[July 7, 2021] From my early college days, I was intrigued by the writing of various “mavericks”1 who tested my limits of understanding the difference between good and evil. One of these men was Thomas Sowell.2 When I read his 1972 book, “Black Education: Myths and Tragedies,” I was hooked.
I have always looked to find different ways of thinking, and Thomas Sowell gave me a new opportunity. When I first began college at Texas Tech University, I thought of myself as a liberal. I was for the “little people.” After reading Sowell and others like William F. Buckley to understand better their perspective, I was hooked.
Thomas Sowell has written on the education, race, and culture of the past 50 years. An article by David Mikies salutes Sowell in a great Tablet column, “The ‘noble lies’ of the new race politics.” Mikies gives us a brief overview of Sowell’s thinking.
In this Tablet article, Mikies takes the publication of Jason Riley’s new biography of Sowell as a chance to contrast his deep, clear-headed thinking with the current crowd of race hustlers. When someone is good at poking holes in an argument, I listen. And poking at the upside-down thinking of Ibram X. Kendi, a black activist, professor, and historian, is what Thomas Sowell has done.
Kendi wrote that “the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.” That is some wild thinking. Thus, if you oppose this new racism, then you are a racist. Sowell is the polar opposite of Kendi and others like him.
“Fifty years ago, Sowell was already denouncing the trends that now afflict fashionable movements like Black Lives Matter: pursuing symbolic results rather than real ones, choosing white guilt over Black advancement, and seeking special treatment instead of equal chances. Sowell knows that racism still persists, but he refuses to blame the gap between Black and white social outcomes on white supremacy, choosing instead to look to the ways that history shapes both group cultures and individual choices.” – David Mikies
I highly recommend this article in Tablet. Read the whole thing. It provides us with some of Thomas Sowell’s greatest thoughts and helps arm us against the creeping approach of nihilistic socialism.
- I use the term “maverick” as fittingly used in the recent biography of Thomas Sowell by Jason L. Riley, Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell, 2021. I’ve not read the book but have flipped through it and found it contains some great information on Sowell. Jason Riley is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.
- I’ve wrote about Thomas Sowell’s leadership more than five years ago here: https://www.theleadermaker.com/political-leadership-thomas-sowell/