November 2, 2010
I SHOULD GIVE CONSERVATIVES THEIR VOICE, SO . . .
Sowell, Thomas, Dismantling America (New York: Basic Books, 2010) (This is a collection of recent Sowell essays. Though I disagree with most of the points or positions taken by Sowell in these essays, I do agree with his overall concerns. There is, however, one passage with which I wholeheartedly (almost) agree with Sowell. "History fully vindicates the late William F. Buckley's view that he would rather be ruled by people represented by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard." "How have intellectuals managed to be so wrong, so often? By thinking that because they are knowledgeable--or even expert--within some narrow band out of the vast spectrum of human concerns, that makes them wise guides to the masses as to the rules of the nation." "But the ignorance of Ph.D.s is still ignorance and high-IQ groupthink is still groupthink, which is the antithesis of real thinking." From the essay, "Intellectuals," reprinted at 258, 260. Groupthink is an epidemic in twenty-first century American society, and Ph.D.s (and J.D.s) are not immune from the disease. Just about everyone touts his or her ability to engage in critical thinking. Yet, when you ask most individuals what they think about important social and political issues the most common responses are "I have never really thought about that", or the poor regurgitation of whatever the person heard on yesterday's talk radio. Fewer and fewer individuals, including many supposedly well-educated professionals, take the time to educate themselves on important issues. To be well-informed takes time and advanced planning, but we don't want to take the time and we are incapable of advanced planning in this area. The result is a vulnerability to the groupthink illness. An academia, especially as more and more universities adopt a business model at the expense on an education model, is a hot-house for group think.).