Since Clarence Thomas joined the Supreme Court in 1991, his influence on American jurisprudence has been colossal. From strengthened Second Amendment protections to a ban on racially discriminatory school admissions policies and an end to a federally guaranteed right to an abortion, Thomas’s originalist constitutional views are now the law of the land. By any fair reckoning, then, he should be regarded as one of the most consequential black leaders in the nation’s history. Yet, as Glenn C. Loury observes in his powerful reflection, “Clarence Thomas and Me,” the justice’s foes often go beyond criticizing his ideas to demonizing him as fraudulent and corrupt. Facing such intense hostility is often the fate of blacks who dare to break publicly with liberal groupthink, Loury says, drawing on his own experience. The consequences, he admits, can be painful—but beyond a certain threshold, potentially liberating.

This issue features the third of our symposia offering ideas for the next president—this one focusing on the economy. A group of distinguished thinkers, including venture capitalist Michael Gibson, City Journal’s Allison Schrager, and Manhattan Institute budget and health-care mavens Brian Riedl and Chris Pope, shows how the United States can ignite technological innovation, galvanize manufacturing and energy production, make the tax code fairer, fix health-care insurance-market rules, constrain runaway debt, and more. Whether artificial intelligence heralds an age of economic productivity and human flourishing, as some predict, or dystopia, as others warn—or perhaps a mix of both—its effects will soon be unavoidable, argues Michael J. Totten in “Something Like Fire,” a tour of the technological frontier.

War has commanded global headlines, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and Hamas’s horrific attack on Israeli civilians this past October, and Israel’s subsequent military push to eradicate the terror group from the Gaza Strip. Paul Starobin, in “Life During Wartime,” reports from Ukraine on the intensification of national spirit in the country, while in “The New Israel, and the Old,” Neil Rogachevsky says that Israelis must rediscover the need for permanent vigilance that has marked their history.

Martin Gurri has thoroughly documented the elite effort to control information in the U.S., a project that, during Donald Trump’s volatile presidency, saw Democratic leaders, federal security agencies, and social-media platforms conspire to suppress conservative ideas that they didn’t like as “disinformation.” This antidemocratic will to power must be met, Gurri writes in “Prologue to an Ideology of Freedom,” with a will to liberty.

Progressives have dominated New York for much of the last decade, and the results are ugly, observes Nicole Gelinas in “Regressives.” Enacting misguided policies that have hampered law enforcement and hiking taxes, they’ve brought the city to modern lows, with elevated crime, worsening disorder, and a limping economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. Gelinas contrasts this sorry record with the work of progressives of a century ago, which made urban life better. Hannah E. Meyers’s “Second Thoughts in New York” shows how some black progressive leaders are reconsidering the criminal-justice reforms that they once championed, after seeing them imposed with zero concerns for public safety.

Michael Torres tells a disturbing story about an immigrant family in Washington State, whose preteen daughter was encouraged by her public school teacher to become a “boy,” with the parents kept in the dark, in keeping with the school district’s transgender secrecy policies. Such policies, a recent flowering of the gender radicalism that has swept the education system, violate the American legal and moral norms that have long protected the parent–child relationship. Small wonder, Torres notes, that the family first fled the school district, and then the United States.

—Brian C. Anderson


City Journal is a publication of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI), a leading free-market think tank. Are you interested in supporting the magazine? As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, donations in support of MI and City Journal are fully tax-deductible as provided by law (EIN #13-2912529).

Further Reading

Up Next