The Vision of the Anointed

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Who should read it: Anyone looking to think a little more critically about the rhetoric of politics and the effects of policy construction


What I took from it: The Vision of the Anointed taught me – again and again – that intentions do not equal outcomes, and what is said is not always what is true. Constructing social policies that create effective and positive change is a lot more difficult than simply deciding what sounds like a good idea. An effective policy may not only be somewhat confusing, but it may be vehemently counter-intuitive. However, if the evidence is there to say that it works, at that point you need to decide if you want to implement what appears to work or continue with what you think works, irrespective of what the data says. This book is a warning regarding what Sowell calls “shibboleths”, which are beliefs that, rather than being correct, provide reassurance to the believer that they are one of the “good guys” and that’s what matters, right?

Notable quote: What sense would it make to classify a man as handicapped because he is in a wheelchair today, if he is expected to be walking again in a month, and competing in track meets before the year is out? Yet Americans are generally given ‘class’ labels on the basis of their transient location in the income stream. If most Americans do not stay in the same broad income bracket for even a decade, their repeatedly changing ‘class’ makes class itself a nebulous concept. Yet the intelligentsia are habituated, if not addicted, to seeing the world in class terms.

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