Preface: This book review, as some will notice, is a bit late, as it was slated for September. Though I regret that I was not able to complete this in time, I am happy that I have now sat down to review this title, having gained some perspective. I can say with confidence that my review as it is written now is much different than the review I would have given it two weeks ago. As always, the full version of my review can be found in the Book Review Section
In Short: Everyone who has a political bone in their body should read this book. The work is only drawn back by its somewhat repetitive nature which is less of a product of the author’s writing style and more a product of the unorthodox organization.
About the Author: Thomas Sowell is described by Wikipedia as “an American economist, social critic, political commentator and author.” However, that is not what I think about when I think about Thomas Sowell. I think of a man who was trained in economics, yet was inducted into the American Philosophical Society in 1998. What that tells me about Sowell is that he is a man who can spread himself across different fields and contribute significantly to both. Sowell has authored over thirty books ranging from parenting to economics to philosophy, to race relations. He has influenced some of the great minds like Clarence Thomas, which is no small feat.
Most people I know categorize him as a libertarian, but all that can be definitively said is that he advocates for laissez faire economics and has been fairly influential in that field as well. Clearly, we see a great man writing great things here, and it is with this understanding that we move forward to examine this work: A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles.
Conclusion: Though he makes the same mistakes many of his predecessors in philosophy and political science made, I feel he cannot be faulted too much for staying somewhat within his tradition. Even with this, Sowell realizes that even if the great political philosophers somehow managed to find out what the real nature of Man is, it still wouldn’t really matter, at a macro level. Politics, political struggles, and disagreements of this nature do not derive from the “true” nature of man (if there is such a thing), but rather what we each think the nature of man is. In organizing and explaining the two different sides, Sowell has presented readers with an indispensable tool to understanding their own, their friends, and their adversaries’ ideologies. It is a book for anyone who gets caught up in those debates on the bus, or on Facebook, or even in the bathroom, and it is a key to understanding those who always seem to frustrate you the most.