Intellectuals and Race: Part II

By:  Thomas Sowell
03/13/2013
       
Intellectuals and Race: Part II

Once we recognize that large differences in achievement among races, nations and civilizations have been the rule, not the exception, throughout recorded history, there is at least some hope of rational thought — and perhaps even some constructive efforts to help everyone advance.

Once we recognize that large differences in achievement among races, nations and civilizations have been the rule, not the exception, throughout recorded history, there is at least some hope of rational thought — and perhaps even some constructive efforts to help everyone advance.

Even such a British patriot as Winston Churchill said, "We owe London to Rome" — an acknowledgement that Roman conquerors created Britain's most famous city, at a time when the ancient Britons were incapable of doing so themselves.

No one who saw the illiterate and backward tribal Britons of that era was likely to imagine that someday the British would create an empire vastly larger than the Roman Empire — one encompassing one fourth of the land area of the earth and one fourth of the human beings on the planet.

History has many dramatic examples of the rise and fall of peoples and nations, for a wide range of known and unknown reasons. What history does not have is what is so often assumed as a norm today, equality of group achievements at a given point in time.

Roman conquests had historic repercussions for centuries after the Roman Empire had fallen. Among the legacies of Roman civilization were Roman letters, which produced written versions of Western European languages, centuries before Eastern European languages became literate. This was one of many reasons why Western Europe became more advanced than Eastern Europe, economically, educationally and technologically.

Meanwhile, the achievements in other civilizations — whether in China or in the Middle East — surged ahead of achievements in the West, though China and the Middle East later lost their leads.

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