Patterico's Pontifications


A Conflict of Visions, Part 2: Video of Thomas Sowell Discussing the Constrained/Unconstrained Dichotomy

Filed under: Books,General — Patterico @ 9:31 pm

This is Part 2 of a continuing series on Thomas Sowell’s revelatory work A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles.

For those of you who aren’t ready to read the book, but enjoy watching videos, here is a wonderful video (h/t Simon Jester) in which Thomas Sowell discusses the constrained/unconstrained dichotomy:

Unfortunately, it comes across more like a left/right issue here than I think it seems to be in the book — but at least Sowell gets to speak for himself here, rather than through the filter of my translation.

“People ask me why am I going to vote for McCain over Obama. It’s because I prefer disaster to catastrophe.”

Imagine someone from the unconstrained vision saying that.

I think it’s a good setup for Part 3, which I will publish tomorrow morning.

8 Responses to “A Conflict of Visions, Part 2: Video of Thomas Sowell Discussing the Constrained/Unconstrained Dichotomy”

  1. I like the observation that this dichotomy could be traced back to Plato and Aristotle. That’s something that had occurred to me as I read the book.

    Patterico (b696b3)

  2. There is a lot of wisdom in this man’s books, and in his backstory. I have most of his books.

    Simon Jester (50859e)

  3. By the way, kishnevi ought to watch it, because near the end he discusses that issue of sincerity that we were discussing in the other thread.

    A lot of food for thought here.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  4. That was great. It has more to offer than a 60 Minutes interview or Obama speech.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  5. The mainstream media will never seek out a guy like this.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  6. Sowell:

    It’s because I prefer disaster to catastrophe.”

    Sowell must be areal student of the Nazi period.

    That is what Admiral Canaris, head of the Absehr, is reputed to have told his closest
    associates (who were also subordinates) when World War II started. Losing the war would be a disaster, but winning it would be a catastrophe.

    Sammy Finkelman (8bd44f)

  7. I enjoyed the video. Sowell makes clear to me what he is talking about. I would be interested to see how well his theory holds up when applied throughout history. If it holds up well, then it would be verification of its usefullness as a tool in understanding various political players. I believe this is what Patterico was trying to say. I think I now understand this.

    I still lament that people can be described as having been oriented to one these two (or a combination of) worldviews. Each worldview contains (or, at least, makes important) only half of the truth – making each worldview deficient in that respect.

    felipe (b5e0f4)

  8. The interviewer is talking too fast and asking leading questions – he barely needs Thomas Sowell to be there. All Thomas Sowell has to do is say yes or repeat what the interviewer said. Except at one point he tells him he is wrong.

    Maybe it gets better further in.

    I see here constrained = American Revolution
    Unconstrained = French Revolution.

    And this person in france – Say? – couldn’t understand the reaosn for the separatiuon of powers, not even when he was in prison.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

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