William F. Buckley once said that his close friend Thomas Sowell was “one of the brightest men around doing social research,” and that remains true to this day.
Sowell was born in 1930 and grew up in Harlem. Before completing high school, he joined the Marine Corps and was quickly shipped off to the Korean War, where he served as a Marine photographer. After returning from the War, Sowell completed his Economics degree from Harvard, graduating magna cum laude. He then went on to complete his Ph.D. in Economics among the greats in the field at the University of Chicago.
Since that time, Sowell may have been the preeminent African American conservative of the last half of the 20th century. He has espoused on many subject, including economics, sociology, race and liberty. He rarely sticks to any single topic for long, writing articles, essays, and political columns that range from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college.
He has written a dozen books, including The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late, Intelligence and Ethnicity, and The Economics and Politics of Race. In Affirmative Action Around the World Sowell holds that affirmative action covers most of the American population, particularly women, and has long since ceased to be directed towards blacks.
The greatness of Dr. Sowell is that he is very often able to take very complex societal issues, with many facets and irrelevancies, and distill them down to their most relevant base elements. In that, he is one of the few in America today still able to convincingly sell conservatism to the masses..
This piece was from a series in honor of Black History Month.