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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 5, 2013/ 25 Nissan, 5773

Sowell Does It Again

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I plunged into Thomas Sowell's latest book "Intellectuals and Race" immediately upon its arrival but soon realized that I needed to slow down. Many writers express a few ideas with a great cataract of words. Sowell is the opposite. Every sentence contains at least one insight or fascinating statistic, frequently more than one. His newest offering is only 139 pages (excluding notes), but tackles a huge question — the damage that bad ideas on matters of race peddled by self-satisfied intellectuals have had and continue to have on the world.

(Buy it at a 41% discount by clicking here or order in KINDLE edition at a 50% discount by clicking here)

Race is almost a national psychosis for Americans, distorting our perceptions and inhibiting rational debate. Sowell places our obsession in context both historically and internationally.

Progressive (i.e. early 20th century) intellectuals, some with the very best pedigrees, espoused views on race that make our skin crawl today. Madison Grant, influenced by the popularity of eugenics among intellectuals, published "The Passing of the Great Race," a warning that "superior" races (whites and particularly "Nordics") were losing ground to the "lower races." A believer in "genetic determinism," he disdained immigration as the "sweepings" from European "jails and asylums" and worried that "the man of the old stock is being crowded out ... by these foreigners just as he is today being literally driven off the streets of New York City by the swarms of Polish Jews."

His book was recommended by the Saturday Evening Post and reviewed in Science. It was translated into French, Norwegian and German. Hitler called it his "Bible."

There's nothing easier than to condemn such ignorance and bigotry today — though few note, as Sowell (and Jonah Goldberg) do, that liberals/progressives, including Richard T. Ely, Edward A. Ross and Francis A. Walker, were among it chief propagators.

More challenging is to recognize the follies of your own time and to examine critically the assumptions that underlie our current racial theories. As he has in some of his other work (for example, in the absorbing "Ethnic America"), Sowell challenges what he calls the "moral melodrama" — the belief that observed differences in outcomes for racial and ethnic groups are the result of discrimination. This unsupported assumption underlies our whole scheme of "disparate impact" and "affirmative action" programs.

Ethnic groups have different histories, cultures, traditions, median ages and abilities. Geography, disease, conquest and other factors affect the way cultures and peoples develop. Into our own time, economic disparities between the peoples of Eastern Europe and Western Europe were more pronounced than those between American blacks and whites. During the First World War, black Army recruits from Ohio, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania scored higher on mental tests than whites from Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi.

People of Japanese ancestry produced 90 percent of the tomatoes and 66 percent of the potatoes sold in Brazil's Sao Paulo province in 1908. "In 1948, members of the Indian minority owned roughly nine-tenths of all the cotton gins in Uganda. In colonial Ceylon, the textile, retailing, wholesaling, and import businesses were all largely" in Indian hands "rather than in the hands of the Sinhalese majority."

Sowell is particularly fond of quoting the economic statistics documenting minority groups who outperform the majorities in many nations. It includes the Italians in Argentina, the Chinese in Malaysia, the Lebanese in Sierra Leone, Greeks and Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and, he might easily have added, Asians in the U.S. today.

The urge to attribute all disparities to discrimination, Sowell argues, a) doesn't withstand scrutiny — black unemployment, for example, was lower than white in 1930 when there was far more anti-black discrimination than today; and b) encourages damaging and divisive "solutions" like affirmative action that harm both the intended beneficiaries and deserving members of the majority group, and encourages sometimes violent conflict as in Sri Lanka, Canada, Hungary, Nigeria and many other nations.

In his survey of damaging thinking about race, Sowell makes extended stops at IQ, multiculturalism, crime and other matters. He brings to every subject the depth of understanding, copious research and impatience with cant that have made him one of America's most trenchant thinkers.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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