Skip to comments.Thank You, Professor Sowell
Posted on 12/28/2016 4:21:59 AM PST by Kaslin
I first read Thomas Sowell in college -- no thanks to my college.
At the majority of America's institutions of "higher learning," reading Thomas Sowell was a subversive act in the early 1990s when I was a student. It remains so today. Why? Because the prolific libertarian economist's vast body of work is a clarion rejection of all the liberal intelligentsia hold dear.
Among the left's most corrosive ideas is the concept of perpetual and permanent racial victimhood, which social engineers pretend to rectify through federally mandated, taxpayer-subsidized preferential policies. Sowell's groundbreaking academic analyses of these programs in the U.S. and around the world exposed how elites profit mightily at the expense of the alleged beneficiaries of government-coerced affirmative action.
The grand rhetoric of diversity masks the true intent and actual impact of current racially discriminatory "solutions" to past racial discrimination: solidifying the power of the few over the many. As Sowell put it succinctly in one of the first pieces of his I came across in the journal "The Public Interest":
"Live people are being sacrificed because of what dead people did."
In that essay and much more deeply in his book, "Preferential Policies: An International Perspective," published that year, Sowell explored the "mismatch" effect in the ivory tower. While prestigious schools such as the University of California, Berkeley congratulated themselves for manufacturing "wonderfully diverse" student bodies ostensibly to make up for the legacy of American slavery, (which Sowell pointed out was in no way unique to either the American South or blacks), he reported that more than 70 percent of black students at UC Berkeley failed to graduate.
"What they've effectively done" in lowering academic standards by race in the name of social justice, Sowell explained in an interview with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb, "is rented these bodies for window dressing for a few years, and then, when they're through with them, they're put aside and a new bunch of bodies are brought in."
Who benefits? Not the students, but the bean-counting administrators and political correctness marketers at Berkeley -- Diversity, Inc. -- who exploit minority students for their glossy admissions brochures. The other vested interest? Tenured radicals in what Sowell called the "black studies establishment" who "need students to be in their classrooms" to justify their paychecks.
Sowell, who grew up black and poor in Harlem, worked as a delivery man, served in the U.S. Marines, graduated from Harvard Law School, earned his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago, and fully realized the folly of Marxism during a stint as a federal government intern, spurned identity politics collectivism.
"Fortunately, even during my period of Marxism I had respect for evidence and logic," Sowell told an interviewer in 2004, "so it was only a matter of time before my Marxism began to unravel as I compared what actually happened in history to what was supposed to happen."
Chromosomes and skin color and partisan loyalty didn't dictate his thinking. He embraced time-tested, transcendent principles grounded in the reality of how things really are -- as opposed to the fantastical imaginings of what he trenchantly called the "Vision of the Anointed." Sowell's book on that subject (published in 1995, the same year the Anointed One, Barack Obama, emerged on the national scene with his fabrication-filled memoir, "Dreams of My Father") thoroughly dismantled the tyranny and tactics of self-described "progressives" whose control-freak narcissism is wrapped in good intentions and false narratives.
Sowell's assessments were rooted not in fear or hatred or fanaticism or moral superiority, but in empirical evidence. He judged outcomes, not oration. He didn't make excuses. He made sense.
"In the anointed we find a whole class of supposedly 'thinking people' who do remarkably little thinking about substance and a great deal of verbal expression," Sowell observed. "In order that this relatively small group of people can believe themselves wiser and nobler than the common herd, we have adopted policies which impose heavy costs on millions of other human beings, not only in taxes, but also in lost jobs, social disintegration, and a loss of personal safety. Seldom have so few cost so much to so many."
In another giant contribution to contemporary political and policy analysis, Sowell's 1999 tome, "The Quest for Cosmic Justice," addressed the abject failures of those who seek to cure all inequities, inequalities, disparities and ills through government intervention. He summed up his findings thusly:
1. The impossible is not going to be achieved.
2. It is a waste of precious resources to try to achieve it.
3. The devastating costs and social dangers that go with these attempts to achieve the impossible should be taken into account.
The former leftist playwright David Mamet, in his 2008 manifesto, "Why I Am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal," cited his exposure to Sowell, whom he dubbed "our greatest contemporary philosopher," as a critical factor in his conversion. Whether tackling the "bait and switch media," the "organized noisemakers," or the lawless enablers of "social disintegration, Thomas Sowell's dozens of academic books and thousands of newspaper columns have sparked generations of his readers across the political spectrum to think independently and challenge imposed visions.
Asked once how he would like to be remembered, Sowell responded: "Oh, heavens, I'm not sure I want to be particularly remembered. I would like the ideas that I've put out there to be remembered." Mission accomplished. Though it has been decades since he taught in a formal classroom, his students are legion.
Thank you, Professor Sowell.
Michelle Malkin is always worth reading.
Seems she was a student in the early nineties, which makes her very, very young.
Old Man dreams.....
I hope a lot of Mormons will take this to heart!
And a vast, uncountable number of folks have audited his 'classes'; thanks to Jim and the sounding board he created and supplies here!
Free Trader, meh.
And looking at; TOO!
I side with Dr. Sowell on his career and how he has fought conservative causes.
It it my opinion too many want to call him a RINO and consign him to a conservative intellectual backwater for his trespasses on Trump.
I think that is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Just my opinion, others may vary.
Oh, gosh - brilliant and gorgeous, too.
You’re killing me with that pic.
Correct on both counts.
It wasn’t until I listened to Limbaugh that I heard of Dr. Sowell. I learned a lot from his postings and when the also great Walter Williams would have him on.
I agree with you one hundred percent. Those that accused him for being a RINO, know only what RINO stands for, but that all. Since Dr Sowell is a Libertarian how can he be a RINO? It shows you how clueless they are.
Yes she is.
WTH are you talking about? Did you even read the article?
Thomas Sowell is a national treasure!
Marx was a Free Trader. Any globalist who supports so called free trade as it stands today, is my political enemy. I don't care what his positions are on other less important issues. I will not be shy about expressing that opinion. Time to turn over the rocks and look at the globalist slime.
It bothers me, because as you can see from my FreepPage, Dr. Sowell is one of my heroes.
One can guarantee that, as a black man, he is exposed to a level of hatred and vituperation from other blacks (and liberal whites) that would make us quail. But he fought the fight.
I wasn’t as concerned about Trump as possibly Dr. Sowell was, but I did have many of my own concerns. But when I recognized that his potential to lay waste to the status quo in many aspects was off the charts compared to his Republican opponents (never mind his Democrat liberal ones) then the choice became quite easy for me.
However, the level of anger I see directed at him by some Freepers is akin to the level of anger directed at Trotsky by the Bolsheviks because Trotsky deviated from the Communist dogma. (Note: I don’t like, agree, or disagree with Trotsky on anything, the comparison I make is the banishment and eventual murder of Trotsky on the basis of ideological differences is akin to the treatment some conservatives get when they don’t toe the line 100% as the line is drawn by some in the conservative movement)
I still remember the first book of his that I read: Vision of the Anointed: Self-contradiction as a basis for Social Policy.
Love that title.
I first heard of Dr. Sowell listening to G. Gordon Liddy's radio show. Mr. Liddy referred to him as a "National Treasure" and I came to concur with that title.
What was most startling to learn was that whilst I celebrated his wisdom some refer to Dr. Sowell as an "Uncle Tom".
I sincerely believe he is a "National Treasure". It occurred to me that his retirement might bring his writings and thoughts to the surface for more people to learn of his accomplishments.
I have never read any of his books unfortunately.
"Black Liberals and White Rednecks" was very entertaining and informative, too.
Even more entertaining was his dismantling on video of Francis Fox Piven (Of Cloward-Piven fame)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.