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Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Society

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The author of more than a dozen books, Dr. Sowell is now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. In his newest work, Intellectuals and Society, he will discuss why so many disasters of our time have been committed by experts or intellectuals. You may remember FDRs Brain Trust which according to later studies is a prolonged the depression by several years. The wiz kids at the pentagon under McNamara who managed to mess up the Vietnam War, you can run through an impressive list of things, of disasters brought about by people with very high IQs
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Spud Westhaver (1 month ago)
Einstein thought that communism was a benign idea. Russia was run by intellectuals during the 1920s and 1930s who refused to acknowledge negative feedback and just kept gunning the motor ; Russia's industrialisation made a lot of factory jobs but wasn't so great for the farmers - 10 million of whom died. The farmers could have been pillaged without killing so many of them.
Spud Westhaver (1 month ago)
Marx got $ 100,00.00 a year from Engels but was broke all the time.... was praised for his economic theories. Strange.
Clarah T. (2 months ago)
President Barack Obama has been humbled. Trump dropped the mic.
Valeata W (2 months ago)
"Churches are pushing the liberal agenda" -TS ----Black churches might I add, are very great at it. I'm a black church goer and the lies must be stopped.
Patrick Simmons (2 months ago)
4:40 he answered his question in the previous answer... if a high IQ person like the chess champion cant write outside his field it shows how much harder it is to concentrate knowledge rather than power.
Knowledge Seeker53 (2 months ago)
30:40....nuff said
Knowledge Seeker53 (2 months ago)
30:40....nuff said
Knowledge Seeker53 (2 months ago)
30:40....nuff said
AGH (3 months ago)
I thoroughly enjoy (and have to frequently go back 20+seconds due to getting lost in thought or needing clarification) to Thomas Sowell. Let's bring back THINKING. 🇺🇲
AGH (3 months ago)
"He is happy with the data that he got, why would he go further?" That statement sums up so much that is going wrong in this country. Please go further, please seek information from all sides, be a thinker. It's a gift we all innately share but to few choose to utilize. 🇺🇲
Joe Me (3 months ago)
"I would say 1 word goodbye" EXACTLY!!! #WalkAway from the Dems lunacy!!! TRUMP2020!!! AMERICA FIRST!!! USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA!!!!
Joe Me (3 months ago)
HOW DARE YOU THOMAS!!! -12yr old whose future you stole for being truthful. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
Adrian A (3 months ago)
This man makes a lot more sense to me than most political crap, specially since you mentioned Karl Marx... what a load of crap. Dr. Sowell here did say some very interesting things for sure. This is the kind of intellectuals we need, not those academia ones that keep polishing their own horns , while virtue signaling, if not even preaching Karl Marx.
lightdarklovehate (3 months ago)
Chomsky's Linguistics are essentially bankrupt ... they will be slowly and silently discarded after his death. I promise ...
Maya A. Morella (3 months ago)
This should be in all Primary Schools in the Western World
Übermensch (3 months ago)
_HE_ should be an idol for black America, not the rappers or the Kardashians.
g4do (3 months ago)
You can be the most intelligent person on the planet... without a bit of common sense , your intelligence becomes a metaphoric paperweight. Smartest most educated people usually are the ones that screw up and make bad decisions.
John Bradley (3 months ago)
Hmmm...I'm a keen mind who slipped through the indoctrination system, no wonder the Nomenklatura have the FBI monitoring me...or maybe they're just a bunch of gay stalkers who go "Fan girl" over my every move & utterance. #JuryIsOut
Run_it_ Straight (3 months ago)
A friend with his PhD said I should study and do my masters. I turned him down as I value my plumbing qualifications. Qualifications based on consequential knowledge.
Andy Gascon (3 months ago)
Common Sense
Robert B. (3 months ago)
Thomas Sowell fully understands how a free economy works. He is actually an intellectual himself, but more importantly, he is an excellent communicator. 25:14 "Brick and Mortar" Schools are NOT "Transmission Belts", nor is the lying Press, a proper conduit for the spread of knowledge.The Internet has made knowledge available to all. We no longer live in a world that bows to so-called "experts", because of the phenomenon of Instant Shared Data. The future can only get better, and better, as knowledge and the power that comes with it, get spread wider, and wider among the broad masses of citizens. One thing is for sure: He is 100% right about the "Climate Change" Hysteria.
Dreadarmy Gaming (3 months ago)
Watching this again almost 10 years after it was posted.... and it seems like it could have been posted yesterday. So topical and on point for today's political climate.
drnutell (3 months ago)
Mr. Sowell is what I call a smart person.
JW D (3 months ago)
Sowell is simply Brilliant
AirstripBum (3 months ago)
"Tom"?!? Shouldn't he have said, "Dr. Sowell"? At least in the beginning?
Michael L (3 months ago)
From around 35:10 "Are we coming a nation of intellectuals?" Sowell answers" I hadn't thought of that it's a chilling thought....propagandized..."
Rick Salt (3 months ago)
Icall Bullsht (3 months ago)
Putting power in intellectual hands has turned intellectuals into crooks.
mark bogacki (3 months ago)
Thank you Dr Sowell . Free speech Free choice Free markets .
Franny Leyden (3 months ago)
Bingo! Over 500 scientists petitioned the UN to have a debate on " Climate Change". A total fraud.
Juil (3 months ago)
Even more relevant today.
L Branom (3 months ago)
OSHA for burglary. That’s hilarious.
Conchita C (3 months ago)
The question I ask is why do intellectuals such as Paul Krugman not want to look at all the data? Why would they want to sell ideas that make America's people fail? Why?
Rockstago (3 months ago)
Dr. Sowell is TRUELY an American treasure!
Rockstago (3 months ago)
Dr. Sowell is an American treasure. He clearly & logically explains the mistakes of the past & offers instructions on how those mistakes can be avoided in the future. But if that advise doesn't include making the government bigger our ruling class, our democrat politicians cannot allow his genius to be celebrated-something America never tolerated...in the past. We never used politics to restrain prudent planning. Its how America became the worlds most powerful nation in just 240 short years. I hope this logical thinking returns to my country.
Jamie Kloer (4 months ago)
Love Dr. Sowell!
Ken Wells (4 months ago)
I LOVE Tomas Sowell! 'Intellectuals don't produce anything. Intellectuals require other people to produce anything. And a more tightening view is that Intellectuals require other humans to experiment with their ideas. But, they never take credit for the messes they make and the lives they ruin.
StubW (4 months ago)
I would posit that 'disasters' will always occur. If he could make the argument that *fewer* disasters happen with non-experts or intellectuals this would be a more worthwhile discussion.
lili shyta (4 months ago)
Obama said in his Presidency something like: people are not smart enough to decide for their lives, so the leaders of the world know better for the betterment of lives, so they have to take the lead for all masses, kind in National and global scale. He was very certain about that, and we had to believe it because President said it, regardless how many times countries have failed from their wrong leaderships.
Mister Lackey (4 months ago)
And it seems we suffer a relentless cabal of "intellectuals" stuck on self-flattery.
Tornado Of Souls (4 months ago)
Who doesn't love Dr. Sowell?
Rick White (4 months ago)
The confusion over the word "right" is due to not using the dictionary. A right is a thing one may do without first obtaining permission from another. A right, therefore, is a verb, not a noun. Health care, affordable housing, living wage, etc., are all nouns.
Marcus Moore (4 months ago)
I'm afraid. I have been told all my life that I am a smart kid. Will this do major harm to me later? I'm only 16.
intelligence wisdom (4 months ago)
A real black leader.
Simon D (4 months ago)
I'd rather have a higher rate of burglary than a higher rate of homicide.
mr. blank (5 months ago)
I just feel like he's the smartest person I've ever listened to.
intelligence wisdom (4 months ago)
He's great but don't go too far.
D Van (5 months ago)
Too many people just don’t get it. This good Sir gets it! I have the utmost respect for this man
CAMPAZ Films (5 months ago)
Need that Sowell tie
Tom Loughlin Jr. (5 months ago)
taking from this...savant-ism...expertise in a narrow range of endeavor, enterprise or thought, does not translate at all to other channels. ,,and we oughta LOOK OUT and not cross attribute any credence to them outside of their proven paths...right?
John Orban (5 months ago)
OSHA for burglars 😂
Shifra Shomron (6 months ago)
"Are we becoming a nation of intellectuals? I hadn't thought of that. It's a chilling thought".
garfied spencer (7 months ago)
With his his expressed brilliance, we are tempted to wish that Professor Sowell would become POTUS. However, take note of his response to the question posed at 12:55; "the experts did NOT handle the 2008 crisis, as, they were hired by politicians. Therefore, gad the Professor taken on politics and eventually become President, he would either be booted out of office for holding his grounds on that which are sound economic principles, or he would betray all those principles for political popularity.
Abdulhamid hassen (8 months ago)
The only deficiency of Dr. Sowell is having no empathy.
Kermit Hezmuth (8 months ago)
How is he lacking empathy?
Bargeonin (8 months ago)
I'm really surprised to hear Sowell deny climate change.
John Landon Miller (8 months ago)
What he is describing is what we refer to as the distance between theory and praxis
John Landon Miller (8 months ago)
John Landon Miller (8 months ago)
Extremely brilliant man
Tanny Keeler (9 months ago)
Why not include this perspective in school curricula. K through college? Are we afraid of exposing students to all sides of issues?
Mendo Bruce (10 months ago)
pffft, An institution named after the man that history holds responsible for the great depression, should probably be listened to skeptically.
Katherine Hoeniges (10 months ago)
when this is what you listen to in the 8th grade...
Jacira Sant'Anna (11 months ago)
Dr. Sowell an American personality , a treasure for all the Western World.
Śūnyatā Advaita (11 months ago)
Listening to Thomas Sowell is like drinking a glass of the finest wine or listening to the most hailed symphony. His words are timeless. This man could have saved the Western World.
Josh Saller (11 months ago)
This talk is still so pertinent it is fantastic and awful at the same time
Daysman Of the ages (11 months ago)
We have a right to climb mountains. ........so if your a lazy person.........who do you blame
Kale Mussel (1 year ago)
Put Sowell, Nasim Taleb and Peter Jordanson vs the world and watch how they dismantle the very fabric of intellectuals yet idiots
wjatube (1 year ago)
I would prefer an hour of Thomas Sowell WITHOUT this interviewer. He takes over far too much.
Стефан Радев (1 year ago)
His best book! <3
Jacob Thompson (1 year ago)
I am skeptical about his view on climate change does anyone know off hand the Data he is referring to? I would like to believe him, because I love the man, but I'm not convinced.
Jacob Thompson (1 year ago)
Wow thank you. Yeah, nobody is perfect, question everyone haha
동동동 (1 year ago)
Sadly, this is a very intellectually lazy stance from him. His arguments were debunked over and over again. such as "oh the CO2 is lagging behind temperature" and "the emails!" https://skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm https://youtu.be/7nnVQ2fROOg
Mentor Timothy (1 year ago)
Mr Sowell is today's leading authority on ego maniacs and many other subjects too; Certain intellectuals seek power to be consolidated in a few and most of the time it's the sociopathic leader that craves it and misuses it. Technocracy is a perfect example of this. A former fellow Hoover Instuttionist named Antony Sutton, Co-wrote a book about technocratic government evolvilng and being the norm in the future, that future is now. You can still look up the work of his and Co-author Patrick Wood on Technocracy, the modern definition of what Mr Sowell makes his observations about today. Globalism is the manifestation of this in today's governmental collectivism wreaking havoc on the earth and culture.
ErinCM TheMC (1 year ago)
What a fantastic interview. I could've listened for hours. Absolutely intriguing!
Joel Curtis (1 year ago)
I get that reasonable people can disagree with thinkers like Chomsky and Russell. But to dismiss their work as 'absurdity' reeks to high heaven of bad faith. Their ideas are no more absurd than Sowell's are, even if you find them to be misguided or incorrect. I actually came here looking for a reasonable conservative mind to challenge my liberal leanings and biases. I've heard great things about Sowell and am planning on reading some of his work. Or at least I was. I hesitate to continue now, after hearing that.
Greg Kale (1 year ago)
I wish this guy was president. Wow, what a great mind this man has!
Charles peterson (1 year ago)
Britain, OSHA for criminals!
Charles peterson (1 year ago)
I had a long day. Dr. Sowell is my go to Doc. I feel better after 5 minutes. Really. Thank You.
E Palomo (1 year ago)
Love this guy
P N (1 year ago)
In Praise of Thomas Sowell by Mark Helprin - Posted: July 31, 2017 https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/in-praise-of-thomas-sowell/
John Amidon (1 year ago)
Never underestimate the appeal of feeling superior to someone else. And, never underestimate the hubris this can generate.
Jake Jakey (1 year ago)
thomas sowell is honestly one of the best americans of our generation
Media Sawdust (1 year ago)
"There's nothing older than the idea that this is new." Fantastic quote.
Ashuman Chauhan (1 year ago)
Only, I'd have liked Sowell to have answered the question, "What accounts for the exceptions amongst intellectuals -- like Milton Friedman and, even, himself?" My guess is, when the "experts" create a demand for themselves by making wild predictions and sensationalizing people, that itself creates a demand for "anti-experts" whose sole job is to refute them. True, such "anti-experts" (think the police), wouldn't exist if the "experts" (think the mafia) did not, but that does not make their importance and significance any less.
Ashuman Chauhan (1 year ago)
"Intellectuals - people whose end products are ideas." There couldn't be a more succinct and meaningful definition.
Kristo Veeroja (9 months ago)
@David Rebatto #NotAll
David Rebatto (1 year ago)
What are Sowell's end products?
Southern Oregon’s Strongest Man Scot Savage (1 year ago)
Why is the sense so common!!!
Master Chief 00117 (2 years ago)
If given the change to beseech the Anointed in Politics. Academia.. What would you tell them? One word.. Goodbye. As their not interested in results. Only their own selfish vision of how the world should be.. Not how it really is! Bingo..
Roger Syversen (2 years ago)
whats the point of this? there is no challenge in preaching to the choir
Eric's Electrons (2 years ago)
I love this man for his economic ideas, but he was being a little hypocritical by saying intellectuals tend to venture outside of their field of study and not hold competent beliefs, then falsely stating that temperature rising before carbon emissions started rising as evidence of climate change is evidence of global warming alarmism. What he doesn't understand is that yes, the temperatures go up and down over time, with and without anthropogenic (human driven) climate change. However, the *rate* of change over time has gone up significantly; More than any other time that has been recorded. To put that into perspective, climate scientists can accurately approximate thousands of years into the past. Cites close to the shore are flooding and sea levels are clearly rising while the water is warming. I don't like the Al Gore types on climate change because their predictions are mostly wrong and their shtick is to appeal to fear. It does more harm to climate scientist, because people tend to not trust them after listening to politicians telling us how to live and misusing science. However, denying global warming is happening, thinking climate scientist are creating alarmism for funding without evidence, and not considering it a problem for future generations is not a rational stance to take on this issue.
Besto2000 (2 years ago)
There’s nothing older than the idea that “this is new” -Thomas Sowell
Paul Charles (2 years ago)
We have mote burglars in the uk but far less murders. Things can be replaced, people cannot!!
Dr. donna Walter (1 year ago)
Paul Charles - and the USA considers the right to own a firearm a right from God - "...endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights..." - so therefore the USA need look at other solutions to solve what some are saying need be solved by taking away that which those elected officials take an oath to support. Since there are countries that do not consider rights of people to come from a Creator - such as the UK laws - the moving to where you find more to ypur liking would be a great idea.
Luke Cage (2 years ago)
A new hero for me.
DL Southwell (2 years ago)
Sowell is a bright star in the academic world. His inteligence is obviously very high. However, his anti views on proven IQ testing and theories thereof are wrong. He makes his mistake in thinking the genetics of races are the same.
Place Holder Profile (9 months ago)
No. You're wrong. His premise is correct.
Chinnini (2 years ago)
The first 400 names in the boston phonebook contain a large number of Harvard graduates.....wtf. Boston has 4.5 million people. How many people attend Harvard. Harvard is in Boston. Bostonians must naturally attend Harvard More. This LITERALLY violates the same relationship between A and B presented by the GREAT thomas sowell.
Boris Pinksterboer (2 years ago)
Mister Sowell, I refuse to live in bad faith and to quantify quality.
Silus (2 years ago)
Boris Pinksterboer Cool story.
Lord Hephaestus (2 years ago)
I like Sowell. However, what I think is interesting is that he falls prey to the exact thing he's criticising other intellectuals for doing: speaking outside one's expertise. You can first tell the problem by both he and the interviewer using the phrase "global warming," which is not how climate scientists describe the phenomenon​ of climate systems. That's how the media at large describe it. The second problem is that since Sowell sees the world in economic terms, he conceives of the sciences in the same way as everything else: as profit driven. Politicians, who also have no knowledge of science, may have such ulterior motives but research scientists follow the data. Even if they get a speaking fee to talk about it, they're taking about the data. Sowell is just wrong in his assessment of this phenomena by virtue of the same arrogance he accuses other intellectuals of, at least on this point.
Dave Thomas (2 years ago)
once again I learn from the master, Dr Thomas Sowell. It's 2AM in the morning, Sowell will keep me up all night, with his truth to power.
Summum Bonum (2 years ago)
This interviewer poses as an intellectual himself, though he appears well read with his notes, his ability to think is apparently lacking. I am impressed by Thomas Sowell, but his speculations on global warming are dangerous. Everyone learns in basic science class that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere now is 100 ppm greater than it has been in the last 800,000 years. That this is causing a potential catastrophe is undeniable. The shame is that we have the technology to mitigate it now, but the people in charge of policy do not understand science. Nor do they even attempt to understand it.
Martti Suomivuori (2 years ago)
He is a very clear and thought-provoking writer. Just finished his https://www.amazon.com/Intellectuals-Race-Thomas-Sowell/dp/0465058728
Christopher Martin (2 years ago)
i love this man
Eric King (2 years ago)
Stay In Your Lane!
Kristoffer P (3 years ago)
"You can become president of the United States with no contact with economic reality." Truer words have never been spoken.
MJ Calderon (3 years ago)
The clearest, most pragmatic, and cogent thinker on the issues of race, economics, and politics of the last half-century.
Josh H (3 years ago)
i understand the interviewer is on his team but jesus christ throwing softballs is one thing but please ask an actual question that probes his knowledge. "Is it really that simple?" never ask that question again. "What was he thinking when he was so wrong about yada yada? " .
Josh H (3 years ago)
Probing his knowledge doth not equal adversarial debate. It is you who gets me warm and fuzzy.
muffinspuffinsEE (3 years ago)
How do we solve problems like environmental disruption and mass unemployment? Do we just move to mars and consume that planet instead?