Ten Reasons Why You Should Love Thomas Sowell
Updated: Feb 17
Dr. Thomas Sowell is one of the leading public intellectuals alive today. I have long been an admirer of his and earlier today I listened to a new documentary of his life. This motivated me to put together this list of reasons enumerating why you should engage in a deep dive of his collected works (if you’ve yet to do so).
1) He is capable of changing his views in light of new evidence. He was an avowed Marxist but eventually dropped this ideology in light of emerging facts including an interaction with the real-world (when he took up a governmental job). Hence, he possesses epistemic humility along with a willingness to use evidence to test any ideological positions that he might have held.
2) He is a fully-fledged interdisciplinarian having published works in countless domains within and outside of economics (his home field). These include economic matters (e.g., the imposition of a minimum wage), ethnicity and race, social policy (e.g., affirmative action, universal healthcare), intellectualism, and late-talking children (the Einstein syndrome). Hence, he is an economist, a cultural critic, an anthropologist, a sociologist, and a philosopher. He is not a “stay in your lane” intellectual.
3) He is a synthetic thinker and a polymath. Sowell has explained that being a photographer is about navigating through various trade-offs. He has made that exact point regarding economic and social policies. Life is about trade-offs.
4) He is a honey badger. He does not suffer fools gladly.
5) He does not give a flying f**k what you think of him. He espouses his evidence-based positions unencumbered by prevailing politically correct orthodoxy. He has zero interest in belonging to the cool kids’ club. He is his own man, walking tall and with full epistemological confidence.
6) He is a man of the people in that he has spent much of his career writing for the masses. He recognizes that knowledge should not be restricted to a stroking of elitist egos in the Ivory Tower. He ended up leaving his faculty appointment to join the Hoover Institution freeing himself from the constraining elements of holding a professorship.
7) He despises identity politics. He’s a staunch defender of individual dignity.
8) He rejects the ethos of victimology and instead believes in the dignity of personal agency and individual freedom.
9) He adores books. He is a voracious reader.
10) He is Thomas Sowell.
Source for Dr. Sowell's image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_Sowell_cropped.jpg