Conservative philosopher and economist Thomas Sowell recently appeared on “Life, Liberty & Levin” to discuss his ideological transition from Marxism during his youth to conservatism in his later years.
Host Mark Levin discussed the increasing popularity of Marxist ideologies, especially among younger generations and on college campuses. He asked Sowell about his personal experience with those ideologies.
“I think there’s a very simple explanation that as of the time I became a Marxist,” Sowell responded. “I didn’t know as much as I knew.”
“After several years of study and observing things going on and, facts carried a lot of weight with me, and when the facts kept going in the wrong way, I realized that this (Marxism) was not going to do what it claimed it was going to do.”
Sowell acknowledged the allure of the social justice movement, saying it sounds promising in theory, according to a Fox News report.
“It’s only after you study history that you find out just how bad, how horribly it actually turned out,” Sowell explained.
The conservative also addressed assumptions made by contemporary Marxists and social justice advocates.
“They presume that if someone does not reach the same heights, economically or otherwise, as someone else, then they have been wronged by someone else along their life journey,” said Sowell.
“And that’s an incredible assumption — that human beings have such enormous control over all of their own fates, individually or collectively.”
Reflecting on his own life, Sowell said that, thinking back over his life, he notes there were times a particular person appeared an changed the whole trajectory of his life.
“And it’s happened more than once, and I’m sure it’s happened in the lives of many other people,” he said.
“There’s nobody out there who has all the incredible amount of knowledge required to take over making other people’s decisions for them.”
Born in 1930, Sowell had been a follower of Marxism into his 20s. In a 2000 interview with Salon, he recounted an experience from the summer of 1960 when he was interning for the federal government.
He observed that as minimum wage levels rose, employment levels among Puerto Rico sugar industry workers declined. Sowell theorized that the wage increase might be “pricing people out of their jobs.”
He also noted that trade unions and politicians were quick to attribute this trend to hurricanes damaging cane fields, rather than considering the economic implications of wage hikes.