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Thomas Sowell: Claims of ‘Systemic Racism’ Have 'No Meaning,' Resemble Nazi Propaganda

By Andrew Davenport | July 13, 2020 | 2:35pm EDT
Economist Thomas Sowell participates in a conversation about his book, "Intellectuals and Society." (Photo credit: YouTube/Hoover Institution)
Economist Thomas Sowell participates in a conversation about his book, "Intellectuals and Society." (Photo credit: YouTube/Hoover Institution)

On Sunday, economist and author Thomas Sowell said that claims of "systemic racism" have “no meaning" and resemble Nazi propaganda.

Sowell made the remark while speaking with conservative radio host Mark Levin on his show, “Life Liberty & Levin.”

"Systemic racism" "really has no meaning that can be specified and tested in the way that one tests hypotheses,” the economist told Levin. Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels "was supposed to have said 'people will believe any lie if it is repeated long enough and loud enough.' And that’s what we’re getting."

"It’s one of many words that I don’t think even the people who use it have any clear idea what they are saying. Their purpose is served by having other people cave in."

Below is a transcript of the segment:

Levin: You hear this phrase "systemic racism," "systemic oppression," you hear it on our college campuses, you hear it from very wealthy and fabulously famous sports stars, you hear it from media types, you hear it. First of all, what does that mean and, whatever it means, is it true?

Sowell: It really has no meaning that can be specified and tested in the way that one tests hypotheses. It does remind me of the propaganda tactics of Joseph Goebbels during the age of the Nazis, in which he was supposed to have said "people will believe any lie if it is repeated long enough and loud enough." And that’s what we’re getting. It’s one of many words that I don’t think even the people who use it have any clear idea what they are saying. Their purpose is served by having other people cave in.  

Levin: And you know, Dr. Sowell, I noticed most people who use that phrase don’t live in the communities that they claim to be supporting and defending. Some of them have left those communities never to return except on Thanksgiving to hand out turkeys. Others throw their money into these communities for a school or so forth. But they don’t live there. They don’t send their kids to school there. They live among the "systemically racist," I suppose. And isn’t this part of the problem with the Marxist left? They’re absolute hypocrites. They claim they want equality for all. They claim that there will be the withering away of the state, the police departments, reimagine law enforcement, and so forth and so on. And yet every time you look at a Marxist state, it is an authoritarian, top-down, centralized police state. Is it not? 

Sowell: Absolutely. And trying to get away from social class differences, they create their own nomenclature who have their own stores that they alone can shop in, their own medical facilities, their own everything.

Levin: I want to know if you agree with me or not. You don’t have to, obviously. I see the 1860 election and the 1864 election as the two most important elections in American history. And now I see 2020 as one of the most important elections in history. Even apart from the candidates, we’re talking about the 1776 Project versus the 1619 Project.  And you can see where the Democrats have tied into the 1619 Project, and many of the Republicans are trying to defend the founding and the 1776 Project. Do you see it that way? 

Sowell: What I see is that if the election goes to Biden, there’s a good chance that the Democrats will then control all the two branches of Congress and the White House. And considering the kinds of things that they're proposing, that could well be the point of no return for this country.  

Andrew Davenport is a student at Regent University, where he studies political communication and American politics. He has served as the chairman of the Regent Young Americans for Freedom and a student alumni ambassador since 2018. He is a member of the National Journalism Center program and serves as the senior representative of Regent University student government. Following his undergraduate, he plans to pursue an M.A. in government focusing on public policy.   

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