Few public intellectuals have demonstrated as much intelligence and fearlessness as has Thomas Sowell. He mixes learned treatises on Marxism and ethnicity with sharp newspaper articles on everyday issues. An African American, he has demanded that black leaders accept their own responsibility for the tragedy of the inner city.
His latest effort is Black Rednecks and White Liberals: And Other Cultural and Ethnic Issues, a collection of essays on “minority” controversies. Sowell does not disappoint: From educational attaintment to slavery, he smashes conventional icons and insists on individual responsibility. It makes for a wonderfully refreshing and stimulating read, especially for anyone normally immersed in Washington platitudes.
Sowell opens with the book’s title essay, “Black Rednecks and White Liberals.” Without rancor he analyzes “redneck culture,” with its emphasis on pride, reliance on violence, lack of economic or intellectual enterprise, sexual promiscuity, and religious intensity. This was once emblematic of Southern whites: he opens the chapter with half-century old quotes criticizing poor whites who had moved north but “absolutely refuse to accommodate themselves to any kind of decent, civilized life.”
Unfortunately, he argues, “redneck culture” did not remain white. Rather, it also permeated Southern black society. Northern African Americans made significant progress even in an era of pervasive racism and discrimination; West Indian immigrants played a leadership role by exhibiting almost the opposite of redneck culture. In the late 1800s, he writes, “Northern black urban communities were themselves becoming cleaner, safer, and more orderly during the era of improving race relations.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?