Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

4.5 11
by Thomas Sowell
     
 

The iconoclastic author of such books as Race and Culture and Inside American Education now delivers a sweeping attack on conventional wisdom and the elite intelligentsia, and issues a warning about the danger to the values and the future of American society. See more details below

Overview

The iconoclastic author of such books as Race and Culture and Inside American Education now delivers a sweeping attack on conventional wisdom and the elite intelligentsia, and issues a warning about the danger to the values and the future of American society.

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
As compelling an explanation as any for the seemingly disproportionate amount of condescension and politically correct invective that emanates from the liberal side of the political spectrum toward the conservative opposition.
New York Times Book Review
An important and incisive book.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this broadside against the received wisdom of America's elite liberal intelligentsia, noted conservative Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, offers some strenuous arguments as well as fuzzy generalizations. Thus, his attacks on the war on poverty, sex education and criminal justice policies forged in the 1960s counter some slippery rhetoric by their defenders, yet his suggestion that these policies exacerbated things is questionable. Sowell deconstructs how statistics can be distorted to prove assumptions (that lack of prenatal care is the cause of black infant mortality) and gleefully skewers ``Teflon prophets'' such as John Kenneth Galbraith (who said that big companies are immune from the market) and Paul Ehrlich (who said starvation loomed). While ``the anointed'' favor explanations that exempt individuals from personal responsibility and seek painless solutions, those with the ``tragic vision'' see policies as trade-offs. Sowell scores his targets for disdaining their opponents, but this book also invokes caricature-these days, many of ``the anointed'' are less unreconstructed than he assumes. Conservative Book Club and Laissez-Faire Book Club selections. (Aug.)
Gilbert Taylor
Ever the contrarian, this time Sowell targets the rhetorical methods liberals use to support their views of social issues. Usually, they frame a crisis to which the well-educated, articulate liberal, ruthlessly disparaged by Sowell as the "anointed," offers a categorical solution. To reach the solution, the liberal resorts to argumentative means that Sowell regards as fallacious. Examples he cites are the "Aha!" statistic in which condition A (say, infant mortality) is claimed to have cause B (inadequate budgets for prenatal care); or the assertion of a policy preference as a right, which is how a federal judge ordered a public library to allow an odoriferous, boisterous vagrant to roam the stacks--so that he could exercise his "right to receive ideas." These means defend a worldview of perfectible man that Sowell contrasts with the "tragic" view, stemming from human fallibility. Sowell's targets will find his criticisms irksome, if even worthy of their notice, but avid conservatives, for whom Sowell is a true-blue intellectual force, will certainly seize upon his analysis for succor.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465089949
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
07/14/1995
Pages:
320

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