Saturday, November 24, 2007

Review: Thomas Sowell's 'A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles'

My review on Amazon:

"Have you ever noticed how it's easy -- after, say, 15 minutes of discussion -- to predict how someone will turn up on a given controversy? So, even though you haven't talked about immigration or taxation or abortion, you find that you can accurately give your new acquaintance's views based on other things they've said.

This book helps to explain why that occurs. Sowell seeks -- and it's a tough task -- to give a broad guide to understanding the wide visions that we all carry around, and with which we interpret the world and the controversies that happen around us.

Others have complained that Sowell oversimplifies. I would argue instead that Sowell's given task in this book is to make simple what can be an endlessly complex job -- to figure out why we usually end up -- predictably -- on a given side of a subject.

What's also good is that Sowell doesn't use the tired, unhelpful categories of "liberal" and "conservative" which in our time have come to be simplifying without helping. Sowell's simplifying, instead, gives a means of looking at the world that clarifies and in the end helps us think more clearly and -- perhaps -- more reliably when we evaluate problems of our time."

1 comment:

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

I love reading anything by Thomas Sowell, so I'll add this to my list. Knowledge and Decisions is a powerful book. Thanks!