Columnist Thomas Sowell recently announced his retirement at 86. I haven’t heard anyone reference his remarks in a long time, though at one point he was considered a movement luminary. This acclaim largely a function of his being a black man capable of articulating conservative principles without a zero copula or invariant be. In this way, Sowell served more as priest than philosopher. His understood, but never stated, function was to sanctify certain political positions. As in most matters of contemporary social contention, white social preferences are illegitimate when opposed by large non-white majorities. Thus they require consecration by a member of the higher “minority” caste to be eligible for mainstream consideration.
This was the cringingly obvious function of those tea party minstrel shows from the early Obama years; where a stage of blacks would assure an audience of whites that their opposition to a president that despised them was permissible. It’s analogous to the vast ecosystem of “minority” and women business contracting quotas. Throughout the country, at all levels of commerce, billions of dollars in contracts require non white male owned business participation in order to meet minimum bid qualifications. That is to say, white men are prohibited from performing the work their own taxes pay to provide. As a result, many businessmen will find a black or female to “front” a participating enterprise as a means of purchasing legitimacy. These MWBEs (minority/women owned business enterprises) are thus more vehicles to confer blessings than they are means to accomplish actual work.
And blessings don’t come cheap. But that’s your problem, not theirs. So for those ready to pay, we even have handy websites where owners of melanin and ovaries can be matched with those lacking such essential qualities. That I found Mr. Sowell to be a lucid and reasonable writer didn’t entirely obscure his role as one of the conservative movement’s primary MWBEs.
Many others were much less dazzled. It was always interesting that Sowell wielded the least amount of influence on his own people. Probability demands its occurrence, though I have no memory of ever seeing a normal non MWBE black praising his work. There’s two reasons for that, with the one much less important being his broad intelligence chasm with that cohort. At a certain disparity of intellect, a very smart guy begins to simply sound stupid. Though far more germane to his black non-appeal is the fact that they intuited his conservative (i.e. implicitly white) advocacy as not in their tribal interests. As one example of many, color blindness isn’t a lure when color-attentiveness is so lucrative. Thus no florid combination of phrases could lend his columns merit. For Africans, being dumb enough to not be flummoxed by flighty sentiments has turned out to be quite an evolutionary advantage over the last several generations.
Though beyond merely its rejection by blacks, Sowell’s whole genre of True Conservatism has fallen almost entirely out of favor. Thank God for late arrivals. Because while he and his ideological colleagues could conjure plenty of noble rhetoric, they couldn’t conjure enough noble people to actually abide by it. Human beings are tribal and not universalist creatures. Thus systems of politics, governance, and (ideally) separate countries must be designed to accept this reality in the same manner as airplanes must accept gravity. Attractive aesthetics aren’t going to make either fly.
So conservatives like Thomas Sowell were led into an ideological alleyway that ultimately could fit few true adherents. They envisioned countries dutiful to white America’s mores and traditions without the vulgar necessity of white Americans. They committed themselves to defending trappings to the death. Unfortunately however, legacy Americans are becoming as uninterested in being jettisoned from their home as their replacements are in abiding by the former occupant’s customs. As a result, True Conservatism increasingly appeals only to the true fantasists.
All of which leads one to understand why Sowell is finally tossing in the towel. May he find prosperity in retirement. I’ve got a government contract bid that could really use a pretty face.