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January 10, 2006

The Vision of the Anointed

Thomas Sowell – ISBN 046508995X

If unfamiliar of this scholar I recommend that you become so. An economist by training, he personifies the accomplishments possible for a poor black man in today’s America, having arrived at the acme of success without help or special favors. He exposes those who congratulate themselves on achievements in social policy based on “feelings,” rather than results. These are the anointed.

Reciting the actual facts (unlike the way the anointed wish them to be) he decimates virtually all of their claims to success. Notable is their definition of success: doing the right things for the right reasons makes them compassionate, worthy, righteous and correct, unlike those who deal in fact, who are necessarily uncompassionate, ill-informed worthy only of contempt, and perhaps evil.

For example: pregnant black women experience higher infant mortality than do white women. Blacks are recipients of less pre-natal care. “Aha!” We need more governmental money for health care in this population. Yet: “In the very same report that showed racial disparities in infant mortality—on the same page—statistics showed that Mexican Americans received even less prenatal care than blacks, and their infant mortality rates were no higher than among whites.” Chinese, Japanese and Filipinos received still less prenatal care, yet experienced even lower infant morality rates than Whites! The only reasonable conclusion is that something other than prenatal care is responsible. Aha, indeed!

Thus he continues, page by page, using “factoids” on poverty, child-abuse, welfare, crime rates, diversity, the media, rights, etc., destroying the myths of the liberal anointed as he proceeds. He is masterful at elaborating upon the facts, and in demonstrating how the anointed skew or avoid the numbers, intentionally misinterpret the evidence, and launch their noble crusades while comparing themselves with the benighted—that’s the rest of us ignorant scoundrels.

The choice of notable quotes is legion. I offer only a few:

“The world of the anointed is a very tidy place. . . . every deviation of the real world from the tidiness of their vision is considered to be someone’s fault.”

“Instead of treating ourselves as inherently constrained by reality, [this vision] treats reality as constrained by our acceptance.”

“Not only is the external world to be redesigned, so are the people who are to inhabit it.”

“Propositions are not treated as hypotheses to be tested but as self-evident axioms. . . . Evidence to the contrary is either ignored or answered by a sneer.”

“Once we recognize that there are no solutions, but only trade-offs, we can no longer pursue cosmic justice. . . . We must make our choices among alternatives actually available—and these alternatives do not include guaranteeing that no harm can possibly befall any innocent individual.”

“Where the American Revolution deliberately created a government of elaborate checks and balances, to constrain the evils inherent in human beings, the French revolution concentrated vast powers in its leadership, so as to allow those who were presumably wise and benevolent to effect sweeping changes with little hindrance.” We got Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Reagan, etc.; they, the Jacobins, Napoleon, Talleyrand, the guillotine and a series of serially inadequate governments which persist today.

A summary observation of support (a quote from Will and Ariel Durant):
“Out of every hundred new ideas ninety-nine or more will probably be inferior to the traditional responses which they propose to replace. No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history.”

Posted by respeto at January 10, 2006 5:10 PM