Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Brilliant Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell embarrasses himself in his latest Townhall essay. He writes that brainy people are dangerous--just look at FDR, Robert MacNamara, Hitler, and Juan Peron, who were all smart people who did stupid things.

There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.

Such people have been told all their lives how brilliant they are, until finally they feel forced to admit it, with all due modesty. But they not only tend to over-estimate their own brilliance, more fundamentally they tend to over-estimate how important brilliance itself is when dealing with real world problems.

Many crucial things in life are learned from experience, rather than from clever thoughts or clever words. Indeed, a gift for the clever phrasing so much admired by the media can be a fatal talent, especially for someone chosen to lead a government.
Does Sowell know that his fellow-travelers often call him brilliant? I hope he isn't too insulted. Sowell rose from poverty through his intelligence and hard work. He was a Marine and photographer, went from GED to doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago, and must be a remarkable man. He probably has both street and book smarts, which makes it very sad to see him write such puerile, anti-intellectual boiler-plate garbage. He is obviously capable of much more yet prefers to flatter the proudly ignorant and pass on the wisdom of the failed thinkers of the Chicago School.

Someone recently pointed out how much Barack Obama's style and strategies resemble those of Latin American charismatic despots-- the takeover of industries by demagogues who never ran a business, the rousing rhetoric of resentment addressed to the masses and the personal cult of the leader promoted by the media. But do we want to become the world's largest banana republic?
He should be ashamed of himself.


Downpuppy said...

A sense of shame & a regular gig at Townhall?


Substance McGravitas said...

Sowell pretty frequently writes about Hitler and Obama. He's just an ass picking up a check.

Susan of Texas said...

It just amazes me that "an ass picking up a check" is somebody's occupation.

Mr. Wonderful said...

Not quite. Being "an ass" is the occupation. Picking up the check is the payment therefor.

Anonymous said...

His thesis is incorrect too.

George W. Bush did a whole lot of damage -- it tumbles onward & downward to this day -- and he was about as smart as my mailbox.

Substance McGravitas said...

I flog this clip too much already, but does that stop me? NO.

Thomas Sowell has always aspired to be an ass picking up a check.

Susan of Texas said...

McArdle said that when she was hired by an investment firm she and her coworkers did nothing. Also she said that she simply regurgitated her professors' lectures in college if she could get away with it. People are most critical of their own sins in other people. It's how they deal with their refusal to admit the truth about themselves.