Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Thomas Sowell on "The Real Public Service"

"It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club. It was the Wright brothers who got us off the ground, not the Federal Aviation Administration. It was Henry Ford who ended the isolation of millions of Americans by making the automobile affordable, not Ralph Nader.

Those who have helped the poor the most have not been those who have gone around loudly expressing "compassion" for the poor, but those who found ways to make industry more productive and distribution more efficient, so that the poor of today can afford things that the affluent of yesterday could only dream about."

~Thomas Sowell

10 Comments:

At 6/01/2010 1:52 PM, Anonymous DrTorch said...

Amen.

And don't forget, Rockefeller saved the whales. (Thanks to Coyote for opening my eyes to that. I love that.)

 
At 6/01/2010 6:04 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

DrTorch said - "And don't forget, Rockefeller saved the whales."

Yes, far more of them than Greenpeace can even imagine saving. But, by doing so, he almost single-handedly destroyed the US whaling industry.

I can't imagine what protectionist wailing we would hear these days about "saving jobs" and "unfair competition"

 
At 6/01/2010 7:34 PM, Anonymous American Delight said...

And Ringling Bros. saved the elephant. Circuses have increased the elephant population through breeding programs more so than any government agencies or laws.

The profit motive is a remarkable incentive to come up with solutions & innovations.

 
At 6/01/2010 9:52 PM, Anonymous Mika said...

Of course, no one of this persuasion will ever dare to admit that if it were not for unionization, and other agents for redistribution of wealth, most workers would have remained poor and few could have afforded the merchandise they manufactured. The veracity of this is meticulously documented in "A Peoples History of the United States", Howard Zinn, Harper-Collins, 2005. Read it and be enlightened.

 
At 6/02/2010 4:10 AM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

Mika said...

“Of course, no one of this persuasion will ever dare to admit that if it were not for unionization, and other agents for redistribution of wealth, most workers would have remained poor and few could have afforded the merchandise they manufactured. The veracity of this is meticulously documented in "A Peoples History of the United States", Howard Zinn, Harper-Collins, 2005. Read it and be enlightened.”

Howard Zinn? Oh my. Zinn is totally notional and has a major agenda and no “enlightenment” occurs in “A Peoples History of the United States”. Its merely Howard’s way of painting the world with his “vision”. Or, alternatively, Thomas Sowell would sum up Zinn as fitting the vision by exempting the vision from the requirement of fitting the facts.

Mika, if you enjoy a revisionist brand of history, continue to read Zinn.

 
At 6/02/2010 9:00 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Howard Zinn? Oh my. Zinn is totally notional and has a major agenda and no “enlightenment” occurs in “A Peoples History of the United States”. Its merely Howard’s way of painting the world with his “vision”. Or, alternatively, Thomas Sowell would sum up Zinn as fitting the vision by exempting the vision from the requirement of fitting the facts.

Zinn did Americans a favour by reminding them that they have become the type of people that the founding fathers were worried about. He made it very clear that when historians do their work they are biased and become very selective by choosing from among the great number of facts a small selection that will be recorded. Some of the facts are brought forward and emphasized while others are pushed to the periphery and marginalized. They are sorted and arranged in ways that support a bias that will ultimately determining the conclusions that emerge when the work is competed.

While badly flawed, Zinn's treatment of the Civil War is certainly superior to the mainstream view. He sees Lincoln as a tyrant and points out his many unconstitutional acts against the people even as he dismisses the idea that the war was about slavery. His readers are exposed to the contemporary European view of the war and read comments in the English papers such as this from the London Spectator: "The principle [behind the Emancipation Proclama- tion] is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States." But Zinn never has the courage to go far enough and falls far short of the treatment provided by Woods, DiLorenzo, Hummel, or Adams, who are a lot closer to the truth than he is.

 
At 6/02/2010 10:15 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Zinn did Americans a favour by reminding them that they have become the type of people that the founding fathers were worried about"...

ROFLMAO!

Aren't you really pseudo benny under another alias?

Thank you Roger Kimball: "...contemporary American academia found its court historian. Zinn, who died January 27 at 87, was like a gigantic echo chamber, accurately reproducing — and actively reinforcing — every left-wing cliché with which the academy has abetted its sense of election these past several decades"...

Thank you Michael Moynihan: Howard Zinn was a master of agitprop, not history

 
At 6/02/2010 10:49 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Aren't you really pseudo benny under another alias?

I have no clue what you are talking about. And while I do not agree with Zinn's leftist sentiments he was right about the failure of mainstream American historians who seem to have ignored the facts when they were selling their own bias.

My own preference is for the work of someone like Thomas Woods instead.

 
At 6/03/2010 11:09 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"And while I do not agree with Zinn's leftist sentiments he was right about the failure of mainstream American historians who seem to have ignored the facts when they were selling their own bias"...

Zinn wasn't right on anything...

"My own preference is for the work of someone like Thomas Woods instead"...

Call me a skeptic but someone who might possibly see something useful in Zinn would seem to have a very hard time digesting Woods...

 
At 6/03/2010 11:01 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Zinn wasn't right on anything...

He was right that the field of history was full of bias. He was right about Wilson and Lincoln. He was right about the rise of corporatism in the US. He was right about the government's attack on individual rights.

What he is wrong about is the merit of the progressive movement. For a reason only known to lefties they confuse the anti-human basis of the progressive movement with virtue.

Call me a skeptic but someone who might possibly see something useful in Zinn would seem to have a very hard time digesting Woods...

Actually, I have heard Woods say that Zinn was right in his criticism of presidents that many historians consider to be among the best. Woods' attack on the historians is similar to that of Zinn. They simply come from different places.

I just did a quick search and found a similar assessment by Jeff Riggenbach.

http://mises.org/books/historynot.pdf

 

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