Tuesday, 27 December 2016

A happy retirement to the great Thomas Sowell, who's off to spend more time with his cameras

The great man published his final syndicated column today. What spurred him to finally give up sharing his views with the world at the age of 86?:
"During a stay in Yosemite National Park last May, taking photos with a couple of my buddies, there were four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program — and it felt wonderful."
Obviously, I had no idea this was going to happen when I did a post featuring a host of Sowell quotations - "All undergraduates should be force-fed Thomas Sowell quotes until they see sense" -  exactly a week ago.  But...

...I see that I missed out one of my favourites, which pretty much sums up why left-liberal do-gooders are so fantastically annoying - and dangerous:

If you like the sound of that, and you haven't read any of Thomas Sowell's marvellously clear-headed books, I would thoroughly recommend A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (1987), and The Vision of the Anointed: Self Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy (1997). They are both masterpieces. 

I'll leave you with a handful of other memorable quotes from this great man's work:
"Civilization has been aptly called a 'thin crust over a volcano.' The anointed are constantly picking at that crust."
"Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good." 
"Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions — and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large."
"Intellect is not wisdom."
"For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.” 
"The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else?" 
Finally, one of the wisest things anyone has ever said:
"There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs." 
Indeed. May Thomas Sowell enjoy a long and blissfully happy retirement. He's earned it many times over.


  1. Hopefully a slew of his books will be coming to a bookshop near you in the not too distant future.

    1. If I ever spotted a Thomas Sowell book on the shelves of our local bookshops, I'd probably faint. One of the benefits of Amazon is that we've been released from the tyranny of left-liberal bookshop staff who only ever order American political books written by their own kind. Disintermediation, it's called - and I thank God for it.