WWTSD (What Will Thomas Sowell Do)?


In an August 1st, 2006 column dubbed "A Military Draft?" Thomas Sowell declared that the current generation of American deadbeats is not suitable for the United States military. What follows is not a warning that a draft is a violation of human liberty, but rather, a caveat that a draft would be dangerous to the advancement of a glorious military.

In addition, he lets us know that a draft could possibly wake people up from their non-sacrificial slumber. Sowell’s mantra goes like this:

On the home front, life goes on today as if there were no war. Consumer goods are as abundant as ever and no real sacrifices are demanded of the civilian population, who are spectators rather than even tangential participants. None of this is healthy.

Some have suggested a military draft as a way to at least create some sense of realism about war and to share its burdens more widely and equitably.

A draft would have the effect of bringing the populace into the midst of an imperialistic and murderous war on the part of a self-empowered, political entity. That, he implies, will wake up the civilian population and force them to suffer along with those who kill for their fearless leaders. Forget about those of us who do not condone the state’s actions, or even its existence.

Imagine Thomas Sowell believing that those who do not choose war, bloodshed, and total violence must stop being "spectators" to the war games, and relinquish their petty, little rights as producers and consumers, so they too can be forced to endure the violence, misery, murder, and poverty brought forth by war. This, to Sowell, is an "equitable" distribution of "burden" and misery. After all, how dare we pursue iPods and home decorating and softball games while the US and its allies spread bloodshed the world over! It is “not healthy” for the kept citizenry to lead their own lives instead of sacrificing their way of life for total state and total war.

Does Mr. Sowell really believe that we should be squashing "abundance" and rationing consumer goods for the sake of some "tangential participation" in overseas killing, because we consumers, here in the US, receive a disproportionate share of "unhealthy" capitalist luxury, and thus are too far removed from the pains of sacrifice?

So, while the Muslims see the ultimate sacrifice as strapping a bomb to a young life, and taking more lives than are given in the act of doing so, does Mr. Sowell believe that we need to sacrifice by strapping on guns and grenades to kill for Bush & Company? We do know he thinks we should give up our selfish consumerism to share some of the burden and join in on the healthy misery. How wretchedly symbolic. As is often spoken, what is the difference between Left and Right anymore? In fact, what is the difference between the homicidal terrorists and those who terrorize mankind in the name of opposing them?

Getting back to the draft and draftees, Mr. Sowell remarks:

Back in the days of World War II, the military were drafting young men who were, by and large, patriotic Americans, people who felt that they had a duty to protect this country from its enemies.

Today, a military draft would bring in large numbers of people who have been systematically “educated” to believe the worst about this country or, at best, to be non-judgmental about the differences between American society and its enemies.

To begin with, how often do we hear that dreadful and misguided cliché about boys going off to war — more specifically, WWII — and coming home as "men"? The same cliché is used for young males going into the modern military, where drill sergeants that smash down the individual in favor of building up the group, purportedly turn mere boys into magnificent men. Military life and war, so it is said, builds character, strength, and honor — or, a whole man — where family and voluntary relationships have failed to do so.

On the contrary, a boy turns himself into a man through inner reflection and ultimate choices, and by engaging those around him. But what do you expect from a populace that has grown so accustomed to hearing that they cannot possibly know what is best for them or their loved ones, because it’s the state that must always and everywhere prevail over individual lives?

Thomas Sowell, for so long, had been an ardent defender of the free market and free men, and opposed to the idea of redistribution or the suppression of property rights for the sake of equality. For that reason, he has long been on my list of heroic intellectuals who dared to go up against the establishment line. But no longer. I’ve got news for Mr. Sowell. The fruits of my labor do not belong to the state. I will not surrender my ability to produce or consume to the state so that I can share in the "realism" and moral bankruptcy of its oppressive wars, fueled by the political ambitions of collectivist tyrants. I am not the state. I am an individual. I do not sanction the state’s actions, and I do not benefit from its wars. Yes, my life will go on as undisturbed as is possible, and for that I am not one bit guilty.

Post-9/11, Mr. Sowell has gone from mild warmongering to party line performances. This column, in my mind, makes him a proponent of total state. Perhaps the formerly brilliant Mr. Sowell has forgotten his roots, as well as the history of the real America. His numerous superb books — Knowledge and Decisions, The Visions of the Anointed, A Conflict of Visions, etc. — have apparently fallen through the rat hole he stands upon. And the foundations of American life surely aren’t built upon unconditional allegiance and personal sacrifice, Mr. Sowell.

So What Will Thomas Sowell Do? The day has now come wherein he carries his allegiance card, and has become a propaganda chief for the state. He is like a cheap, plastic version of his old sterling self. Like those who did the same before him — proselytizing for Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, and FDR — Thomas Sowell is an enemy of the free market and free men.

Look at the hate we’re breeding Look at the fear we’re feeding Look at the lives we’re leading The way we’ve always done before

My hands are tied The billions shift from side to side And the wars go on with brainwashed pride For the love of God and our human rights And all these things are swept aside By bloody hands time can’t deny And are washed away by your genocide And history hides the lies of our civil wars

Look in the doubt we’ve wallowed Look at the leaders we’ve followed Look at the lies we’ve swallowed And I don’t want to hear no more

And I don’t need your civil war It feeds the rich while it buries the poor Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers In a human grocery store Ain’t that fresh I don’t need your civil war

~ Civil War by Guns N Roses

Karen De Coster, CPA, has an MA in Economics, and is an accounting and finance professional in Detroit. See her website and blog at Send her mail.