Hurray for Thomas Sowell – by Amanda S. Green

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Hurray for Thomas Sowell – by Amanda S. Green

After a break for some snarking, not to mention some family demands that have needed to take precedence over everything, I’m finally getting back to Thomas Sowell. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about the second essay in Black Rednecks & White Liberals. Specifically, I’ll be discussing the second essay in the collection, titled “Are Jews Generic?”. In approximately 50 pages, Sowell once again not only gets to the heart of several social issues the United States faces but he exhibits a knowledge and understanding of history and human behavior all too few of the so-called experts do.

As with the first essay, “Black Rednecks & White Liberals”, Sowell uses historical facts and trends to illustrate why certain things happen today. Sometimes what he writes can be difficult to read. Other times, I found myself almost doing one of those V-8 commercial head slaps and doing my best Homer Simpson “D-oh!” because, with just a few words or a few paragraphs, he made something come into focus that I’d wondered about. Most of all, he made me think critically and, at times, question why I believed something.

That is what makes Sowell so good. He doesn’t shy away from asking the hard questions nor does he hesitate from coming to conclusions – and supporting them with facts – that might not be popular in this “woke” time we find ourselves in.

In fact, very often his research and presentation of facts put the lie to being “woke”. Let’s face it, much of what he said in the first essay proves that much – if not all – of the “woke” movement resemble the same so-called good intentions of the white liberals he wrote about. Intentions that have helped create and perpetuate the problems we see in the inner cities of our major metropolitan areas today.

Perhaps we need to take up a fund and send copies of this book to each of the Stoneman-Douglas kids who are going around the country trying to “educate” the rest of us on gun control. Or how about to all the Hollywood stars who think the way to preserve our civil liberties is to take them away. Of course, were we to do so, we’d probably have to stand over each of them and read the book to them, stopping every paragraph or two and asking questions to make sure they were both listening and understanding what Sowell wrote.

As tempting as such a thing might be, can’t you imagine their response? The twitterverse would explode with allegations that we were torturing them with propaganda that wasn’t woke enough for them. We couldn’t understand the suffering of the underprivileged because of our whiteness, etc. Funny how they seem to forget their own wealth and whiteness and privilege.

Hmmm, much like Sowell commented about the oh-so-helpful white liberals.

Instead, the best we can do is read the book for ourselves. Then we need to talk about it, first with our families and then with our friends. In other words, we need to educate ourselves because no one else is going to do it for us and Sowell is an excellent place to start.

So, getting down from my soapbox, let’s take a look at the opening pages of “Are Jews Generic?”.

I’ll admit, when I read the title of the essay, I wasn’t sure what Sowell was getting at? Being Sowell, he quickly gets to the point.

[I]n a worldwide perspective, the most hated kinds of minorities are often not defined by race, color, religion or national origin. Often they are generically “middleman minorities,” who can be of any racial or ethnic background. . . . (BRAWL, pg 65)

But what does he mean by “middleman minorities”?

He doesn’t answer that, at least not directly, right away. He does, however, list some of those minorities: Jews in Europe, Chinese minorities in parts of Southeast Asia, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, etc. Students of history might understand what he is getting at but others might not. However, instead of answering the question directly, he continues to build his historical context. By doing so, when he finally explains what a “middleman minority” really is, his point is really driven home. It is just one example of what makes Sowell such an excellent author and why he is so good at making his readers think.

While many kinds of minorities have been persecuted and subjected to violence, the sheer magnitude and duration of the persecution and violence unleashed against the middleman minorities eclipses that unleashed against other kinds of minorities. (BRAWL, pg 65)

The picture he is drawing is becoming clearer. The first, and probably easiest, picture that comes to mind is the Holocaust. Not only because of the title of the essay but because of the historical “nearness” of the atrocities committed during it. But he references others as well: the mass slaughter of the Ibos in Nigeria, “the horrors” inflicted on the Vietnamese boat people, the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Yes, the picture is becoming clearer.

“[T]he scale of lethal mass violence against middle man minorities has been unequalled.” (BRAWL, pg 66) Sowell notes that the number of Chinese slaughtered near Saigon by mobs in 1782 is more than the total number of blacks lynched in the history of the United States. Sure, there will be those who point out blacks have suffered other forms of violence than just lynching but Sowell’s point remains. That violence has been, especially in the modern day, a series of isolated events and not an instance of mass violence.

Or, to put it into better perspective, “[W]hile the Holocaust was the ultimate catastrophe for Jews, it was also the culmination of a long history of lethal mass violence unleashed against middleman minorities around the world.” (BRAWL, pg 66)

So, what do these different middleman minorities have in common and why have they been, within an historical context, hated and resented?

Partly the resentments and animosities against these groups have derived from the economic role they play, a role that has been widely misunderstood and widely resented. . . even when this economic role has been played by people not ethnically different from those around them. Differences of race, religion or ethnicity, added to the resentments arising from the economic role itself, have produced explosive mixtures in many times and places. (BRAWL, pg 66)

Does it really all come down to money? Not exactly. Note how Sowell refers to the “economic role” these groups play.

Think about that and about what he might mean. We’ll come back to that next week when we get into the “meat” of the essay. For now, let me ask you this: who do you see as the “middleman minority” under attack in our country? The correlating question is why? Why is this group resented and under attack? Finally, how do we combat it when one of the two major political parties is touting as its newest rising star someone like Alexandria Ocasio-Castro (oops, Cortez), someone who has declared war on capitalism?

The battle lines have been drawn. It is up to each of us to decide where we stand and what we are going to do to fight the slide toward socialism – or worse. The battle begins with education – educating ourselves and our families and then moving on to educating others. Thomas Sowell is an excellent place to start because that education requires more than just political theory. It requires and understanding of human nature, of economics, of history and so much more.

Until next week.

96 responses to “Hurray for Thomas Sowell – by Amanda S. Green

  1. BobtheRegisterredFool

    How does he estimate total numbers of blacks lynched in the US? For example, higher or lower end death tolls from the Tulsa race riots?

    • I don’t know the answer to that question, but almost certainly the Chinese mentioned in that paragraph had also suffered ‘other forms of violence.’ Mass slaughter by mobs doesn’t just arise spontaneously without other forms of violence on a smaller scale having preceded it.

    • The Tuskegee Institute tabulated lynchings from 1882 to 1959, totaling 4733 black persons lynched during that period. Except for three reported in Mississippi in 1955, Tuskegee Institute recorded no lynchings after 1951.

      So, if one accepts that the Tuskegee Institute is unlikely to whitewash the numbers, that outs an upper limit of roughly 5,000.

      The massacre of the Hoa Chinese in Saigon in 1782 is estimated at between 2000 and 6000. (nice close estimates, guys!)

      *shrug*

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        So I need to look into those tabulations.

        I don’t think they would deliberately undercount, but it seems possible that perhaps some major mass killings were successfully covered up for a time.

        • Ethical practice to exclude cases that can’t be confirmed and have a low level of probability by inference.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921 (30 to 300) and Elaine, Arkansas 1919 (100) raise questions about how low we can infer is probable. I am greatly ignorant.

            This tabulation may well be part of rectifying that.

  2. Harvard now has admissions policies that systematically exclude students of East Asian ancestry who would get in with a strictly competitive policy, on the basis of “character,” which allegedly turns out to mean “not being one of THEM.” There’s a lawsuit that points out the exact parallels to the last time Harvard did this, around the 1920s, as a way of keeping Jews out. I think that points to a particular “middleman minority” for our time.

    • It really is amazing how blatant the racism there was too, at least given what the reports have been. The people who actually conducted the interviews with the Asian students gave them “character” marks roughly in line with the other candidates. It was the folks back in the admissions office who changed those marks on the assumption that any Asian student with good qualifications must be one of THEM.

      • Let us be just, Perhaps they were not so blinded by bigotry as to be mindless. Maybe they knew what they were doing (I say this because affected ignorance is worse than full knowledge, owing to the hardness of heart involved.)

    • I suspect that white Christian males would also qualify as a ‘middleman minority’ for our time, or the Lefties are trying to set them up as such.

      • I don’t think so. The studies I’ve seen describe two types of minority stereotypes as recurring across different cultures: the slick, manipulative middleman, and the crude, ignorant, unmannered rural lout who’s wandered into the big city—or, as they called those guys in ancient Rome, the paganus (later adopted as a religious term when the country people stuck to the old gods longer than the city people did). Today’s pagans are Christian literalists, fundamentalists, and/or evangelicals, and they embody the ignorant lout stereotype, not the cunning manipulator stereotype. Though perhaps Republican politicians and media people are assigned to the latter image!

        • Let’s define the “Middleman” role as the businessman (or woman) who adds nothing to a product other than getting it from point A to point B and/or making the product available to the public. In other words, middlemen distribute, hold, manage and sometimes market the materials in their inventories/stores. This can be anything from (a) the car salesman (manipulative type), (b) a $!#@ banker (who adds no “real” value to the money they are lending which actually belongs to others … and the extreme version of this is the local loan shark), (c) the local retail store owner (including the classic convenience store which is open early, late and local but has a relatively high mark up on their goods as a result), and (d) the local distributor (that $!$#!@ beer truck which double parks outside the local bar, etc.). Typically, the value provided by the middleman is significantly underestimated (or even derided) and other businessmen (and women) are always looking to disintermediate middlemen, removing them from the process to drive down costs to the end user of the product (and/or to allow more value to accrue to the manufacturer as the case may be).

          Now, white males can play middleman type roles just as easily as various minorities can. There is nothing preventing the Bible quoting sharp merchant from justified his ripoff of a customer from outside their community with the famous line ” “He was a stranger, and I took him in.” Where the middlemen are viewed as professional sharp dealers, that group gets a bad reputation. Where the perceived sharp dealers are also part of a minority community, that sets the stage for distrust, prejudice and bad relations to develop. It can also be a local minority … i.e. white owned businesses in a predominantly black community.

      • Meant to reply to you but my comment ended up threaded wrong. See my story about my friend (a white Christian male) who was rejected when he applied to Stanford despite having a 4.0 GPA and a perfect 1600 on his SAT (the first time he took it, no less).

    • Okay, story time.

      Back in 1996, a friend of mine was finishing high school and applying for college. Being a bright guy — 4.0 GPA, and a perfect 1600 on his SATs the first time he took them — he decided to apply for top-notch schools: MIT, Caltech, Stanford. MIT and Caltech both accepted him. Stanford rejected him. I was still a pretty naïve teenager at the time, but even my naïve teenage self knew why my friend had been rejected at Stanford: he was a white Christian male.

      • I’m pretty sure I clicked the “Reply” link next to freeholder45’s comment. WPDE.

  3. Hmm, methinks that Amanda may be a bit of a Sowell fangirl : – ) Not that there’s anything wrong with that; after what you’ve endured for us recently, you’ve earned some Sowell.

    “someone like Alexandria Ocasio-Castro (oops, Cortez)”
    I believe you mean She Guevara here (I didn’t make it up, but I’m going to make it my duty to spread it as far as possible).

  4. I’d say it is East Asians. The people who run the little shops and stores on the edges of the rough neighborhoods. They sell higher-price-per-unit food and things because their customers can (or want) only buy small amounts of X. The big stores won’t go there because of losses and lack of space, but the Koreans, Vietnamese, and others go in. And then get accused of gouging and racism et al. And their kids are too smart and work too hard and skew the admissions numbers of Big Universities and force out “members of previously underserved communities.”

    • Thank you. I might be on the way to understanding what is meant by Middleman Minority. Yup, ox slow.

      • My recollection of the essay was that people resent the middlemen in a marketplace because they take a mark-up the goods they sell “for doing nothing”. But the “nothing” they do is to facilitate access to a supply of stuff people need or want, in some cases dividing large lots of the goods into quantities the consumers can use.

        But this kind of thing is considered “not work” by the people who haven’t tried doing it themselves, so any profits from serving as a middleman are “not earned”.

        • Dingdingdingding

        • I recall when Pa did injection molded plastics and one part was, while not generic, something that had a fair amount of use within an industry. The parts sold, to the manufacturer, for 5 to 10 cents (I forget the exact amount, but it was no more than a dime a piece.). When he discovered that one buyer was re-selling them at a significant markup (I am no longer sure, but it might have been as much as 50 cents/piece), he handled it by either raising the price for that buyer to his own selling price or simply “Nope, no longer selling to you.” There was objection and the claim of doing a service. Pa’s reply was that he kept the price low as a service TO THE STARTING/SMALL MANUFACTURER(s) and considered this buyer a parasite. So, there are those performing a genuine service… and then there… are others. I suspect had the service been a service (a facilitator with a finder’s fee, perhaps) it would have been a non-issue.

          • Well, he was doing what economics says he would do – adjusting his price to meet demand. Evidently there were people out there willing to pay that price *and* (most importantly) not willing to do the necessary work to find a cheaper distributor (like the other ones Pa sold to). There is no “gouging” without willing participants (or a dire need).

            (But I have no problem with what your Pa did, either.)

        • Yes. Hermes was the god both of merchants and of thieves, among people who didn’t see a lot of difference. Of course, sometimes the two did overlap . . . but not always. And the more you want repeat business, the less you can afford to be a thief in merchant’s clothing.

          • And then there was Laverna who was minor goddess of thieves and “dishonest” merchants, so maybe Hermes was more for the less dishonest merchants?

        • It’s also part of the “just price” argument – merchants do not add value to anything, so they should not charge more than the cost of the thing plus transportation (and some thinkers discounted transportation). To add more than that was a sin, verging on usury, especially for food-stuffs. If the local just price for grain, say, was less than a trader’s expenses, well, too bad. He could not sell for more than was just, lest people starve.

          • I suppose in those days it would probably get the merchant in trouble if he were to say, “I don’t add any value? Well, fine. You can just walk to China and pick up the spices yourself then.”

          • Dan Hamilton

            “Just price”
            People that don’t understand what is going on.
            Also why anti-capitalists destroy the goose that lays the golden eggs and then wonder why everyone is so poor.

        • Nicely summarized!

    • “Economic role played…” With European Jews, weren’t they the ones that got into banking and finance because they were the only ones who would lend money and make interest on it because Christians weren’t supposed to do that? So with good money management, the Jews became successful in a business that was resented in and of itself.

      With the Asians (in general) they’re selling the long tail items and pricing them at a premium for them, partly because they aren’t mainstream, big box stuff that’s easy to do cheap at volume.

      The truly dangerous to our society message that Harvard and other educational institutions are sending is that no matter how hard you work, you’re not going to be allowed to succeed. Just another form of totalitarianism.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Another problems for Jews (especially in Eastern Europe) was that they were the rent-collectors for powerful nobles.

        IE the tenants never saw the hated “Land-Owners” but always saw “those people” when they came to collect the rent for the “Land-Owners”.

        • Are you guys reading ahead? 😉
          There’s multiple bits to it, but you’re hitting some of it.

          (I had gotten through that essay, I think, with the CDs in the car.)

          • No, just a student of history. I terrorize my friends in that category in Trivia Pursuit and Jeopardy. Sports and Music on the other hand, not so good.

        • And both were because they weren’t allowed to own/hold land.

      • More specifically, they got into those roles because a) they were the only ones allowed to do so, and b) they were outright prohibited from being employed in many other places. So you have the situation where they were forced into a particular profession and then hated because they were in that particular profession.

        • Actually, the evidence is that the Jews were pretty well concentrated in those professions before there were any laws forcing them in.

          • Terry Sanders

            IIRC, the Jews were concentrated there at least partly because the Roman Church had strict teachings about usury. The Jews did, too–but they only applied to other Jews. The Christian rules also only applied to other Christians, but in a country where just about everyone was expected to be a Christian, this put a limit on the potential market for a Catholic moneylender…

            • That was one reason.

              Another was that the occupations made literacy useful, so that it was feasible to study the Torah AND make a living. (Indeed, there’s some evidence that it wasn’t that the Jews concentrated themselves; it was that Jews in other occupations drifted away after they could no longer offer sacrifice in the Temple.)

      • I was having a chat with an Iraqi acquaintance of mine about sari-sari stores. The smallest of these tend to be one-stool affairs, with tiny packs of snacks, candies, cigarettes, drinks, etc, with clientele being passerby, neighborhood children, residents who want a quick cheap nibble, a few sticks of smokes, nibble or need a basic ingredient or canned good but cannot be arsed to go to a larger grocery or the market.

        I ran one for snacks out of my locker briefly while I was in high school, selling the small packets of snacks for less than 5 pesos; charging more was too expensive and it would be cheaper to buy from the cafeteria. My markup ranged from 50% to 150%, depending on the item; but ultimately my profits were closer to 75% after I took out transportation costs. My teachers found it interesting because I was running this little sideline without it being detrimental to my grades; fact was the big market was on my way in my commute and it started when I decided to buy a wholesale lot of cheap but delicious junk food to stash in my locker for my own consumption, and someone offered to buy a packet for a couple of pesos. I sold it and started taking requests. I stopped when school got busy; but looking back my profits funded buying books 🙂

        I didn’t have a sales permit or such, but I was selling prepackaged snacks and there was no rules against me doing so. I must’ve looked awkward with by large plastic bags but that never bothered me.

        • I bought snacks at the local Hostess thrift shops. My kids never got a direct allowance. Sold the desserts I sent them to school with for a huge profit. Entered into a business deal with my 2 of my kids. I purchased the first load of sodas. They gave me the money to supply them with more. Healthy profit margin in canned sodas reselling them to eager consumers even if you’re paying retail for them.

        • Ah yes, sales permits, and licensing. Allegedly to protect the consumer, all too often used to shut out any new businesses of those types so the existing ones can artificially inflate their prices due to lack of competition.

        • There are merchants who set themselves up outside stores in Africa. Buy a bottle of perfume from the store, sell it by the drop.

          • Yeah, those are popular too, in the Philippines. They have the larger bottles of the expensive French and such perfumes, sell them by the ml in smaller bottles or smaller sprays. It’s a great idea because then you can afford the smaller amounts, in local currency. I really liked being able to get 5 ml of Bulgari BLV or Omnia, or the various gemstone names to keep in my purse and occasionally press a drop into my wrists.

            I’m still incredibly happy with one of Rhys’ birthday gifts to me, a whole 100ml bottle of my favorite perfume, which he was able to snag for a fraction of the retail price because it was a plainer box (meant for the store spray samples) and ‘old unused stock’. Something that normally costs almost a hundred dollars obtained for only thirty? *cherish!*

            I still have the old perfumes my father bought me when I was a teenager (an almost full bottle of Aqua di Gio, for example) and they still smell as good as the day they were first opened. Some things are worth the price you pay for the quality.

            • Perfume is something I know nothing about. I can’t wear it. I get a headache devolving into a migraine, every single time I’ve tried. Not “allergic” to someone else wears it, but lord help, if they bathe in it, or aftershave. A crowded space, like elevators have me covering my nose & closing my eyes in anticipation of being slammed by a 2×4; it ain’t fun.

      • What really needs to happen, IMO, is that the gatekeeper role of Harvard et al needs to be severely reduced. These institutions have not always had such great societal influence. 50 years ago, Peter Drucker (himself of European origin) wrote:

        “One thing it (modern society) cannot afford in education is the “elite institution” which has a monopoly on social standing, on prestige, and on the command positions in society and economy. Oxford and Cambridge are important reasons for the English brain drain. A main reason for the technology gap is the Grande Ecole such as the Ecole Polytechnique or the Ecole Normale. These elite institutions may do a magnificent job of education, but only their graduates normally get into the command positions. Only their faculties “matter.” This restricts and impoverishes the whole society…The Harvard Law School might like to be a Grande Ecole and to claim for its graduates a preferential position. But American society has never been willing to accept this claim…

        It is almost impossible to explain to a European that the strength of American higher education lies in this absence of schools for leaders and schools for followers. It is almost impossible to explain to a European that the engineer with a degree from North Idaho A. and M. is an engineer and not a draftsman. Yet this is the flexibility Europe needs in order to overcome the brain drain and to close the technology gap.”

        American society has now come far closer to accepting Harvard Law as a Grande Ecole, in the sense that Drucker meant, than it had when he wrote.

        Additional excerpts from Drucker on education & society here:

        https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/26133.html

        • You don’t send your kid to Harvard for an education. There are other schools that provide a better education for a lower price. You send your kid to Harvard to pick up an accent, a snotty attitude, and the alumni list. Particularly the latter.

          • Of course. The point is that the value of the connection is far greater than it was 50 years ago, and I am in agreement with Drucker that this level of preferential treatment for graduates of a small # of “elite” institutions is toxic for American society.

            Admissions officers at one of the Ivies, not sure if it was Harvard, have apparently been rating Asians down on the attribute of “courage.” What on earth would a university bureaucrat, of all people, know about Courage, and why should these functionaries be treated seriously as gatekeepers to high positions in important fields?

            • Because the default position of humans (being fallen in nature) is to have an aristocracy. Some strive to be in it, some *are* in it, and many will always think they don’t deserve to be in it.

              (The other default position for fallen humanity is “I’m just as good as that guy!” when in fact they aren’t. Both are troublesome.)

              • My default position is that I’m better than most of the other monkeys. The trick is not letting them know that I know I’m pink, and not brown.

                • The second part of the trick is knowing that there’s always another monkey even better than I am out there.

                  • That was one of my bits of advice for many years when I was running RPG games: go ahead, make your character as tough and bad as you want to; trust me when I say there will *always* be someone badder and tougher. Just look at Jim and Leroy (the guys in the songs).

                    • Terry Sanders

                      John C. Wright likes to tell the story of one of his RPG’s. His policy was, “Play ANY character you like. I can always find something hard for him.”

                      In one game, he had two minimaxers. One decided to play the Silver Surfer (the POWER COSMIC!) The other ran Elric of Melnibone.

                      He started the game, and those two immediately got into a p***ing contest, that rapidly escalated into a brawl. “Elric” stabbed “the Surfer” with “Stormbringer.” As the DM had clearly said before the game started, the Surfer’s POWER COSMIC was no defense against magic. The Surfer died, and the sword drank his power to feed its “master.”

                      Of course, the power to shatter solar systems was more than Elric’s body was built to contain. So the penalty for overload (which the DM had also made clear) was invoked. The resulting explosion vaporized the planet.

                      Thirty seconds into the game. They hadn’t even opened the door in front of them yet.

                      He never mentioned what he’d come up with to challenge them…

                      Never underestimate the Stupid.

    • Margaret Ball

      It was East Asians many years ago in East Africa, mostly Gujaratis from India, for the first reason you mentioned: they ran the little shops. I wonder who’s running them now.

      • From some reports I was reading, Chinese shops are doing that.

      • In West Africa, it wasn’t locals either (for the most part) running the shops. The reason why was Uncle Yakoba. Uncle Yakoba, or Cousin Daouda, or whoever, never worked, so if you had any money he would ask you for a “loan” that would never be repaid. But heaven forbid you refuse him: you’d never hear the end of it, your entire extended family would shun you… So you’d never be able to accumulate the capital to start your own business. When the country has hundreds of thousands of Uncle Yakoba, it’s a massive drain on the country’s economy.

        Comparisons to the U.S. welfare system are left as an exercise for the reader.

        • Margaret Ball

          Oh, yes. Kenya had its Uncle Mwangis and Cousin Alis, too.

          The U.S. welfare system should be comparatively easy to get rid of; it’s not bred in centuries-deep by the culture. I don’t know how you get rid of the tribe/clan system; Scotland had to lose two wars within half a century before the Highlanders even started thinking outside that system. As Stevenson’s little Writer to the Signet complained, “I’m Hieland born, and when the clan pipes, who but me has to dance?”

          • Tribalism is the bane of mankind.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Well, tribalism can also a good thing in a hostile world but the tribalism that works includes “kicking out the freeloaders”.

              • **tribalism that works includes “kicking out the freeloaders”.**

                Look to the current American based tribes that are, Anyone with less than 1/8 tribal blood is removed off of tribal rolls; traditional freeloader or not. Must be able to actually trace*. Blip in the news occasionally but in general pretty quiet. News agencies are being told “go bother someone else.” Sure, its about the money. When they were being given tax support, “who cares, more on the roles means more money.” When it is their sweat & profit OTOH, “go away.”

            • Margaret Ball

              ‘Liberalism,’ or rather the beast that wears its name as a costume, does seem to be turning into a twisted kind of tribalism. I can imagine being tried in some place like Seattle or Portland for inciting violence, a.k.a. existing in public while conservative, and it’s scary. And quite reminiscent of earlier setups.

              “Risk? ay, I take over-many, but to be tried in court before a Campbell jury and a Campbell judge, and that in a Campbell country and upon a Campbell quarrel — think what you like of me, Balfour, it’s beyond me.”

    • We can save money by buying in bulk (at Costco, or wherever), but that’s more money out of pocket NOW, and then we have to have a place to keep it/whatever. We don’t have a freezer, so we can’t stock up on perishables such as meat, ice cream, other frozen goods. Living in an apartment, there’s no room for a freezer. Paper towels, dog food, toilet paper (fits under the bed), stuff that doesn’t go bad, all goes to the storage compartments in the basement.

    • TX has got it right! The Chinese are historically small shop owners throughout the indo-pacific and more recently Africa. The “Ching Store” was a feature in Hawaii where I grew up and featured all sorts of fun and tasty items (shave ice and fireworks). Some local populations often apparently resented their business acumen and in places like Fiji they would be the target of violence. These small business owners are probably what Sowell is talking about, rather than bankers, lawyers etc.

  5. carlton mckenney

    Translation: The current group under attack is the middle class. It matters not whether you are white, black, muslim, asian, canuck, chinese, or any other ethnicity, race, or religion. If you are trying to move up the economic scale without the approval, guidance, and support of the gummint you are the source of all the woes of the ‘underprivileged’, or ‘disadvantaged’, or ‘downtrodden’, or ‘excluded’, or any other victim status that can be imagined. You are a blight on society and must be removed by any means possible: economic warfare, bureaucratic fiat, social stigmata campaign, direct violence, legal abuse, publicly enforced ostracism. and many others.

  6. I will say again, that I think the Left is trying to set up white Christian males as the ‘middleman minority’ for our time. They are certainly doing their best to demonize them. Calling them Deplorables, Trump-bots, Flyovers, and many other names that they intend to be derogatory is their attempt to set this group apart from the ‘good Lefties’ in the big cities and on the coasts.

    • I think the left is trying to set themselves up for failure and doesn’t realise it.

      • They are setting the vast majority of themselves up forit. Question is to what extent will we be dragged down with them

    • Dan Hamilton

      They aren’t setting up White Men as the ‘middleman minority’.
      They ARE setting them up as the “Enemies of the People” because they are Oppressors, Racists, etc.. That is very different from the ‘middleman minority’. “Enemies of the People” are an existential threat to the people.
      Their roadmap is the French Revolution with the Whites in the role of the Nobility (“Enemies of the People”).
      See their instance that all Whites are racists no matter what they say or do also the White’s children will be racists no matter what they say or do.
      In order to stop racism Whites MUST be eliminated. These things are already being said by Democrats.

      • Demonizing the majority is a Bad Idea. Especially when they are so very well armed.

        • their continued demonization of the right is the best AR sales tool ever.

          • Even though “The Greatest Gun Salesman” is no longer incumbent, sales haven’t dropped noticeably, either.

        • Except when a third of that minority is self destructively down with the struggle. And that majority is getting closer and closer to a plurality.

      • See also “white privilege”.

  7. While most of you are right about what the Left is trying to do, you are missing the key word in it. “Middleman”. What is a middleman, especially in terms of economics?

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Someone who purchases from a manufacturer, or otherwise higher up in the supply chain, and sells to the end customer, or otherwise lower in the supply chain? Perhaps with transportation, repackaging, or warehousing in between?

      Like maybe Amazon?

  8. Most of the anger I see directed against middlemen these days is, specifically, directed against banks. Monetary operations seem like black magic to a lot of people. I have even seen it argued that banks can’t lose money on mortgages even if they default, because “they create money.” The people who assert views of this sort generally over-rate the degree to which banking is run by Jews…some of them probably think that Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan) and Brian Moynihan (Bank of America) are Jewish.

    Plenty of reason to be concerned about the outsize role played by banking & finance in the current economy, but the people I’m talking about are way beyond the rational-concern level.

    • And financiers have been bogeymen for as far back as there have been financiers. For exactly why you mention: it’s magic!

  9. My observations may differ from yours. I’ve lived in a few areas with larger than normal East Asian and other Asian populations. They participate in band, choir, Masterminds, and almost any school non-sports activity. Their percentage participation in school sports is always below their percentage population in the school.

    There will often be a large cohort of them in non-school martial arts programs. But not as large as you might suspect.

    And in non-school activities like Scouts, or 4-H, or just about anything, their participation is way below their percentage of the local population. And when the kids do participate, their parents almost never are volunteer leaders.

    Almost never- doesn’t mean never. At a major camporee a few years ago we were done setting camp when a mostly Chinese troop started setting up next to us. It seemed to be a newly formed troop. From the DC area. Both the adults and Scouts from our troop went over to help. It was pretty obvious the adult leaders had NEVER set up a tent before. Along with their Scouts. I was happy to see them out there giving it a go.

    Schools used to look at not just academics and SATs, but the undefinable well rounded student. I knew this before HS, which is why I ran track every year of HS. You don’t get cut as long as you show up for practices. Why I joined the Chess Club, and belonged to another few HS clubs. And it’s why I encouraged all my kids down similar paths.

    • Still did 11 years ago when son was applying for college. He played golf, ran cross country, & built & raced electric cars.

      Golf he’s good at.

      Electric cars was a class, plus he’s decent engineer & working with his hands. His senor car team came in 3rd in State, for overall races won or placed. Plus he was up there on cars driven in races. His team made the choice to build that car so that everyone on the team could fit in it to drive it. Lets just say it was not considered particularly air-dynamic. Couple of the teammates were not small (football build). Does it show he’s also an Eagle Scout?

      Cross Country running. Well he can run. But the rule to letter is 5 races being on Varsity. 1st five of a team to cross the line are auto Varsity for that race. They never had more than 5 on the HS team.

      • When i was in process of trying to find work I also applied for grad school. Grades weren’t horrible but not perfect. Somehow managed a scholarship and assistanceship that paid most of my way. Think was that i knew what a machine shop looked like and was persistent

        • Ran into similar situation with my 2nd bachelors. Wasn’t a chance in heck I could go for a masters, my first bachelors GPA frankly was horrible (better that a C, but not much). What got me into competitive, selective computer science degree program was 1) Already programming with experience. 2) GPA from the associates programming degree was astronomical (which pulled the over all GPA to right at B average, even with fewer hours to average in.) A local employer (my boss) wanted me in the program (hey they paid for it while they were still in town!). No scholarship. Interesting thing about the program is there were NO programming language classes. It was 100% theory & to prove you learned the theory, you wrote programs. The kick being every term they changed the programming tool … classmates would whine, I’d just roll my eyes & dig in (also helped I was old enough to know what battles to tackle, that wasn’t it). Once you’ve learned two or three, another one is nothing; by then I’d already written something in 7 or 8. Could you get deeply into the guts of the tool, heck no, that wasn’t the point.

          • Got my bs cum laude. Would have been summa if another school. But apparently beat out a bunch of 4.0s

            • “cum laude”

              Mine wasn’t. I remember when I got the Associate degree, I didn’t get any “honors” upon graduation even tho my GPA was 3.999 for that program. My classmates were upset for me, especially because a good number of them wouldn’t be getting their honors without my tutoring. Honors were awarded on overall GPA, not just that program.

  10. The “middleman minority” thing could also apply to the medieval Knights Templars, who served as an interface between Europe and the Levant. I’ve been reading The Accursed Kings, a series I highly recommend, and it starts out with the last Grand Master of the Templars waiting to be burned for heresy by Philip the Fair of France.