At age 86, here’s his last syndicated column.
In honor of the event, here’s an interview that’s stayed with me:
Sowell discusses his constrained/unconstrained formulation from a Conflict Of Visions as he and the interlocutor test it out (on current politics as well).
Sowell suggests those that adhere to the constrained vision believe that human nature is flawed, the basis for all else, and must be constrained by checks and balances, which also spring from human nature. These institutional checks and balances move forward much like our legal system (or separation of powers), and on a case by case basis with some respect for the actual experience of the people involved, though questions of law and fact for example, will often decide the outcome. He compares/contrasts the French and American Revolutions.
The unconstrained vision seeks to use the political/legal system to enact justice, fairness, equality etc and other ideals which are assumed to be universal, and in the best interests of all, but whose pursuit often ends up creating just as much inequity, injustice and unfairness, and often lines the pockets of just those pursuing the ideals in the process (addition: or at least the kind of idealism that invests in one person or a group of people is kept in check by our separation of powers).
Also On This Site: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”…Thomas Sowell at The National Review: ‘The Inconvenient Truth About Ghetto Communities’ Social Breakdown:’