View Full Version : Thomas Sowell

01-31-2010, 10:36 AM

I'm not going to lie, I never knew much about conservative views on race relations (aside from my belief that a lot of them are racist). But putting that aside, Thomas Sowell is particularly interesting because he himself is black, and had a disadvantaged upbringing.

I went through the "Thought" section of his wikipedia page and found some interesting things. Particularly number 10: "On several measures, black progress was much more positive prior to the significant rise of the welfare state, and prior to the era of affirmative action". It elaborates more if you check the article. Is there any validity to this?

A lot of people on here seem to have pretty strong (and liberal) views about race relations. Just wondering what people thought.

01-31-2010, 11:44 PM
Goddammit bighead, I had enough of you playing devil's advocate. blah blah conservative this, blah blah liberal that. Pick a side. We're at war!

02-01-2010, 01:50 AM
Rush Limbaugh is an admirer of Sowell's writing and referred to him as an "honest thinker".


I think he probably has a lot of worthy thoughts but it's far too easy to many people to point to a black academic with complex thoughts on matters of race, economics and affirmative action and go "See! This black guy agrees with me there's no racism!", over-simplifying everything he says and just using it to fuel their own agenda.

02-01-2010, 02:19 AM
I don't like rap but I own an Eminem album.

I also own a Dr. Dre album. Eminem was on it.

02-01-2010, 11:02 AM
Goddammit bighead, I had enough of you playing devil's advocate. blah blah conservative this, blah blah liberal that. Pick a side. We're at war!

I try to read on my own when I can and make up my mind but I find the actual debates to be more engaging, so I tend to do things like this.

02-01-2010, 02:50 PM
I missed you, Tommy. <3

02-03-2010, 07:24 PM
Ok, I'll try to be more specific about what I'm pondering from Sowell.

He demonstrates that several so-called 'black' problems occurred to a lesser degree before the widespread implementation of the welfare state era in the 1970s. In Affirmative Action Around the World (2004) and Civil Rights Sowell demonstrates that on several measures, black progress was actually better in earlier times, than in the contemporary era. In the decades immediately after the Civil War for example, blacks posted higher employment rates and lower divorce rates than whites. As regards family stability and out-of-wedlock births, black rates prior to WWII were hardly perfect, but were still far lower than the 70% out-of-wedlock births afflicting the black community at the beginning of the 21st century.

The way the information is presented here, it's basically only considering one independant variable: The effects of the welfare state and Affirmative Action on black progress. If you only consider that one factor, (which arguably could be an extremely important factor) then the way this is framed would lead to the conclusion that government is undermining black progress. But is this really true? Are there other important variables at play here?

02-03-2010, 10:10 PM
There are always historical variables to consider. It's one of the most important aspects of thinking critically about a situation.

Correlation can imply a causal relationship, but focusing on the apparent relationship between two variables while ignoring others might be deliberately blinding yourself to other local and global factors that may have caused the exact same change.

In that case, you end up with a misattributed result.

Context is always important. As for Thomas Sowell, I actually haven't read the article, so I have nothing to add on it.