Thomas Sowell

Conservatives, as well as liberals, would undoubtedly be happier living in the kind of world envisioned by the left.

Very few people have either a vested interest or an ideological preference for a world in which there are many inequalities.

Even fewer would prefer a world in which vast sums of money have to be devoted to military defense, when so much benefit could be produced if those resources were directed into medical research instead.

It is hardly surprising that young people prefer the political left. The only reason for rejecting the left's vision is that the real world in which we live is very different from the world that the left perceives today or envisions for tomorrow.

Most of us learn that from experience-- but experience is precisely what the young are lacking.

"Experience" is often just a fancy word for the mistakes that we belatedly realized we were making, only after the realities of the world made us pay a painful price for being wrong.

Those who are insulated from that pain-- whether by being born into affluence or wealth, or shielded by the welfare state, or insulated by tenure in academia or in the federal judiciary-- can remain in a state of perpetual immaturity.

Individuals can refuse to grow up, especially when surrounded in their work and in their social life by similarly situated and like-minded people.

Even people born into normal lives, but who have been able through talent or luck to escape into a world of celebrity and wealth, can likewise find themselves in the enviable position of being able to choose whether to grow up or not.

Those of us who can recall what it was like to be an adolescent must know that growing up can be a painful transition from the sheltered world of childhood.

No matter how much we may have wanted adult freedom, there was seldom the same enthusiasm for taking on the burdens of adult responsibilities and having to weigh painful trade-offs in a world that hemmed us in on all sides, long after we were liberated from parental restrictions.

Should we be surprised that the strongest supporters of the political left are found among the young, academics, limousine liberals with trust funds, media celebrities and federal judges?

These are hardly Karl Marx's proletarians, who were supposed to bring on the revolution. The working class are in fact today among those most skeptical about the visions of the left.

Ordinary working class people did not lead the stampede to Barack Obama, even before his disdain for them slipped out in unguarded moments.

The agenda of the left is fine for the world that they envision as existing today and the world they want to create tomorrow.


Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate