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Posted September 26, 2002
A Conflict of Wasted Time
After having to read this for a politics and government class and discussing my feelings towards the book with my professor, I feel justified in saying this book did nothing more than make me respect older dichotemies in political thought. The first thing that needs to be stated is that Sowell's book does not take in to account criticisms of the language at all. You will more likely find Sowell using a quotation with a gender-neutral term for humanity than use one himself. For example, the first paragraph on page 220 uses 8 nouns and gendered pronouns for humanity (ie. man, mankind, he, his, etc). His writing style more accurately reflects the early 1900's than it does 1988. Though this ought not be a barrier to reading a well written book, the repitition becomes oppressive to the reader. The true analysis of the book is fundamentally flawed. Sowell creates a split in 'visions' and claims that most politics falls on either side into one or two visions, but he acknowledges that there are exceptions. The two exceptions that he acknowledges are marxism and utilitarianism. The few among many that he fails to come to grips with are party coalitions (such as the current GOP coalition, or the former democratic coalitions that are clearly hybrid by supporting an unconstrained view in one area [economics in case of the gop or social affairs for the democrats] and constrained in another [vice versa respectively]), and foreign policy matters are excluded as well (hawk v. dove, globalist v. isolationist, unilateral v. multilateral). This dichotemy excludes such a large portion of the potential political spectrum that it loses basis with reality and therefore becomes a useless tool to understand political frameworks.
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