Among the most influential thinkers who has helped shape and craft conservatism for decades is the great economist Dr. Thomas Sowell.
There are few people who have done as much to combat the destructive policies of the progressives and the left through logic and reasoning as Thomas Sowell. His books are essential reading for anyone who desires to seriously study the best arguments against liberalism.
Among those are “Basic Economics,” which is pretty self-explanatory; “A Conflict of Visions,” about the failed leftist vision for America; and “Black Rednecks and White Liberals,” which tackles the liberal view on race relations.
One of the most important contributions Sowell has given us is an economic maxim that slices through one of our worst intellectual tendencies.
He often refers to this idea in the brief but powerful dictum: “There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs.”
This simple statement has incredible wisdom behind it. So much of our current politics is mired in Manichean exaggerations where partisans pretend that the solutions to all our problems are very simple and it’s only through the evil of the other side that we are kept from a glorious utopia. You can see this tendency being manipulated by people on both sides of the aisle.
On the other hand, Sowell’s maxim sets out that that every policy solution will have some drawbacks or trade-offs. This means that many, though not all, of our political problems are about finding the best option among many rather than a simplistic binary between an extreme evil and Pollyannish messianism.
Managing trade-offs is not as exciting as declaring every political battle the equivalent of the apocalypse, but that is what politics should be — less about emotional outbursts and more about statesmanship and pragmatic leadership.
For this and so many other reasons, I am thankful that God has blessed this nation and the world with the wisdom of Thomas Sowell. If you are unfamiliar with his works, I highly encourage you to seek them out.
Here’s a great interview with the great Thomas Sowell:
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