Friday, November 24, 2006

Sowell's Call for Civility

Thomas Sowell has it exactly right. There is a viciousness in politics that is destroying our ability to move forward in a constructive way. Some people in Utah and many conservatives around the country smeared Orrin Hatch for befriending Ted Kennedy. As if to say that because people disagree they must be personal enemies. Here is a bit from Sowell.

When British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain died early in the Second World War that his own blunders brought on and nearly lost, Winston Churchill delivered the eulogy — even though Churchill had more reason than anyone else to be bitter at Chamberlain, who had turned a deaf ear to all Churchill’s warnings for years.

“Neville Chamberlain acted with perfect sincerity,” Churchill said. How many people would say that today about a political opponent on an issue as explosive as war and peace?

Churchill said more, that “we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations,” but that “however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor” when we have done our best.

I'm very sad that Rick Santorum lost his Senate race. Not only because I happen to agree with him politically, but because he seems to be one of the most sincere politicians I've ever seen. (I only say "seems" because the ability to judge a person's heart is beyond my abilities.)

Kathryn Jean Lopez passed along a quote from Rick Santorum after his defeat.

In a farewell letter to his supporters, Santorum said, “People have asked me why I talked about unpopular things like the war ... in this campaign. They asked, why didn’t you just talk about the projects you delivered or the things that you accomplished? ... My answer is that those are the things in the past, and what leaders are supposed to do is to talk about things that our country confronts in the future ... And I did, and I’m very proud of that. I do not rescind a word because those words are words that this country was not receptive to hear. ... They are going to continue to hear those words from me.”
One of the reasons that I voted for Pete Ashdown in his race against Orrin Hatch for the US Senate was because I get a similar feeling of sincerity from him.

Those who have left comments on this blog have been very civil for the most part. For that, I thank you. Even if you disagree with us, your opinion is valuable. It is very easy to get mentally lazy when we never hear opposing points of view.


Anonymous said...

The biggest gain for the immigration debate from the recent midterm elections may be the release of some of the congressional hot air that has kept the political debate over the subject long on rhetoric and short on substance. If nothing else, some of the most strident anti-immigration voices simply won’t be in Congress next year. Among the incumbents who lost their re-election bids were highly vocal anti-immigration firebrands like Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-5th/AZ), Rep. John Hostettler (R-8th/IN), and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

Sincere, yes... but sincere in his error!

Bradley Ross said...

Anonymous, I'd agree with you that it seems more likely something will move forward with immigration reform now. One of the reasons that I decided to vote for Chris Cannon over John Jacob in the 3rd district primary was that Chris Cannon has substantive thoughts about immigration that seemed grounded in reality rather than just sound bites.

The Deseret Spectacle said...

Thomas Sowell has it exactly right? Thomas Sowell is one of the most divisive, mean-spirited and vindictive pundits in the political arena.

I love this quote though:

“Neville Chamberlain acted with perfect sincerity,” Churchill said. How many people would say that today about a political opponent on an issue as explosive as war and peace?

Not many, and certainly not Mr. Sowell. He would brand them a fool, level unfair, slanderous accusations and insult them viciously.

If those on the right want civil discourse, they may want to consider new figureheads to carry the message.


Bradley Ross said...

DS, your perspective on Sowell is a surprise to me. I can't claim to have read his writing extensively, but those things I've read I've found to be very insightful and I've tended to agree with him. Perhaps you could point me to a piece he's written that demonstrates the traits you dislike? There are plenty of conservative commentators that I find distasteful, but Sowell hasn't been one of them.

The Deseret Spectacle said...


Sorry for the delay in replying. I can provide you a few links to my comments on a few Thomas Sowell articles.

To be fair, I'm probably more sensitized to Thomas Sowell than some other conservative commentators. The main reason is probably that his articles frequently plague the Deseret Morning News opinion page, which is one of my Blog's main stomping grounds, so I read a lot from him. I also detest misleading analogies, which litter his writing. The other reason is interesting in that it is exactly the opposite of yours for liking him: I don't detect a shred genuine sincerity or true morality in the man. I see calculated, partisan propaganda which neatly falls in line with the prevailing Republican line, both in phrasing and concept.

I have an equally sickening feeling when I see/hear Democrats do this as well, as when they mindlessly opposed Social Security reform.

Anyway, here are the links to a few of my posts on Sowell:

The Deseret Spectacle - Thomas Sowell: Democrats are Evil Geniuses

The Deseret Spectacle - Thomas Sowell: Vote Republican or We're all Dead

The Deseret Spectacle - Thomas Sowell: He can't talk? If only.

The Deseret Spectacle - Thomas Sowell: Delusional Hypocrisy and Hitler Analogies

Warning: They are not dispassionate, academic deconstructions; they are, at times, mocking and dismissive.