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04 May 2010

Ideological hype kills

Thomas Sowell è proprio ganzo.

While ugly racial or ethnic conflicts can seldom be explained by rational economic or other self-interest, they have been too common to be just inexplicable oddities — whether in America or in other countries around the world, and whether today or in centuries past.

Resentments and hostility toward people with higher achievements are one of the most widespread of human failings. Resentments of achievements are more deadly than envy of wealth.

[...] Achievements are a reflection on others who may have had similar, and sometimes better, chances but who did not make the most of their chances. Achievements are like a slap across the face to those who are not achieving, and many people react with the same kind of anger that such an insult would provoke.

In our own times, especially, this is not just a spontaneous reaction. Many of our educators, our intelligentsia and our media — not to mention our politicians — promote an attitude that other people's achievements are grievances, rather than examples. [...]

When black schoolchildren who are working hard in school and succeeding academically are attacked and beaten up by black classmates for "acting white," why is it surprising that similar hostility is turned against Asian-Americans, who are often achieving academically more so than whites? [...] The same phenomenon is found among lower-class whites in Britain, where academically achieving white students have been beaten up badly enough by their white classmates to require hospital treatment.

These are poisonous and self-destructive consequences of a steady drumbeat of ideological hype about differences that are translated into "disparities" and "inequities," provoking envy and resentments under their more prettied-up name of "social justice."

People who call differences "inequities" and achievements "privilege" leave social havoc in their wake, while feeling noble about siding with the less fortunate. It would never occur to them that they have any responsibility for the harm done to both blacks and Asian-Americans.

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