Thomas Sowell

None of those who demonized Daniel Patrick Moynihan has paid any price. But the black community has paid a terrible price because the problem he tried to point out was swept under the rug. Broken homes and children raising children have produced poisonous consequences, from educational failures to drugs and murder.

A highly developed and highly rewarded racial grievance industry benefits from its ability to intimidate, silence and extort. But there is always a price to be paid. That price is paid by American society as a whole, but especially by minority communities that the grievance hustlers claim to be helping.

In the current tempest in a teapot over what Rush Limbaugh said about the National Football League, neither ESPN nor Rush himself will pay any serious price. He doesn't need the job and apparently feels he doesn't need the hassle.

The question of the validity of what was said has already been lost in the shuffle. In a sense, that doesn't matter. What matters enormously is whether or not people lose the freedom to say what they think. That loss is a loss to all of us, those who agree and those who disagree.

Even wrong ideas have a contribution to make, when they provoke open discussions and investigations that end up with our knowing and understanding more than we knew or understood before. People's lives are being saved today by medicines based on a knowledge of chemistry that developed out of alchemy, a centuries-old crazy idea of turning lead into gold.

What contribution has the enforced silence of censorship ever made?

Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate