Thomas Sowell: An Anticipatory Epilogue

Someone carved this out of my Uncommon Knowledge interview with Dr. Sowell this past September.  It runs less than three minutes:

Although I hope to interview Dr. Sowell again soon, this represents, for now, a succinct version of his thoughts about the election.

“We’re lost.”  When those words issue from Thomas Sowell, they’re a lot harder to refute than I’d like them to be.  Anyone here at Ricochet care to try his hand at a rebuttal? 

  1. wmartin
    Nathaniel Wright:

    Once more according to Circle, “Young Hispanic men cast 9% of the youth vote, up from 6% in 2008. Among the minority groups, they were most likely to affiliate with the Republican Party or consider themselves independents (Figure 8), but two-thirds of them voted for President Obama (Figure 1).”

    “Although a majority of young Black male voters supported President Obama again (Figure 1), a larger portion of them voted for the Republican candidate this year than 2008.”

    I am not sure those numbers mean what you think they mean.  In fact,I don’t see how you get any encouragement from those stats at all. Yes, young Hispanic males are the “most likely of the minority groups to identify as Republicans” and hey, I guess somebody had to be “the most likely.” It’s still not very likely at all, since they voted for Obama by a mammoth 37 point margin!

    And I guess it’s nice that the black male youth vote went to Obama by a slightly lesser margin than 4 years ago, but it still went to him by a 61 point margin.

  2. wmartin
    Nathaniel Wright:

    All we need to do is to look at this fact sheet to see that the Republican party and conservatives can make arguments that sway young voters.  We just have to address them.  We need to address minority voters as well.  We don’t need to pander, we need to focus on liberty and the value of individualism. · 6 hours ago

    This is self-delusion. There is virtually nothing that conservatives can say that will appeal to blacks and Hispanics of any age. Blacks and Hispanics have very low educational attainment and are mired in social dysfunction. Their scores on all of the social indicators are absolutely hideous. Neither group has much to gain from individualism and liberty, since there is very little evidence that suggests  they can do well in a modern, post-industrial knowledge-based economy.

    Young white voters went for Romney, because they viewed their best chance in life as coming with an improved economy with fewer constraints. Blacks and Hispanics went for Obama because of racial tribalism and because they viewed their best chance in life as coming from government support ad infinitum. Both groups were correct in their assessment of their self-interest.

  3. Blame The Innocent

    It says more about young females.  In every category, they were more likely to vote for Obama than males.   

    Nathaniel Wright: Wmartin — “Kids” are not wising up to Obama. White kids are.”

    Not as much as you think.

    Once more according to Circle, “Young Hispanic men cast 9% of the youth vote, up from 6% in 2008. Among the minority groups, they were most likely to affiliate with the Republican Party or consider themselves independents (Figure 8), but two-thirds of them voted for President Obama (Figure 1).”

    “Although a majority of young Black male voters supported President Obama again (Figure 1), a larger portion of them voted for the Republican candidate this year than 2008.”

    All we need to do is to look at this fact sheet to see that the Republican party and conservatives can make arguments that sway young voters.  We just have to address them.  We need to address minority voters as well.  We don’t need to pander, we need to focus on liberty and the value of individualism. · 7 hours ago

  4. PJS

    I cried all the next day after the election for the reasons Dr. Sowell expresses.  Symbolism has defeated common sense.

  5. Joan of Ark La Tex

    Peter, I spent my entire thanksgiving day listening to almost all of your U K recent interviews. I thought the same thing when Sowell, in a way, warned us the danger of focusing on the economy alone and termed a win to be “miraculous”. It is hard to rebuke the loss, because Obama will permanently shift the SCOTUS left. We will suffer greatly for a period of time. But economics is reality and sooner or later, progressivism will present itself as a failure.  And as long as we cling on to our religion ( the hope of teaching virtue) and our guns ( the hope of rebelling against tyranny), we are fine. Life’s hardship is the mother of common sense. Obama can end all of what Reagan has accomplished, but he cannot possibly persuade the majority of the population to abandon their Freedom. In 4 years, Obama has lost many supporters. We lost not because Obama’s ideology has won, we lost because our message was not strong enough. 

  6. Sabrdance

    Those who know me know that I am not optimistic.  “Doomed, Doomed, Doomed for all time -our future is a horror story written by our crimes” is basically my motto.

    Nonetheless, I provide 3 reasons for hope.

    1.) We’ve been lost before.  England was over-run by Mary, who was followed by Elizabeth.  Charles was followed by Cromwell and then James -and then William and Mary.  Buchanan was followed by Lincoln.  Wilson was followed by Harding and Coolidge.  FDR was nuetered by Congress, and Truman was followed by Ike.

    2.) We still live in a country with limited powers and numerous power centers.  States, cities, Congress still matter.  The damage can be contained -and as Hamilton argued in Federalist 9, the lack of a central power means that it is never over until every lever -from dog-catcher to President -is in one set of hands.  We are no where close to that.

    3.) And in the final extremity, “The judgments of the lord are true and righteous, altogether,” and “Just and true are your ways, O King of the Nations.”

  7. Western Chauvinist

    I wouldn’t dare to rebut the great Thomas Sowell. But, I’d let John Podhoretz and Bill Whittle take a crack at it.

    I don’t think this election was lost to symbolism (although the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that might still be). It was lost because the Obama campaign did everything it needed to do to destroy the reputation of a good man, and to activate subgroups of voters. And it was lost because, as many of us feared all along, Mitt Romney, while living an exemplary life by conservative principles, doesn’t believe in it enough to run a campaign on it. As Podhoretz said, his campaign was content-free.

    You can’t win with nothin’. And any contest between the personal appeal of the multi-culti, metro-sexual, pop icon Barack Obama and the staid 1950s style of Mitt Romney was destined to be a loser for Romney. Unfortunately.

  8. Nathaniel Wright

    “If we’re willing to vote for someone on the basis of symbolism, then we’re lost…”  — If this is true, then we were always lost.  People have always been willing to vote for symbols and not people.  I don’t buy that argument for a second.  What I do buy is the line of argument that Sowell articulated against Obama regarding the use of regulatory power and the ignoring of acts of Congress.  These things should have been argued more fully in the election.

    As I have already written, I actually think that this past election wasn’t the nightmare that many conservatives think it was.  How else can one feel about an election that had a stable turnout in 18-29 year olds, and where the President lost 11 percentage points of support in that cohort?

  9. Peter Robinson
    C
    Nathaniel Wright: 

    As I have already written, I actually think that this past election wasn’t the nightmare that many conservatives think it was.  How else can one feel about an election that had a stable turnout in 18-29 year olds, and where the President lost 11 percentage points of support in that cohort? · 8 minutes ago

    Kids, wising up to Obama.

    You’re right.  That’s reason for hope.  Thanks, Nathaniel.

  10. Peter Robinson
    C

    Sabrdance and Western Chauvinst both make very, very good points.  I’m starting to feel more cheerful already.  Thanks, gents, thanks.

  11. Black Prince
    Peter Robinson: Anyone here at Ricochet care to try his hand at a rebuttal? 

    Can’t think of anything.

  12. Black Prince
    Peter Robinson: Sabrdance and Western Chauvinst both make very, very good points.  I’m starting to feel more cheerful already.  Thanks, gents, thanks. · 2 minutes ago

    I’m not so optimistic.  Other countries (e.g. China and Russia) have gone down the socialist/totalitarian route…why not America?  If this past election has taught us anything, it has taught us that Americans aren’t special…freedom isn’t encoded in our genes…it must be passed on from generation to generation.  For an extra dose of pessimism, check out the following 2007 Thomas Sowell interview on Hannity and Colmes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxOKaZbhZr4

    Yeah, that’s right…we’re doomed.

  13. Western Chauvinist
    Peter Robinson: Sabrdance and Western Chauvinst both make very, very good points.  I’m starting to feel more cheerful already.  Thanks, gents, thanks. · 19 minutes ago

    You’re welcome. Although, please keep in mind that not all chauvinists are male chauvinists. ;-)

    Doncha’ just love the diversity on Ricochet?!

  14. BlueAnt

    Arguing against Dr. Sowell is always a fool’s quest.  I respectfully decline to display my inferior intelligence.

  15. Schrodinger

    I think Sowell is right. In 1980, this country still had enough of the values on which the country was founded to turn away from the statist path. Thirty years of statist propaganda in schools and in the media plus the devaluation of faith and virtue has changed this country past the tipping point. As the economy worsens, more and more people will accept the statists “bailout” because being dependent is no longer something to be avoided. Indeed, free phones become a source of pride. We are becoming European in the socialist sense.

    It will take at least one generation, or maybe two, before enough citizens realize that statism is a dead end.

  16. Joan of Ark La Tex
    Black Prince

    I’m not so optimistic.  Other countries (e.g. China and Russia) have gone down the socialist/totalitarian route…why not America?  ……freedom isn’t encoded in our genes..

    Black, humans cherish their freedom. Obama supporters believe they in fact are voting for freedom. Freedom from poverty, freedom to indulge in self actualization needs while government solve their basic needs. We want the same thing, but their model is not sustainable, and until they experience failure, they won’t believe it. And do not for one second think there aren’t enough Chinese in China wanting to rebel against their dictatorship. Everyday, there are riots in China. You don’t hear about them because there is no Freedom in that country. They shoot anyone who is against their establishment. The CCP has evolved to be a feudal government. The central government does not even hear about these riots. The local provincial leaders “take care” of them. Americans would rise up to war long before it will become totalitarian. When the state start going after Freedom of Speech, the Press will wise up. Dictatorship is evil, and there is no sugar coating it.

  17. Black Prince
    Joan Greathouse

    Black, humans cherish their freedom….And do not for one second think there aren’t enough Chinese in China wanting to rebel against their dictatorship…Americans would rise up to war long before it will become totalitarian…When the state start going after Freedom of Speech, the Press will wise up. Dictatorship is evil, and there is no sugar coating it.

    Humans do not naturally cherish their freedoms—it is human nature to choose security (or what they think is security) over freedom.  In fact, the freedom that we have in the West is an anomaly—people have lived in some kind of bondage or servitude for the vast majority of human history.  Of course there are people in China who want to rebel against their government, but that’s a non-sequitur…the question you should be asking is how they got to that point in the first place.  You CAN sugar coat evil dictatorship…it happens all the time all over the world.  Given the degeneracy in American institutions—especially in the press—I don’t think that Americans will have moral courage to “rise up” as you suggest.

  18. ParisParamus

    It’s all very sad.  I lived in France.  I know what seems to be the course ahead; I know what it feels like.  I’m not sure if (here in NYC) I’m surrounded by people who don’t care, or do care and are brainwashed.

    It’s possible to become very successful in France.  It’s even possible to become fairly comfortable as a very clever entrepreneur.  But doing either is rare.  How are we doing this to ourselves voluntarily?!

    Maybe the Internet, various foreign havens, and the grit of Americans who do get it can conspire to keep the raw materials of an economically vibrant America on life support if, as I fear, economic darkness is ahead.  Maybe enough states will Just Say No and mitigate the Obama suicide pact?

    I can’t listen to talk radio much any more; even to Dennis Prager because it just reminds me that the Good Guys are being sent into exile

    Well, at least I have no savings to be inflated away–yipee..

  19. Joan of Ark La Tex

    Black, if humans don’t want Freedom then explain to me why America was even formed, why nations rise up to their colonial masters, why the American Revolutionary / Civil war, why the outcry for universal suffrage. Even in this election, why the massive ( although manipulative) call for the freedom against war on women. Why even the concept of human rights (possibly our only common ground). Sure, I agree, we humans have the need for security. That is our basic need. When we eat, cloth and shelter enough. We draw our line, we form our tribe, we lay down our own rules and we form our own tribal leadership. Our maths are different, because we base ours on reason, they base their on feelings. Reality would serve as judge. As with China, it went from a sliced watermelon dynasty to communism in 3 years because they never had Freedom in the first place. They never had the right to arms nor the chance to evolve democracy nor to formalize capitalism. Maybe we have different friends,many I know are prepared to shed blood when necessary to protect their freedom. What is life without freedom? 

  20. Joan of Ark La Tex

    Black, I also forgot to mention the most important element which is fundamental to the American Freedom. Our concept of God before nation. Our respect towards individuals as God’s children, not a state’s subject. It might seem like many Americans are anti-Christ right now and the concept of believing in God is so old fashioned, but when they really understand and experience the alternative, when the state becomes their master, they will be jolted back to reality. Let’s not forget Roosevelt won a landslide in the worst economic times and the worst days of progressive leadership in this country gave us Reagan. We can opt for optimism. That might be our only hope.