Thomas Sowell

AS WE CONFRONT the last election of the 20th century, we seem to have learned remarkably little from the tragic mistakes that have produced catastrophes around the world during this century. The collectivist mentality is still alive and well, despite the economic failures and political tyrannies spawned by collectivism in its various guises as socialism, communism and nazism, not to mention the breakdown of families spawned by the collectivism of the welfare state, whether in the ghettos of America or among the people of Sweden.

When Hillary Clinton says, "It takes a village to raise a child," that may sound nice, or even poetic, to those who do not understand the tragic history of government intrusions into family life in the 20th century. When Al Gore poses as someone who will "fight for you" against the "powerful special interests," that may sound inspiring to those who have no idea what an ugly pedigree such demagoguery has had in the 20th century, and what a role it has played in creating dangerous concentrations of political power, afflicting vast millions of people who could not by any stretch of the imagination be considered "powerful."

Hillary Clinton has been working to undermine the authority of parents and the autonomy of families for decades, beginning back when she had no experience as a parent and was just plain Hillary Rodham. Back in 1973, writing in the Harvard Educational Review, she rejected "romanticism about the family" as she pushed for collectivist ways for outsiders to impose their superior wisdom and virtue on parents.

Over the years, Hillary Clinton has grown more clever and sophisticated in packaging such collectivist ideas as being simply concern for the children. She has played a leading role in the "Children's Defense Fund," which is not about defending children but about allowing outsiders to intrude on family decisions.

Two of a kind?

This view of life is part and parcel of a larger collectivist vision of the anointed imposing their superior wisdom and virtue on others in many other ways. Hillary Clinton's most ambitious promotion of this vision was her ill-fated attempt to tell the whole health-care sector what to do, despite the fact that she has no medical training, no expertise or experience in pharmaceutical drugs and has never even run a drugstore. In this and other areas, bold and glib articulation of presumptuous notions serves as a substitute for knowing what you are talking about.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate