Thomas Sowell's 3 Questions to Liberals Will Debunk Every One of Their Arguments
If you’ve ever wondered how you can effectively counter leftist arguments, American economist Thomas Sowell once provided a roadmap, if you will. Using his three key questions, you can engage in civil, thoughtful dialogue, on your part, that can help provoke critical thinking and much-needed “aha” moments.
During his 2005 interview for Fox News titled “Thomas Sowell: In the Right Direction,” Sowell brought up these three key questions while also shedding light on his own transition away from Marxism. He spoke a great deal about the differences between the political left and right, and these questions were part of highlighting those things.
The following is a clip from that interview. His questions are near the end of the clip.
Sowell explained that these questions work because of the dramatic differences between the premises held by the left and the right. The left believes that “there is nothing in human nature that would cause us to be unhappy. It’s the fact that we have the wrong institutions.”
Conversely, the right believes that, “Man is flawed from Day One, and that there are no solutions, there are only trade-offs. And whatever you do to deal with man’s flaws, it creates another problem.”
“But you try to get the best trade-off you can get. And that’s all you can hope for.”
So when presented with leftist idealism as to how to fix the world, here is the first question to ask: “Compared to what?” The leftist idea is the solution, compared to what?
Look at the argument for government healthcare. ‘Government healthcare serves the poor.’ Compared to what? Strong arguments can be made that the poor are better off in terms of care and options under a free market system.
The second question Sowell presented is: “At what price?” What price will be paid for the leftist ideal to be implemented? This leads to the discussion of if it is worth it or not … or even realistic.
For this example, consider the argument for open borders. Strong arguments based on “at what price” can be made against having open borders. There are financial costs, national security costs, personal safety costs, national identity costs, functional government costs, national economy costs, job costs, and many more.
The “feel good” concept of no borders is nothing more than a “feel good” concept. It cannot withstand close scrutiny in terms of cost and practical implementation.
The final question is: “What hard evidence do you have?” This one is a doozy, since so much virtue signalling and “feel good” ideology is part and parcel of leftist ideology.
Oftentimes, even when “evidence” is presented, it is not authoritative, hard evidence. It is opinion or cherry-picked, out-of-context, questionable or even debunked in its “facts” and sourcing.
This presents a prime opportunity to then show hard evidence for the right’s argument. It may require time and patience, but if you have a willing audience, it can be well worth the investment to lead the way to why conservatives believe their answers are better.
Sowell noted that conservative arguments tend to be able to pass all three questions because “they don’t assume there is a solution out there.”
As a bonus: If you run these three questions by every one of Democratic Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s arguments, her platform immediately crumbles.
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