Thursday, January 05, 2017
Thomas Sowell, one of my favorite authors, and perhaps my favorite columnist, has written his farewell column.
During a stay in Yosemite National Park last May, taking photos with a couple of my buddies, there were four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program -- and it felt wonderful. With the political news being so awful this year, it felt especially wonderful.Writing at the Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley (who discovered Sowell just a few years after I did), writes, in tribute:
This made me decide to spend less time following politics and more time on my photography, adding more pictures to my [website].
Mr. Sowell's first column appeared in 1977. Now 86 years old, he can't be faulted for wanting to spend "less time following politics and more time" on his hobbies, as he wrote last week. But what it means in practice is that many readers are losing perhaps the best professor they've ever had, even if they never went to college. Although Mr. Sowell left academia decades ago -- since 1980 he has been a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution -- he has never stopped teaching through his newspaper columns and many books, most of which are aimed at general readers instead of his fellow intellectuals.In his column, Riley emphasizes Sowell's commitment to learning the facts about what he wrote, and it is this commitment that has made his application of economics to the problems of the day so valuable for so many of us. But I have to disagree a little bit with him here: Sowell's columns (archived here) and books will remain a valuable resource for years to come for anyone who wishes to apply his knowledge of the past to today's problems. He is not done teaching, so much as making it look easy to cut through the fog and really understand what he often called "the passing scene."
Thank you for your rigor and clarity, Dr. Sowell, and enjoy your retirement.