Thomas Sowell telling said that facts — real world, life facts — ended his Marxist phase. I’ve compiled a list of life facts that made me conservative.
Dave Rubin interviewed Thomas Sowell, who has a new book out called Discrimination and Disparities. I will get myself a copy as soon as I’m finished with Dennis Prager’s The Rational Bible: Exodus. Reading the latter, incidentally, makes me want to me a more moral and just person.
I’ve been listening to the Sowell interview over the past couple of days while I cook and do other household chores. You can find it as a Dave Rubin podcast or watch the YouTube video. Sowell may be in his very high 80s, but he is totally on the ball and well worth listening to. For this post, though, I’d like to focus on a single, short exchange he and Rubin had, in which Sowell mentioned that many of the most rigorous conservative economists, such as Friedman and Hayek, like Sowell himself, started off as Leftists — although Sowell was a Marxist, putting him at the extreme Left. Rubin, who also made a journey from Left to right, asked Sowell about his own journey. I’ve queued the video up at that point:
RUBIN: Do you remember sort of what you were thinking, what appealed to you at that time about Marxism?
SOWELL: Yes. I mean there was no alternative being discussed. My first job was as a Western Union messenger and I would come home. On some nights I would take the Fifth Avenue bus — which cost all of 15 cents in those days. But I figured I’d splurge now and then and I would drive. . . . It would go all the up Fifth Avenue, past all these Lord and Taylor and all these fancy places, and then it would across 57th Street past Carnegie Hall and down Riverside Drive. Now it’s sort of the Gold Coast area and then I came across this long viaduct and it turned into 135th Street. Suddenly there were the tenements and I wondered “Why is this?” I mean it’s so different. And then nothing in schools or most of the books seemed to deal with that and Marx dealt with that. So it’s like winning in an election when there’s only one person running.
RUBIN: So then what was your wake up to what was wrong with that line of thinking?
RUBIN: Well. We could probably end the interview right there.
Facts, as John Adams said, are stubborn things. Listening to Sowell, I started thinking about the facts my years on earth have taught me, all of which have led me to my current conservative world view. Here are the ones I could think of off-hand. They are not in any particular order: [Read more…]