24 Comments

I am very interested how the new movie now in theaters titled "American Fiction" is going to play out. My understanding is that this film IS calling out and naming what these men are railing against.

Expand full comment

♥️Love Thomas Sowell!

Dig William Blake! ☕

"Thank God I never went to school

To be styled into the style of a fool."

Expand full comment

I'm a long time Sowell fan. The truth is challenging ideas are always a minority taste. great ideas often have to percolate for decades but for those it saturates the difference in viewpoint is obvious as with his ideas.

Expand full comment

I don't remember this discussion. I almost can't believe that I missed it at the time, but apparently I did.

Interesting exchange. But the glaring problem with Glenn's and Riley's perspective is a lack of recognition of the circus on the right, where serious thought is no longer a main feature in their popular culture.

Intellect, rigor, intellectual honesty, etc. all took a back seat on the right some time ago (and some would argue it has been relegated to a life underneath that seat).

Proof? Note how much more popular Candace Owens is versus a McWhorter, a Loury or a Riley--even combined. It's not even worth the conversation. It speaks volumes.

When we elevate Candace et al over more serious thinkers, it's *easy* for the left--who normally dominates pop culture anyway--to dismiss any vestiges of serious thought on the right.

Expand full comment

What if Kendi used his original name, Henry Rogers, rather than John’s suggestion of Tony Jones?

Expand full comment

As someone who detested Thomas Sowell when I was in college, and yet admire him tremendously now, I can offer no intelligent commentary on this discussion. It shocks me that Sowell is not more well known, but by the same token, I was in a conversation with a (then) president on an elite university. I asked them if they had heard of Frédéric Bastiat, someone I had read and someone whom I thought was near to "required reading" for a historian. And yet, this person, proclaimed as a historian, had no clue who he was. My point: it is not unusual for thinkers to not "crossover" to people who have a particular point-of-view. Echo chambers, particularly those with a left-wing timbre, always have more room for converts?

Expand full comment

While I was working on my PhD, I read many things by Thomas Sowell, but mainly in the area of history of ideas: His book on Say’s Law and “Classical Economics Reconsidered”. I had no idea who he was or anything about his ethnicity. I came across other writings, some of which I read, that were about the economics of race and/or discrimination. I don’t know what year it was, it might have 1979 or 1980, but he was the speaker at the Friday seminar one fall semester. I had planned to go but was too tired or did not feel well. Some of my colleagues asked me why I missed it because they knew I was interested in his work. But they also said I missed the fireworks. Apparently, the African American Studies faculty came to harass him. That is when I learned he was Black. He was probably presenting something from his book “Knowledge and Decisions” a book that Hayek favorably reviewed and was based on the famous Hayek paper “The use of Knowledge in Society.” Sometime later when black students at Virginia had a meeting with the administration about the need for more Black faculty, a professor, whom I knew quite well, went to the meeting and pointed out that the economics department had tried to hire Thomas Sowell, the response was something like this: Thomas Sowell is a super-(n-word), we just want some ordinary n____r’s on the faculty. Apparently the n-word was the term used by the black students at the meeting. I wish the meeting had been video taped.

Anyway, I can attest to the fact that Thomas Sowell is read because of the quality of his work, not because he is African-American or whatever the politically correct term of the day is.

Expand full comment

https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.paed.610617/gov.uscourts.paed.610617.31.0.pdf

This is one worth following.

"Wendy Beetlestone, a Black district-court judge born in Nigeria, was appointed to the bench by Barack Obama.She is clearly not an “anti-woke” ideologue. Still, the ruling declared, “the way these conversations are carried out in the workplace matters: When employers talk about race—any race––with a constant drumbeat of essentialist, deterministic, and negative language, they risk liability under federal law.”"

Friederdorf, Conor. A Constant Drumbeat’ of Racial Essentialism. The Atlantic. Online, Published January 29 2024.

Expand full comment

John referring to Coleman Hughes: “He’s about to do TED.”

Well, we all know how that worked out. Ouch.

Expand full comment

Also simply from the emails I get from Verso as evidence the British left is simply farther left and has absorbed more theoretical Marxist ideas so any analysis of race must show how it can be reconciled with those.

Expand full comment

Halfhearted comment that in Britain race is bound up with issues of immigration and empire in a very obvious way as compared to the United States so there is less danger of thinking of race as a fundamental issue. Also a lot of the mileage that the antiracist trinity of 2020 got was simply having to explain that racism was not exclusive to Southern white bigots. Britain does not have those.

Expand full comment
founding

Well, we saw after this aired how things turned out with Coleman and TED...

Expand full comment

As a lefty engaged in social justice and human rights work in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time, I received considerable comfort from the fact that John McWhorter was there. Just to help assure me that I wasn't crazy albeit feeling all alone, as was he. At that time, the hostility toward the insight that most social problems are about class and culture, rather than race, was less intense than it has become. I thought that postmodernist ideology was so absurd on its face that it would have to be short-lived. Instead, the epidemic took hold so completely that I and many colleagues simply left teaching. Many of us self-cancelled before cancel culture became known. I saw someone close to me forced out of a job by a black mob that had taken over an entire county department. I saw my own professional school cleansed completely of all male faculty and taken over by self-described non-binary, polyamorous decolonizers. This is how people like me eventually come to read Thomas Sowell, AFTER having read Cornell West. What happens then, is inner emigration. You can't overestimate the importance of your show and the work of people like Sowell, no matter how seriously I disagree with you over making excuses for a psychopathic ex-president and what I perceive to be the final year of the Republic.

Expand full comment
Jan 28·edited Jan 28

Your early comments about Thomas Sowell remaining in academia missed the point that having dropped out, he was able to travel the world to amass the knowledge to further his views of the world. One cannot achieve that sitting in a classroom.

All the “new on board” black and not so black conservative commentators should mention/recommend Dr. Sowell to their audiences. Get his knowledge to a much wider audience.

I am 80 years old and white and I never get tired hearing his wisdom.

Expand full comment
deletedJan 29
Comment deleted
Expand full comment