Renowned conservative philosopher and economist Thomas Sowell joined “Life, Liberty & Levin” as its first guest of its new two-day-per-week airing to discuss his own personal pivot from Marxism as a youth to a conservative as he grew older.
Host Mark Levin described the rise of Marxist thought in America, particularly from college campuses and younger voters, asking Sowell how he reckoned with that same line of thought as he began to analyze what he was being told.
“I think there’s a very simple explanation that as of the time I became a Marxist: I didn’t know as much as I knew,” Sowell said.
“After several years of study and observing things going on and, facts carried a lot of weight with me, and when the facts kept going in the wrong way, I realized that this (Marxism) was not going to do what it claimed it was going to do.”
Sowell added that one of the reasons the social justice movement can be so attractive is that in theory it all sounds great and positive.
“It’s only after you study history that you find out just how bad, how horribly it actually turned out,” he went on.
Sowell said the proverbial social justice warriors and contemporary Marxists and leftists presume that if someone does not reach the same heights, economically or otherwise, as someone else, then they have been wronged by someone else along their life journey.
“And that’s an incredible assumption — that human beings have such enormous control over all of their own fates, individually or collectively,” he said.
“When I think back over my life – and I’m sure other people can do the same in their lives — there are times that a particular person appeared on the scene and changed the whole trajectory of my life. And it’s happened more than once, and I’m sure it’s happened in the lives of many other people.”
“There’s nobody out there who has all the incredible amount of knowledge required to take over making other people’s decisions for them.”
Born in 1930, Sowell told Salon in a 2000 interview he followed Marxism into his 20s.
The renowned conservative thinker said at the time that in the summer of 1960, he was interning for the federal government and took notice of how employment levels among Puerto Rico sugar industry workers dropped as minimum wage levels rose.
He said one explanation could be that the rise in wages were “pricing people out of their jobs,” while he added that the trade unions and politicians preferred to blame the dynamic on Caribbean hurricanes damaging cane fields.
Sowell said that situation made him think more about bureaucratic incentives rather than the goal of any particular legislation.
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