December 27, 2016

"I’ve always said that if I quit blogging/punditry it will be because I don’t want to pay close attention to the news anymore."

Says Instapundit, linking to Thomas Sowell's last column. Sowell gives his reason:
Age 86 is well past the usual retirement age, so the question is not why I am quitting, but why I kept at it so long....

Being old-fashioned, I liked to know what the facts were before writing. That required not only a lot of research, it also required keeping up with what was being said in the media.

During a stay in Yosemite National Park last May, taking photos with a couple of my buddies, there were four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program — and it felt wonderful. With the political news being so awful this year, it felt especially wonderful.

This made me decide to spend less time following politics and more time on my photography, adding more pictures to my website....
Here are his photographs.

I'm 20 years younger than Sowell, and I'm retiring from law teaching. Not from blogging — not yet. I do like the idea of not needing to be interested in court cases that happen to come up in my field. Blogging, by contrast, is naturally limited to whatever I'm actually interested in. If I didn't want to pay close attention to the news, I'd pay attention to whatever did grab me and write about that. I'm not old-fashioned like Sowell. I can write around anything I don't know and don't want to research. You probably don't even notice when I avert my eyes from a subject in the news — not unless I don't resist writing about how I'm not writing about something.

51 comments:

tds said...

Instapundit should really reprogram his website to make it more large font friendly

Bay Area Guy said...

Have loved Sowell for decades. The guy can think, the guy can write.

mockturtle said...

Yes, I read Sowell's columns for many years and a couple of his books on economics, too. Always admired him, too. I didn't realize he was that old.

I can certainly relate to his experience in national parks, being cut off from communications. It is a lovely and satisfying experience. One realizes just how meaningless the media's prattle seems in contrast to God's creation.

Roughcoat said...

You made yourself the subject of a story that started out being about Thomas Sowell.

EDH said...

"With the political news being so awful this year, it felt especially wonderful..."

A reluctant but not a never Trumper?

Well, my preference would be to leave the office vacant for four years and to wait for better things than 2016. Unfortunately that's not one of the options that we have. I think it's going to be dangerous and not merely bad if either of them becomes president. The question is, where's the danger greatest and, more importantly, most long-lasting? And I think that even though Donald Trump has no coherent vision that looks that promising, Hillary Clinton does have a vision, and it's a world in which she can, by determining who's on the next Supreme Court--for the next 50 years law in America can be undermined. The First and Second Amendments we can write off if she's allowed to put a majority on that court. And so long after, whether it's Clinton or Trump, long after they leave office, the people they put on the Supreme Court will be a legacy for the next generation and perhaps put an end to constitutional law in this country. And on that basis, I would vote against Hillary Clinton.

Chuck said...

"Irreplaceable" is my one word for Thomas Sowell.

There are a number of great interviews that he did with/for CSPAN. Look them up.

You can take your pick, from the number of Sowell columns in which he criticized the Short-Fingered Vulgarian.

In this one for the National Review, he made his peace, with the Least Worst Alternative:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440928/



BDNYC said...

I am reminded of when you refused to blog about Trump. That was before he was too important to ignore.

SgtPete said...

When I retired I became a nurse. Wolf's law in medicine is "If you don't use it, you lose it". This applies to muscle and logic. So fine a task in which both are present and do so every day. One should never ever sit quietly, waiting, and wondering what it will be. Stay busy for the purpose of life is to have a purpose. Find a grand one. Thanks for you thoughts. Love ya, SgtPete

Drago said...

Blogger Chuck: "Irreplaceable" is my one word for Thomas Sowell."

The graveyards are full of "irreplaceable people".

New Sowells will emerge.

To Sowells credit, and thoroughly unlike Chuck, Sowell reserved the bulk of his criticisms for the real threats on the left.

But hey, he was a true and principled conservative so naturally he had a sense of scale and scope of the actual dangers and threats to our Republic.

rcocean said...

Yeah, blogging is very flexible. You can do it as little or as much as you want. You can write a big analysis or a couple of concise sentences.

I didn't realize Sowell was 86. Man, that is old for a pundit. Amazing that he kept relevant. Most pundits really start losing their fastball after a while. I can remember Buckley phoning it in after he reached 60 or so. Meanwhile, George Will has become irrelevant - a cranky, old elitist yelling at Trump to get off his lawn. Limbaugh still seems to have it, although I've noticed a certain detachment at times in the last couple years.

StephenFearby said...

@Chuck

The NRO Sowell link you gave doesn't seem to work. After some sleuthing, this one seems to fit your description:

An Opportunity for Trump to Outperform Recent Republicans

"...The key individual in any administration, however, is the president — and that remains the key mystery in the new administration."

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442983/donald-trump-transition-republicans-win-offers-opportunity-danger

(Someday I'll actually learn how to code html links.)

rcocean said...

BTW, that reminds me that we really need to change the Judges-for-life thing and substitute a mandatory retirement age of 75 or 80. There's simply no way a Judge that old can truly understand modern day society and make good rulings. Their life is simply too different from the rest of the country.

Chuck said...

Dear Drago,

"Dangerous Donald Trump" by T. Sowell:
http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2016/04/05/dangerous-donald-trump-n2143343

"Conservatives for Trump?" by T. Sowell:
https://www.creators.com/read/thomas-sowell/04/16/conservatives-for-trump

"Now is no time to be voting for President based on emotion" by T. Sowell:
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/424008/

"An unmitigated disaster" by T. Sowell:
https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/05/sowell-an-unmitigated-disaster

"Conservatives can still Trump the Donald with Ted Cruz" by T. Sowell:
http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2016/04/conservatives_can_still_trump.html

This list goes on an on. Columns, video interviews, etc., etc.

Sowell wrote more anti-Trump diatribes than I did!

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

rcocean -
I dunno. Much to be said for continuity - especially in law.
On the other hand, law can't change soon enough so I can marry my dog.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Them is sure some fine photographs. Do love that black+white! Somehow, can be much more expressive than color. Simplicity and suggestiveness.

Bay Area Guy said...

Two things about Sowell:

1. He wrote a very good, non-political book, about late-talking children.

https://www.amazon.com/Late-Talking-Children-Thomas-Sowell/dp/0465038352

Apparently, his son didn't talk until age 5 or 6, which caused him a lot of worry. I think it all turned out fine, but his book was quite touching.

2. Sowell was a great idea-man, but not so great on retail politics. He has a prickly personality. As I recall, not only did he oppose Trump this election, but he went for Gingrich in 2012, who probably would have lost to Obama, even worse than Romney.

Great man, though.

Chuck said...

"In a country with more than 300 million people, it is remarkable how obsessed the media have become with just one — Donald Trump. What is even more remarkable is that, after seven years of repeated disasters, both domestically and internationally, under a glib egomaniac in the White House, so many potential voters are turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor.

"No doubt much of the stampede of Republican voters toward Mr. Trump is based on their disgust with the Republican establishment. It is easy to understand why there would be pent-up resentments among Republican voters. But are elections held for the purpose of venting emotions?

"No national leader ever aroused more fervent emotions than Adolf Hitler did in the 1930s. Watch some old newsreels of German crowds delirious with joy at the sight of him. The only things at all comparable in more recent times were the ecstatic crowds that greeted Barack Obama when he burst upon the political scene in 2008.

"Elections, however, have far more lasting and far more serious — or even grim — consequences than emotional venting. The actual track record of crowd pleasers, whether Juan Perón in Argentina, Obama in America, or Hitler in Germany, is very sobering, if not painfully depressing.

"After the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran, we are entering an era when people alive at this moment may live to see a day when American cities are left in radioactive ruins. We need all the wisdom, courage, and dedication in the next president — and his or her successors — to save ourselves and our children from such a catastrophe.

"A shoot-from-the-hip, belligerent show-off is the last thing we need or can afford."

~ Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430126/donald-trump-conservatives-oppose-nomination


Sowell's contribution to the NR "Against Trump" issue.

Michael K said...

I'm pleased to see you blog about this as a couple of your left wing commenters seem obsessed with my age. Sowell is 9 years older and going strong. I'm going strong, too.

Sowell was wrong about Trump, I hope. They are obviously almost opposite personalities. It's too bad we couldn't have Sowell as president but we did the best we could.

Gahrie said...

Isn't amazing how life-long Republican manages to take an article about one of the great economists of the world and make it all about an attack on the Republican president-elect. if one didn't know any better, one might suspect that he was actually a Democrat pretending to be a Republican. One could argue that he certainly has been behaving like a Democrat.

Gahrie said...

To truly understand the magnificence of Sowell, contemplate the fact that Paul Krugman is his counterpart on the Left.......

Gahrie said...

Sowell is one of those Black Conservatives who should be a hero to the Black community, but sadly isn't.

mockturtle said...

Even Sowell can be wrong. It was very easy to ridicule Trump early on. I know I did. But many of us became convinced that he meant business. While we didn't like the way he said things, we liked the things he said.

Big Mike said...

@Chuck, Sowell was right, as usual, however in the end the choice did not come down to Trump versus the perfect nominee for the job. It came down to Donald Trump versus a money-grubbing, mendacious individual who started a war for no reason except potential political gains. So many of us voted for Donald Trump as the best of a collection of bad choices. He has done nothing since the election to make me regret my vote.

William Chadwick said...

See, also, Instapundit's more recent post about Sowell, "Words of Wisdom from Thomas Sowell Over the Years."

The ability to post links still eludes me but here it is for those who can make it "clicky":

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/12/thomas-sowell-in-pictures.php

JAORE said...

"Judge ... understand modern day society and make good rulings"

Wow,do we ever differ on the role of a judge.

Humperdink said...

Having watched life-long Republican Chuck's output over the past several months, the scroll button is a handy feature. Tiresome is an apt description.

Big Mike said...

Oh heck. I left off "despicable" in my description of Trump's opponent.

"Despicable" is contrasted with "irredeemable and deplorable," of which I am one.

Humperdink said...

Thomas Sowell quotes. Quite an awesome collection.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/12/thomas-sowell-in-pictures.php

Chuck said...

Big Mike said...
@Chuck, Sowell was right, as usual, however in the end the choice did not come down to Trump versus the perfect nominee for the job. It came down to Donald Trump versus a money-grubbing, mendacious individual who started a war for no reason except potential political gains. So many of us voted for Donald Trump as the best of a collection of bad choices. He has done nothing since the election to make me regret my vote.


I agree with you completely, right up to the last sentence where you suppose that Trump has done nothing since the election to make [you] regret your vote.

I am okay-to-thrilled with the cabinet picks. I am appalled by the incompetent management of the conflicts. I am continually amused/horrified by the unending Twitter chaos. I am cautiously optimistic about the power of a Republican congress to bring Trump to heel.

I expect that Sowell agrees with me in all of that.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Powerline has some of his quotes:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/12/thomas-sowell-in-pictures.php

urbane legend said...

Excellent photography. Superb writer. Great thinker. One of the two great men of the 20th century, along with Willis Carrier.

Chuck said...

Humperdink:

I just love wedge issues. I wouldn't if I were trying to sell t-shirts, or sneakers, or create "an online community."

But I just knew, that the Althouse blog readership would be adoring of Thomas Sowell. And so what better time, to remind everyone that he (pretty much like me) was NeverTrump right up to the point that there was no good alternative?

So; y'all can love y'all some Trump. Or you can love Thomas Sowell. It will be very tricky, to do both.

Humperdink said...

Chuck,

There are a few commenters on this site who feel is their duty to assume command of a particular post. You are in that small, classless club. This post is about Thomas Sowell, a classic conservative; not about Chuck, life long Republican.

Big Mike said...

@Chuck, well I thank you for that. I think Trump has the ability to learn from his mistakes, and I think that -- more than Congress -- will cause things to work out in the end.

And at 70 years of age I have learned not only patience but that politicians are humans, with good points and regrettable ones. When working properly our system of government with its checks and balances leverages the good and resists the regrettable. Of course our government has clearly not been working properly and so the rise of Trump. Will Ryan stand up to Donald Trump in a way that they never did to Barack Obama? Pardon me for being dubious.

campy said...

Having watched life-long Republican Chuck's output over the past several months, the scroll button is a handy feature.

The Blog Comment Killfile add-on to Chrome is even handier.

Also available for Firefox, I believe.

mockturtle said...

Chuck seems to assume that every post is about him. Narcissist WRIT LARGE.

Chuck said...

Humperdink said...
Chuck,
There are a few commenters on this site who feel is their duty to assume command of a particular post. You are in that small, classless club. This post is about Thomas Sowell, a classic conservative; not about Chuck, life long Republican.

Hence my copyright-violation-length quoting of Sowell's own words. And the multiple links to his writing. With almost no editorializing by me, save for, 'Thomas Sowell is one of the notable anti-Trumpers, who reconciled himself with a vote for Trump.' It might well be the important undercurrent of this whole story. (Sowell seems to be a bit opaque on that one.)

And; I made it all the way through this comments page without ever mentioning Trump's ownership of the collected speeches of Adolf Hitler. So there's that!

Paco Wové said...

Very, very nice photographs. Everybody go look, and stop talking about Chuck.

Bay Area Guy said...

One of the Commentariat writes, in colorful language:


So; y'all can love y'all some Trump. Or you can love Thomas Sowell. It will be very tricky, to do both.

It's not tricky at all to do both, Jeez.

Sowell is a great thinker, a great scholar, a great author, a man of ideas. Profoundly conservative ideas. But he's never run a business, and never run for political office. The esteemed Dr. Sowell is not one, ahem, to grab the females by the pussy.

Trump is not a great thinker, but a man of great action. He builds big stuff - apartments, hotels, casinos. But he's a not great philosopher, and his books are not that interesting.

Ancient Chinese Proverb: Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.

Sowell and Trump might actually complement each other nicely. I doubt Trump has ever even heard of Sowell, let alone read his tomes. Don't look to Sowell to run your political campaign or build your home. Likewise, don't look to Trump for wisdom or pithy maxims. But they both have distinct value, even though, on politics, Sowell is probably wrong about Trump.



mockturtle said...

Bay Area Guy: Very nicely said. Thank you!

Michael K said...

Well said, Bay Area Guy.

roundeye said...

Ann: the one thing I will always take away from this site is Matt Drudge is a photo editing genius.

He has a photo of Carrie Fisher as a young woman that is exactly pitch perfect.

Also, if you quit, there are weekends in New Glarus, Rhinelander and Black River Falls that await. You earned a pension. Use it. And ignore us a-holes.

eric said...

Well written bay area guy.

One of the problems, maybe a big problem, us Deplorable Trump Supporters have had with the Republican party is they seem to go for the intellectuals as if they are doers.

They have shown disdain for the non intellectuals like Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

Hopefully Trump changes the party in the direction of doers over thinkers. Not that intellectuals don't have their place. It's just, they can never seem to figure out how to put their thoughts into actual practice.

Freeman Hunt said...

Sowell's one of the people who got me interested in politics. No Sowell, waning interest.

Mike said...

Tiresome is an apt description.

Yep.

Drago said...

"lifelong Republican" Chuck: "Sowell wrote more anti-Trump diatribes than I did!"

Astonishing.

Chuck actually believes his parroting of dem talking points constitutes original thinking and writing similar to Thomas Sowell.

Just wow.

Jon Ericson said...

Yeah, the entity known as 'Chuck' needs a new shtick
Convenient punching bag but pure DNC ops.

Danno said...

Chuck said..."I just love wedge issues."... And just about anyone on Althouse would love to see if you also love receiving wedgies.

narciso said...

this was my own recent contribution

https://narcisoscorner.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-end-of-effendi-masri-was.html

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Chuck seems to assume that every post is about him. Narcissist WRIT LARGE."

I know, can you believe this guy.

It is obvious nearly every post is about me and my wacky/zany reactions. Duh even morons know that.

Chuck said...

Drago said...
...
Chuck actually believes his parroting of dem talking points constitutes original thinking and writing similar to Thomas Sowell


I haven't parroted one single Democrat talking point. Not one. If you want to look for my spiritual/ideological inspiration, look to the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Look at the National Review. Look at the Weekly Standard. And there you will see my talking points.

Now if those are all "Democrat" outlets in this day and age, we'll need a whole new definition of "Democrat."

I could not care less, how the Trumpkins choose to draw boundary lines or define themselves. I am HAPPY if there remains a dividing line between Trump, and my ideological colleagues.

But this incessant bullshit about making me a Democrat troll has gone beyond tiresome. It is because you have no reaction other than a presumed, "I don't care about that," to the long litany of Birther/Truther/Vaxxer/Draft Dodger/Liar depredations with Donald Trump.