If you haven’t heard of Thomas Sowell, consider this your very brief introduction to a truly great mind and scholar.
Sowell has long been famous among certain conservative groups and thinkers. But his relevance and popularity are on the rise again as new mainstream influencers such as Joe Rogan are discovering his work.
Sowell is an economist, historian, social theorist and senior fellow at Stanford University. He has long been known for his common-sensical and researched views — particularly on race, ethnicity and socioeconomics.
For those who are familiar with Sowell’s work and thinking, it’s hard not to be an advocate of his famous objectivity and honesty in his work.
“As you follow him in his thought, you see at every turn that he displays such honesty, independence, and objectivity as to discipline his own inclinations as readily as he might anyone else’s, something which, thankfully, he does in spades,” the Claremont Review of Books wrote.
Sowell’s scholarship on racial history — and how it plays out in modern society and economics — is particularly relevant in today’s atmosphere as the U.S. has been grappling with social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and concepts of white guilt and racism.
This is what Rogan seems to have discovered when he hosted author Hunter Maats on his podcast. And Rogan gasped when he learned more about Sowell’s thinking and scholarship.
“Thomas Sowell is a black guy. And Thomas Sowell has, for years and years and years been trying to fight racism. But he’s been trying to fight racism by having a conversation about culture,” Maats explained to Rogan.
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Maats then outlined Sowell’s very broad and basic story concerning the different types of groups that black people tend to fall into in America.
The first is the “West Indies” group that has that background and cultural heritage. Very broadly speaking, Maats explained, this is the group that tends to succeed more often. (Think of figures like Colin Powell).
The other group consists of those who are from the south and come from the background and heritage of the enslaved black population. Again, very broadly speaking, this tends to be the population found in the lower class and inner cities, he said.
“The reason that Sowell has been telling this story is because he’s been trying to say…when liberals look at the people in ghettos, they say, ‘Ah, racism. That’s why they’re not succeeding,’” Maats explained.
“And Sowell is saying, ‘No it’s not.’ Because if you look at this group from the West Indies they also came from the experience of slavery, there was slavery in the West Indies, they are also black, so they also face racism, and yet, they do well. So it has to be something else.”
The big question concerning black Americans is “did slavery rob them of their culture, or did they preserve their authentic African culture?’
“And what Sowell is saying is that they were robbed of their culture. And so they picked up the culture of the people around them. And the people around them were rednecks. And if you look at the white redneck culture and the black redneck culture, they have a lot of the same values,” Maats explained to Rogan. “They don’t particularly respect education, they love Jesus, they use violence in their conflicts…and there’s just a lot of the same values and a lot of the same outcomes.”
This is what Sowell discusses in his book, “Black Rednecks and White Liberals.”
He goes through the history, culture and economics of black America so as to fully explain just where racism appears and why there has been inequality between blacks and whites that is not actually the result of raw racism.
However, though Sowell is an expert synthesizing culture, history and socioeconomics in order to understand these elements of American society (he has been doing it for decades), he and his objective research have been largely thrown to the wayside by the left.
“How do you think that Thomas Sowell has been received by liberal America? Not well,” Maats pointed out.
“People say ‘you’re a very tough person.’ I’m not tough. Life is tough. I’m merely trying to acquaint you with those facts.”
— Thomas Sowell (@ThomasSowell) May 24, 2021
However, even in the face of being vehemently dismissed by liberals, Sowell has continued to try to educate people with the ideas and research he has mastered over decades.
From 1998 through last year, Sowell authored weekly syndicated columns.
He is now 91 years old, yet just in 2020 he wrote a new book, “Charter Schools and Their Enemies.”
Sowell has had the courage to continue spreading his ideas and objective scholarship the best he can, though he has been sidelined by many.
Hopefully, through popular agents, like Rogan, Sowell’s scholarship will begin to spread more. It is the kind of truthful and well-researched thinking that American culture needs right now as people struggle with the ideas of our country’s history and current socioeconomic inequalities.
“Sowell wasn’t afraid. It’s the sort of thing that ought to be commonplace among scholars and intellectuals—and journalists, for that matter—but clearly it is not,” Jason Riley, writer for the Wall Street Journal and author of a biography on Sowell, wrote. “Sowell has spent a career putting truth above popularity. We need a hundred more just like him.”