Tag: Thomas Sowell

Quote of the Day: Intellectual Privilege


“One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputation.” – Thomas Sowell

Sowell’s truth has been demonstrated amply over the years, but during the current administration, it seems to be underlined, italicized, and emphasized. It does not seem to matter what an intellectual does. Even when it blows up in their faces, they walk away with their reputation unharmed and generally a promotion.

Quote of the Day: Artificial Stupidity


“Ours may become the first civilization destroyed, not by the power of our enemies, but by the ignorance of our teachers and the dangerous nonsense they are teaching our children. In an age of artificial intelligence, they are creating artificial stupidity.” — Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell states the importance of a good education and ensuring those that provide it are competent to teach better than I can. Education is the great sleeper issue of this campaign, buried beneath the economy and crime. But nothing has done more to cause traditional Democrat constituencies to vote Republican than the misuse of the education system at the hands of the educational establishment. The purpose of the American education system, in their eyes, is to enrich the employees and use it to sell their cultural agenda. The quality of education provided is at the bottom of their priorities, to be given sufficient lip service to convince the suckers financing this country’s public schools and institutions of higher education to continue funding it.

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Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for? – Thomas Sowell A question especially valid this week, when Biden announced a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to the upper class, in the form […]

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Winning by Losing


We’re in a period of political upheaval, and it’s been brewing for decades. That much is obvious to Americans. It is also a growing global phenomenon.

There are scores of examples that the mainstream media largely ignores. The recent uprising in Sri Lanka was spurred by harsh “green energy” policies that toppled a government. The farmer uprising in The Netherlands, Europe’s largest exporter of food, over similar green energy policies. In all, dozens of protests from Spain to Canada over various Covid-related and “climate change” diktats continue to fester.

12-Step Totalitarian Program: Step 1


It is a testament to the power of the human mind to create blind spots to the Truth that so many conservatives and classical liberals who deeply admire and respect Thomas Sowell can still fail to see what he sees. This is understandable, especially for those with public reputations. The mind is designed to protect our self-image and our view of reality. It screens out threats, especially ones that would upend all that we know.

I have no illusions that this essay will persuade the staunchly certain. The mind responds to such certainty by creating blind spots to anything contradicting those certainties. I can only hope this essay chips away at the certainties of many who believe that in America we still have Politics as Usual. That the good fight can still be waged by our elected representatives.

Quote of the Day: Golden Eggs


“In short, killing the goose that lays the golden egg is a viable political strategy, so long as the goose does not die before the next election and no one traces the politicians’ fingerprints on the murder weapon.” – Thomas Sowell

Sowell wrote this many years ago — in the 1990s as I recall.  The goose was still alive. Now? If not dead, it is dying. If it is not dead by November, it will be soon afterward. The ordered, safe life we have enjoyed since the fall of the Soviet Union is coming to a close.

Quote of the Day: Thomas Sowell on Ending Slavery


“What was peculiar about the West was not that it participated in the worldwide evil of slavery, but that it later abolished that evil, not only in Western societies but also in other societies subject to Western control or influence. This was possible only because the anti-slavery movement coincided with an era in which Western power and hegemony were at their zenith, so that it was essentially European imperialism which ended slavery. This idea might seem shocking, not because it does not fit the facts, but because it does not fit the prevailing vision of our time.”
― Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals

The Iron Law of “Quote of the Day” Posts: when in doubt, go with Sowell. A few months back I read his 2005 book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, and it was even more brilliant than the high level we’ve all come to expect. With seeming ease, Sowell dismantles the divisive racial narrative our media and political culture have peddled for decades. “Seeming ease,” because everything he writes is backed by years of research.

In 1833, the British Empire radically reconsidered the morality of slavery, an institution present throughout every previous era of human history. Once the Crown and Parliament deemed it an intolerable evil, they converted most of the world to their newly held view — often at the point of a bayonet. Only three decades later, the United States fully adopted this new morality, fighting its bloodiest war to remove slavery’s Southern holdouts.

Quote of the Day: Confusing Thinking With Feeling


“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.” – Thomas Sowell

This bit of Sowell food really hits the problem we are facing today: confusing thinking with feeling. That is what is behind so many of the outrage storms today. Don’t like a bill banning the sexual grooming of kindergarteners through second-grade students? Frame it as “Don’t Say Gay” and get everyone feeling badly about it. Mad at Putin? Ban Russian breeds at cat shows. (That surely deserves a prize for peak feelz.) Upset at inflation? Blame greedy corporations. Go for the emotional appeal.

Quote of the Day: Being Wrong


“Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.” – Thomas Sowell

We have been seeing a lot of this over the last few weeks. Even here on Ricochet. Ironically, some of those most willing to call out others as dishonest and stupid seem to be wrong themselves. (We heard plenty of that at the State of the Union, didn’t we? But I can name other examples.)

“Who Decides What Is Best?”


Thomas Sowell’s ideas have taken root in the soil of the next generation. Sowell has written over thirty books over forty years of weekly writings. Hundreds of Sowell’s interviews can be found everywhere on YouTube. Jason Riley, himself a prolific writer, has done the world a service by reviewing the lifetime impact of Thomas Sowell in Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell.

Maverick should be read by everyone everywhere. Everyone in the sciences or the humanities needs exposure to the intellectual history and ideas that Maverick provides. Not only does Riley give an exceptional review of Sowell’s life and thought, but he also shows how the Hoover Institution fellow establishes the basis for how to think. Every person on the planet asks enduring questions about philosophy, knowledge, interpretation, and justice. Sowell always approaches his subjects with our views of human nature in mind. Summarizing Sowell, you either believe in the tension between human depravity and human dignity or you believe that you can make humans perfectible by human rules.

As a matter of full disclosure, I have been reading Thomas Sowell’s books and columns and watching his videos for decades. Sowell’s thinking has been influential to my own intellectual processing for most of my teaching life. As Hebraic-Christian thinkers know, it is important to weave biblical, doctrinal thinking through an explanation of Sowell’s visions. Essential to biblical understanding is the origin of ideas, acknowledging that The Personal Eternal Triune Creator of all things has set the stage for human understanding of everything.

Quote of the Day: Solutions


There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs. – Thomas Sowell

There is no better illustration of this piece of Sowell food than the events of August. Joe Biden claimed he has solved the problem of America’s endless war in Afghanistan, through a precipitous pullout. This is only sort-of, kind-of true. The US’s war in Afghanistan is over. We are not there. However, war in Afghanistan continues, albeit between different groups of Afghans.  And it certainly continues for the thousands of US citizens stuck in Afghanistan.

Holding Up a Mirror to my Students, And Myself


My practice at the end of my first class of the semester is to see if students want to ask me any questions. A young woman asked me, after my answering the question about alma maters and degrees, including my ThM in Old Testament, “So, did you ever think about becoming a pastor?” It was refreshing to hear such a forthright question, to which I answered, “Yes, I did consider becoming a pastor but discovered that I loved teaching.”

Other questions followed but she and a friend stayed behind after class ended to thank me for my answer, then added, “I am not religious, but I am a spiritual person.” Listening to my culture, I was not surprised by her admission. I had heard it before. What struck me about the conversation was her honest declaration. It was good to hear a student so well articulate her belief, and I thanked her for it

The brief conversation made me think again about how everyone believes something. Claims are staked on those beliefs. My job, as a professor, is to hold a mirror up to myself and my students, asking each one of us to be honest about those beliefs. We may not agree with each other. In the pluralistic public sphere, the freedom of belief is imperative in America. To appreciate others’ points of view without necessarily capitulating ours is important. My responsibility in the public university is not to change students. My job is to make sure they have had an opportunity to consider all sides of an issue before taking upon themselves the responsibility to own their belief. And today, I introduce my students to Thomas Sowell.

The Life and Work of Thomas Sowell


Thomas Sowell is one of the greatest living economists. His scholarship over the past half-century has clarified our understanding of economic and social disparities between racial and ethnic groups in the United States and around the world. He is also a major social theorist and intellectual historian. It was, therefore, a great privilege to sit down with Sowell biographer Jason Riley for a discussion of the great man’s life and work. I was joined in this discussion by my frequent conversation partner at The Glenn Show, John McWhorter of Columbia University.

Jason Riley talks with Brian Anderson about his new book, Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell. They discuss Sowell’s upbringing, his work as an academic economist and a public intellectual, his research on disparities between groups, and more.

Find the transcript of this conversation and more at City Journal.

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One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence. – Thomas Sowell As usual Dr. Thomas Sowell offers us excellent Sowell food for thought. What makes this quote […]

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