Regarding Thomas Sowell’s recent column, “Facts vs. vision”:
Anyone looking up the definition of “troll” in the dictionary — not the kind found in Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” but those who inhabit the blogosphere — might find Thomas Sowell’s picture next to the definition. Such a “troll” is one who uses misleading, irrelevant or inflammatory comments to sow discord in a discussion. Sowell has acted the part in his column referenced above. And, while Internet “trolls” are usually best ignored, a nationally-syndicated print media columnist ought to be called to account.
Although Sowell warns that “correlation is not causation,” he proceeds to violate his own dictum by suggesting that the Detroit riots of 1967 produced more fatalities than those in Chicago in 1968 because Mayor Richard Daley, unlike his “liberal” counterparts in Michigan, was willing to use deadly force to stop the riots. Sowell advances no factual proof to support his conclusion.
Sowell suggests that “the political left” has opposed “the use of force since at least the 18th century,” which might be true, but irrelevant to the issue at hand. He could, with more relevance and propriety (for Christians, at least), have stated that Jesus categorically opposed the use of force, even in self-defense: “… resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
Sowell then presents a lengthy, and befuddling, argument linking Secret Service protection to the prevalence of presidential assassinations in this country, thereby engaging in a technique known as a “reduction to the absurd” — an easy task — as Sowell often deals in absurdities. A case in point is the false dilemma with which he closes: “Do you prefer that fewer people get killed or that kinder and gentler rhetoric and tactics be used?” Really? Couldn’t we have both?
The events of Ferguson are of great import to the nation, on so many fronts. Their discussion clearly merits, in Sowell’s own words, “serious thinking about serious issues”. Alas, Sowell disregarded that wise admonition, and set about confounding his readers with nonsense and irrelevancies.
It is perhaps too late for Thomas Sowell to change his persona as a right-wing gadfly, and as an African-American scourge of all things “liberal.” It is not too late, however, for The Advocate to deny him a forum from which to launch his pernicious diatribes.
Rodrigo M. Solórzano Sr.