[Rushtalk] Good-Bye, Dr. Sowell!

John Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Fri Dec 30 17:24:37 MST 2016

  Conservative Heavyweight Thomas Sowell Retires

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Thomas Sowell, at age 86, is laying down his pen after 25 years of 
delivering many of the most astute and well-rounded conservative ideas 
of any living political writer.

He was born in 1930, in North Carolina, but spent his childhood in 
Harlem. He fought in the Korean War as a US Marine before going on to 
graduate from both Harvard and Columbia with degrees in economics. He 
earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

He identifies, not as a conservative, but as a libertarian. But his 
stunning arguments sing to the ideals of conservatives and republicans 
so roundly that he has been bitterly criticized by left-wing opponents 
who- it’s fair to say- do not understand his ideas.

One of his most stunning insights, which has shaped much of his writing 
and those who admire his work, is the simple idea that it isn’t poverty 
which we must search for causal factors. “Poverty,” he says, “Is the 
original state of the species. It is our natural state, therefore it has 
no causal factor. It is prosperity that deserves study and attention 
because its causes are more mysterious.”

This groundbreaking idea has been abhorrent to so many left wing 
rhetoricians as it undermines the assumption that poverty is inflicted 
on people via an unnatural cause. It’s so clear, its evidence is right 
there in volumes on volumes of natural history- telling us that poverty 
is not caused by greedy business people. How can it be, if humans have 
lived in poverty for the majority of their time on Earth?

It is a difficult blow to recover from for democrats who require that 
wealth should be redistributed as it has been wrested from the hands of 
the working class.

It has, of course, been wrested from the working class, but not by job 
creators, as Sowell points out. It has been taken from them by decades 
of liberal welfare programs and the exportation of industries which have 
reduced the middle class to cinders.

Sowell, in practically every interview he has appeared in, has had to 
answer for the “black experience.” Visibly, he shifts in his seat under 
the numbing predictability of such questions. Again, he disappoints 
those who are obsessed with race, class, and gender.

He says, “I grew up in Harlem, and I never once heard a gunshot.” He 
admits that he either was too distracted to hear it or was lucky. But he 
makes the point that grievance has never been something that he saw as 
tradeable currency.

Again and again, he defeats liberal talking points, not that they 
notice. In a 2016 interview with Peter Robinson on Uncommon Knowledge, 
Sowell addresses the claim that poor people in America can no longer 
rise out of poverty.

“What [liberals] leave out of the equation,” he says, “Is the fact that 
so many immigrants come here with nothing but their luggage- they start 
businesses, they excel in our schools, and they attain positions of 
influence power.” Once again, the evidence for his contention is plain 
to see and the opposition falls flat on its face.

In response to a speech by Hillary Clinton during the campaign, where 
she spoke of revamping systems to ‘address the disadvantaged,’ Sowell 
offered another biting rebuttal to democrat policy. He said, “When they 
say they want to help black people—they only want to help the ones that 
are doing wrong. They want to open the prisons, they want to turn up the 
volume on welfare. They want to defend criminals being shot by police 
during the commission of crimes. What they don’t want to do is help 
charter schools where poor black kids are doing as well in their studies 
as the children of affluent families. You would think this would get a 
lot of attention, but the supporters of the welfare state are fighting 
against these charter schools- these ghetto schools. The NAACP is 
fighting against these charter schools.”

At his advanced age, Thomas Sowell is as insightful and energetic as he 
has ever been. He has been unblinking in the face of his critics who 
have called him an Uncle Tom- the only real insult a liberal can hurl at 
a man who has written over 40 scholarly and well-researched books on 
policy and economics.

He has been a powerful voice of positivity and hope in a political 
climate that is rife with brusque talking points, and while his 
brilliant column will be missed- it’s hard to imagine that we have seen 
the last of Dr. Sowell.

~ Conservative Zone

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