Throwing Up Our Hands & Moralizing Is All We Can Do.

Thomas Sowell, s long diversionary tracts.

Photo by Melyna Valle on Unsplash

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I have tried to read Thomas Sowell’s books with as open a mind as I can. However, everything the Black economist, and social theorist, writes comes down to about four things.

(1) Liberals use as a cudgel to make Whites feel guilty, and that liberals think slavery, a 150 plus year ago reality, is the only fact we liberals need to make our case for systemic racism today.

(2) The liberal use show a ton of discrimination, but no one should trust their statistics because liberals want to in the world, which will always backfire. Plus Jesus said we should always doing good in a way that is comprehensive, only piddle around the edges utilizing private charity.

(3) was tried in the 1960s, but because of Haight Ashbury, liberal hippies, much less than half-priced love, Rock and Roll, and giving Black Americans more welfare for five minutes, made Blacks who they are today, which I guess is bad, because that is all we are left with in Sowell’s analysis and concept of Black culture. Supposedly Black Americans went down hill due to so much welfare, even though Whites got tons of welfare for two hundred plus years including FHA loans, GI Bill, stolen lands of Indigenous Peoples, and slavery profits. Plus Whites got much less mass incarceration, much lower drug sentences, zero redlining, no racial covenants, no massive murderous race riots against them, zero racist lynchings, no forced segregation, negligible job discrimination, etc.

(4) Helping people in any way that does not have to do with is a waste of time because we will never know enough about human beings and society to help any other way. Only capitalism and religion can help us since both have been perfect so far. And if liberals did manage to create good social change using government, capitalism and religion was there in the shadows making it possible, by not fully subverting government . Government by the people is basically a fraudulent concept, and a waste of time. Of course, we are fortunate to have plutocratic crony capitalists insidiously involved to make our democracy a functioning for greedy religious zealots, and their insatiable apologists.

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Those reasons are why Sowell believes we must throw up our hands as civically responsible citizens, shuffle off into a corner, and play our docile, gullible consumer role, as we hand over everything to the mega-wealthy for . This conservative theorist has incarcerated analysis of Black culture in a 1980s’ level of understanding. He has no awareness of the latest social science research, or he cannot accept anything of it that may contradict his flawed, and ancient ideas about social change, and systemic racism.

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Humans are so inept at improving society that we must let capitalism run amok to keep us from harming ourselves in more serious ways. The “free” market may not be perfect, but as long as just a few White men make most of the money, we should be thankful to them for siphoning every dime possible from our paychecks, and for submitting to that wholly justified, ransomed grift, the oligarchs will try not to suffocate us in our sleep.

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I am not here to critique Thomas Sowell the person, but how his economic and social theory undermines progress. His prominence in supposedly repudiating the reality of racism in America, and how such contrivances influence susceptible White people, requires a strong rebuttal. The presumption of White supremacy is so systemic that once a White person, males particularly, sees that a Black person, well-respected by conservatives, is accepting the denial of systemic racism, they likely become irredeemable sycophants to the White superiority clan without a quick and serious intervention. So much of White society has fully bought into the garbage that is White supremacy. Having a prominent Black person agree in so many ways with that racist society, makes it just that much harder to reroute our 250 year-old horrible wrong turn.

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Dismissing Statistics and Slippery Citations.

His quick dismissing of modern statistical analysis is frightening. In what way does such dismissal help anything or anyone? Sowell will bring up a statistical analysis about racism, and seem to destroy it, but his explanation is light on details and heavy on conjecture. We hear nothing about who did the study or when it was done, just that it was a bad study. And it sounded like a bad study, but it was not conclusive because we do not know if it was even real. Although I listen to his books, I cannot track down his citations on Google Books.

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Even if I could find where his citations led, I have seen data presented in ways that are much more sound than he presents, and not just in one area, like the home loans example he presents in Cosmic Justice. I have reviewed much research on racial disparities that did not have any such flaws let alone any as ridiculous as he presents. While I do not forensically analyze research to guarantee it has no flaws, his examples are so simplistic and juvenile I am embarrassed for him. He proffers so many apples and oranges comparisons without any connection to the immediate problem he is presenting. That is called misdirection. He throws totally incongruous extrapolations into the mix as if it has a legitimate place in his argument.

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Sowell will often write about statistics as if statisticians do not know how statistics should be analyzed. While there are some studies that are flawed, he expects and usually gets, his readers to believe that so many are flawed that there is nothing that can be gleaned from any of them. Below, see an infantilized statement by Sowell about how stupid all statisticians must be (page 38, The Quest for Cosmic Justice). Notice his academics left-wing persuasion slam, another misdirection. Is that the kind of comment a renowned economist or social theorist makes?

What kind of statistician does not get this “8 years” concept? Pull-leeese!

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Where does he find the ridiculous examples below? No American says that we have a “the tyranny of skills” or “we are entitled to jobs because we are not qualified” unless it is a conservative complaining about credentialing. Of what I read, 99.999% has none of these extreme views in it. This line of crap is only confirming for conservative sycophants.

Weak, pathetic “quote” examples without real data.

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Additionally, no one that I have read has ever mentioned desiring equality of . Yet Sowell constantly harps on this point. It is his water droplet of dumb ass falling on your forehead every few seconds for a month torture. Mr. Sowell is a towering giant of the straw man fallacy producer. Do his loyal readers understand all of it as an inside-joke liberals’ torture, or do they believe he is making a valid point? I really do not want to know, because it could there is another insidious logic destruction pandemic underway. However, most of that logic evisceration occurred with the COVID-19 mask fearing muffle, and muzzle kerfuffle.

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In another part of his critique Sowell notes that our ancestors lived on different continents, had different cultures, and all kinds of abilities and skills, which made it difficult to compare them. Somehow this meant that today we cannot compare Black Americans to White Americans because we do not live in an overlapping space. Yet we live a few blocks apart in a number of places where integration is not occurring, allowed, or racist economics prevents it. Somehow a few blocks is the reason we cannot do a comparison of these two groups. Even though there is nothing different except skin color keeping a much higher percentage of Blacks in poverty.

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According to Sowell’s logic of comparative studies, we must have 3D video and brain scans continuously monitoring everyone at the exact same times subjects are doing the same things wearing the same clothes with the same sized nose and ear hair to get anything worth using as a comparison study.

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Of course, Blacks just do not try as hard at school, would rather get welfare and do nothing, and spend their money on the wrong things, or in the wrong way. Weirdly, those types of comments are reminiscent of slave owners, Jim Crow politicians, and a larger percent of northern Whites 50 or more years ago. I am sure Mr. Sowell is not suggesting that he agrees with them. However, I am wondering what else it could be? Something about Black culture, I bet.

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White kids with mullets and Nazi tattoos are fine upstanding supremacists, but Black kids with dreadlocks and backward ball caps are thugs because of Black culture. Ironic how the dominant, most politically powerful, and wealthier group always gets to determine who the real degenerates are. The White culture is not the problem because it merely created school segregation, ghettoized urban areas, destroyed Black communities with highway construction to make life better for Whites, burnt Blacks out when their wealth grew too big, and never hired Black Americans, except for menial jobs, even when Blacks had much more education and higher grade skills, and schools are underfunded due to their lower wages, and much greater unemployment. Back behind Whitey’s veil of ignorance: it is so mysterious how things work out as they do, or do not, for Black Americans. Huh.

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Is systemic racism still as bad as (White) liberals say it is? Do we liberals complain too much about society? Sure, ask those questions. First, conservatives complain about all the scary social changes that have occurred since day one. So there really is no political group who can escape from the complaining accusation. Conservatives continually want to go backwards 110 years at least. That means an eternity of complaining, right there. Progressive income taxes and FDR alone have filled a library of whining by conservatives. What Thomas Sowell is so worried about is any kind of social engineering that would cause an irrevocable catastrophic reaction. I think he means something like CO2 emissions causing cataclysmic climate devastation, right?

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See that is the problem with Tommy. There is no statistical information that can alter his view of reality, even the science understood by about 99% of scientists working on anything to do with climate. He is stuck in a time warp of the past, as is the person who wrote the review below on Audible about Thomas Putnam’s book, The Upswing. Conservatives are fickle about history. They will accept certain historical evidence, but anything in about the last half century is suspect because current times are always disruptive to their base, and they are unable to fully find their footing as the world moves on.

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However, conservatives will be talking point strategic, and when they acquiesce to more distant history involving social change, fifty years ago or more. Consider how they acquire specific themes of MLK, and manipulate the themes into his whole outlook on every issue, like content of character, that none of their past conservative incarnations would have employed.

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To understand their strategy and disingenuousness in this area, we must take ourselves back to these social events. Notice the Audible reviewer’s comment that is within the red lines. (Everything is fine today because we made enough progress between 1970 and 2010. So women, quit complaining.) Now we must send Sowell and his conservative friend back to 1920. Imagine both of them, as conservatives in that era: what would they have said about women trying to attain the right to vote?

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Yes, women’s rights, opportunities, and outcomes increased since 1920. But did you know the same women who got the right to vote began the drive for the E.R.A.? Alice Paul was a major reason why the women’s suffrage succeeded, and she also started the Equal Rights Amendment movement in 1923.

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Congress has not officially confirmed the E.R.A., even though it was recently ratified by three-fourths of the states, which was required first.

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Above, and below, is where Sowell, and other conservatives like the reviewer stumble badly, and irreparably. Yes, they support a woman’s right to vote, , but they do not support the E.R.A., which women have fought to achieve for nearly 100 years? Conservatives are merely laggards, and as relativist as any liberal, exposing their disingenuousness. They make their break with the past only many decades after the fact including for condemning slavery, and Jim Crow, and allowing women in universities, and the military, etc.

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It takes until most conservatives of that past age are dead before current conservatives’ attitudes change. Yet today, in real time, they are saying women and people of color have gains, and should be happy with that? Just let go of any other goals? Let White males hold on to what remains? We White guys deserve to have it better than those not-like-us in as many ways as possible? Conservatives talk about how much better things are today while ignoring all the times they did nothing to make many of those changes happen. They congratulate themselves for things they would have fought against in the past, then in real-time they push down on others as much as they can in the next breath.

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It was the “free” market and White male western thought, that created everything we see as good today, and everything bad came from liberals who always want things better for others. Yes, ending child labor, getting safety in the workplace, forty hour work weeks, healthcare, Social Security, and many other amenities seemed like they came from liberals, labor unions, and such, but the “free” market was really making it all happen behind the scenes! It just looked like we were not. Sowell and the reviewer take credit for these improvements, and they also know how far improvements should go. Such White male overseer types deciding who can, and cannot, expand their horizons is hubris engorged, misogynistic, racist, and social Luddism.

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Let us now return to the 1960s… Sowell says that decade was catastrophic for Black Americans. Yet what happened in that decade? The Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Act, and Jim Crow was ended. Yes, liberal Republicans helped push the changes along, those made of Radical Republican, Reconstruction era stock, but no conservatives of today’s ilk. Otherwise, it was Black and White liberal Democrats. Most all of the southern Democrats of that day would be Trumplicans now. Southern conservatives only changed their political party logo, not their Southern states’ rights strategy, or ended their disingenuousness.

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Envy And Greed, Deadly Sins Revisited.

Can you guess which sin is worse in the eyes of Thomas Sowell and conservatives? Yep, it ain’t greed people. Convenient, isn’t it? He goes off on a tirade bringing up the mangy dog in the manger parable that has been around for thousands of years, so it must be valid today. Of course, flipping the middle finger has been around nearly as long, and is very beneficial when responding to mangy dog parables.

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Envy and greed coexist. One is not possible without the other from a societal standpoint. Individuals can become greedy for anything even Beanie Babies, and envious of someone with more. Sowell thinks that liberals wanting to make things better for others makes the downtrodden envious. Otherwise, the poor would be oblivious, I guess. He has no proof of this theory, but his moronic monotone moralizing is endless.

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That said, I will counter with my theory. Greed is as difficult to define as envy. Yet they are the yin, and yang of societal stability. Societies rise and fall for various reasons. Though I would posit that there is less reason to worry about an uprising when most everyone is employed and earning a decent wage, and the numbers of homeless and the very poor are dwindling, and those with the highest wealth are not forcing the populace down as low as they can with pitiful wages, always increasing their extreme wealth as ours stagnate or drops, and limiting our potential each year. This is not about reaching a utopian status. The goal is to provide an upfront idea of how we can improve our lives, and not be put on a societal escalator that runs faster and faster each day, while educational and structural repairs get done more infrequently each year.

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Even the Romans understood the concept of avoiding disunion and revolt. Every male citizen of Rome was allotted a half day’s ration of grain. Their social engineering made sense because as Rome’s population grew, they understood how difficult it would be for all inhabitants to get food when farms are moved farther away. When work was slow and the economy was slack, the likelihood of calamity rose. They could either slaughter their people, or feed them. I am not justifying revolt; however, when you have a large society, ignoring millions of people, and pretending as if your greed, in their eyes, has no effect, is insanity, and the cause of many violent disruptions.

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The Conservative Utopian Future.

Sowell has this utopian vision of how the “free” market is the savior of everything, and messing with social structures is the only intervention fraught with dire consequences. This is a very ahistorical belief system, and conveniently exclusive. The Revolutionary War and our Constitution were both social engineering projects, and both had good and bad effects on our nation, improving and mangling lives to this day. Therefore, every constitutional originalist believes we must take the good with the bad.

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The reality Sowell leaves out is that social change has been part of every good and bad change that has occurred. Unfortunately for conservative “free” marketeers like him, social change agents are not necessarily so worried about every little strain put on prospering businesses. Social justice warriors recognize that are not always served well by every selfish greedy bastard. This does not equate to socialism; it equates to reality. Watchdogging the wealthy will keep society healthy. Sowell will never get his “free” market utopia because anything with absolute power will corrupt us absolutely.

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The Socialism Scare Tactic.

Black Lives Matter is socialism. The Green New Deal is socialism. The NAACP is socialism. MLK was a socialist. Socialism is anything any American complains about unless it is White Christian conservatives complaining how they are more persecuted, discriminated against, humiliated, and called racists than any other group. Sowell is a great apologist for these full of odile tears phantoms and fabrications.

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The only reason any form of socialism is brought forward by has to do with what the “free” market. Otherwise, no human being would have ever thought up the concept, let alone agitated for its implementation. Those absent social supports would be the main, and ugliest flaw in capitalism. That of course, does not matter to conservatives like Mr. Sowell because only social engineering can be the problem.

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“It is not possible for humans to ever organize society in a better way, so allow a haphazard, greed-grabbing, invisible hand-jobbing process that takes forever to perfect itself, get us there, as it causes many Americans to needlessly suffer, and die on the way. And when capitalist utopia finally arrives, only the progeny of the rich make it there.” — Human Sacrifices to the Invisible Hand Jobbing God.

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The Conclusion.

I have only been able to hit the general themes about how Black conservatives like Sowell twist the truth, or merely leave much out about White supremacy. Some of it is blatant pandering to their White benefactors, and in other instances it is a belief system that they were trained in as children, possibly their parents having similar tendencies to accept the pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and uplift-suasion White supremacist bullshit.

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To show that this is not a one off, I provide side by side essays that showcase how statistics and facts can be brought together, or not, to tell a history. Black culture (as defined by racist Whites) is a theme that shows up in many a critique of liberal thinking. That welfare, drugs, unwed mothers, dependency, laziness, crime, and defeatism are the reasons for why many Black Americans are in trouble. But how does Black culture turn from good to bad in less than a decade? Has any other such culture change occurred so quickly? And why would it be the group with the least amount of power getting accused of causing their own failure? And what about the oppressiveness of on others, can it be dismissed out of hand like Sowell does?

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This comparison does not involve Thomas Sowell, but the one essayist could be called a protege. Check out this essay by John McWhorter, a conservative Black professor, and this essay by Molly G. Martin, a White liberal writer for a think tank. Notice the differences in the data they use. Try to determine which are symptoms, and which are causes, as well as when each event occurred, previous to a symptom or not.

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Leaving out major complications implemented by the White establishment from your essay is disingenuous. I believe one essayist above went about the writing project gunning for their objective rather than seeking justice. Social justice warriors may annoy conservatives, but many townsfolk called my parents do-gooders; ironically, it was supposed to be an epithet. Yet they stood up for disabled people who needed someone to help them win the fight, not just to fight the injustices. That is what Black Americans have done for centuries, fight against their oppressors, and they will keep doing it with or without White liberals, but together we can do so much more.

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Below is my do-gooder father explaining his story during World War II, when he fought off antisemitic Americans. And guess what antisemitic Whites still need fighting off. Antisemitism didn’t evaporate because we stopped Hitler, and neither has racism; they never will be stopped until we defeat both scourges here, and everywhere else. The saddest defeatists are White people, who have refused to be do-gooder, social justice warriors for time immemorial.

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Writer/Consultant. Wife/Two-20 something daughters. Flyover Midwesterner. RN/Engineer son, been there/done some, antiracist, feminist, ecotarotcardist, politics

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