Streetwise Professor

February 25, 2023

Magenta-Maned Mental Midget Questions Expertise of Intellectual Colossus, With Hilarious Results

Filed under: Economics,History,Politics — cpirrong @ 3:40 pm

I can always use a good laugh, and noted nitwit Nikole Hannah-Jones has provided one:

Oh Nikki, where to possibly begin? I suggest you start with Race and Culture: one whole column of the index lists the mentions of the subject of slavery in the book. Then maybe Black Rednecks, White Liberals. (Though that may result in a messy explosion of your magenta-maned head.) And for a bit of self-knowledge, Intellectuals and Race. But in point of fact, analyses of slavery are found throughout Sowell’s massive literary output. (When thinking of him, I am reminded about a quip someone made about Paul Johnson: it’s not the amount he’s written that astonishes, it’s the amount he’s read.)

And not just North American slavery, but slavery around the world. And that’s precisely why he can speak with far more authority and insight on whether slavery in British North American colonies, and later the United States, was somehow unique and makes the U.S. the most fallen of nations, than can Hannah-Jones and her ilk.

And history generally. Again. Look at at his incredible record of scholarship, which includes detailed expositions and analyses of a wide variety of historical issues, such as immigration.

Moreover, Sowell’s approach to history stands in stark contrast to 1619 Project-style leftist “history”: In Sowell, history is a reservoir of facts and data against which theories are tested, whereas in Hannah-Jones’ “work” it is something to be twisted and distorted in order to make political and ideological points.

Thomas Sowell has had a major impact on my life and thinking since I was in college: his Knowledge and Decisions profoundly affected, and continues to affect, how I think about economics, law, and policy. Although somewhat dated because many of its examples were current at the time it was published 43 years ago, the underlying conceptual framework and analyses are timeless: it is astounding at how the intellectual errors that Sowell analyzed back then curse us today–most notably, his theme that there are no solutions, only trade-offs, something that politicians ignore daily, with COVID policy being one of the most egregious examples.

To my mind, Thomas Sowell is the most impressive public intellectual (and intellectual, period) of the past 50 years. The breadth and depth of his scholarship is unsurpassed, and his steadfastness and courage in the face of vicious criticism from lilliputians like Hannah-Jones is truly remarkable. He is a true intellectual: Hannah-Jones and her ilk are intellectualoids, at best. People with intellectual pretensions that far outstrip their abilities, and who pass off agitprop as scholarship. Only idiots think them geniuses.

One of the highlights of my academic career occurred when Sowell wrote an oped defending me against the New York Times’ slanders. No doubt his unfortunately extensive experience with slanders directed at him motivated and informed what he wrote. And the slanders continue, as Hannah-Jones’ ignorant tweet reveals. But sometimes, as in this instance, the slanders are so ridiculous that they elicit only laughter.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Thomas Sowell would have made an outstanding Supreme Court Justice. A better future lost.

    I’ve read several of Sowell’s books, and listened to interviews. He freed himself from culture when it was most difficult to do so. He’s easily the greatest of American rational thinkers.

    I’ve nothing but admiration for him. And continuing regret that he’s not on the SCOTUS bench. Especially today, when so many insane people occupy positions of influence.

    Comment by Pat Frank — February 26, 2023 @ 6:17 am

  2. I taught Sowell’s Conflict of Visions back in the early 90’s.

    Comment by Margaret — February 28, 2023 @ 6:21 pm

  3. Sowell stands as a great example of how, when his ideological opponents cannot refute him, they try to marginalize him. I hope he is also so impressive that their efforts will be fruitless.

    There is a chance; he is that great.

    Comment by Sotosy1 — March 1, 2023 @ 7:22 am

  4. Thomas Sowell is one of the true greatest intellectuals of our time, IMHO. Sadly, in the “autumn” of his years.
    As for the Magenta head – doubt that she’ll run to the library. Sowell: “These people often wrong, but never in doubt”. 🙁

    Comment by Ilya — March 2, 2023 @ 11:55 am

  5. If there was a Nobel Prize given for an entire body of work, Sowell would deserve it.

    Comment by Jeff Carter (@pointsnfigures1) — March 7, 2023 @ 9:16 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress