Among the world’s most intelligent defenders of liberty are many men who were once liberals in their past. Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell are just a few who come to mind, but just those three alone are a power house that isn’t easily trifled with.
Sowell’s story is an interesting one, as he was a Marxist even as he continued his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, a school where economics is a “full contact sport” (in Sowell’s words), and tends to have a rightward ideological bent. He was a student of Friedman (the 1976 Nobel Laureate in economics) while at the university, and even that wasn’t enough to change his mind.
So why did Sowell change from a Marxist to a conservative? He took a job in government (at the Labor Department) for a single summer and that was enough to convince him that there was no way in hell that government had the ability to accomplish what he thought it could. The rhetoric of the left and the reality of the world around him became increasingly misaligned. In fact, most causes of the left, he argues, can be dismantled with three simple questions.
1. Compared to what?
2. At what cost?
3. What hard evidence do you have?
It’s really that simple. Listen to him explain below:
Sowell finally officially retired in December of 2016. In his final column, published in the National Review, Sowell reflected upon his life in politics, and just how much things have changed since he penned his first column four decades prior. “When I was growing up, we were taught the stories of people whose inventions and scientific discoveries had expanded the lives of millions of other people. Today, students are being taught to admire those who complain, denounce, and demand.”
Having only graduated college a few years ago, it’s sad having seen firsthand just how true that is.
Is there any hope for such students? Maybe we should ship them over to the Department of Labor.
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