Thomas Sowell: Academic Curtain vs. Iron Curtain

Thomas Sowell

My favorite writer is Thomas Sowell. As I’ve said many times; he writes about complex concepts in a manor that regular people like me can understand. If I hadn’t stumbled across Thomas Sowell in 95, I wouldn’t have had the fundamental base to understand Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, etal.

His recent article titled, The Academic Curtain (read here), is just another example of his ability as a communicator and teacher.

In this article he compares the Iron Curtain surrounding the Communist bloc of nations and the “Academic Curtain” surrounding our educational system in general and college education in particular.

The Iron and the Academic Curtains isolate the people inside of them from ideas which are not in line with what the Communists or Academics want their subjects to hear. The conventional wisdom pushed by the anointed is that a centrally planned economy is superior to a free market economy and the individual is subordinate to the state.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

“Back in the days of the Cold War between the Communist bloc of nations and the Western Democracies, the Communists maintained pervasive restrictions around Eastern  Europe that were aptly called an “iron Curtain,” isolating the people in its bloc from the ideas of the West and physically obstructing their escape. “

“One of the few things that could penetrate the “iron curtain” were ideas conveyed on radio waves. “the Voice of America” network broadcast to the peoples of the Soviet bloc, so that they were never completely isolated, and hearing only what the Communist dictatorships wanted them to hear.”

“Ironically, despite the victory of democracy over dictatorship that brought the Cold War to an end, within American society there has slowly but steadily developed in too many of our own colleges and universities a set of restrictions on what can be said on campus either by students or professors or by outside speakers with views that contradict the political correctness of our time.”

“There is no barbed wire around our campuses, nor armed guards keeping unwelcome ideas out. So there is no “iron curtain.” But there is a curtain, and it has its effect.”

“One effect is that many of the rising generation can go from elementary school through postgraduate education at our leading colleges and universities without ever hearing a coherent presentation of a vision of the world that is fundamentally different from that of the political left.”

“.…Despite the fervor with which demographic “diversity? is proclaimed as a prime virtue – without a speck of evidence as to its supposed benefits – diversity of ideas gets no such respect.

“Students are unlikely to go through college without being assigned to read “The Communist Manifesto” – often in more than one course – while a classic like “The Federalist” is seldom assigned reading, even thought it is a very readable and profound explanation of the principles on which the Constitution of the United States is based, Written by three of the men who actually wrote the Constitution.”

While there is no “iron curtain” around our campuses, there is a curtain, and its effects are dangerously close to the effects produced by the “iron curtain” around the Soviet bloc. What is lacking is anything like the Voice of America broadcasts to pierce the academic curtain.

In an electronic age, there are plenty of sources from which forbidden facts and suppressed views can be beamed into the many electronic devices used by college students.” There are many recorded speeches and interviews of outstanding thinkers, from the past and the present, with viewpoints different from the prevailing groupthink on campus and these can be presented directly to students with electronic devices.”

“Someone from the real world beyond the ivy-covered enclaves would have to do it. And it is not yet clear who would do it or who would finance it. Perhaps some of those donors who have kept on writing checks to their alma maters, while the latter surrendered repeatedly to ideological intolerance, might consider such a project. Campus mob could not shout down thousands of scattered iPads.”



The Hoover Institute presents Thomas Sowell on Uncommon Knowledge talking about his book, Wealth Poverty and Politics, with Peter Robinson.

Theme of the book: “There is no explanation needed for poverty. The species began in poverty. So what you really need to know is what are the things that enabled some countries, some groups within countries, to become prosperous.”

 Related ArticleThomas Sowell: The Economics and Politics Of Race, at
Related ArticleObservable Differences Between Cultures, at
Related ArticleEducation System Is A  Monopoly  Of The Political Left, at
 Related ArticleThomas Sowell’s Vision of The Anointed, at


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