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Don't Trust Politicians When They Explain Economic Disparity


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Investors Business Daily:

Anyone who has ever been in a Third World country, or even in a slum neighborhood at home, is likely to wonder why there can be such dire poverty among some people while others are prospering.

Both politicians and intellectuals have tended to have simple answers to that question, even if these simple answers have been different in different eras.

A hundred years ago, the prevailing answer was that some people are innately and genetically inferior. This answer thundered not only from political platforms in redneck dialect by politicians in the Jim Crow South. The same message was delivered in cultured and lofty tones from academic podiums in the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities.

Nor was this unique to the United States. In Britain, a study of high-achieving families by Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, concluded that the reason for their achievements was genetic superiority. From there it was a short step to seeing various races as genetically superior and inferior.

More ominously, Galton saw those who were inferior as a drag on society who should be eliminated. As often happens when a big idea seizes the imagination of the intelligentsia, their strongest argument is there is no argument — that "science" has already proved what they believe.

As Sir Francis Galton put it: "There exists a sentiment, for the most part quite unreasonable, against the gradual extinction of an inferior race." The idea that those with different views had only "sentiment" on their side, while he had science, was common among intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic.

Eugenics — a term Galton coined — became a crusading creed, and eugenics societies were set up by such stellar intellectuals as John Maynard Keynes, H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw in England. In the U.S. there were 376 college courses devoted to eugenics in American colleges and universities in 1928.

By the end of the 20th century, the pendulum had swung to the opposite end of the spectrum. Now differences in achievements among classes, races or the sexes were seen as being a result of discriminatory treatment.

And, again, as with the intelligentsia of the Progressive era, those with different views were dismissed with a word — often "racist" now, as compared to "sentimental" in the earlier period. But in neither era were views different from the crusading creed of the day seriously engaged.snip
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Historical happenstances — the fact that the Romans invaded Western Europe but not Eastern Europe, for example — left a legacy of written languages in Western Europe that people in Eastern Europe did not have for centuries.


One small problem with Tom's argument....Romania. Rome ruled there from 105 till the "Fall" Romanian is a Romance language.


Here is the problem when dealing with history and culture, why some societies are richer than others, you can't just put it down to one or two things.

Dr. Sowell should know better than this.

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