Sowell does not say this openly, but my general impression is that he thinks, on the whole, that intellectuals are status parasites with a self-created importance: they have no worthwhile skills, and if they all disappeared tomorrow, the United States would function very well without them. They are like an aristocracy that has deluded itself that it actually measures up in some important way in a meritocracy. This is why intellectuals generally hate capitalism: because it will not place the value on them that they feel their superiority warrants. [Philsopher Robert] Nozick makes this point also, adding that intellectuals generally are people who did well in school, were recognized as verbally brilliant by their teachers, but who hate capitalism because the larger society won't recognize their worth they way their schoolteachers did, which is why they like the strong, centralized government of the teacher and not the chaotic "market" world of the hallways and lunchrooms where they were not very popular or appreciated.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I really enjoyed Gerald Early's essay about Thomas Sowell in this month's issue of The Figure in the Carpet. Early says he likes to think of the conservative Sowell as a "contrarian," and it seems to be in that contrarian spirit that Early himself entertains, without much in the way of rebuttal, some of the ideas underpinning Sowell's recent book Intellectuals and Society: