Monday, July 4, 2011

Social philosophy of Thomas Sowell

Updates to original post:

Since the original post in 2011, the present writer has written a number of detailed critiques to Sowell's work. They point to several weaknesses, and it must be acknowledged, that Sowell, already in his 80s, has had little new to say in recent years- understandably in the gathering twilight, though he still keeps his older fan base loyal. Still for as this writer, Sowells overall body of work, still commands a measure of respect, albeit qualified, and are still of some value. Here are the critiques:

Racial discrimination is alive and kicking in employment, housing and credit markets

Sowell 3- new data shows backward tropical evolution? Wealth and Poverty- An International Perspective

Sowell 2- Wealth, Poverty and Politics- International Perspective - Trump era to bring these issues into sharper focus?

Sowell- Liberal intellectuals and hard questions about race differences- Trump era may force them to focus?

LIBERTARIAN- CONSERVATIVE APPROACH. Sowell, we all know, has been and is a favorite author of right wingers - conservatives and libertarians alike, but he also finds agreement among some moderates. Sowell is black making him especially attractive to right-wingers- who can quote him and disavow any racialist intent as needed, but he is also a formidable intellect with training as an economist. Sowell's philosophy falls on the right-wing/conservative/libertarian continuum and as a result his writing is slanted towards such. As an economist he is in an excellent position to dispassionately view a socio-economic process but in practice a great deal of his writing is spent on attacking "the liberals" negatively, with little comparative scrutiny applied to his favored right wing/libertarian side of the fence. This ideological bent, which is not unique to public intellectuals, means that he sometimes cherry-picks evidence while failing to engage contrary viewpoints in detail.

THE CHERRY-PICKING APPROACH. For example, he spends a great deal of time showing how competition acted to in some cases counter race discrimination and racism, but he quickly glides over the many cases where racism trumped competition, or where racial discrimination coexisted quite nicely with competition. Sowell is also great on using factoids- some fascinating. For example he shows that black income rose faster than white income after the Civil War as part of his demonstration on how free markets can overcome or counter discrimination (Ethnic America 1981). It appears impressive, but the black income baseline begins at such a low level- zero in the case of most slaves- that ANY increase would appear large and impressive. And yes black income and resources rose, but while this was happening the pernicious sharecropping and Jim Crow system descended on the newly freed ex-slaves- to the profit of whites. In short, despite the beneficent effects of competition, racism became quite well entrenched and benefited whites greatly.

DOWNPLAYING CIVIL RIGHTSAnother of Sowell's themes is to downplay the impact of civil  rights legislation, the civil rights movement and affirmative action. At times he has a reasonable critique of EXTREME claims of progress on these issues. But often its only the extremes he tackles. While here is lenty o fpunditry, few credible scholars for example go around saying the Civil Rights Movement, or the key Civil Rights laws (1964/65/68) are responsible for ALL black progress. Sowell sometimes critiques an extreme or marginal strawman he sets up in advance. 

In many of his books, Thomas Sowell has relatively little to say IN DETAIL about the impact of Civil Rights Act, save to sort of poo-poo its efficacy, and he follows the same pattern as to any discussion of CONTEMPORARY discrimination against blacks. It is as if such a thing barely exists, and the main problem is "liberals" stirring up trouble. But as we have seen in other blog posts, contemporary discrimination is very much alive and well. And contemporary studies such as Pager and Shepard 2008 above, (The sociology of discrimination- Racial discrimination in employment, housing, credit, consumer markets.) illustrate this in detail, whether by careful statistical analysis, "tester" audits of employers or landlords, or studies of EEOC claims and court cases. The omission is curious for a writer who is supposedly anayzing discrimination. And rather than robust analysis re civil rights, Sowell's poo-poo method on the effects of Civil Rights Laws is to use a simplistic macro, national level comparisons. But this is too broad brush.

Civil Rights Laws had nationwide impact, but most significantly, was their impact where discrimination was most severe- that is, the South. Sowell, who so often comes up with the most obscure factoids (such as suicide rates of Chinese in 1800s Cuba), carefully avoids even a basic regional comparison. However, data by credible scholars in fact does show that in the South, the coming of the Civil Rights Era and its forcing open of basic equal access and treatment, measurably improved black employment, income, and other crucial life variables like health. "Heckman and Payner (1989) use microdata from textile plants in South Carolina to study the effects of race on employment between 1940 and 1980, concluding that federal anti-discrimination policy resulted in a significant improvement in black economic status between 1965 and 1975." (Pager and Shepard 2008) Likewise detailed data such as Gavin Wright's Sharing the Prize (2013) illustrate the same point of significant black gains under after Civil Rights Laws, not only for things like employment, but in educational attainment, occupational status and even health. The forcing open of Jim Crow southern hospitals (through threat of withholding federal funds) for example was a boon to black health. See Gavin Wright's- Sharing the Prize for more detail. Sowell often speaks about the need for empirical data in his work, but his work is lacking along the same lines, mainly because of his penchant to cherry-pick factoids and frame evidence in a way that suits his particular argument, rather than a robust across-the-board analysis. This "Cherry pick" approach, is the greatest flaw in his work.

SOME WORK DEBUNKS RIGHT-WING FRIENDS. All of this is made more understandable by recognizing that Sowell was employed or funded by the right--wing Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think-tank, and in his heyday- the 1980s and 1990s - Sowell was a darling of Reaganites, neoconservatives, and conservatives alike. He counts Bell Curve ideologue Charles Murray as one of his friends. This is not to say that Sowell TOTALLY compromised his scholarship to please his paymasters. As will be seen below, some of his work undermines right-wing propaganda, so much so that these days some right wingers seek to downplay his work. He shows in his analysis of white European ethnic groups for example that claims to special northern European white virtue are laughable on some counts, (some northern European immigrant groups as one instance are the among the most crime-prone in US history)  and criticizes his friend Charles Murray's much hailed "Bell Curve" as relying in naive use of statistical correlations (The Bell Curve Wars- 1996). QUOTE:

"Perhaps the most troubling aspect of The Bell Curve from an intellectual standpoint is its authors' uncritical approach to statistical correlations. One of the first things taught in introductory statistics is that correlation is not causation. It is also one of the first things forgotten and one of the most widely ignored facts in public policy research. The statistical term "multicollinearity," dealing with spurious correlation, appears only once in this massive book.

Multicollinearity refers to the fact that many variables are highly correlated with one another, so that it is very easy to believe that a certain result comes from variable A, when in fact it is due to variable Z, with which A happens to be correlated. In real life, innumerable factors go together."

--Sowell, Thomas. "Ethnicity and IQ" pp70-79 IN: The Bell Curve Wars: Race, Intelligence, and the Future of America. 1996.

He also shows how environmental forces and factors have as much or bearing on socio-economic outcomes than simplistic right-wing and racialist "hereditarian" claims. Definitely what right-wingers do not want to hear. These examples I believe earn Sowell a hearing at least, rather than knee-jerk dismissal as a right wing apologist.

OBSOLETE SCHOLARSHIP AND NOTIONS ABOUT AFRICA. Aside from the above, there are a number of points where I disagree with Sowell on the details of various claims. In his 1983 Economics and Politics of Race (pg 226)  for example, he looks at the record of imperialism, noting that it is a mixed one, but that the imperialists introduced new technology as one positive benefit. This is reasonable, but he fails to qualify his argument when he references one book to say that "almost no community" in "sub-Saharan" Africa harnessed animals to pull the plough, until the coming of Europeans in the 19th and 20th century. His reference on the facts (Gann and Guignan 1981- Africa South of the Sahara)   is uncertain, and Sowell does not really qualify the technology examples. Ethiopia for example, is in "sub Saharan" Africa and used the plough, as did farmers in parts of the Nilotic basin of the Sudan. Both of these areas are in the tropical climatic zone, as is part of southern Egypt, (Egypt is around 15-18% in the tropical zone by the way) and Egypt of course was using the plough for millennia.

Furthermore, tropical Africans have long resided above the the line of the current Sahara which is a moving target historically, with credible scholars long showing that the desert has been moving southward a number of kilometers each year. This means that peoples and civilizations once located "below" the Sahara, and thus "sub-Saharan", come to be located "above" the Saharan line as the deserts shifts south. Such shifts are not all one way- given the variations in climate and human impacts such as drought and overgrazing- but scholars have overall, spoken of a southern tendency in movement.

The earliest example of mummification in Africa for example is that of a so-called "negroid" child in Muhuggiag, Libya (Wendorf 2001, Lovell 1999). The rock art of the Sahara during the so-called "chariot period" show the same "negroid" peoples using such vehicles with skeletal remains resembling Upper Egyptians (themselves resembling so called "sub-Saharan" types Keita 2005, Lovell 1999, and M. Fentress, The Berbers, 1997). Ancient Egypt was populated fundamentally in the pre-dynastic and earlier dynastic eras by tropical Africans, and the closest people ethnically to the ancient Egyptians are Nubians (Yurco 1989, Lovell 1999, Redford 2001, Morkot 2005, Godde 2009, Kemp 2006, Raxter and Ruff 2008). Claims about so-called "sub-Saharan Africans" and technology too often overlook these facts. 

The Sahara is a fluctuating natural element, indeed once a lush greenbelt that alternated between greenery and desert, and is not a convenient "racial" dividing line. In addition "North Africa" is more than the coastal strip of Algeria, Morocco, etc, but in several physical geographic books includes the Sudan, Mali, Niger, Chad etc. (See graphic bottom) Claims about "North Africa" all too conveniently overlook this, as do claims about "sub Saharan" Africa that all too often overlook the fact that so-called "Sub-Saharan Africans" range widely throughout Africa, and are not, and never were sitting conveniently behind some geographic "apartheid" barrier called the Sahara. 

Many parts of Africa have suffered comparative isolation due to natural barriers of soil, geography, disease and climate, (compare to the broad highway enjoyed by Mediterranean peoples, or the favorable East-West climatic axis between Asia and Europe facilitating land movement of ideas, animals, crops and technology for example), but just as the Sahara was not static over the span of history, neither have the peoples of tropical Africa been static entities, huddled behind some sort of natural "apartheid" line. Where able to mobilize or have access to wider venues and opportunities for trade and/or communication networks and exchange internal to Africa and without, (the Nile Valley, the Saharan kingdoms such as Mali or other various areas for example), tropical Africans have done well, relative to their environment, over the span of human history. Where isolated in small tribes they have shown a pattern typical of other non-Africans worldwide- see Europeans in Ireland or parts of the Balkans for example. Where able to access wider networks and better resources, tropical Africans have likewise shown more elaborate and sophisticated cultures, just as the once obscure English for example, were able to expand their culture via initial association with the wider networks of the Roman Empire (see: Sowell 1999, Conquests and Cultures).

As to the plough in more southerly Africa beyond the Sudan, the implement made limited sense because the tse-tse fly destroyed draft animals, or was of limited use in heavy forested jungle. In other words there is a practical reason people were not rushing to use ploughs. Gann and Guignan do note animal diseases limiting use of the plough.
Questions of practicality are nothing unusual in other regions. In Europe, the Irish masses overall, as an indigenous pattern, made little use of animal drawn ploughs, and relied instead on the loy, a type of spade that made sense in rocky, hilly areas, or on small farms where expensive horses, trappings and equipment could not be afforded. The loy was used up until the 1960s in poorer land, and trenches formed by turning in the sods provided drainage. It also allowed the growing of potatoes in bogs as well as on mountain slopes where no other cultivation could take place. The small spade-like loy was thus fine for tending the potato crop, giving sustenance to millions of Irish. Significant deployment of the plough was a product of English and Scottish origin (Hawkes and Dalaman 1985, The history and social influence of the potato). Thus the deployment of technology, in Europe as well as Africa, depends on a trade-off of costs and benefits in the environment at hand. Such trade-offs are a fundamental consideration in Sowell's writings, as we shall see.

Sowell also claims that literacy was unknown in Africa outside Ethiopia, again referencing Gann and Guignan. This too is in error. Literacy was long established in the Cushite kingdoms, themselves "sub-Saharan" entities - see diagram above. In fact, numerous "sub Saharan" African societies possessed literacy, as the learning centers of Mali testify. "Sub-Saharan" Africans also possessed writing before the Arabs came, via the Nsibidi scripts  of West Africa, as scholars of Africa show (Schillingford 2004). And the indigenous tropical Africans of Egypt, a nation that happens to be in Africa, had writing for millennia before Europe, and played a part in development of the modern alphabet (See: David Sacks 2003. Language Visible). Ancient Kush, in part a sub-Saharan kingdom had its own writing and alphabet centuries before Europeans or Arabs showed up. Indeed Europe did not invent writing or the plough either, but had to wait for it to be introduced from someplace else. It should also be noted that numerous "European" introductions to Africa, are themselves derived not from Europe but from Asia and the sub-tropical or tropical "Middle East" - things like the compass, printing, gunpowder, the key plant and animal domesticates of the Neolithic, advanced metallurgy, powered machinery via windmills, and the alphabet. And the Arab innovations came from a people in the tropical zone. None of these critical technologies and advances were invented or developed initially in Europe.

Indeed as Joseph Needham's monumental series Science and Civilisation in China (1986) shows, China was technologically well ahead of Europe until around the 1400s. Indeed some West African kingdoms and cities, such as the Mali of the famous Mansa Musa, or Timbuktu, surpassed several contemporary Northern European kingdoms in wealth during medieval times - the 1300s (Africa south of the Sahara: a geographical interpretation. Robert F. Stock, 2004

 Despite these errors, Sowell's overall point holds. Europeans themselves are beneficiaries of technologies brought by conquerors of European territories. While loading the decks overall he does qualify briefly by saying:
"Not all parts of the colonized world were primitive, nor did the coming of Western Civilization always represent progress in all aspects of life." (Sowell, 1983:226) It should also be noted that anthropology, archaeology and African history research since the 1980s has furnished more detailed information that makes old assumptions re "sub-Saharan" Africans or Africa obsolete. In general, Sowell is correct in noting how the movement of peoples, idea and technologies have played in part in human cultures and civilizations, including Europe, beneficiary of much developed elsewhere.

While some of his work replows old ground, here is what he has to say in his 2015 book- Wealth, Poverty and Politics_ An International Perspective, again debunking a number of "HBD" or "hereditarianism" claims: 

Poor northern Europeans also show the same problems as blacks on IQ

"The “hillbillies” were described as a degenerate population “with the lowest standard of living and moral code (if any). . . and the most savage tactics when drunk, which is most of the time.” National publicity followed, with stories in Time, Look, and Harper’s, the latter under the headline “The Hillbillies Invade Chicago.” That article’s subhead gave away the racial slippage: “The city’s toughest integration problem has nothing to do with Negroes. . . . It involves a small army of white Protestant, Early American migrants from the South— who are usually proud, poor, primitive, and fast with a knife.” The message was clear and intentional: these people are “worse than the colored.”

"The parallels with blacks go beyond the opinions of others. A 1932 study of white children from small communities in the Blue Ridge Mountains found that these white children not only had IQ scores somewhat lower than the national average of 85 for black children, but also had IQ patterns similar to those of black children— such as doing their worst on abstract questions and having IQs closer to the U.S. national average of 100 in their early years, with a widening gap as they grew older."

--Thomas Sowell. 2015. Wealth, Poverty and Politics_ An International Perspective. p 33

Europeans are beneficiaries of numerous things copied or borrowed from NON European peoples
"What this meant was that the indigenous populations of North America and South America had both a smaller economic universe and a smaller cultural universe than that of peoples in Europe, Asia or North Africa. Not only could exotic goods travel thousands of miles across the Eurasian landmass, they could also travel thousands of miles across water in large ships.

These imports included many things that originated in Asia— paper, printing, gunpowder, the compass, rudders, stirrups, spaghetti, chess, and a numbering system that Europeans called Arabic numerals (because they first saw these numerals in use among the Arabs, even though the numerals actually originated in India). All these things created in Asia became part of the cultural universe of Europeans. Much knowledge from the Middle East and North Africa also found its way into Europe, including the agricultural and architectural advances that the North African Moors brought with them when they invaded and conquered Spain. When the British confronted the Iroquois on the east coast of North America, the mental and material resources at the disposal of these two races were by no means confined to what they had each developed themselves.

The British had been able to navigate across the Atlantic, in the first place, by using the compass invented in China, doing mathematical calculations with a numbering system from India, steering with rudders invented in China, writing on paper invented in China, using letters created by the Romans, and ultimately prevailing in combat using gunpowder, also invented in China."

--Thomas Sowell. 2015. Wealth, Poverty and Politics_ An International Perspective. p 43


ORIGINAL 2011 post.

The following summary does not go into the critique or weaknesses above, but presents some key points of Sowell's social philosophy at face value. 

Now let's get down to bidniss...

Social philosophy of Thomas Sowell
copyright Enrique Cardova, 2010

The major themes and philosophies of Sowell’s writing range from social policy on race, ethnic groups, education and decision-making, to classical and Marxist economics, to the problems of children perceived as having disabilities. Sowell has also extended his research from the United States to the international sphere, finding supporting data and patterns from several cultures and nations. He has demonstrated that similar incentives and constraints often result in similar outcomes among very different peoples and cultures.
Five themes in his work cut across specific topics:
  1. The importance of empirical evidence, not only in a narrow technical sense but as reflected in the broad record of history.
  2. The competing basic visions of policy makers, and their role in the interactions of elites versus the ordinary masses.
  3. An importance of trade-offs, constraints and incentives in human decision making.
  4. The significance of human capital—attitudes, skills, and work.
  5. The importance of systemic (orderly, structured) processes for decision-making—from free markets to the rule of law.
These five keys place the economist’s writings in the greater context of historical synthesis and human decision-making, rather than being simply those of a conservative pundit or “race” writer on particular contemporary social issues. Sowell’s work is also a significant answer to critiques of economics arguing that the discipline has failed to come to grips with real world problems and is occupied too much with technical models and details, while paying little attention to historical processes.[19]

Importance of empirical evidence

Empirical evidence and objective analysis of relevant factors is sorely lacking in claims surrounding race, culture and society

In his writings Sowell has repeatedly emphasized the need for empirical evidence  and objective assessments of data, as opposed to the sweeping generalizations, wishful thinking, and distorted or false evidence provided by numerous writers in the field of social policy and economics. Sowell contends that in no field are these distortions greater than when the topic of race is discussed. Sowell maintains that common assumptions and stirring rhetoric about poverty, slavery, discrimination, economic progress or education do not hold up when measured against hard data..[20] 

What counts in assessing a social or economic policy is not the stated intentions of promoters, but the incentives created and the actual end results produced

In his book Marxism: Philosophy and Economics Sowell shows that this was the outlook of Marx. He applies this bottom-line approach to other social policies, ranging from IQ Tests to affirmative action. In numerous cases, he demonstrates that the stated aims of promoters had little relation to the actual results produced. Regarding affirmative action, for example, the goals of proponents—that it was a temporary measure, that it helped those categories of minorities less fortunate, that it would promote social harmony, et cetera—have not been satisfied when the empirical evidence is analyzed. Sowell contends that too often, social policy is made on the basis of sweeping assumptions, arbitrarily selected statistical data, and ideological dogma, without sufficient evidence.[21]

Numerous factors determine income and education levels among American ethnic groups, and between genders, not the overgeneralized, “all-purpose” explanations of racism, or sexism

In books such as Markets and Minorities, Ethnic America, and Race and Culture, Sowell demonstrates the importance of geography, degree of urbanization, cultural structures, field of work, and other factors more relevant than racism. He believes that those who make charges of racism seldom present credible empirical evidence. As for the pay gap between men and women, for example, Sowell’s book Civil Rights argues that most of this gap is based on marital status, not glass-ceiling discrimination: Earnings for men and women of the same basic description (education, jobs, hours worked, marital status) were essentially equal. That result would not be predicted under explanatory theories of sexism.[22]

Internationally, empirical evidence shows that colonialism, imperialism, and claims of genetic superiority are all theories failing to explain technological or economic differences among nations

Sowell’s trilogy Race and Culture, Migrations and Culture, and Conquests and Cultures exemplifies his broad analytical approach to historical processes, cutting across centuries of history, and many different peoples. He compares nations and minority groups within nations, particularly migrants. On an international scale, cultural factors are very important. Some countries heavily subjected to imperialism and colonialism are themselves among the most prosperous. For example, he notes that once backward Britain survived centuries of Roman colonialism and imperialism, it emerged centuries later as the most powerful empire on earth.
Sowell maintains that trendy explanations of racism and imperialism, or their reverse—simplistic claims of genetic superiority—are often used to explain significant historical patterns, when mundane factors such as geography can be much more relevant and useful in understanding an issue. The presence of navigable rivers, good harbors favorable for transportation and trade, mountain ranges that capture water for later irrigation, fertile land, climate patterns that facilitate the movement of productive plants and animals, and other like factors all heavily influenced nations’ or people’s successes over the span of history. Western tropical Africa for example, suffers a number of such geographic disadvantages. Sowell shows that for centuries, non-white nations like China were more advanced than those of Europe until comparatively recently. He also argues that the European West borrowed and adapted freely from other nations and regions—from the writing systems and domesticates of Southwest Asia to the numerous inventions and innovations of China (gunpowder, compass, etc.) and various other strands in-between. Within national settings, students of East Asian origin in the West frequently outperform their white counterparts and score higher on IQ tests. These patterns undercut simplistic white supremacist theories of inherent genetic superiority. In 1983’s Economics and Politics of Race Sowell predicts that the long cycles of history may yet again reshuffle the success of nations and peoples.

On race and intelligence (as measured by IQ), whole groups and nations have raised their IQ scores over time, undermining various theories of intelligence related to minorities such as Jews and blacks

In Intelligence and Ethnicity, Sowell demonstrates how IQ scores have risen among many groups (see: Flynn effect). He notes that a number of white ethnic groups tallied poor scores as they began entry into the American urban economy. Jews, for example, scored dismally on Army intelligence tests during WWI, leading to assumptions that they were second-rate citizens. Jewish IQ scores have risen steadily, and now they rank near the top. Similarly, IQ scores of East Asians were unimpressive in early measurements, but they rank high today. Sowell shows that black IQ progress has been concealed by the practice of statistical redefinitions, or norming, of beginning measurement baselines. Thus an IQ score that might have been considered normal or average in 1960, is today considered below par. By recalculating from the original baselines, he demonstrates that not only blacks but entire nations have shown significant rises in IQ over time. He notes that the roughly 15-point gap in contemporary black–white IQ scores is similar to that between the national average and the scores of particular ethnic white groups in years past. Indeed similar gaps have been reported within white populations, such as Northern Europeans versus Southern Europeans. Sowell references some of these points in his criticism of the book The Bell Curve.[23]
In short, Sowell argues, IQ gaps are hardly startling or unusual between, or within, ethnic groups. What is distressing, he claims, is the sometimes hysterical response to the very fact that IQ research is being done, and movements to ban testing in the name of self-esteem or fighting racism. He argues that few would have known of black IQ progress if scholars like James Flynn had not undertaken allegedly racist research.[24]

What some portray as authentic black culture is actually a carryover from a highly dysfunctional white southern redneck culture

According to Sowell, in his 2005 Black Rednecks and White Liberals, what many see as pathologies of contemporary black culture actually derive from a dysfunctional historical white-southern “cracker” culture.
What the [white] rednecks or crackers brought with them across the ocean was a whole constellation of attitudes, values, and behavior patterns that might have made sense in the world in which they had lived for centuries, but which would prove to be counterproductive in the world to which they were going — and counterproductive to the blacks who would live in their midst for centuries before emerging into freedom and migrating to the great urban centers of the United States, taking with them similar values.
The cultural values and social patterns prevalent among Southern whites included an aversion to work, proneness to violence, neglect of education, sexual promiscuity, improvidence, drunkenness, lack of entrepreneurship, reckless searches for excitement, a lively music and dance, and a style of religious oratory marked by strident rhetoric, unbridled emotions, and flamboyant imagery. This oratorical style carried over into the political oratory of the region in both the Jim Crow era and the civil rights era, and has continued on into our own times among black politicians, preachers, and activists. Touchy pride, vanity, and boastful self-dramatization were also part of this redneck culture among people from regions of Britain where the civilization was the least developed.[25]
Several scholars support Sowell’s observations. Grady McWhiney’s Cracker Culture (1988) is a thorough historical study of the values and behavioral patterns of white Southerners, and is backed by many other scholarly studies which have turned up very similar patterns even when they differed in some ways as to the causes. Scholar Hackett Fischer’s Albions Seed,(1989) for example, eschews the Celtic theory advanced by McWhiney, but shows many of the same cultural patterns for the whites, both in Britain and the American South.[26]
What is different about the current era, Sowell claims, is that better educated, more productive whites are no longer as willing to challenge or condemn the counterproductive behaviors deriving from the holdovers of white cracker culture among blacks. This stands in sharp contrast to the white northern educators that went to educate ex-slaves in the post-Civil War South, who insisted on strong discipline and work, and helped lay the foundations for black education.[27] Instead, Sowell contends, today’s white liberals too often justify, glorify, and subsidize these negatives as the “authentic expression” and behavior of the black masses. Sowell holds that the backward behavior pattern of southern whites has carried over to a generation of negative “blacknecks” who are in no way representative of the authenticity of the black community over its long, difficult climb from slavery and discrimination to freedom and equality in the United States.[28]

Competing visions and intellectuals

Many modern ideological struggles can be traced to two visions: the vision of the anointed and the vision of the constrained realist

Sowell lays out these concepts in his A Conflict of Visions and The Vision of the Anointed. These two visions encompass a range of ideas and theories. The vision of the anointed relies heavily on sweepingly optimistic assumptions about human nature, distrust of decentralized processes like the free market, impatience with systemic processes that constrain human action, and absent or distorted empirical evidence. The constrained or tragic vision relies heavily on a reduced view of the goodness of human nature, and prefers the systematic processes of the free market, and the systematic processes of the rule of law and constitutional government. It distrusts sweeping theories and grand assumptions in favor of heavy reliance on solid empirical evidence and on time-tested structures and processes.[29]

Intellectuals are “idea” workers, who often presume special wisdom and insight outside their area of expertise to guide others, while being unaccountable for results

In his 2009 book Intellectuals and Society, (Basic Books: 2009) Sowell argues that intellectuals, defined as people whose occupations deal primarily with ideas (writers, historians, academics, etc.) usually consider themselves as anointed, endowed by superior intellect or insight to guide power-brokers and the masses. This makes them different from other highly educated, cerebral workers in applied occupations such as engineering, medicine, or military service. Sowell claims that modern society needs a healthy skepticism of intellectuals, because not only are many of their theories wrong if judged empirically, but also intellectuals are often unaccountable for results, and thus are more reckless in their claims and more dangerous in their influence. They pay little penalty if they are wrong, unlike for example applied knowledge workers like surgeons or military officers. Thus peace intellectuals helped create a climate that dangerously weakened the resolve and armed strength of many major democracies prior to WWII. On balance, Sowell argues, these unaccountable idea workers have made the world a worse place in the 20th century. Several features mark such intellectuals, Sowell maintains, sometimes cutting across stereotypical categories like left or right.[30]
  • Preference for control of third parties and imposition of their preferences over the decision-making and preferences of the broad masses
  • Claimed or assumed leadership or special insight by themselves- a sense of their own specialness.
  • Lack of real world accountability for the actual outcomes and results of their theories and notions.
  • Special knowledge within narrow areas but ignorance without
  • Creation of political and social climates that can cause disaster or hinder beneficial action
  • Verbal virtuosity and clever phrasing substituting for evidence or logic.
  • Ego-involvement and personalization of issues, leading to demonization of opponents, self-congratulation and self-flattery as a basis for social policy.

Trade-offs, constraints and incentives

Ordinary citizens might benefit from analyzing issues and public policies in terms of costs, benefits and trade-offs, where scarce resources have alternative uses, rather than rely on lofty rhetoric from political leaders, activists and special interests

In Basic Economics[31] and Applied Economics,[32] Sowell lays out the fundamentals of the discipline so that the layman can understand them, as well as his essential way or model for approaching problems. There are no free lunches, Sowell emphasizes, only trade-offs at various levels. This transactional approach to social and economic policy is one of the hallmarks of Sowell’s writings:
Lofty talk about “non-economic values” too often amounts to very selfish attempts to impose one’s own values, without having to weigh them against other people’s values. Taxing away what other people have earned, in order to finance one’s own fantasy ventures, is often depicted as a humanitarian endeavor, while allowing others the same freedom and dignity as oneself, so they can make their own choices with their own earnings, is considered to be pandering to “greed.” Greed for power is more dangerous than greed for money and has shed far more blood in the process. Political authorities have often had “revolutionary values” that were devastating to the general population.[33]

Government action is too often perceived as beneficial, just and noble, when in fact it often hurts those it is purportedly trying to help

As far back as 1975’s Race and Economics[34] and continuing through his Affirmative Action Around The World and Basic and Applied Economics series, Sowell repeatedly shows that much government action in the social and economic domains has not only failed to achieve desired or claimed results but in many cases has created worse conditions than those previously existing.[35] Examples given to bolster Sowell’s arguments range from rent control (which decreases the supply of housing) to busing for racial balance (schools in some areas under busing are just as segregated or worse than before) and crime control, zoning laws, and education.
Sowell also takes strong issue with the notion of government as a helper or savior of minorities, arguing that the historical record shows quite the opposite—from the lower level Jim Crow laws created and enforced by state and local regimes, to welfare subsidies at the federal level that have promoted family dependency and breakdown. The Montgomery Bus Company of the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott in the 1950s, for example, had originally pleaded with local segregationist officials not to impose Jim Crow on the bus lines. Before, such lines served both black and white customers with little problem. This plea was rejected, and the hand of government once again interfered with and hindered free markets that mutually benefited customers of all races.[36] Unlike the free market, where the dollars held by blacks and whites have equal value, the governmental sphere in a massive number of historical instances imposed unequal values—with black votes having less value than white ones—and so Jim Crow expanded. Sowell maintains that, time and time again, the hand of government has negatively intervened to snuff out mutually desirable free market transactions between blacks and whites, raising business costs, dampening profits, and creating huge inefficiencies to local economies. The wasteful duplication of facilities and customer-service areas in the name of segregation are but one example of the waste and inefficiency imposed by government, reputed benefactor of minorities.[37] Sowell draws upon a mass of historical data to question both the priorities and logic of those who call for even more government intervention and spending to “solve” the problems of minorities.[38]

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

Another of Sowell’s themes is to show the painful but steady rise of blacks in the US against heavy odds before massive intervention by government programs, a rise that contradicts some popular assumptions.
Social problems
In Affirmative Action Around the World (2004)[39] and Civil Rights[40] Sowell demonstrates that on several measures, black progress was actually better before the era of the expanding welfare state and affirmative action era of the 1970s, and even the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 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, (19% in 1940 and 22% in 1960) but were still far lower than the 70% out-of-wedlock births afflicting the black community at the beginning of the 21st century. In every census between 1890 and 1940, blacks posted higher marriage rates than whites.[41] Sowell also shows that numerous other European groups showed patterns of high dysfunction as they migrated to urban areas. He argues that this historical record undermines claims about hopelessly deficient black family patterns due to an alleged legacy of slavery or genetic handicaps, and maintains that the dependency induced by the welfare state undermined much that was stable and commendable about black family and community life, above and beyond the difficulties of rural to urban migration.[42] The weakening of crime controls by judges and political elites during the 1960s fostered an atmosphere of lawlessness in the black community that also contributed to a negative harvest of social problems. As regards murder, for example, a crime that is not much influenced by fluctuations in victim reporting, rates doubled in the 1960s as plea bargaining, lighter sentences, “revolving door” early releases, restrictions on police procedures and probations increased. Although the weakening of controls was sometimes undertaken in the name of fairness for minorities, no community was harder hit by such rising rates than the black community.[43]
Black education was badly hurt by Jim Crow laws and practices; nevertheless Sowell demonstrates in Inside American Education (1993) and Black Education: Myths and Tragedies (1972) that even on this measure, blacks often showed progress that would be almost inconceivable in many of today’s inner city schools. While black education lagged heavily behind that of whites in the segregation era, several black schools were to emerge that produced excellent performances. All-black Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. prior to the 1960s, for example, achieved performance levels equal to or exceeding that of surrounding white schools. The average IQ at Dunbar was 111 in 1939, and again in 1950, and attendance records in some years showed lower levels of absenteeism than that of surrounding white schools in the District of Columbia. Dunbar also produced a impressive number of black firsts in many fields from naval officers, to the first black federal judge, military general, and cabinet member, and with alumni ranging from jazzman Duke Ellington to the black pioneer in the use of blood plasma.[44] Nor could this be due to creaming of the crop to create a tiny elite of black students, Sowell contends. Attendance records suggest Dunbar’s student body was quite representative of the black community it served, and fully one-third of all black students in D.C. passed through its doors in some decades.[44]
Dunbar is not the only example. A record of achievement is documented in several schools across the country. In several New York schools (Harlem) before WWII, black student test scores achieved basic parity with comparable working class white schools on the lower East side—sometimes higher, sometimes lower, but never miles behind as is the case in numerous ghetto schools of the contemporary era. Nor are such patterns necessarily a recent phenomenon. As far back as WWI, black soldiers from various Northern States like New York, Pennsylvania, etc. scored higher on Army intelligence tests than southern whites from various southern states like Mississippi, Alabama and others.[45]
In his 1986 Education: Assumptions versus History, Sowell discusses several all-black public and private schools that achieved high performance standards like Dunbar. Ironically, some of these high-performing black schools declined after the Brown desegregation. Dunbar for example was torn down and rebuilt as a neighborhood school in a neighborhood that had descended into crime, poverty and decay. Similar patterns occurred with many other once thriving black institutions. Schools that once boasted high test scores, numerous academic awards, service to the community, and the development of black professionals became marked by low test scores, locations in decaying neighborhoods, lack of parental support and discipline problems. Policies such as busing for racial balance did little to stem this decline.[46] There is little interest in such past achievements, Sowell argues, because the historical record would call into question prevailing policies and dogmas focused on racial headcounts, trendy black English, diversity, bigger budgets and more spending. The record also highlights counterproductive cultural attitudes towards education among some of today’s blacks as demonstrated by various research on the anti-intellectual “acting white” phenomenon,[47] Sowell claims. Today’s Dunbar, he notes, has much finer physical facilities than the old school before its decline in the 1960s, but produces much more dismal academic results. More students went on to college from Dunbar during the Great Depression than they do in the contemporary ghetto school of today.[44]
Long-standing trend of black progress
Sowell also challenges the notion that black progress is due to progressive government programs or policies. In The Economics and Politics of Race, (1983), Ethnic America (1981), Affirmative Action (2004), and other books, Sowell shows that in the five years prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act black gains in employment and education were actually higher than in the five years after. Black progress in employment and education was a long-standing trend from the WWII era, almost two decades before the 1964 law, and before the era of affirmative action in the mid 1970s. Black gains in education and employment after 1964, Sowell maintains, continued this upward movement in the booming postwar economy. The passage of the race-neutral Civil Rights Act of 1964 complemented this upward swing and, by removing unjust legal barriers, provided significant equal opportunity. Sowell sharply contrasts equal opportunity (fair treatment across the board regardless of race) with the disguised or open race quotas and headcounts of affirmative action.

Long-standing advance in reducing poverty is also a hallmark of black effort, Sowell maintains, contradicting assorted claims of black inability. Prior to the 1964 Act, when few welfare or transfer payment programs as such were in place, a majority of blacks had actually pulled themselves above the poverty line despite open hostility from many whites and open segregation and discrimination in job and housing markets. On several other measures, from youth employment to crime, blacks posted a much better showing prior to the expansion of the welfare state, or the affirmative action era, than after.
White ethnic groups show many of the same problems historically
Sowell also argues that many problems identified with blacks in modern society are hardly unique in terms of American ethnic groups, nor in terms of a rural proletariat swept by disruption as it became urbanized. Heavy patterns of pathology are for example seen in the white peasant migrants to the dismal urban slums that sprung up during the Industrial Revolution in Britain and elsewhere.[48] He maintains that US blacks only became a largely urban people after WWII, when the booming war economy produced a third great migration north, allowing millions of blacks to escape the harsh, oppressive conditions of the South. While southern cities also saw some migration, it was this massive wartime move north that was much more significant, and the arrival of the rural black proletariat into difficult urban conditions broke down many of the social mores and community controls that had maintained its stability in the past.
Sowell notes that social problems occurring after such migrations are nothing new with other white ethnic groups, who had the advantage of entering, acculturating and adjusting to the urban economy in toto several decades earlier than blacks.[49] The black migrants faced race discrimination above and beyond other ethnic groups but fundamentally experienced the same social pathologies others did in becoming urbanized. Difficulties with crime, schooling, substance abuse etc. are thus not uniquely "black" problems but are well represented in other urbanizing groups from peasant background. In Ethnic America, (1981) for example, Sowell shows that white ethnic groups like the Irish were marked by many of the same patterns as blacks who migrated from rural backgrounds to the big urban centers, including high levels of violence and substance abuse. As regards out-of-wedlock births, the rate in some New York areas with heavy white Irish settlement was over 50%, comparable to what would develop in later black ghettos in the same city.[50]
Sowell sums of some of these claims in his Pink and Brown People and Other Controversial Essays (1981), warning against what he calls the fallacy of presentism:[51]
"Those who cannot swallow pseudo-biology can turn to pseudo-history as the basis for classification. Unique cultural characteristics are now supposed to neatly divide the population. In this more modern version, the ghetto today is a unique social phenomenon.. American ghettos have always had crime, violence, overcrowding, filth, drunkenness, bad school teaching, and worse learning. Nor are blacks historically unique even in the degree of these things. Crime and violence were much worse in the nineteenth-century slums, which were almost all white. The murder rate in Boston in the middle of the nineteenth century was about three times what it was in the middle of the twentieth century. All the black riots of the 1960s put together did not kill half as many people as were killed in one white riot in 1863.. Squalor, dirt, disease? Historically, blacks are neither the first nor last in any of these categories. There were far more immigrants packed into the slums (per room or per square mile) than is the case with blacks today - not to mention the ten thousand to thirty thousand children with no home at all in the nineteenth-century New York...
Even in the area where many people get most emotional- educational and IQ test results- blacks are doing nothing that various European minorities did not do before them. As of about 1920, any number of European ethnic groups had I.Q.'s the same or lower than the I.Q.'s of blacks today. As recently as 1940, there were schools on the Lower East Side of New York with academic performances lower than those of schools in Harlem. Much of the paranoia that we talk ourselves into about race is a result of provincialism about our own time as compared to other periods in history."
The true beneficiaries of affirmative action are not the less fortunate but those already advantaged
In his 2004 Affirmative Action Around the World Sowell holds that affirmative action covers most of the American population, particularly women, and has long since ceased to be directed towards blacks, although blacks are often invoked as primary beneficiaries, and that the main beneficiaries are not the less fortunate but those already able to well help themselves:
As in other countries, however, these policies spread far beyond the initial beneficiaries. Blacks are just 12 percent of the American population, but affirmative action programs have expanded over the years to include not only other racial or ethnic groups, but also women, so that such such policies now apply to a substantial majority of the American population...
...the top 20 percent of black income earners had their income share rising at about the same rate as that of their white counterparts, while the bottom 20 percent of black income earners had their income share fall at more than double the rate of the bottom 20 percent of white income earners. In short, the affirmative action era in the United States saw the more fortunate blacks benefit while the least fortunate lost ground in terms of their share of incomes. Neither the gains nor the losses can be arbitrarily attributed to affirmative action but neither can affirmative action claim to have advanced lower-income blacks when in fact those fell behind."[52]
Sowell shows that immigrants suffering no past discrimination in the United States have also sometimes been classified as “approved minorities” and have also benefited from Affirmative Action. The affluent Fanjul family from Cuba for example, with a fortune exceeding $500 million, received contracts set aside for minority businesses. European businessmen from Portugal received the bulk of the money paid to minority owned construction firms between 1986 and 1990 in Washington D.C. Asian businessmen immigrating to the United States have also received preferential access to government contracts. Sowell also argues that while affirmative action began as a program primarily intended to benefit blacks, a huge majority of minority- and female-owned businesses are in fact owned by groups other than blacks, including Asians, Hispanics, and women.[53]
In addition, the vast majority of minority firms appear to gain little from government set-asides. In Cincinnati, for example, 682 minority forms appeared on the city’s approved list but 13% of these companies received 62% of preferential access and 83% of the money. Nationally, one-fourth of one percent of minority-owned enterprises are certified to receive preferences under the Small Business Administration, but even within this tiny number, 2% of the firms received 40% of the money.[53]
The history of black achievement prior to the affirmative action era is too often lost and overlooked, Sowell holds, and contradicts some right-wing claims that blacks have not pulled themselves up, or that seek to tar black progress as a function of affirmative action. The same history also contradicts some liberal claims that government programs like race quotas are responsible for black progress, when the facts show that the main beneficiaries of such programs are often non-blacks, and that there has been a long-standing trend of black advance before such programs.

Human capital

Human capital is the most durable, most precious of all, trumping both physical and financial capital, and overcoming the most adverse circumstances

Over and over again in Sowell’s works the theme of human capital appears. Human capital is the sum total of values, attitudes, skills, work effort and cultural inheritance and patterns, often extending back for centuries. Human capital can be individual—education, self-discipline, savings, hard work—but more important to Sowell’s work, it is also mass capital, the combined product of millions, not the select preserve of a few.
Human capital and oppressed minorities
Human capital has permitted ethnic minorities to bounce back and triumph over the harshest, most brutal treatment by majorities. Sowell’s works (Economics and Politics of Race (1993), Ethnic America(1981), Affirmative Action around the World (2004), and Race and Culture (1994). etc.) are laced with such illustrations, across several nations of the world, and across several centuries. Jews in Europe or the Middle East, for example, often harshly persecuted for centuries and denied a basis in agriculture, used their skills in urban economies to not only survive, but to ultimately end-run their enemies. Overseas Chinese are another such group, enduring harsh treatment from the colonial and modern era of Southeast Asia to the mining towns of 19th Century California, where rampaging white mobs did not give them “a Chinaman’s chance.”[54] Today their native born descendants as a group surpass the US white average on a number of counts, from income and education to IQ and academic test results. Japanese-Americans show a similar pattern despite such obstacles as racist land laws designed to freeze them out of farming occupations or the internment camps of WWII.
Human capital in patterns reaching back centuries
In several works, Sowell traces the triumph of human capital and the human spirit across nations and historical periods. Industrious German farmers who took over wasteland scorned by others and turned it into productive farms did so not only in the United States, but in places as far afield as Russia and Argentina. Japanese farming skill and discipline repeated itself from the produce fields of California to Brazil. Italian stone and vineyard workers dominated certain related trades from the streets of New York to the fields of distant Argentina. None of this is by accident, but reflects human capital earned the hard way across the span of centuries, in multiple nations, across multiple generations. The importance of human capital—mass capital attained by ordinary men and women through generations of experience and sacrifice—is, for Sowell, much more important to human well-being than the theories of racial supremacists or utopian activists. Such capital is the foundation of human liberty and civilization. Some critics claim that the sharp, sometimes sarcastic tone found in some of Sowell’s works such as Inside American Education reflects his exasperation and frustration at the waste of human capital occurring in many minority, particularly black communities.[55]

Systemic processes

Systemic processes mated to the common wisdom and practical action of the ordinary people are superior to the grandiose presumptions of intellectual, political and bureaucratic elites

In several works—his Knowledge and Decisions, A Conflict of Visions, and The Economics and Politics of Race among them—Sowell stresses the importance of systemic processes like free markets, the rule of law, and constitutional government. Such systemic processes are orderly, structured, and sequential. They are not perfect, nor can they be, since humans themselves are flawed. Instead, on the balance, they provide the best framework whereby imperfect humans can achieve large measures of freedom in not only the political sphere but the economic one as well. Such processes are continually refined and improved incrementally over time. Improvements over time to common law judicial systems like that of the United States, for example, did not quickly come about by sweeping decrees from those with allegedly superior wisdom, but rather by a long, painful process extending back to the Magna Carta and beyond. Likewise US blacks pulled themselves from poverty not because of government programs or policies, but often in spite of government, largely using the processes of free markets. Blacks broke segregation in many white neighborhoods, for example, not because of the goodness of the government or the goodwill of whites, but because their combined dollars outbid or induced even racist whites to sell them property in reserved areas.
On balance, Sowell maintains, systemic processes are superior to the dictates or condescension of those on high who presume to know better than ordinary people. A product of the hard-scrabble streets himself, Sowell also stresses the practical action and wisdom of the broad masses within those methodical frameworks, versus the presumptions, confiscations and social engineering of elites. The ordinary masses deserve freedom as much as “their betters.” Such elites, he argues, are only too ready to claim freedom for their own trendy notions and self-aggrandizing profit, while denying similar freedom to the small man on the street to manage his own resources and make his own decisions. A deep skepticism towards intellectual and bureaucratic elites runs through much of Sowell’s work. This is perhaps summed up best at the end of Knowledge and Decisions (1983):
Historically, freedom is a rare and tragic thing. It has emerged out of the stalemates of would-be oppressors. Freedom has cost the blood of millions in obscure places and historic sites ranging from Gettysburg to the Gulag Archipelago. That something that cost so much in human lives should be surrendered piecemeal in exchange for [trendy] visions or rhetoric seems grotesque. Freedom is not simply the right of intellectuals to circulate their merchandise. It is, above all, the right of ordinary people to find elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their “betters.”[56]



19 . ^ Graeme Donald Snooks, Historical Analysis in Economics (Routledge 1993)

20 . ^ Sowell, Thomas (1981). Knowledge and Decisions

21 . ^ Sowell, Thomas (2004). Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study, Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-10199-6
22 . ^ Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality, Thomas Sowell, 1984. Markets and Minorities, Thomas Sowell, 1981
23 . ^ Sowell, Thomas. “The Bell Curve Wars,” Chapter 6 in Ethnicity and IQ, pg 70-80

24 . ^ Thomas Sowell, Affirmative Action: An International Perspective, op. cit.; Web: “Race and IQ” column for
25 . ^ Thomas Sowell (2005). Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Encounter Books, p. 6).

26 . ^ Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. p. 6

27 . ^ Sowell, Ethnic America, p. 202-204

28 . ^ Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. p. 4-60

29 . ^ For helpful discussion of Sowell’s dualistic ideological model, see Joseph G. Conti and Brad Stetson, Challenging the Civil Rights Establishment: Profiles of a New Black Vanguard, (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1993, pp. 85--122).
30 . ^ Sowell, T. (2009). Intellectuals and Society. Basic Books. pp. 4-116; 281-319

31 . ^ Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics: A Citizens Guide to the Economy, (Basic Books: 2003)

32 . ^ Thomas Sowell, Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One, (Basic Books, 2003)

33 . ^ Basic Economics, Thomas Sowell, p. 308

34 . ^ Race and Economics, 1975

35 . ^ Basic Economics, op. cit

36 . ^ Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals.

37 . ^ Sowell, The Economics and Politics of Race, p. 145–206;

38 . ^ Race and Economics, 1975, op. cit.

39 . ^ Affirmative action. op. cit

40 . ^ Civil Rights, op. cit

41 . ^ Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. pg. 161

42 . ^ Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. pp. 160-165

43 . ^ Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions, pp. 268-288

44 . ^ a b c Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. pp. 203-245

45 . ^ Thomas Sowell, Inside American Education (Basic Books: 1993)

46 . ^ Sowell, T. Education: Assumptions versus History, (Hoover Institution: 1986)

47 . ^ John U. Ogbu, Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003)
48 . ^ Sowell, Ethnic America, 120-207.

49 . ^ Sowell, Ethnic America, p. 120-207

50 . ^ Sowell, Ethnic America, Basic Books: 1981, p. 120-207)

51 . ^ Sowell, Thomas, Pink and Brown People and Other Controversial Essays. 1981. Hoover Institution Press. Quoted in William Vesterman, 1994. Reading and Writing Short Arguments. pp. 167-169
52 . ^ Sowell, 2004. Affirmative Action Around the World, pp 115-147

53 . ^ a b Sowell, 2004. Affirmative Action Around the World, pp 115-147

54 . ^ Sowell, Ethnic America, op. cit.

55 . ^ Robert J. Nash “A Neo-essentialist Diatribe Against American Education,” Journal of Teacher Education, March–April 1995, Vol 46, no 2, pp. 150-155
56 . ^ Knowledge and Decisions, p. 383


Joint products of "racial evolution"...


Racial discrimination is alive and kicking in employment, housing and credit markets

Sowell 3- new data shows backward tropical evolution? Wealth and Poverty- An International Perspective in Trump era

Sowell 2- Wealth, Poverty and Politics- International Perspective - Trump era to bring these issues into sharper focus?

Sowell- Liberal intellectuals and hard questions about race differences- Trump era may force them to focus?

Trump properties discriminated against black tenants lawsuit finds

Stealing credibility- Dinesh D'souza has prison epiphany- after hanging with the homies- Hallelujah Hilary!

Shame on you, and your guilt too- A review of Shelby Steele's 'Shame'

Go with the flow 3- more DNA and cranial studies show ancient African migration to, or African presence in ancient Europe

Go with the flow 2- African gene flow into Europe in various eras

DNA studies show African movement to Europe from very ancient times

Guilt3- Why the "white privilege industry" is not all there

Guilt2- Media collaborates with guilt mongers - or how to play the white victim card

How Obama plays on white guilt

Blacks oppose free speech- more ramshackle "research" from "the East"..

Hands off the Confederate flag

Despite much more wealth than blacks, whites collect about the same rate of welfare and are treated more generously

African "boat people" ushering in European demographic decline

The forgotten Holocaust- King Leopold's "Congo Free State" - 10 million victims

Are violent minorities taking over California and the West?

Presidential hopeful Ben Carson meets and Greeks

Contra "ISIS" partisans, there have been some beneficial effects of Christianity

The social construction of race, compared to biology- Graves

 Why HBD or hereditarianism lacks credibility

Leading Scientists criticize hereditarian claims

Thai me down - Thais fall behind genetically related southern Chinese, Tibetans below genetically related East Asians like Koreans and other Chinese

Time for liberals to respect "the south" ... in a way of speaking.. the south of Egypt that is..

Irony 2: touted High IQ "G-men" cannot reproduce themselves

Unz and Sowell: Unz debunking Lynn's IQ and Wealth of Nations. Sowell debunking the Bell Curve

Irony 1: touted High IQ types are more homosexual, more atheist, and more liberal (HAL)

Elite white universities discriminate against Asians using reverse "affirmative action"

Deteriorating state of white America

Racial Cartels (The Affirmative Action Propaganda machine- part 2

Hereditarian's/HBD's "Great Black Hope"

Exploding nonsense: the 10,000 Year Explosion

We need "rational racism"? Proponent Dinesh D;Souza becomes his own test case

The Affirmative Action Propaganda Machine- part 1

Two rules for being "really" black- no white wimmen, no Republican

The Axial age reconsidered - or latitude not attitide

Cannibal seasonings: dark meat on white

"Affirmative Action" in the form of court remedies has been around a long time- since the 1930s- benefiting white union workers against discrimination by employers

Mugged by reality 1: White quotas, special preferences and government jobs

Lightweight enforcement of EEO laws contradicts claims of "flood" of minorities "taking jobs"

Railroaded 3: white violence and intimidation imposed quotas

Railroaded 2: how white quotas and special preferences blockade black progress...

Railroaded 1: How white affirmative action and white special preferences destroyed black railroad employment...

Affirmative action: primary beneficiaries are white women

7 reasons certain libertarians and right-wingers are wrong about the Civil Right Act

Social philosophy of Thomas Sowell

Bogus "biodiversity" theories of Kanazawa, Ruston, Lynn debunked

JP Rushton, Michael Levin, Richard Lynn debunked. Weaknesses of Jared Diamond's approach.

In the Blood- debunking "HBD" and Neo-Nazi appropriation of ancient Egypt

early Europeans and middle Easterners looked like Africans. Peoples returning or "backflowing" to Africa would already be looking like Africans

 Ancient Egypt: one of the world's most advanced civilizations- created by tropical peoples

Playing the "Greek defence" -debunking claims of Greeks as paragons of virtue or exemplars of goodness

Quotations from mainstream academic research on the Nile Valley peoples

Assorted "Role models" debunked- hypocritical heriditarianism

Evolution, brain size, and the national IQ of peoples ... - Jelte Wicherts 2010

Why national IQs do not support evolutionary theories of intelligence - WIcherts, Borsboom and Dolan 2010
Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 91-96
----------------------------- -------------

Are intelligence tests measurement invariant over time? by JM Wicherts - ?2004
 --Dolan, Wicherts et al 2004. Investigating the nature of the Flynn effect. Intelligence 32 (2004) 509-537

---------------- -------


Race and other misadventures: essays in honor of Ashley Montagu... By Larry T. Reynolds, Leonard Lieberman

Race and intelligence: separating science from myth. By Jefferson M. Fish. Routledge 2002. See Templeton's detailed article referenced above also inside the book
---------------- -------

Oubre, A (2011) Race Genes and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences, vol 1 and 2. BTI Press
For summary see:
---------------- -------


--S OY Keita, R A Kittles, et al. "Conceptualizing human variation," Nature Genetics 36, S17 - S20 (2004)

--S.O.Y. Keita and Rick Kittles. (1997) *The Persistence ofRacial Thinking and the Myth of Racial Divergence. AJPA, 99:3
---------------- -------

Alan Templeton. "The Genetic and Evolutionary significnce oF Human Races." pp 31-56. IN: J. FiSh (2002) Race and Intelligence: Separating scinnce from myth.

 J. FiSh (2002) Race and Intelligence: Separating science from myth.


-------------------------------- ---------------------

Oubre, A (2011) Race Genes and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences, vol 1 and 2. BTI Press

Krimsky, S, Sloan.K (2011) Race and the Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth, and Culture

Wicherts and Johnson, 2009. Group differences in the heritability of items and test scores

--Joseph Graves, 2006. What We Know and What We Don’t Know: Human Genetic Variation and the Social Construction of Race

J. Kahn (2013) How a Drug Becomes "Ethnic" - Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics, v4:1

------------------------------------ -----------------


The Ghetto Intellectual™ said...

Well, well, well. You have put LOTS on the table bro. Too Tall. This looks to be a fascinating read. Will try to find time to look it over this weekend. Also, you might consider breaking it up a bit. Maybe 2 or 3 parts. GI

Too Tall Jones said...

Good point. I will consider it. Originally wrote it for Wikipedia, before its destruction. Now the original has a home on the web, unhindered by random vandalism.