‘We may make it, but I wouldn’t bet on it…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Eminent economist and conservative columnist Thomas Sowell said Tuesday that the willful ignorance of many Leftist radicals may well lead America down the path of socialism—and inevitable decline.
While Sowell noted that most economists predicted such a movement was unlikely to gain traction in the U.S., “I do have a great fear that in the long run we may not make it,” he told Fox Business Network’s David Asman during a segment of “Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast.”
Sowell said there is still a glimmer of hope. “The one thing that keeps me from being despairing is that we don’t know—there’s so many things we can’t possibly know.”
But he added that in the current climate of tossing out plain-sighted, empirical evidence in favor of populist, emotional appeals and groupthink, the odds were stacked against America. “We may make it, but I wouldn’t bet on it,” he said.
One of the key problems, he noted, was that Americans lacked access to the necessary facts since much information comes filtered through the vested agendas of the educational system and the mass media.
“If people have never heard those things because the media filters out things that go against what they believe, then the charge can stick no matter what the facts may happen to be,” he said.
On matters such as the discussion of a wealth tax to soak the rich and, effectively, redistribute income, Sowell said history has already provided ample evidence of its failure.
“Socialism is a wonderful-sounding idea,” he said. “It’s only as a reality that it’s disastrous.”
Sowell cited socialist Venezuela, which once held the largest oil reserves in the world, and Uganda, where a political revolution drove wealthy citizens to flee in destitution, as two models where the economy never recovered.
But he refuted the Left’s contention that they were exceptions to the rule. “Looking at it in a worldwide perspective, these so-called ‘exceptions’ are almost universal—on every continent, among people of every race, color, creed and whatever,” he said
Sowell, who was raised in poverty before attaining a litany of prestigious degrees through hard work, began his scholarly career as a Marxist but became disaffected with it during the 1960s after noticing a correlation between rising minimum wage and unemployment in the Puerto Rican sugar industry.
Ultimately, the demand for observable evidence to support his beliefs prevailed over his earlier idealism.
“Before I was a Marxist I was an empiricist, and I stayed an empiricist,” he said. “And with the passing years, I simply, as I looked into more and more things, I saw the difference between reality and the rhetoric.”
Increasingly, though, the influence of politics had resulted in the suppression and subversion of fact-driven decision-making.
“Politicians stay in office by saying things that people want to hear and by not accepting evidence that shows they’ve gone wrong,” Sowell said.
Even learning institutions were at fault after having been hijacked by activists, partisan ideologues and political stooges.
“Unfortunately, so many people today—including in the leading universities—-don’t pay much attention to evidence,” said Sowell, who is currently a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute.
As more and more Democrats embrace shockingly extremist policies like the Green New Deal, very few institutions remain willing and able to keep them in check.
Two months into her tenure as a member of Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez already has proven to wield an oversize influence on the Left’s policy discussions, and in turn she has demonstrated increasingly alarming tendencies toward authoritarian demagoguery.
At a recent event in New York, she responded to GND critics by saying, “I’m the boss! How about that?”
Ocasio–Cortez also used a recent New Yorker profile to spread misinformation and point fingers at opponents.
After first declaring that Republicans, including President Donald Trump, feared her because she had “become as powerful as a man,” she then falsely claimed that GND opponents were unable to refute the substance of her “grounded” policy and had resorted to “mythologizing it on a ludicrous level.”
In reality, many on the Right have embraced the opportunity to debate the specifics of the outlandish proposal, while Democrats in Congress have refused to move it forward, maintaining that it is still a work in progress.
After first publicly unveiling the GND framework in early February, Ocasio–Cortez quickly removed it, claiming it was a draft version.
Sowell said the 29-year-old socialist’s political future—and her potential influence on the direction of the country—hinged on whether the public could discern truth from fiction.
“It depends upon whether people go by facts or by rhetoric,” he said. “If they go by rhetoric, she’s a rising star.”
Sowell, who finds himself in the conservative minority of academia as well as among African–Americans, also weighed in on recent accusations of racism that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen perniciously raised against the president last week in Congressional testimony.
Once again, Sowell said, evidence was the key—and barring it, he was not in a position to judge.
“I don’t know enough about the man to know what he is,” Sowell said, “but I would like to see any such accusation accompanied by something that we can test against facts.”