Thomas Sowell: Obama's 'Confident Ignorance' Is Dangerous

Thomas Sowell is one of our national treasures. I read all of his articles because I am always touched by his infinite wisdom and his ability to articulate that wisdom in a manner that is crystal clear.

This week, as the Democratic National Convention nominates Barack Obama for another four years of high unemployment, overreaching government intrusion, runaway spending, a self-defeating foreign policy, and a pumped-up partnership with the abortion industry, Dr. Sowell writes what is undoubtedly true about this president.

Sowell uses Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father, as a stepping off point to illustrate that, despite his rhetoric regarding his search for the truth through the discovery of his father, Obama’s words are really nothing but B.S. In fact, Sowell observes that Obama really knew all along what his plans were, already had lined up the people with whom he would associate, and showed no interest in anyone who wasn’t sharing in his political philosophy. In short, Obama was never “searching for the truth;” instead, he had already found his truth, and “now it was just a question of filling in the details and deciding how to change things.”

Sowell observes a few examples.

First, Professor Richard Epstein indicated that Obama made no effort to participate in collegial discussions with other faculty members when he was teaching a law course at the University of Chicago Law School. Sowell remarks, “What would be the point, if he already knew the truth and knew that they were wrong?”

Second, Sowell comments on Obama’s ignorance of African history. In Dreams From My Father, Obama states that white men went to Africa to “drag away the conquered in chains,” to which Sowell responds, “The era of the Atlantic slave trade and the era of European conquests across the continent of Africa were different eras.” He goes on to explain that, during the Atlantic slave trade, Africa was ruled primarily by Africans, who sold some of their slaves to white men. The European conquests came later, after the African slave trade had ended. Sowell comments that here is another example of Obama’s statement of incorrect information, in a confident manner that draws in the unthinking or naïve reader.

Third, Sowell points to Obama’s statement in his book that many “had been enslaved because of the color of their skin,” and argues that Obama was merely repeating “a common piece of gross misinformation.” Sowell asserts that, for centuries, “people enslaved other people of the same race as themselves, whether in Europe, Asia, Africa, or the Western Hemisphere.” Sowell adds that the word “slave” itself was derived from the word “Slavs,” the name of a European people once widely captured and held in bondage.

When it comes to economics, Sowell observes further inaccuracies- made to sound “true”- in Obama’s words. He cites Obama’s idea that Indonesians would fare poorly once Europeans arrived and used their natural resources, leaving them poor and incapacitated. Sowell argues, however, that, by the late 20th century, this “exploitation” view was proven false many times over. Even socialist and communist governments have sought out, and welcomed, foreign investments as a means to increase economic growth and counter high poverty levels.

According to Thomas Sowell, “Barack Obama is one of those people who are often wrong but never in doubt.” His “confident ignorance,” asserts Sowell, is a “dangerous quality,” given his rise to become a national leader.

Whether we call Obama a narcissist, a smooth-talker, or a B.S. artist, Sowell hits the nail on the head: Obama’s qualities are the “ingredients for national disaster,” as we have well seen.


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