Intellectuals and Race
by Thomas Sowell
No topic, writes Thomas Sowell, is “more in need of rational discourse than is the subject of race.” Intellectuals and Race is not Sowell’s first attempt to insert reason into this discussion, but it may be his finest. Originally conceived as an addendum to Sowell’s 2010 book, Intellectuals and Society, this work stands on its own as a critical analysis of how race is discussed in society and of the intellectuals whose politically-motivated conclusions often provide the framework for those discussions. Specifically, Sowell takes aim at the early 20th century Progressives who attributed group differences to genetics and the later 20th century liberals who attributed differences to discrimination. Neither of these claims, writes Sowell, takes account of the multiplicity of factors, including cultural history and attitudes, that lead to different results among different groups of people. Rather than accepting the theories of intellectuals, Sowell believes, questions about race should be subjected to careful analysis. Under this scrutiny, the claims of intellectuals fail the test of evidence while their policy proposals – which almost always lead to an increase in their own power and prestige – fail to improve the lives of the people they’re intended to help.
Praise for Intellectuals and Race
“After reading Dr. Thomas Sowell’s latest book, Intellectuals and Race, one cannot emerge with much respect for the reasoning powers of intellectuals, particularly academics, on matters of race. There’s so much faulty logic and downright dishonesty.” – New American
“Many writers express a few ideas with a great cataract of words. Sowell is the opposite. Every sentence contains at least one insight or fascinating statistic — frequently more than one.” – Mona Charen, nationally syndicated columnist
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