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The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

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Thomas Sowell's provocative critique of liberalism's failures
The Vision of the Anointed is a devastating critique of the mind-set behind the failed social policies of the past thirty years. Thomas Sowell sees what has happened not as a series of isolated mistakes but as a logical consequence of a vision whose defects have led to disasters in education, crime, family disintegration, and other social pathology. In this book, "politically correct" theory is repeatedly confronted with facts -- and sharp contradictions between the two are explained in terms of a whole set of self-congratulatory assumptions held by political and intellectual elites. These elites -- the anointed -- often consider themselves "thinking people," but much of what they call thinking turns out, on examination, to be rhetorical assertion, followed by evasions of mounting evidence against those assertions.

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About the Author:

Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of dozens of books and the recipient of various awards, including the National Humanities Medal, presented by the President of the United States in 2003.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this broadside against the received wisdom of America's elite liberal intelligentsia, noted conservative Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, offers some strenuous arguments as well as fuzzy generalizations. Thus, his attacks on the war on poverty, sex education and criminal justice policies forged in the 1960s counter some slippery rhetoric by their defenders, yet his suggestion that these policies exacerbated things is questionable. Sowell deconstructs how statistics can be distorted to prove assumptions (that lack of prenatal care is the cause of black infant mortality) and gleefully skewers "Teflon prophets" such as John Kenneth Galbraith (who said that big companies are immune from the market) and Paul Ehrlich (who said starvation loomed). While "the anointed" favor explanations that exempt individuals from personal responsibility and seek painless solutions, those with the "tragic vision" see policies as trade-offs. Sowell scores his targets for disdaining their opponents, but this book also invokes caricature-these days, many of "the anointed" are less unreconstructed than he assumes. Conservative Book Club and Laissez-Faire Book Club selections.
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