Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy” as Want to Read:
The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  964 ratings  ·  74 reviews

Sowell presents a devastating critique of the mind-set behind the failed social policies of the past thirty years. Sowell sees what has happened during that time not as a series of isolated mistakes but as a logical consequence of a tainted vision whose defects have led to crises in education, crime, and family dynamics, and to other social pathologies. In this book, he de

Audio CD, 9 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Vision of the Anointed, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Vision of the Anointed

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,112)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Cassandra Kay Silva
Ok I admit it I am a liberal and I read one of Sowells books, so sue me. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about and to be honest I was fairly pleasantly surprised. I am generally one of these that believes in the "root cause" of social problems as he puts it, perhaps I even have some of this anointed mindset "gasp". I like to think we can change people by changing behavior and circumstances, but I think he made a good number of points about when we should say enough is enough, does tha ...more
A must read. As apropos for today as when it was written in the 90's. If you tire of the lightweight stuff from the talking heads like a Hannity, a Rush, or an O'Reilly, then read Sowell's Vision of the Anointed. Watch Sowell fillet mostly leftist-type thought chapter after chapter, page after page, even paragraph after paragraph. Sowell brings to bear so many of his skills as a sociologist and economist that the reader cannot possibly master all of Sowell's arguments after just one read. So, no ...more
David Robins
So very true; enumerates so many of the distractions I have run up against talking with liberals. They close their eyes to reality and logic and argue with blind emotion, trying to frame rational people as unfeeling even as they rob them to fund their wasteful and destructive programs.

"The perennial desire to make particular things 'affordable' through public policy or to have government provide an ever-expanding list of 'basic needs' suggests that the economic realities conveyed by prices are s
There is much that one could like here. The basic framework that Sowell lays down about the way many policies are drafted is clear and accurate. The problem, however, is that he seems to believe that only "The Anointed" (i.e. liberals) use this method to create policy. As I was listening, I kept thinking, "Wow, this seems like a playbook for George W. Bush's administration," but Sowell repeatedly lionizes Reagan and believes that the "Benighted" (i.e. conservatives) can do no wrong.

This might h
Skylar Burris
This is a superb book if you want to know precisely how statistics are manipulated, ignored, or misinterpreted in order to support social/political visions that are impervious to empirical evidence. It's wonderful for debunking a plethora of doomsday economic and social myths, and it provides a thorough outline of the type of specious arguments used to avoid addressing specific objections to specific policies and programs. Any student of economics, politics, or sociology should read this book an ...more
Douglas Wilson
I love people who think in straight lines.
Adam Graham

In his book Vision of the Anointed, Thomas Sowell offers key insights into how and why the American left has run wild in it’s attempts to change America.

As the subtitle suggests, “Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy,” Sowell posits that the American left’s policies are egocentric exercises meant to establish themselves as saviors and their opponents as villains. Sowell shows that historically the left has been far more willing to condemn their opponents as evil even though the peopl
A truly devastating critique of the liberal mindset.


In reality, the entire population of the world today could be housed in the state of Texas, in single-story, single-family houses - four people to a house - and with a typical yard around each home.

Everyone is a “progressive” by his own lights. That the anointed believe that this label differentiates themselves from other people is one of a number of symptoms of their naive narcissism.

Rights from government interference - “Congress shall
Jarrod Jenkins
A typical liberal flaw is explored here. Social policy must be based on actual results instead of merely good intentions. Soaring rhetoric without substance backing it often does more harm than good. The main reason, Sowell argues, that Liberals get away with their bad ideas is because the people who impose those ideas rarely pay for the costs associated with their failures. If a fashionable Liberal idea such as sex education or bilingual education programs creates more pregnant children or more ...more
Aug 24, 2007 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Self-Appointed "Wise-Owls" on the Left. And all others too.
I am really not sure what else Thomas Sowell has written. I know he has other books, but after reading this one almost 11 years ago I don't feel I need to read any others. Not that I don't think they will be any good. It's mostly because this one is so damn good that I don't think he can top it.

Even 11 years later I still remember much. He touches on the very essence of why liberalism and Liberals are so dangerous. The very title insinuates it: "The Annointed."

There is an "annointed" class and
For some of the Libertarian opinions I have come to hold, I have been called “at least partially evil” on one occasion and told to “have a heart” on too many occasions to count – and both of these comments from some of the people who know me best. And that is to say nothing of the times my arguments have been called "simplistic" and yet no reason is ever given for why they are actually wrong. This form of attack is one which Sowell writes about to some length and in that, and numerous other resp ...more
Good, but needed more detail

Thomas Sowell, a noted conservative thinker and a genuinely interesting person (I've heard him as a guest on a local radio station several times) writes an effective book against the actions of those whom he calls 'The Annointed.' The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy is effective, but not a great work.

Who are The Annointed?

He uses the term in a sarcastic way here to illuminate those 'Teflon prophets' (he uses that term because s
I have read Sowell before- his book Race and Culture and some of his editorials. If the book hadn't been copyrighted in 1995, I would have thought he was targeting the 2012 liberals. But I read this leading up to the election, so that might explain a lot of my response to the book. I want to believe we can correct our flaws in society and help our fellow man by pulling together, especially in the United States where we have solved so many problems of mankind. But his explanation of trade offs an ...more
This is the clearest, sanest expression of liberal political thought you will ever read. If you are a Beckbot, a Rush clone, a Hanniday zombie it will be too deep and clear to impress you, though, as there isn't any lying, ranting, or flag waving. Sowell is extremely understandable and deep on the subject. I've read this book and re-read it over the months, checked out sources, and tried to think through his arguments. This is essential if you want to understand today's politics and how Democrat ...more
David Greenberg
Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed is an excellent 1990s scholarship. Sowell explains a dichotomy of politics beyond Left and Right, Conservative and Liberal, and Democratic and Republican. In doing so, he explains the world dependent of the Socrates answer to the Delphic question, do we know ourselves? The anointed, like the Sophists of Greece in Socrates time, declare themselves wise. The issue is they are not wise, and they are too boastful to admit their collective error. Sowell glor ...more
Bob Matter
Apr 11, 2011 Bob Matter is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at a thrift store the other day on the reputation of the author's name. As I often do, I thought I would read just a few pages at the beginning, put it on my TBR shelf, and come back to it later. But alas, it is so engaging I am compelled to continue reading it.
Thomas Sowell is quickly becoming my conservative intellectual father-figure. In this outstanding book, he exposes liberals for what they believe themselves to be - "the annointed". A very intellectual book - not casual reading, but worth the time to read carefully.
A good but repetitive read. Sowell is one of the best at articulating right-wing political ideals in a common sense way. But the whole book is essentially a couple hundred pages of Sowell finding new ways to say 'the anointed think they know better but they actually don't', with some examples thrown in.

His lambasting of leftists' tactics is spot-on - but I found his use of statistics to be a bit misleading. He rightly slams 'the other side' for their dodgy use of figures, and the way they often
Thomas Sowell’s Vision of the Anointed is Sowell’s attempt to explain what, to rational outside observers, appears to be the irrational behavior of politicians and social leaders. They implement programs to fix problems, the problems grow worse under the solutions even in defiance of predictions of doing nothing—and they expand the programs. As if they believe doing the same thing harder won’t have the effect of even further exacerbating the problem.

Sowell’s thesis is that this is just what they
Wesley Fox
The Vision of the Anointed is a classic social commentary from 1995 by economist Thomas Sowell. He presents a long list of social policies adopted in the 60s and 70s that were based on false premises or outright lies. Supported with data and the benefit of hindsight, Sowell dismantles the arguments made in support of these policies. Not only that, he argues that they weren't isolated mistakes but part of a flawed worldview of a self-appointed intellectual elite who believes that their superior i ...more
Sowell's complex writing style in Vision required that I take significant time and thought in reading it, but it was well worth the time and effort. I would advise anyone planning to read this book to be ready to think while you read (novel idea, these days.) Sowell presents logically his case for both the history and status of the "anointed" and "benighted" in America (or in any western civilization, I'd argue.)

This book may change your way of thinking. It will certainly make you think, and co
Jim Gallen
When considering public policy issues, we often think only of the elements of that specific problem. In “the Vision of the Anointed” economist Thomas Sowell guides us to look at the visions behind the specific solutions advanced. Sowell examines the difference between the vision of the anointed, those who feel that they know better than others and must provide solutions to save the common people from themselves, and the tragic vision of the benighted public that recognizes that there are no solu ...more
I have always wondered why so many social policies, all of which seem like good and even noble ideas at the time, turn out so badly. Sowell presents one view and a caustic one it is. Essentially, his thesis is that policy makers have far too often replaced rational analysis of outcomes with wishful and willful assertions that run counter to the facts of the case. The anointed live in a rarefied world in which reality plays little role and the opinions of the non-anointed even less:

"The presumed
Are we completely unaware of the initiative a select few have claimed to push policies based not on logic or evidence, but their own assumptions and desires for what is best for others? Sowell tackles this question, showing how elitists have overrun individual decision making and trampled basic rights. Once a stance is successfully positioned as the moral high ground, it becomes accepted such that even "thinking people" take the underlying assumptions as a given, without testing validity, even i ...more
Justin Lonas
Sowell at his prescient and ascerbic finest. He fires a volley of logic and research across the bow of the ship of self-righteous elitism in effort to warn them of the approaching icebergs. He synthesizes and builds on some of the ideas developed in his other works (notably A Conflict of Visions), and the result is an elegant and digestible summary of Sowell's thought.

He picks apart the insulated, echo-chamber ideas of the social/political elites--the anointed (since they have named themselves t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeff Raymond
At its root, this book is about how there are some beliefs that are simply accepted and repeated without question, and how policies are derived from them, regardless as to whether they're necessary or work.

While political discourse has really soured as of late and bad faith runs abound, I still hold onto this idea that people who can disagree can still converse and disagree and understand each other. Even with the disaster that was Political Season 2008, I still believe it. I still believe it b
My only real criticism of this book is that it is very similar to other things Sowell has written. Although written over ten years ago many of his arguments are similar to the ones in Intellectuals and Society (I would say that if you read one you may not necessarily need to read the other, however if you're like me and like hearing how the self-righteous get it wrong time and again it's a fun read).
That being said I was reading this I was thinking to myself, wow, what would happen if one of the
I had lots of time and little money in the summer of 2001. This was on my shelf and I read it quickly. Wonderful book chock full of statistical information presented in a way that is enlightening and cogent. Sowell demonstrates the flawed visions of today's elites who, despite their seductive rhetoric, are merely into controlling what other people do and how they think. Highly recommended.
In this follow up to his near (realized?) masterpiece, A Conflict of Visions, Sowell launches a no-hold's-barred attack on "the anointed". In A Conflict of Visions, Sowell introduced us to the constrained vision of humanity and the unconstrained vision of humanity. In this book, the two visions are renamed the 'tragic' vision and 'the vision of the anointed'. Chapter after chapter relentlessly attacks the vision (and individuals by name) of those who would assume that surrogate (third party) dec ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 70 71 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Hoyt's Huns: February 2015 -- The Vision of the Anointed 3 13 Feb 08, 2015 10:35AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Two Issues for ISBN 0465089941 2 12 Oct 13, 2013 03:51PM  
  • The End of Racism: Finding Values in an Age of Technoaffluence
  • Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning
  • Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline
  • America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It
  • Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
  • Who Killed the Constitution?: The Assault on American Law and the Unmaking of a Nation
  • The New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America
  • The Case Against the Fed
  • Men In Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America
  • The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
  • FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression
  • Free to Choose: A Personal Statement
  • Radical Son: A Generational Oddysey
  • No, They Can't: Why Government Fails-But Individuals Succeed
  • New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America
  • The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture
  • The Ten Things You Can't Say in America
  • Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980
Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He often writes from an economically laissez-faire perspective. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholars ...more
More about Thomas Sowell...
Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy Economic Facts and Fallacies Black Rednecks & White Liberals Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One A Conflict Of Visions

Share This Book

“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.” 29 likes
“The staunchest conservatives advocate a range of changes which differ in specifics, rather than in number or magnitude, from the changes advocated by those considered liberal…change, as such, is simply not a controversial issue. Yet a common practice among the anointed is to declare themselves emphatically, piously, and defiantly in favor of 'change.' Thus those who oppose their particular changes are depicted as being against change in general. It is as if opponents of the equation 2+2=7 were depicted as being against mathematics. Such a tactic might, however, be more politically effective than trying to defend the equation on its own merits. ” 15 likes
More quotes…