“Intellect is not wisdom.”He was not writing about Barak Obama. He was writing about the elite class that feels they have the duty to bleed off our liberty and make decisions for us. They are the intellectuals (aka liberals, Democrats, Rino’s, socialists, communists and Progressives) that want to move us to a nanny state. Of course it will be for our own good.
Sowell is reminding us that just because someone is smart does not mean they have the breadth of experience and moral foundation to make good decisions. If you are the parent of bright children you know this. If you are the child of someone with great artistic gifts you may have seen it in action. The problem is that we forget it in everyday activity. Although wisdom usually comes with age, grey hair is no guarantee.
Let me give an example. Recently the People’s Republik of Kalifornia has passed a law that is usually referred to as the Transgender Bathroom Law. It is much bigger than that, but titles need to be catchy. It says that students have the right to declare whether they are male or female and they cannot be denied access to facilities that suit their sexual orientation. When I am screaming about this to the other teachers, they look at me like deer in the headlights and ask, “What child would want to declare themselves something they are not?” It came up in my eight grade class and all the guys start cheering because they realize it means they can go into the girls locker room and get an eye full. In this case thirteen year old boys have more wisdom than a legislature full of “adults” and a governor in his seventies.
Intellectuals. You can’t live with them and they won’t don’t think you can live without them.
(Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite non-fiction writers. I have more books by Sowell than any other living writer. He has a new book out about intellectuals that I have been too cheap to buy so I went to the library and checked out one of his older works, Intellectuals and Society. I quickly found that I wanted it for myself so I went to Amazon and found he had revised it. I bought the Kindle version. This post will reference pages in the printed version. Some later post will switch to Kindle references.
Sowell, Thomas. Intellectuals and Society. New York: Basic Books, 2009, p. 1.
homo unius libri