Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Thomas Sowell lays down his pen

The conservative economist retires his column at 86:
Back in 1962, President John F. Kennedy, a man narrowly elected just two years earlier, came on television to tell the nation that he was taking us to the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, because the Soviets had secretly built bases for nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles from America.

Most of us did not question what he did. He was president of the United States, and he knew things the rest of us couldn’t know – and that was good enough for us. Fortunately, the Soviets backed down. But could any president today do anything like that and have the American people behind him?

Years of lying presidents – Democrat Lyndon Johnson and Republican Richard Nixon, especially – destroyed not only their own credibility, but the credibility which the office itself once conferred. The loss of that credibility was a loss to the country, not just to the people holding that office in later years.

With all the advances of blacks over the years, nothing so brought home to me the social degeneration in black ghettos like a visit to a Harlem high school some years ago.

When I looked out the window at the park across the street, I mentioned that, as a child, I used to walk my dog in that park. Looks of horror came over the students’ faces, at the thought of a kid going into the hell hole that park had become in their time.

When I have mentioned sleeping out on a fire escape in Harlem during hot summer nights, before most people could afford air-conditioning, young people have looked at me like I was a man from Mars. But blacks and whites alike had been sleeping out on fire escapes in New York since the 19th century. They did not have to contend with gunshots flying around during the night.

We cannot return to the past, even if we wanted to, but let us hope that we can learn something from the past to make for a better present and future.

Goodbye and good luck to all.
Dr. Sowell is a good man and he wrote many a fine opinion column. I enjoyed several of his books and considered him to be among the more thoughtful conservative columnists. His ideas were always worthy of consideration.

25 years of syndicated columns is an amazing achievement and testimony to the man's intellectual stamina; I didn't last half that long myself. Congratulations to Dr. Sowell, and I hope he enjoys more than a few years of relaxed retirement.



Blogger Al From Bay Shore December 27, 2016 11:04 AM  

I like Dr. Sowell, especially his debate with Frances Fox Piven. That was the "joint" in which he was sporting an afro and Milton Friedman was watching.

Blogger Whisker biscuit December 27, 2016 11:26 AM  

Defiantly one of my favorites. He's right up there with Vox and David Berlinski as my top 3 authors--in no specific order.

Blogger pyrrhus December 27, 2016 11:33 AM  

Thank you, Dr. Sowell, for your steadfastness. Enjoy your retirement!

Anonymous LastRedoubt December 27, 2016 11:43 AM  

Fair winds and following seas.

Blogger pumpkinpaper December 27, 2016 11:45 AM  

Thanks for all you've done!!

Blogger 2Bfree December 27, 2016 11:53 AM  

Too bad we couldn't have seen him running the FED. Clearly one of the most gifted economists to ever put pen to paper.

Blogger JACIII December 27, 2016 11:56 AM  

We don't see writers age like other media personalities. It seems a shock that they get old.

Anonymous Just another commenter December 27, 2016 11:59 AM  

Bummer. A good man, and a good writer. If the black community spent more time listening to him, and less time listening to the likes of Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and Sheila Jackson Lee, we'd all be a lot better off.

Blogger 2Bfree December 27, 2016 12:02 PM  

He wrote what should be a must read to get out of high school, and is a great basic primer for economics

To understand the nuances VD commonly discusses, the fundamentals of economics are a must. Sowell's Basic Economics: A Citizen’s guide to the Economy is perhaps the best concise guide to start.

Blogger James Dixon December 27, 2016 12:11 PM  

He will be missed. He wasn't a supporter of Trump, but given his age that's somewhat understandable.

I must take issue with the line "Years of lying presidents – Democrat Lyndon Johnson and Republican Richard Nixon, especially..." though. Neither of them could hold a candle to either Clinton or Obama, and the two Bushes weren't far behind either of them.

Blogger Duke Norfolk December 27, 2016 12:20 PM  

Indeed he has been one of the great lights over the years. And great courage to stand in the face of those who hurl epithets of Uncle Tom, etc.

As for:
"Years of lying presidents – Democrat Lyndon Johnson and Republican Richard Nixon, especially..."

Meh, they've all been liars to an extent (but there have definitely been worse, and better). We've just become increasingly aware of it over the last couple of decades.

Anonymous Bastard Sysop December 27, 2016 12:23 PM  

Never read any of his books. Saw he has the most popular book on Marxism on audible, and audible has no books on cultural marxism. Picked up his best selling economics book, and added his marxism book to my wish list. Seen his youtube talks, so this should be good.

Blogger seeingsights December 27, 2016 12:34 PM  

One thing that Thomas Sowell showed was variation between ethnic groups. Ethnic groups differ in terms of IQ, education, income, even in specific talents. Libertarians should take heed of Sowell's research for too many libertarians support open immigration based on the false premise that people are fungible--that the immigrant would be like the home population. That the recent migrants to Europe don't have jobs and their crime rate is higher than the general population might have surprised some libertarians but that would not have surprised Thomas Sowell.

Blogger Some Dude December 27, 2016 12:39 PM  

Sowell raises a great point about the disintegration of black society that is very sad and get's no airing in liberal or conservative media. Many alt right conservatives assume blacks are marauders, and they are intrinsically. But Sowell showed a bygone era where blacks were put under K selection unlike anywhere else in the world.

If you watch tv and movies from the 80s and later, you can see the physiognomy and testosterone levels of AA blacks are lower. The deregulation of the sex market has led to Alpha harems galore and the welfare state killed beta bux blacks.

So blacks being intrinsically selected for the dog eat dog jungle anyway, then shifted R almost immediately in the right petri dish env.

Sowell is a touching relic of a bygone era where even blacks were net contributors to economic society, in their own ways.

Blogger tweell December 27, 2016 12:46 PM  

2Bfree's right - Dr. Sowell's Basic Economics is a masterpiece that puts him in the ranks of the elite authors. Enjoy your retirement, Dr. Sowell, and thank you.

Blogger James Dixon December 27, 2016 12:51 PM  

I should also comment on:

"> 25 years of syndicated columns is an amazing achievement and testimony to the man's intellectual stamina; I didn't last half that long myself.:

While true, you're doing more important work now than your columns ever did. Your work with Infogalactic, Gab, and Castalia House are shaping the philosophical underpinnings of the alt-right.

Castalia House in particular is allowing young people to have dreams like the ones we had when we were young, before SF devolved into an SJW infested swamp filled only with nightmares. And dreams are what shape our lives. Their importance cannot be understated.

Blogger CarpeOro December 27, 2016 12:53 PM  

"And yet being black he is to the alt right not an American and a lesser human being."

So your saying I am no true Scotsman for having black friends or respecting a black man's achievement? As a leader of the alt right, I refuse to recognize your definition.

VFM 105

Blogger CarpeOro December 27, 2016 12:57 PM  

Of course, there is also the problem of your soft-racism. Your type see the color of his skin as the most important part of him and immediately focus on that instead of the compliments paid to him here.

Blogger James Dixon December 27, 2016 1:15 PM  

Hmm. Having issues today I see. Understated --> Overstated above.

Blogger William Hudson December 27, 2016 1:18 PM  

I would posit that Honoraryum sees himself as the way he describes the Alt-Right's so-called "view" of Dr. Sowell. I have read his columns for about 50 years, and he has ALWAYS had my respect. Honoraryum's writings, not so much.

Anonymous Nick December 27, 2016 1:30 PM  

Sowell was my idol when I was starting college 15 years ago. Walking around campus with his "Controversial Essays" made me feel like someone with a Samizdat publication in the Soviet Union. I had the chance to meet him when I worked at the Hoover Institution Library (he was a fellow there). I said something to the effect of "I'm one of your biggest fans." His reply: "That puts you in infamous company." Some of the best radio I've ever heard is the back and forth between Walter Williams and Sowell when the former was subbing for Rush Limbaugh. Both graciously replied to an email about trouble I was having with a Marxist professor.

I have to admit that it was deeply disappointing that Sowell was one of the most vehement anti-Trumpers of this campaign. I think his age coupled with his reclusiveness (not surprising as a conservative black in the far-left Bay Area) detached him from the day-to-day reality of what was happening in America. Best to hang up the spurs now. I don't think he would have felt comfortable commenting on the administration that he thought heralded armageddon. All the best Dr. Sowell.

Blogger bob kek mando ( NABTY ) December 27, 2016 1:31 PM  

20. Honoraryum December 27, 2016 1:15 PM
No. I'm saying, and yet the Alt Right doesn't consider American and does consider him a lesser human due to the pigment of his skin.

hmmmm. you have made two assertion about the Alt-Right.

let us compare your assertions to Vox's 16 point definition:

as to your first assertion, NO point in the itemized list asserts that Blacks cannot be African American.

as to your second assertion, it is directly contradicted by #15.

by the rules of the blog, i require you to either
admit you're lying
demonstrate how Vox's definitions are wrong

oh, and we know you wouldn't be doing this without George Soros paying you, Honoraryum ( sic ).

Anonymous Jack Amok December 27, 2016 1:34 PM  

I wonder what those kids at that Harlem high school thought of him? I wonder how high school kids in Harlem would have thought of a similar figure visiting them 50 years ago?

I wish him a healthy and long retirement.

Regarding our troll, as a leader of the Alt-Right, I can most definitely say none of the Soros-fuelled morons we've seen here are worthy to wipe Thomas Sowell's black ass.

Anonymous #5454 December 27, 2016 1:49 PM  

Intelligence will get you nothing but a free ride at a US university if you're sufficiently good at taking tests. That's it. It means that you've got a larger caliber intellectual gun than most, but if your ammunition (education) is deficient, you don't know how to aim it (discipline), where to aim it (wisdom), or you're unwilling to pull the trigger (laziness or fear of failure), your intelligence means precisely nothing.

That is one amazingly written and dense paragraph I may have matted and framed.

Blogger Cassandros the Elder December 27, 2016 1:57 PM  

Many thanks to you, Dr. Sowell. When you came on the scene 25 year ago (1991) there was very little support in the media for ideas on the right. Rush was just getting started, Firing Line was around, though I don't remember watching it until the mid-90s. Same with the McLaughlin Group. There was National Review and the Weekly Standard in print. The conservative (small "c") preference cascade was just getting underway and conservatives were emerging from the wilderness. Today, there is a wealth of alternate news sources and opinion. It's easy to be critical now about the Conservative movement that has so obviously lost its way, but back then, we didn't have much, and anything was much appreciated. Thankfully, there are many voices now who can fill the vacuum left by your retirement, Dr. Sowell. You've left a great legacy. Happy retirement, sir.

Blogger Ben Cohen December 27, 2016 1:57 PM  

Dr sowell had the ability to explain complex concepts in simple terms. He will be missed.

Blogger Freelance Teacher December 27, 2016 2:13 PM  

"The Education of Minority Children" - By Thomas Sowell.

This was one of the 3 or 4 things that changed everything. A no frills website, a simple yet relentlessly logical look at "education" in the bad neighborhood. I'd worked in the Bad Neighborhood school for 10 years before I came upon this essay, and it was within a day that everything changed. The even more powerful force was the reaction it got when shown to what I now SJW's. Dismissal, disbelieve, ignoring - all were used to deny reality.

It is because of this man that I saw the real way of people. There are dozens of examples.

Blogger VD December 27, 2016 2:17 PM  

You're blatantly lying, "Honoraryum". You're banned and spammed. Liars are not permitted to comment here.

Blogger Tim December 27, 2016 2:57 PM  

When mentioning dishonest presidents, he left out the master, FDR, as well as Clinton and Obama.

Blogger William Hudson December 27, 2016 3:04 PM  

I know this isn't the Intelligence thread, but among the things I DON'T know is, "What do you mean by 'spammed', VD? Of course, I know what email spam is, but I'm talking about what your threat means to a troll on the other end. I'm not quite getting that.

Anonymous Dave December 27, 2016 3:29 PM  

In theory if Vox designates something as spam then future comments will be caught in Blogger's spam filter not just on VP but all of Blogger.

Blogger William Hudson December 27, 2016 3:36 PM  

@31 Thanks, Dave! By George, I've got it!!

Blogger Pseudotsuga December 27, 2016 3:54 PM  

Freelance Teacher wrote:"The Education of Minority Children" - By Thomas Sowell.

This was one of the 3 or 4 things that changed everything. A no frills website, a simple yet relentlessly logical look at "education" in the bad neighborhood. I'd worked in the Bad Neighborhood school for 10 years before I came upon this essay, and it was within a day that everything changed. The even more powerful force was the reaction it got when shown to what I now SJW's. Dismissal, disbelieve, ignoring - all were used to deny reality.

It is because of this man that I saw the real way of people. There are dozens of examples.

I just added that to my reading list. I read it first, then I put it on a list for reading assignments for 1st year English composition students. Nothing like a good dose of "what you think is so, ain't so" for the little darlings, who are constantly hindered by the damnation of low expectations.

Blogger Emmanuel December 27, 2016 4:05 PM  

We'll miss you Thomas

Like most strong-willed intellectuals, Sir Sowell was a beacon in the mist.

The free people love you, your ideas, and your legacy.

sir, I wish you you a pleasant yet deserved retirement. We, the young guard, stalwart of the God Emperor and admirators of our though leader Vox Day, wish you a pleasant succession, konwing that we'll pick up the fight you heralded while pursuing your fierce battleground and appreciating your strong intellectual legacy

Vox Day will lead us.

Le Roy est mort, vive le Roy !

Blogger William Hudson December 27, 2016 4:10 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger wreckage December 27, 2016 5:59 PM  

I wish him a healthy and relaxed retirement. A bit dry as a writer but always informative.

Blogger somercet December 27, 2016 7:03 PM

One of the best ex-Marxists around. "At Chicago, economics is a full-contact sport... I had more respect for Chicago than for Harvard."

"And I said to my former Harvard teacher, 'Have you noticed that whenever there is some great disaster, a Harvard man is almost always at the center of it?' And he said, 'You noticed that, too?'"

Anonymous VFM0265 December 27, 2016 7:52 PM  

Dr. Sowell's book Migrations and Cultures is a must read. That was an amazing analysis on cultural traits in several racial & ethnic groups, and how it shaped the paths different groups of people across the world chose to spread out and populate Earth. He covers large historical migrations, but also discusses language and liguistics.....highly recommended.

Blogger Kman December 27, 2016 8:53 PM  

Larry Elder revealed on his show that Thomas Sowell was an intractable Hillary supporter. Good riddance

Anonymous Quadko December 27, 2016 11:10 PM  

I enjoyed his columns and the books of his I read and am in progress in.

I especially enjoyed his Random Thoughts columns. I wish more wise elders would do that periodically - they can't all be gold, but I'll suddenly be struck by insight or epiphany seeing the world through his experience.

A while back I collected them into a personal kindle ebook to reread a few times and otherwise "have accessibly around." I hope he publishes an official book along those lines or keeps up posting those to his website.

Blogger Stephen St. Onge December 28, 2016 4:50 AM  

Sowell did more columns than his 25 years for creator's syndicate. He was doing newspaper columns back in the 1970s. His first collection from them, PINK AND BROWN PEOPLE, was published in '81.

He will be missed.

Anonymous Discard December 28, 2016 2:52 PM  

41. Stephen St. Onge: Thanks for that info. I thought that I'd been reading him for more than 25 years.

A good man, but it's asking a lot to expect any Black man to accept that his people are, as a rule, dumb, violent, improvident and horny. He could never get on board the alt right train.

Enjoy your grandkids, Mr Sowell.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit December 29, 2016 12:05 AM  

A great writer, a great American, and by all accounts,a very good man. Would we all retire from the fray with such accolades.

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