I am ceaselessly amazed by Ron Paul, as you all know. The guy acts like the antithesis of the Washington politician, and yet he personifies the Washington politician. And since he (1.) so regularly makes a big deal about the fact that he's the antithesis of the Washington politician, and (2.) so regulalry demonstrates what an adept politician he is, I am more often than not laughing at the cognitive dissonance of it all whenever I see Ron Paul saying something.
Similarly, I have a very high likelihood of finding amusement in the things that Thomas Sowell says. It's not what he says so much as the fact that he's saying it. Similar to Ron Paul, Thomas Sowell is very well known for his critique of intellectuals who make claims about society. That's all well and good - he even has some good points in the critique. But I just can't bring myself to take Sowell completely seriously when he puts on his public intellectual hat, precisely because he is so widely identified as an anti-public-intellectual. It would be like seeing Bryan Caplan at a voter registration drive.
So, on cue, I got a chuckle out of Sowell's firm pronouncements on the Fed (HT - Ryan Murphy).
Don't tell Thomas Sowell that Thomas Sowell said that! He'll have some stern words for him! I can picture it now:
- You're not really known as a monetary economist, so talking about this stuff is really outside of your area of expertise.
- You may not like the Fed, but you really aren't going to be held accountable for pronouncements like this - you don't have anything on the line.
- "Cancer", really? That's nice 'verbal virtuosity', which as Sowell points out can be appealing to people - but it's not really helpful analysis.
- Sowell, of course, is contributiing to the climate of mistrust around Bernanke and the Fed.
The only point in the (I'm assuming COMPLETELY authoritative) Wikipedia review of Intellectuals and Society that he didn't hit in this three minute fifty one second video was making it personal (although he seemed to have a personal attachment to Arthur Burns... so perhaps that one is worth exploring more).
A lot of this is just meant to be in fun - the point of Intellectuals and Society was a good point. Unfortunately, it's often people who complain the loudest about the misbehavior of others that are successful in taking the spotlight off themselves.