Red S.E. Cupp is the home of S.E. Cupp, co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank You, Thomas Sowell

Everyone should read Thomas Sowell's fantastic piece on Townhall.com. I've railed against so-called intellectuals on both sides of the aisle this year for having the considerable bad taste to call people like Sarah Palin dumb. Frankly, it's worse when conservatives did it than when liberals did. And what's so great about intellectualism anyway? Read on...



Gasgwar said...

Love Thomas Sowell! Especially his 'random thoughts', it's like Yogi Berra with a PHD.

tenright said...

I saw you on Red Eye the other night and decided to Googlestalk you. Feel proud.

Mr. Sowell hits the nail on the head, but the future is really what's disheartening. This county's college system has turned into, basically, a liberal breeding ground. Far too many people enter college with no real political opinions, and allow themselves to be molded into whatever is spoonfed to them by their professors.
Even those who were raised in conservative households often either want to rebel, or don't have any information to back up their opinions (there comes a point where "Because." isn't a worthy answer of the question "Why?",) and allow themselves to fall into the intellectual liberal trap.
I'm in college, but went to an all-boys Catholic high school, which not only made me afraid of girls, but also showed me the beauty of conservatism, which has enabled me to see just how much "brainwashing" goes on from a different perspective.
And there's nothing like fighting a Meteorology professor over Obama's economic policies...and winning.

Frank in NJ said...

I have a good friend at work. Someone whom I lunch with often. We don't agree on much politically, so we usually talk about music and basic work stuff. We generally avoid any involved discussions on politics. However, this friend who is in an all out Obama post election glee-fest forwarded me that Kristof NYT article. I couldn't resist a response. Not surprisingly, in typical leftist fashion, rather than respond with a counter argument his strategy is simply to view me as the office crackpot. Here's what I wrote...

I love ya, Mike. And, I certainly respect your opinions. But, this article? Please give me a break. Kristof will get no argument from me that Obama is certainly a learned man capable of pondering the deepest of philosophical conundrums. But, since when has that been a primary skill for making correct decisions and providing leadersh ip. The world has had many intellectuals and some of the greatest blunders can be attributed to their so-called enlightened thought. What of all the intellectuals that actively argued for, supported, and participated in Nazism, Maoism, Communism and many other ‘isms’ that resulted in the death of millions. Perhaps some will think those examples a bit extreme. I’m not suggesting that Obama and the incoming leadership have such nefarious plans. Certainly not. I believe that they have the best interest of our nation at heart. But, so did many others. Every one of the examples I gave had good intentions at the start. They all had an innocent, embryonic beginning. We only know them long after they have grown and developed and after many years of hindsight and perspective.

The qualities that intellectuals seem to have in common are: their own superiority, uniqueness and belief that they have the power to shape history. I think that sometimes intellectuals get tangled up in their own logic and cling to opinions that initially appear to be right but all too often are proven to be very, very wrong. And, sometimes when an intellectually formulated utopian ideal is blocked or resisted the temptation is to set aside democratic principles (for the good of the great unwashed, of course) and resort to totalitarian means to accomplish the goal.

You know how I love music. One of my favorite composers is Richard Wagner. Yet I often struggle with my admiration of him. Here is a man that was capable of creating some of the most magnificent music the world has every known. A man who single-handedly created a new operatic paradigm; fusing music, singing, and drama in a way no other had before (or since). In addition to what he accomplished musically he wrote at length on all sorts of political, social, and artistic topics. He was scholarly, cultured, intellectual. Unfortunately, he was also a bitterly hostile anti-semite who wrote extensively on what h e referred to as the sub-human characteristics of Jews in German (read Aryan) society. And even though he lived decades before the National Socialist movement, his writings were enormously influential to the party leaders. In his own mind, in the minds of many of his peers, and in the attitudes of the general populace, it all seemed so right. I guess the point I’m making is simply this: Intellectual? Yes. Cerebral? Certainly. Correct? Definitely not.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that intellectualism is a bad quality. I’m glad we’ve elected someone who might actually listen to the same music or read the same books as me. However, while Mr. Kristof feels comforted in knowing that Obama is thinking deep thoughts as he strolls in the Rose Garden, I’ll stay focused on evaluating what he is actually thinking about, and more importantly about what he does.