Dé hAoine, Samhain 21, 2008

Thomas Sowell Thinks You're Stupid

A longtime supply-side economist and esteemed member of the eternal right-wing think tank circle jerk, Sowell spent much of the presidential campaign stating the common circle-jerk line that Barrack Obama had no major accomplishments in his life. While the old canard that you're nobody unless you're giving orders to somebody else is a foundational tenet of conservatism, the "no accomplishments" line seemed especiallyodd coming from Sowell, who, like the pre-political Obama, accomplished most of his life's work in the academic realm, with its modicum of sycophants and mere six-figure salary. If being president of the Harvard Law Review is "accomplishing nothing" than surely being a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution (Dedicated to making right-wing academics stop whining since 1919) at that pitiful cow college Stanford is accomplishing less than nothing.

In his latest column, Sowell turns to another old righty mainstay; the idea that government entitlements and decadent pop culture has made Americans less mentally tough than we used to be. Specifically, Sowell bemoans a "right to win" and a supposed increase in sore-loserhood, and while he certainly should know all about that he somehow fails to make a convincing argument. Let's look at some of the highlights.

"Hillary Clinton's supporters were not merely disappointed, but outraged, when she lost the Democrats' nomination to Barack Obama. Some took it as a sign that, while racial barriers had come down, the "glass ceiling" holding down women was still in place.
Apparently, if you don't win, somebody has put up a barrier or a ceiling. The more obvious explanation of the nomination outcome was that Obama ran a better campaign than Hillary. There is not the slightest reason to doubt that she would have been the nominee if the votes in the primaries had come out her way."

True. There is not the slightest reason to doubt that Hillary Clinton would have won if she would have won, and as for Clinton supporters being outraged; well, maybe at first, for a little while. But it does seem as if the unbridgeable gulf between Obama Democrats and Clinton Democrats that right-wing pundits (and a reality-show era media unable to explain anything in terms other than conflict) assured us was there in a great orgy of wishful thinking was in fact bunk. That Sowell is still able to believe that there are fuming Clinton supporters somewhere, waiting with the most extreme patience to enact their revenge, shows the true power of the think tank bubble. Not even electoral reality gets through.

"As the election approached, pundits warned that, if Obama lost, there would be riots in the ghetto. We will never know. But since when does any candidate have a right to win any office, much less the White House?"

And other pundits pointed out that the pundits who warned of chaos if Obama lost were prissy morons whose knowledge of the "hood" was wholly derived from early 90's action films. This is just the first third of the column, and so far Sowell has set up his premise by citing an angry electoral faction that does not exist and unprovable fear-mongering by unnamed pundits. It's a true wonder why he dignifies the nonsense with the written word. Just give him a radio mike and let him duke it out with his schizophrenic strawmen along with the rest of that crowd.

"The worst of all the reactions from people who act as if they have a right to win have come from gay activists in the wake of voter rejection of so-called "gay marriage," which is to say, redefining what marriage has meant for centuries."

That's Sowell's photo up top. You surely noticed that he is a black man, as did I; and I much say it is rather strange to see him insinuate that a human institution that has remained unchanged for hundreds of years must be good, and well, that's all I'll say about that. Also note the use of the old "redefining" shell game in regards to gay marriage. How it is that a monogamous gay union is more of a radical departure from the imaginary norm of a monogamous hetero union than, say, hetero polygamy is never explained.

"Blacks who just happened to be driving through Westwood, near UCLA, were accosted in their cars and, in addition to being denounced, were warned, 'You better watch your back.'

Even blacks who were carrying signs in favor of gay marriage were denounced with racial epithets."

Sowell leaves a great deal of information missing here. How many epithets? What percentage of the protesters were engaging in such abhorrent behavior? Is there some sort of black vs. gay West Side Story about to go down? Or was it a tiny number of jackasses letting off stream? Afterwards to be passed through the right-wing echo chamber until the amen chorus was convinced that this was the typical behavior of all of the anti prop-8 protesters.

"In Michigan, an evangelical church service was invaded and disrupted by gay activists, who also set off a fire alarm, because evangelicals had dared to exercise their right to express their opinions at the polls."

Puerile and childish. But pulling a fire alarm is something less than a menacing threat to speech, don't you think?

"In Oakland, California, a mob gathered outside a Mormon temple in such numbers that officials shut down a nearby freeway exit for more than three hours."

Sowell reaches a moral low with his emotionally loaded language here. It is in fact perfectly normal for police to temporarily close streets (Yes, that's right. Even on-ramps!) whenever "mobs" are exercising their First Amendment rights.

In their midst was a San Francisco Supervisor who said 'The Mormon church has had to rely on our tolerance in the past, to be able to express their beliefs." He added, "This is a huge mistake for them. It looks like they've forgotten some lessons.'
Apparently Mormons don't have the same rights as other Americans, at least not if they don't vote the way gay activists want them to vote.

Well as a matter of fact, the Mormon Church (Which I assert speaks for itself and not its followers) has more rights than we do. They are able to spend money advocating for a political measure in a state hundreds of miles from its power base without having to save a dime for taxes as the rest of us do. They are a religion, after all, and thus extra-political.

As for the quote above; where, exactly, is the threat? Has Sowell learned nothing about Bay Area history at Stanford? In 1845 a group of New York Mormons decided so sail around the Americas in a ship called "Brooklyn" in order to take the shorter route to Utah from the West Coast, and guess what major West Coast port is roughly parallel to Salt Lake City? The emigrants of the Brooklyn were treated kindly by San Franciscans, they met none of the violent discrimination of the east. They were fed, rested, and treated for any sea-related maladies.

Now we have the Mormon Church's support of prop. 8, which is a slap in the face of a famously large amounts of San Franciscans. The tolerance of San Francisco has indeed been betrayed. Though I suppose it isn't the first time that this wonderful city has been vilified and spat upon, simply for living the American ideal, by those who have no clue what the freedom they spout about actually is.

"In the past, gay activists have disrupted Catholic services and their "gay pride" parades in San Francisco have crudely mocked nuns."

There's a good chance that these are the fellows that Sowell has in mind; the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Simply shocking, isn't it? A room full of felons joking about prom night could not possibly be as crude or disgusting as men dressed as nuns.
My God the depravity has driven me blind.

"How did we get to this kind of situation?
With all the various groups who act as if they have a right to win, we got to the present situation over the years, going back to the 1960s, where the idea started gaining acceptance that people who felt aggrieved don't have to follow the rules or even the law.
"No justice, no peace!" was a slogan that found resonance.

One more old right-wing standby for road. America's social problems are rooted in the protests of the sixties. Except no, Tommy, that's utter nonsense. The practice of people breaking the law out of a sense of aggrievement is much older than the nineteen sixties, and is hardly confined to those on the left or those trying to change the status quo. When I think of the sort of behavior that Sowell describes, my thoughts turn towars murderous union-busting, pogroms and race riots, corporations disregarding environmental rules, churches covering up sexual abuse, and presidents exaggerating threats to start dynastic wars.

But that's just me.

When the majority of the people become like sheep, who will tolerate intolerance rather than make a fuss, then there is no limit to how far any group will go.

I don't believe that Thomas Sowell is a homophobe, I really don't. No, what he is is a conservative in the most honest sense of the word; a man who lacks the emotional strength to accept that his own society is neither his God or his Daddy, but simply human. As a human society it is inevitably flawed, not by the powerless and outcast at the bottom, but from the rarefied list of surrogate fathers (for those addicted to surrogate fathers) who reign at the top.

So no, Sowell is not a homophobe, at least not primarily. His main prejudice is against the rebel, the boat rocker, in a word, the essential American, who dares to fill his mind with insufferable doubt. Sowell's final paragraph, in which he derides the majority of his countrymen as "sheep" and insinuates that we must "make a fuss" to prevent the boat rockers from doing unspeakable things, is far more menacing than any of the incidents he lists in his column. To look the status quo in the eye and say "fuck you" is the most human and vivacious thing that a person can experience, and to Thomas Sowell this is the way to madness.

Pathetic. A dried husk, willfully drained of his vitality by an assuring Levathian, feebly swats at the demons of his mind.


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