Sowell is one of today’s leading libertarian voices. A reformed
Marxist, Sowell is a strong believer in limited government. He is
currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford
University and his columns appear on places such as Institutional
Investor, and Townhall.
RightWingNews was able to sit Sowell down for an interview about
economic facts and fallacies and the release of the updated version of his book, “Intellectuals and Society.” Below are some highlights:
Here are some excerpts from the interview.
Why do you think so many intellectuals are so hostile to Capitalism, Christianity and Conservatism when over time all of those things have proven to work so well in building societies?
They may work well in building societies, but they don’t work well at making intellectuals important. What makes intellectuals important are finding things to complain about and they love to see themselves on the side of the angels against the forces of evil. So they look at all kinds of issues within that context.
William F. Buckley once famously said, “I’d rather be governed by the first 400 names in the Boston telephone book than the faculty of Harvard University.” Let me rephrase that a bit, you’re at Stanford. Would you rather be governed by the first 400 names in your telephone or by the faculty at Stanford?
Oh, the first 400 names, good heavens. The very thought of being governed by the faculty…I used to live on the Stanford campus. My wife and I couldn’t stand the idiocy. We live miles away now. We’re much happier just to be out of the atmosphere.
You said something back in an interview in 1990 that’s recently been making the rounds again because it references Derrick Bell, the radical professor that Barack Obama is so fond of.
I know a black woman, for example, who had a Ph.D. — she’s had a book published, she has another contract on another book, she’s taught at a couple of very nice places, she has a devil of a time getting a job — not a job in a prestigious institution, a job teaching at a college. And the reason is that she gets shot down, blackballed, whatever, by people who don’t like her ideology. That’s happening not only racially, it’s also happening where race is not an issue. In a law school, I learned recently, there’s a woman who was being considered for a tenured position, and all the men voted for her and all the woman voted against her, because she does not follow radical feminism, and so you’re getting these ideological tests, so that at the very time that there’s all this mouthing of the word diversity, there is this extremely narrow ideological conformity that is being enforced wherever people have the power to enforce it.
Is that common? Does that still happen?
It’s all too common, all too common, in fact, I feel a lot of resentment on behalf of a lot of people who themselves have never expressed any resentment. The first time I had that experience was with Peter Duignan, a scholar who has written books that have been highly praised on the history and societies of Africa. Once had lunch with him and another professor of African studies and the other professor admitted that the things he wrote in the 1960′s were things that he realized now were totally wrong about what was going to happen in Africa as these nations became independent.
Peter Duignan is one of the few people who can look back to what he wrote without being embarrassed because he laid on the line as it is. He has never been on the faculty of any university. His writings have been praised in scholarly journals here and overseas. He’s an incredibly effective lecturer. Some of these luxury cruise lines engage him to talk to their passengers and to lead safaris and so forth in Africa. He is the kind of man that people need to have out there at some major university. But his ideology is not what they want to hear. He tells it straight. He doesn’t try to cater to people’s ideologies.
I think of Shelby Steele for heaven’ sakes. I happen to know at least one elite college suggested that Shelby Steele be offered a job. And someone said oh well the Black Studies Department wouldn’t like that. They said, “No, not Black Studies, as a professor of English,” and he said the Black Studies Department wouldn’t like that either because they want an ideological monopoly and his mere presence would undermine that. I could go on with great numbers of others but you see the point.
The rest of the interview is as great as the above. I urge you to go to Right Wing News by clicking here and read the entire thing.