Thomas Sowell Explains Why The “Elite” Cannot Manage Society And The Economy

Thomas Sowell is one of the great public intellectuals of our time.  What makes him great is not the raw power of his intellect, although in my view it is plenty formidable.  What makes him great is his bravery and humility. 

Professor Sowell is always willing to take on a touchy subject without fear, hesitation, or mumbling politically correct nonsense to blunt the impact of his analysis (see, for example, Black Rednecks and White Liberals)And notwithstanding his success and intellect, Sowell understands that even great minds do not and cannot know everything.  His humility sets him apart from, for example, intellectuals egocentric partisan hacks such as Paul Krugman.

This humility is on display in Sowell’s column today, How Smart Are We?  In it, Sowell writes

Many of the wonderful-sounding ideas that have been tried as government policies have failed disastrously. Because so few people bother to study history, often the same ideas and policies have been tried again, either in another country or in the same country at a later time– and with the same disastrous results.

One of the ideas that has proved to be almost impervious to evidence is the idea that wise and far-sighted people need to take control and plan economic and social policies so that there will be a rational and just order, rather than chaos resulting from things being allowed to take their own course. It sounds so logical and plausible that demanding hard evidence would seem almost like nit-picking.

* * *

Elites may have more brilliance, but those who make decisions for society as a whole cannot possibly have as much experience as the millions of people whose decisions they pre-empt. The education and intellects of the elites may lead them to have more sweeping presumptions, but that just makes them more dangerous to the freedom, as well as the well-being, of the people as a whole.

Please do read the whole thing.  As always, Sowell supports his arguments with historical facts and logic, not gauzy talking points.

Although he does not mention the Obama Administration or the Democrats in Congress, Sowell’s column is an indictment of their entire way of thinking.  Notwithstanding a severe dearth of experience in the private sector actually running businesses, creating real jobs, or having day-to-day accountability for success or failure, these “elites” think that only they know the path to economic growth and stability, how healthcare should be administered, which cars we should drive, the fuels we should rely upon, and even the food we should eat.  They don’t.  And such thinking is “dangerous to the freedom, as well as the well-being, of the people as a whole.”

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 10:15 am  Leave a Comment  

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