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Saturday, February 11, 2006

in defense of sowell

Over at the Lew Rockwell Blog, a number of posters have taken Thomas Sowell to task for quite a few columns that defend Bush, torture, the NSA program and the Iraq war in general. I'm a big fan of Sowell's but he has clearly gone off the deep end in his various defenses of war and foreign intervention. The kindest explanation I can think of is that Sowell had drifted away from being anti-state to being anti-left. Currently, in Sowell's mind, if the Left is against something, then it must be good.

Unfortunately, too many libertarians think that it's worse to be a heretic than a pagan. Thus, libertarians like Sowell are often condemned in the most shrill terms for leaving the libertarian reservation. Indeed, Thomas DiLorenzo has gone off the deep end himself in his condemnation of Sowell:
[Sowell] has just written an entire book about why he hates the south and southerners. Amateurish pop sociology at its worst. Sowell is a vintage neocon and just another GOP puppet. I used to use his economics writings in my classes, but I'm throwing all his books in the trash.
I assume that DiLorenzo is talking about Black Rednecks, White Liberals, which came out last year. I haven't read the book, but clearly Mr. DiLorenzo has not either, otherwise he would not claim that a book with chapters entitled "Are Jews Generic?" and "Germans and History" is "an entire book about why he hates the south and southerners". Indeed, as far as I can tell, only the title essay is about the south and has little to do with Professor Sowell's alleged hatred. Rather, the title essay is about how current black culture, idolized by white liberals, is in fact derived from white southern culture. I have no idea whether that's true or not, but I don't detect any hatred.

Rather than throw Sowell's books in the trash, I suggest that libertarians, when given the chance, use gentle persuasion to urge all "liberventionists" to see the error of their ways.

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