Thursday, January 28, 2010

Using only 40 words, Thomas Sowell squelches three mantras

Unlike most academics, Dr. Thomas Sowell is a champion of clear thinking and writing. He has little patience (1, 2) for what he calls “mindless mantras.” In the brief quotation below, he cleverly exposes the vagueness of three mantras: “radical,” “liberal” and “racist.”*

“If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.”

The Takeaway: Think. Don’t mindlessly imitate people who use a lot of mantras. These people are dull and lazy. You are a professional writer. You are, and should be, perceptive and diligent.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to show and explain examples of clear and unclear writing and speech. Accordingly, I select examples for the diction they contain, not the ideas they express. I promote no political position – unless you consider clarity a political position.

*Dr. Sowell has written extensively on racism.

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