Celebrating Dr. Sowell’s birthday is the perfect opportunity to learn more about him and take forward the lessons he is teaching to restore American to the conservative nation that she is.
A Bit of History on Thomas Sowell
From Your Dictionary:
Thomas Sowell (born 1930) is noted for his conservative views on social and economic issues. An African American author and economist, Sowell opposes such programs as affirmative action, busing, racial quotas, minimum wage, and welfare. He has drawn fire from liberals and a number of African American leaders, while generating applause from fellow conservatives.”
Sowell is an advocate of the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” philosophy, which encourages people to improve their positions not by government intervention, but by personal ambition and hard work. He believes that government initiatives to ensure a fair playing field for African Americans have actually hurt their chances for equality. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with his views, Sowell is respected as a top economist, having published extensively in economic journals and general periodicals. He also spent the better part of three decades teaching in prestigious academic institutions. Into the 1990s, his name was commonly seen in a weekly column for Forbes magazine and on his syndicated column appearing in newspapers nationwide. Sowell is the author of over 20 books and has edited or contributed to others. “The word ‘genius’ is thrown around so much that it’s becoming meaningless,” remarked renowned economist Milton Friedman in Forbes, “but nevertheless I think Tom Sowell is close to being one.”
Sowell was born June 30, 1930, in Gastonia, North Carolina, and spent much of his youth in Charlotte, North Carolina. Being a very private person, not much is known about his family or early years, except that he moved to Harlem in New York City with his parents at around the age of eight or nine. His father worked in the construction industry. Sowell attended classes for gifted students and was ranked at the top of his class at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School. He left school in tenth grade and worked for the next four years in a factory, as a delivery person, and as a Western Union messenger. These lean early years would heavily influence his politics later in life and provide him with arguments during debates with liberal leaders.
Sowell completed high school by attending night classes, then was drafted to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1951. He spent two years at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he worked as a photographer. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, he enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C., a majority African American institution, while working part-time as a photographer and a civil service clerk for the General Accounting Office. After three semesters, Sowell transferred to Harvard University. There, he wrote his senior thesis on the German political philosopher, Karl Marx. Sowell graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1958. A Marxist sympathizer as an undergraduate, Sowell gradually became more conservative as he pursued his master’s degree at Columbia University. He continued his education at the University of Chicago, where he studied under economist and Nobel laureate, Milton Friedman, and George Stigler. Sowell obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1968.
What Some in the Black Community Consider Him Controversial
- Poverty among minority groups is less a result of racial and social discrimination than of a group’s values, ethics, and attitudes
- Argues that if race is the cause the same results would be experienced by other racial groups such as the Chinese and Japanese.
- Believes government programs, including busing, welfare, affirmative action hurt blacks by causing them to rely too heavily on government safety nets instead of using their own motivation to succeed.
- Claimed in U.S. News and World Report that African American status was rising prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, they were making strides in housing integration and career advancement and the Act didn’t really have impact that people thought it did.
- Argues against reparations
- Believes blacks should focus on today and not the past
StraightForward About The President
“Whether Barack Obama is simply incompetent as president or has some hidden agenda to undermine this country, at home and abroad, he has nearly everything he needs to ruin America, including a fool for a vice president”
— Thomas Sowell, in a column for RealClearPolitics, 6/8/10
Just six days ago, Dr. Sowell posted an opinion piece for the New Hampshire Union Leader wherein he said, in part:
Amid all the heated cross-currents of debate about the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance program, there is a growing distrust of the Obama administration that makes weighing the costs and benefits of the NSA program itself hard to assess.
The belated recognition of this administration’s contempt for the truth, for the American people and for the Constitution of the United States have been long overdue. In other words, we do not have a choice whether to trust or not to trust government officials. Unless we are willing to risk anarchy or terrorism, the most we can do is set up checks and balances within government — and be a lot more careful in the future than we have been in the past when deciding whom to elect.
But we the voters are not blameless. Having chosen an untested man to be President, on the basis of rhetoric, style and symbolism, we have ourselves to blame if we now have only a choice between two potentially tragic fates — the loss of American lives to terrorism or a further dismantling of our freedoms that has already led many people to ask: “Is this still America?”.
And for the Jewish World Review earlier this month, a piece entitled “Economics vs. ‘Need‘” which I discovered as an attachment to his tweet:
Virtually every kind of “work that Americans will not do” is in fact work that Americans have done for generations.
Read his full piece here.
Dr. Sowell has penned many a book that makes you sit up and take notice, never steering away from a controversial subject, rather he heads directly towards it.
“Preferential Policies: An International Perspective” wherein he takes on affirmative action
“Trickle Down Theory and ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich'” where he explains how tax cuts encourage business investment and economic growth
And his latest:
“Intellectuals and Race” wherein he explores the role of intellectuals in racial strife (a must-read)
Why I Admire This Great Man
Dr. Sowell is THE example of how you are responsible for your own destiny. He achieved his dream through struggle, determination, hard work, education and yes, through prayer and faith in God. He demonstrates that no matter the obstacles, one can and will succeed if the challenges are met with opportunity.
Dr. Sowell had a tremendous impact on President Reagan and was offered a cabinet post, yet declined consideration. Citing Your Dictionary: “According to a Newsweekpiece from the time, ‘Such active participation in politics … would only damage his scholarly reputation.'”
Dr. Sowell is one of the most brilliant Economists of his time and should be required study for EVERYONE attending college with “Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy” required reading and comprehension in high school.
Dr. Sowell is a member of the Fredrick Douglass Republicans and reaches out to the black community to educate on conservative principles. He is interviewed by Rev. CL Bryant in his must-see documentary “Runaway Slave”!
To wish that I had had the opportunity to study under this great man while I was in college or graduate school. I can and shall, however, study and learn from the works he has written.
By Sandy (@Orangeone4)