Monday, June 21, 2010

Sowell Music

(Note: I was going to post this as an update to the post about the "human rights" tribunal's utopian vision, but I found it so insightful that I thought it deserved to stand on its own.) In his book Intellectuals and Society, Thomas Sowell, one of my favorite intellectuals, has this to say about the practice of setting unachievable standards for society and the self-sustaining cult and culture that is thereby engendered:
Under the influence of the intelligentsia, we have become a society that rewards people with admiration for violating its own norms and for fragmenting society into jarring segments. in addition to explicit denigrations of their own society for its history or current shortcomings, intellectuals often set up standards for their society which no society of human beings has ever met or is ever likely to meet.

Calling those standards "social justice" enables intellectuals to engage in endless complaints abut the particular ways in which society fails to meet their arbitrary criteria, along with a parade of groups entitled to a sense of grievance, exemplified in the "race, class and gender" formula today, though the same kind of thinking behind that particular formula has also been used to depict childen as victims of their parents and illegal immigrants as victims of a calloused or xenophobic society in the country they enter. In short, many of the intelligentsia are engaged in the production and distribution of formulaic grievances and resentments, mining history when they cannot find enough contemporary grievances to suit their vision.

The kind of society to which that leads is one in which a newborn baby enters the world supplied with prepackaged grievances against other babies born the same day. It is hard to imagine anything more conducive to internal strife and a weakening of the bonds that hold society together.
Wow. Substitute "human rights" for "social justice," and does Sowell ever have our "human rights" industry down cold.

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