Black and Conservative: Thomas Sowell on Race and Rationalism

By:  Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
07/21/2011
       
Black and Conservative: Thomas Sowell on Race and Rationalism

While it is true that the majority of black Americans lean leftward, and while it is no less true that the majority of black American intellectuals are full blown leftists, there are black American thinkers who have decidedly — and decisively — repudiated leftist ideology.

Thomas Sowell is one such thinker.

Sowell is a conservative in the classical or traditional sense of that term. That is to say, Sowell’s thought is located squarely within the intellectual tradition of which Edmund Burke is widely recognized as the inspiration.
 

While it is true that the majority of black Americans lean leftward, and while it is no less true that the majority of black American intellectuals are full blown leftists, there are black American thinkers who have decidedly — and decisively — repudiated leftist ideology.

Thomas Sowell is one such thinker.

Sowell is a conservative in the classical or traditional sense of that term. That is to say, Sowell’s thought is located squarely within the intellectual tradition of which Edmund Burke is widely recognized as the inspiration.

Burke, it may be recalled, articulated that vision that subsequent generations would call “conservatism” in response to the abstract, rationalist metaphysics that the Jacobins enlisted in the service of the French Revolution. Although rationalism is a philosophical disposition that has manifested itself in many places and at many times, it reached its zenith during the Revolution. That is, it is during this time that its erroneous character, translating, as it did, into an unmitigated disaster, compelled the attention of critics like Burke.

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Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. (photo)
 

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