The Case of a Black Conservative: Thomas Sowell, Talent and Tragedy

The Case of a Black Conservative: Thomas Sowell, Talent and Tragedy

Though blacks have felt they were under assault since July 4, 1776, they have also felt most of the time that progress, however slow and uneven, was inevitable. Next to Reconstruction, the period of greatest black optimism began with FDR’s inauguration and ended with Nixon’s. The highlight of this period was Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, for it was Johnson who decided that the federal government should play an active role in behalf of black interests.

The recent election of Ronald Reagan and the growing influence of conservatism have reinforced the feeling that black progress is a notion that has come and gone. The priorities of the Reagan’s administration are such that concern for society’s least well-off, white and black, is somewhere near the bottom of his list. The chaotic response of the traditional black political leadership is largely a result of never before having had to confront an Administration so “impartially” disinterested in the plight of blacks. Ironically, black leaders had assumed the permanence of the welfare state and as such were perhaps the truest adherents to the “End of Ideology” thesis.

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