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Thomas Sowell’s Politically Incorrect Legacy Is Built On ‘Following Facts Where They Lead’

Thomas Sowell

Jason Riley joins Emily Jashinsky to discuss his new documentary and book highlighting the life of Thomas Sowell and how his work affects culture today.


On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss his new documentary and book highlighting the life of economist, social theorist, and acclaimed intellectual Thomas Sowell and how his work affects American culture today.

“He’s marked the shift from pushing for equal opportunity to pushing for special privileges,” Riley said, noting that Sowell started his work early in the civil rights movement. “He said this is wrong and that they are barking up the wrong tree here. This is not the road that they should be going down and this is where they eventually, of course, did go down that road in terms of affirmative action and other special privileges.”

Sowell, Riley said, “follows facts where they lead” and isn’t afraid to be politically incorrect in his views on race, culture, and social theory. Many progressives, Riley said, find this worldview threatening and counter to their own narratives.

“The focus for Tom has always been on building human capital, on developing a group, developing skills and habits and attitudes, and he doesn’t see culture as something set in stone,” Riley explained. “There are different groups that have excelled in the past and then progressed, and then excelled again, and he says you have to look and learn from these different groups of people and what they’ve tried, what they’ve done, what they haven’t done, and how things have worked out.” 

Watch the new Sowell documentary here.