About The Speech

"The Vision of The Anointed"

America's current political thinking is driven by two underlying visions of the world: the tragic vision and the vision of the anointed. The tragic vision acknowledges the scarcity of resources, and therefore the opportunity costs of social programs. Those with the tragic view attempt to balance benefits against costs and believe incentives guide human actions. They prefer decentralized decision making and are more likely to favor the rule of law, believing that laws should apply equally to all people regardless of their historical situation.

The anointed, however, see knowledge as being in the hands of a relative few, who should make society's important decisions. They view justice in terms of outcomes rather than processes. Those with the vision of the anointed believe the perceived benefits of social programs take precedence over the costs and incentives involved. The anointed frequently attempt to solve perceived social problems "at all costs."

Sowell contends the anointed's policies have failed, and the most dangerous aspect of the anointed's vision is that they do not see their failure. The pattern of failure associated with the anointed's policies occur in four stages. First, the anointed label a situation a "crisis." Sowell shows how poverty, crime, and teenage pregnancy were actually decreasing at the times of their supposed "crises" in the 1950s. In stage two, the anointed propose a solution to fix the "crisis." Results contrary to the expectations of the anointed appear in stage three. Then in stage four, the anointed respond by blaming the failure of the policy on the "complexities" of the issue, or they claim that the situation would have been worse without the policy. The foremost danger to society from the vision of the anointed, then, is this ability to dismiss results and scientific inquiry as the means to evaluate social policy.

Finally, the anointed's policies are based on good intentions, but impose dire consequences on those who are supposed to benefit. Sowell offers extensive evidence that social degeneration results from the policies of those with the vision of the anointed.