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A Refuge from Rampaging Presumptions

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


Like his biography, Maverick, of Thomas Sowell, Jason Riley’s essay on this great economist is splendid (“The Soul of Black Conservatism,” May 29).

It’s impossible, of course, for any one quotation to adequately capture the essence of the thought of someone who’s contributed so much knowledge and wisdom to humanity as has Mr. Sowell. But a quotation that comes close – one that I never tire of sharing – consists of the final two sentences of Mr. Sowell’s soaring 1980 book, Knowledge and Decisions:

Freedom is not simply the right of intellectuals to circulate their merchandise. It is, above all, the right of ordinary people to find elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their “betters.” *

No one in the past half-century has done more to help create for ordinary people such a refuge – and to encourage them to take it – than has Thomas Sowell.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

* Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions (New York: Basic Books, 1980), page 383.