The one problem with Sowell

As I mentioned before, I find Sowell's book Black Rednecks and White Liberals refreshingly well-researched, and the conclusion that the best thing any minority can do to help themselves become accepted is to work hard and to use the best parts of the cultures with which they interact. The only problem I find with this, is in his concluding essay "History or Visions" where he writes of a white woman living in modern Australia:

"Had no invasion of Australia ever occured, and this white Australian woman had been born in the land of her ancestors--probably England-- would she not have awakened each morning to better circumstances and prospects than aborigines in a distant and undisturbed Australia?"

My answer would, at the moment, have to be, probably not. First, the resources used by he aborigines, especially the land, are exactly the resources that the woman needs to survive - if she were born into an England from which there had been no emigration, she would most likely have been born into an England where human life was so plentiful as to become made-in-Taiwan cheap.

I think this itself is indicative of one of the great struggles of our age, one we must approach with more dedication, skill and hard work, to which Sowell, through the rest of his book encourages us - what will we do with dwindling resources? We have replaced human power with fossil power, but what will we do as fossil power dies - will we revert to human power? I think it more than possible. What will we do when the land runs out, will we invent new ways of using it, new ways of generating power, or harvesting existing power, or will we revert to our old ways? This is a bigger question, and it is my suspicion that if we do not learn from the past- from all these cultures which did not adjust, through Pride or laziness, to a new world - we will become them again. Perhaps we are already becoming them, perhaps we always were those cultures and just for a moment have deluded ourselves that we are more just or good. But I have more to say on that later. For now, I will say, that's my one problem with Sowell - he doesn't seem to address the difficulty of the conquering nation. I can certainly forgive him for that, it was not the focus of his research - and to speak better of it, I would have to research as well as he did.

Of course, to do that, a position at Stanford would certainly help....

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