 2023

The Supreme Court did not go far enough in ending affirmative action (AA) in college admissions. Instead of being bold and decisive, the Court took the road most traveled.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of... Read More >>

The Strongmen Cometh

July 8, 2023

The nightmare that haunts my dreams and disturbs my sleep is the prospect that America’s flirtation with authoritarian rule may yet blossom into a full-fledged romance from which we will never divorce ourselves.

Some people think we are obsessed with the man elected Presiden... Read More >>

The Guns of Mediocrity

May 6, 2023

Can the United States lay claim to being a civilized society if it cannot perform the basic job of keeping its children safe and alive?

America’s moronic love affair with guns—and the concomitant debasement of our democracy by deliberately misreading and distorting the... Read More >>

The Cottonpicker Meets Queen Beatrix

March 11, 2023

A poignant account of how one’s small personal history can reflect the larger history of a republic.

On April 19, 1782, the State General of the Dutch Republic admitted John Adams as Minister of the United States of America, gaining the second diplomatic recognition of the U... Read More >>

Starting the Year with Hope

Jan. 14, 2023

My wife and I return from several weeks in Sweden and Italy with renewed feelings of hope. Taking a page from the Greek Stoics, we resolve to worry only about those things which we can control. It is humbling to realize how short that list is, and how painfully long the list is of the thi... Read More >>

A Season for Second Chances

Dec. 17, 2022


“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” —Thomas Jefferson

As 2022 draws mercifully to a close, putting to rest yet another annus mirabilis, it is customary to pause, peer back at the year in repose, make new plans, then pr... Read More >>

1943: The Gathering Storm

Nov. 5, 2022

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” —Leonardo de Vinci

1943 proved to be a critical year in the annals of American history. That year foreshadowed the disruptions that impact our lives to this day. On Jan. 1, Project Y—The Manhat... Read More >>

The Man Who Hated Women

Sept. 24, 2022

The Dobbs v. Jackson decision presented the Supreme Court with an opportunity to reaffirm women’s right to choose and to reassure them that the law respected their lives and their dignity. Justice Alito declined that opportunity, however, and instead gave them Hale.


The Sun Sets on the Right to Privacy

Aug. 6, 2022

It turns out that all we have to fear is the Supreme Court itself.

Alexander Hamilton thought the judiciary was the least dangerous branch of government since it controlled no armies and lacked spending power. It had neither force nor will. All the judiciary had was its judgments.... Read More >>

Slouching Toward Reform

June 25, 2022

A recent Pew Research Center study found that only 2 in 10 Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right. Trust in the government has declined somewhat since last year, when 24 percent said they could trust the government at least most of the time. The Brooking... Read More >>

Reading as a Subversive Act

May 7, 2022

In Reading Dangerously, Azar Nafisi writes that books “represent the unruly world, filled with contradictions and complications, a world that threatens the totalitarian mindset by being beyond its control.” Perhaps that is why numerous governors and school boards in A... Read More >>

Diplomatic Dreams of Russia

March 19, 2022

Russia’s unprovoked aggression in Ukraine has the West, and the rest of the world, scrambling to understand Putin’s motives and motivations. Churchill’s description of Russia rings as accurate today as it did in 1939, when he said, “Russia is a riddle, wrapped in a... Read More >>

Running Out the Clock

Nov. 27, 2021

As the birthdays accumulate, piling up like so many layers of dry leaves freshly fallen on fallow ground, one can’t resist the urge to ask, for the 73rd time, “What’s next?” It’s both a micro question, like “What to write next?” and a macro one: &... Read More >>

A Clearing in the Distance

Oct. 2, 2021

“It feels as if nothing can be overcome. Everything is being relitigated.” – Maureen Dowd

The halfway point of our 34-mile bike ride is Harbor Springs – our favorite destination, rich with Michigan history. 

Ancient glaciers wrote the ...

Einstein: Civil Rights Icon

Aug. 7, 2021

More words have been written about Albert Einstein than almost any person who has ever lived. In all those mountains of words, consisting of facts every reasonable well-educated student knows, there is almost no mention of his devotion to civil rights.

Books about Einstein continu...