The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

by Thomas Sowell

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Overview

Thomas Sowell's provocative critique of liberalism's failures

The Vision of the Anointed is a devastating critique of the mind-set behind the failed social policies of the past thirty years. Thomas Sowell sees what has happened not as a series of isolated mistakes but as a logical consequence of a vision whose defects have led to disasters in education, crime, family disintegration, and other social pathology. In this book, "politically correct" theory is repeatedly confronted with facts — and sharp contradictions between the two are explained in terms of a whole set of self-congratulatory assumptions held by political and intellectual elites. These elites — the anointed — often consider themselves "thinking people," but much of what they call thinking turns out, on examination, to be rhetorical assertion, followed by evasions of mounting evidence against those assertions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465089956
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 06/28/1996
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 147,485
Product dimensions: 5.37(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1710L (what's this?)

About the Author

Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of dozens of books and the recipient of various awards, including the National Humanities Medal, presented by the President of the United States in 2003.

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Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Sowell's brillance is on parade in this scholarly, yet easy to read, analysis of the two prevailing political ideologies in America. Dr. Sowell transforms ideological hypotheses into indisputeable truths via facts/evidence in this richly documented work. Both liberals and conservatives will benefit greatly from reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thomas Sowell, like a prophet, explains every liberal I have ever debated or discussed any issue with. He describes the same tired method of attacking the person rather than fighting on the merits of an argument. He has said in a single book what it has taken over a decade for me to realize in my relationships with liberal friends. Any thinking person who wants to understand why they get nowhere in a debate with a liberal should read this book. Also this book gives you the key to avoiding several pitfalls you may encounter in talking to a liberal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This superb book analyzes and explains the prevailing Liberal mindset, which is that Liberals (the anointed) are by definition superior to the rest of us (the benighted). Dr. Sowell describes the Liberal belief structure with logical severity, including their demand for unquestioning acceptance, their demonization of anyone who does challenge them, and their underlying desire for power at the expense of liberty. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand what Liberals believe and how they operate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thomas Sowell methodicaly desribes the Socialist mentality of todays Liberal Democrats. There are many passages that will illuminate the prevailing socialist attitude among the media, educrats, and others who fancy themselves superior to the rest of the population. It takes them apart word by word.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Tells it like it is
whiteberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent, brave foray into the vision of activists judges and self-rigtheous politicians and journalists. Perhaps a bit dated in the Bush/Obama era, but the historical parts are really interesting, especially the ones regarding judicial activism, and the analysis of the "vision of the anointed" (versus the "tragic vision" of the conservatives) is spot-on.
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Are we completely unaware of the initiative a select few have claimed to push policies based not on logic or evidence, but their own assumptions and desires for what is best for others? Sowell tackles this question, showing how elitists have overrun individual decision making and trampled basic rights. Once a stance is successfully positioned as the moral high ground, it becomes accepted such that even "thinking people" take the underlying assumptions as a given, without testing validity, even if the basic facts are readily accessible. The typical pattern leveraged by the anointed begins with assertions about a crisis requiring urgent action, government intervention to solve the problem, and dismissal of any evidence that the methods are actually worsening the situation. Sowell shows clear examples ranging across education, environmental policy, and crime. Good intentions trump everything, including stark evidence of undesirable results. The advocates sometimes even shift their emphasis to a broader agenda. This occurred when sex education in schools reversed a long-term improvement, upon which the proponents shared their real agenda of revising cultural attitudes and supplanting the role of parents. Crusaders assume the role of anointed, and succeed because others let them retain that position.
jahn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What Sowell later was to name ¿those with a constrained view and those with an unconstrained¿ in ¿A Conflict of Visions,¿ are here named the ¿tragic¿ and the ¿anointed.¿ The tragic are those who like Sowell has a constrained view of man¿s potentialities, who admits the realities of life is the necessity of making often painful tradeoffs, of always having to ¿pay for one¿s lunch,¿ the anointed are those who take admirable intentions as more important than available empirical evidence, and as Sowell here tries to prove, in their self-congratulatory arrogance often destroys proven good policies. In his dissection of left-wing propaganda tactics, which is presented intermittingly with specific cases of wrong policies, I find him brilliant, and at times reminiscent of Tom Wolfe, though admittedly I can¿t often read him as intently sardonical. The description of failed policies is impressively demonstrated in statistical numbers and the guilty denying their guilt are given their just send-off. But while I¿m unconditional in praising his incisive attacks on the arrogant ¿anointed¿ left, his defence of the laissez-faire-economics right is to me less impressive. He quotes Noam Chomsky on page 223 saying: ¿freedom is illusion and mockery when the conditions for the exercise of free choice do not exist,¿ and answers that by claiming that such a definition of freedom gives freedom only to a creator god. That is not good enough, the economists have demanded a dynamic definition of value so they can¿t demand a static definition of freedom. Shortage and abundance decides the marginal value of goods, the farmer with only one sack of grain can¿t trade - the worker with only one possible employer can¿t bargain. I don¿t see Chomsky being refuted.De Quincy, in one of his less quoted paragraphs on style, defines this as the ¿disentanglement of thoughts or ideas reciprocally involved in each other.¿ I read this as a praise of the beauty in clarity, and I think that De Quincy himself would have enjoyed reading Sowell, he is at times beautifully clear.
artnking on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sowells book is a great one for anyone who wishes to stop and really examine their own motives. How much "anointed" hubris forms my opinions? This is a valuable question for all of us - liberal and conservative alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sowell demonstrates the kind mentality free thinkers and those who love freedom face as they contend against these pseudo liberal Marxists! Sowell cuts to the chase with such erudition and sagacity the pernicious aims of the "anoited". An attempt to bring to naught  through the most insidious and deceitful arguments imaginable the individual rights and moral autonomy of their fellows in a quest to create  a fair and equal world. Whats worse is that these self appointed do gooder's will stop at nothing to achieve their goals eveen if it means bloodshed and injustice as history in the 20th century shows! Sowell gives us fair warning not only with respect to the mentality that drives this faith but the consequences that we will face. Namely the equal distribution of misery and mediocrity ! Another must read !
howietime More than 1 year ago
best book i ever read. a contrast of left wing "intellectual" planners and the conservative leave-the-government-out doers. the writer is able to work through examples, quotes, historical comparisons and thoughtful descriptions without invoking religion or God as a defense or reason for behaviours but instead relies on different views on human nature. it is in fact brilliant, genious or whatever similar term both in content and artistic writing style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JohnGalt73 More than 1 year ago
This maybe one of the best books I have read recently, I would recommend this book and his book "A Conflict of Vision" for anyone who wants to understand why people who disagree on one social issure tend to disagree right down the line on almost every issue. If there is a writer who better understands the basis of our current conflicts I have not read them. This book will definetly enlighten you.
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JTomCooper More than 1 year ago
Thomas Sowell and the premise of this book are still relevant today. We have another Anointed One in the White House. Obama must have read this book too, since he is using the tactics that Lenin, Hitler, FDR and Lyndon Johnson have used in the past. His four strategy points for promoting and defending his "vision" for "change" are patterned identically to Sowell's description. The only way to fight this type of "vision" is to spread the word about these means of deception and control. Read it and then buy several copies for your friends who are not lemmings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
By all means read this beek if you are in the mood to hear a grown man whimper and complain about beneficial social programs. The man has missed the point entirely with this poor excuse of a book by defending such genetically deadly chemicals like DDT. 'Althought the dangers of DDT have been exaggerated, even professional sprayers, with many times the concentration of DDT in their bodies as the average perosn, show no medical ill effects...' Well, lets just wait until that person has children. DDT affects carrier off spring. He proceeds to compair DDT to whooping cough which is an entirely different disease, affecting its host mortally, unlike DDT. This is just one example of the mans blind crusade. It is a dangerous book for the weak minded. Those of you who have taken statistics before...have fun!