Reason reveals the mind lock that the intelligentsia seeks to impose upon us. Thomas Sowell deploys piercing logic and reason to expose the ignorance and arrogance of today’s triumvirate of anti-knowledge (the press, academia and politicians). The implicit assumption that there should be an expectation of equality leads to the belief that disparities in wealth are unnatural, sinister and caused by something. Assuming that the rich exploit the poor is Marxism; an idea that has long been dismissed both intellectually and practically. The whole idea of “social justice” is based on faulty reasoning. It ignores reality by trying to elevate equality as the only valuable social pursuit to the moral and practical detriment of productivity and efficiency.
The purveyors of social justice try and shift the burden of proof from those wishing to confiscate and redistribute wealth onto property owners by attacking success as “privilege”. Its Obama’s “you didn’t build that” argument. Sowell dismantles that by pointing out that it is wrong to start with the premise that inequality is an unnatural thing that needs to be fixed. If success is dependent on 10 factors, all of which have to be in place for there to be success, then it is very natural for there to be only a tiny minority of winners. If the first person has one factor but missing nine, he fails. If the ninth person has nine factors and is missing only one, he still fails along with all others that don’t have all 10 factors needed. The success of humans in most pursuits (golf, chess, spelling bees, athletics, business, etc.) in competitive, sophisticated world is radically skewed, producing a very small, elite ultra-successful group.
The redistributionist position that the fate of the less fortunate is caused by the malevolence of others cannot be sustained by logic or evidence and leads to bad policies that have bad results. Leftists start with the proposition that there’s an economic problem that must be addressed. But if A and B enter into a purely voluntary transaction, is it a problem that C doesn’t like it? C is an outside party (a bureaucrat, journalist or academic) who has a blueprints for economic utopia, seeking to impose justice and forced sharing. But the world is imperfect and pure justice is an unobtainable ideal. If there are not enough life boats on a sinking ship; true justice requires that everyone drown. But most people would rather a few survive, even if those few are the strongest and most ruthless who were able to secure a life boat before others.
For decades Leftists thinkers have dominated our institutions but their arguments have become increasingly fierce, strained and unconvincing. They baldly assert that the absence of tangible evidence proves the proposition for which there is no evidence just because they don’t like it. The legal principle of disparate impact is an example. Intellectuals presume discrimination and evil in the absence of evidence merely because of statistics and an agenda. That is not only logically flawed; it can also have disastrous results.
A doctor in the 1800s treated Native Americans and European settlers for measles. When the death rate of the Indians sored, they killed him and his family. It turns out Indians hadn’t been exposed to the diseases that Europeans had. The death rate for diseases among Jews in medieval Europe was much lower, so political leaders blamed and persecuted them. It turns out Jewish custom of praying before meals required coming to God with clean hands, so they were less prone to sickness than those who didn’t wash their hands. If you were seriously ill, would you want to be admitted to a hospital with the highest death rate? It turns out that’s the very best hospital because the most critically ill seek out the best doctors and facilities. Low death rate hospitals have average doctors treating routine, non-life threatening illness. The point is that statistics can be misleading and causation multi-faceted. Public policy should be based on evidence, not assumptions or confusing causation with blame and resentment.
POST EDIT: This Sunday’s Chicago Tribune 3/5/17 front page lead story was “Lawyers: ATF Stings Racially Biased“. The article is a timely example of a logical fallacy committed by a major newspaper and prestigious university law school. Thomas Sowell (who happens to be black) and the guys at the ATF (who risk their lives everyday) but maybe not those law school students, recognize that just because “there’s a zero percent likelihood” that most defendants are minority by chance, does no necessarily mean that racial discrimination is the only or even proximate cause . Don’t trust the media or academia – they have an agenda to advance – truth and reason be damned.
Your Estate Planning War Chest is a fortress of logic and reason. Once obtained, health, wealth and liberty are secure, safe from ideological attack. The wealth of the Mass Affluent is protected from being politically seized not only, as Professor Winters’ points out, because material resource power is much stronger than participation power, but also because the logic of socialism is flawed. Liberal thinkers have painted themselves into an intellectual corner and are being forced to make preposterous arguments, unsupported by logic or evidence and undeniably refuted by historical thinkers.