Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Quest for Cosmic Justice

“The Quest for Cosmic Justice” by Dr. Thomas Sowell was recommended to me by a fellow Mensa member. I’ve been reading Sowell’s excellent books on economics, and have just purchased a couple of his books on race and culture, which I haven’t gotten to yet.

I think “The Quest for Cosmic Justice” is a must read for anyone who considers him/herself an intellectual. For liberals, it will help you understand where conservatives come from. And if you cannot articulate answers to Sowell, rather than just dismiss him, that should tell you something. It’s short. (I read it in a 24-hour period during which I also slept, went out to eat, made two shopping forays to several stores, attended a kids’ birthday party, visited friends with a new baby and watched Penn State beat Ohio State by seven.) It is, however, intellectually challenging and mentally stimulating—I would not recommend it to anyone without good cognitive powers and the ability to focus mentally to follow intellectually arguments.

“Quest” lays out the conservative world view, which believes in traditional justice verse “cosmic justice.” It explains clearly why, based on evidence and outcomes, conservatives believe liberal policies harm, perhaps irreparably, both our civilization and the people they are intended to benefit, such as the poor and minorities. After reading it, you will understand why this black intellectual strongly opposes Barack Obama.

Sowell’s discussion of the place of the “rule of law” in a free society is must reading for anyone in business or managing an organization, because you will not know if you are in violation of current anti-trust or discrimination law until you are in court, with the burden of proving that you are innocent on you—a reversal of our legal tradition.

When discussing the liberal view that the way to peace is disarmament and “personal contacts” (personal diplomacy) with people like Hitler, Sowell in 1999 anticipated one of the issues of the 2008 election, that of having “talks without pre-conditions” with countries like Iran. He points out that we now know that Hitler and his fellow tyrants held Chamberlin and other western leaders who went hat-in-hand to see him in contempt, and that their attempted negotiations were viewed as weakness that fed his dreams of conquest.

His section on the quiet repeal of the American Revolution is chilling for anyone who cares about the future of our free Republic.

Sowell believes that policies should be tested against the evidence before being enacted and judged by the results, not the intentions of policy makers, afterwards. What a radical, right-wing thought!

“Quest” says some things I’ve been saying for years, including that liberals are not as concerned about the outcomes and who suffers as they are in feeling good about having done the “right thing,” regardless of who is harmed. The millions who have died because of liberal policies, the millions trapped in poverty or living under oppressive governments because of their policies are of no interest to them, as long as their vision of “cosmic justice” was fulfilled. Sowell just says it more clearly, more intelligently, and with a broader reference of historical and economic facts than I could bring to bear.

For those who haven’t read “A Personal Odyssey,” Sowell’s excellent autobiography, he was born to a poor black family in NC. They didn’t have electricity, hot water or an indoor privy. By 17, he was on his own, supporting himself in NY City, working in a machine shop. He dropped out of high school. Was drafted into the Marines for two years. After that, he worked his way into and through Harvard (this was before affirmative action), then earned a master’s degree in economics, and eventually earned a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago.

He has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Stanford and several other top universities. His columns appear in many papers, and his books on economics, especially “Basic Economics” are used as text books in many universities. He also writes widely on race and culture. Contrary to press reports he has never been a Republican. He started his academic life as a Marxist, but looked at the evidence and the results for real people, not the intentions of the policy makers. He is now the leading free market economist in the country.

Okay, after reading four of his books, it’s now clear that Thomas Sowell is better educated, more intelligent, more articulate, a better writer and far more influential than I am. But I was a Staff Sergeant of Marines and he was only a Corporal. So there!

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