Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell are often linked together. Perhaps it is because they are both older, black, and conservative (at least viewed that way) and they both specialize in economic issues. In addition, the two of them are friends and speak highly of each other.
As a libertarian, I have a strong preference towards Walter Williams and I always have. Earlier this year, I wrote a rather scathing post about Thomas Sowell. I am highly critical of him and I do not consider him to be a libertarian.
I am much more sympathetic towards Walter Williams.
Thomas Sowell is a great writer. He is often witty and eloquent with his words. If Sowell has any advantage over Williams, this is it. That is not to say that Williams is not a good writer.
One major difference is that Williams sticks to his knitting. He mostly focuses on the things he knows well and can explain well. He particularly focuses on economic issues. He also writes about cultural issues in the black community. I agree with most of what he writes.
On a rare occasion, Williams will wander from his niches and write about foreign policy. This is where he is weak (at least from a libertarian standpoint). He doesn’t understand how many problems the U.S. empire creates throughout the world. He doesn’t really understand the concept of blowback, or at least hasn’t shown that he does. Perhaps he doesn’t know his history well enough.
I consider Williams and Sowell to be both pro war. But Williams doesn’t talk about it much, so I can tolerate him. Sowell wanders off into foreign policy quite a bit more.
But even aside from these issues, I have always had a preference for Williams over Sowell. Last week, I read an article by Walter Williams that clarified it all for me. In the article, Williams discusses the fact that the Constitution gave Congress the ultimate authority to tax and spend. He says that a president cannot spend one dime that is not first appropriated by the Congress.
Williams goes on to stress a point that I often make and that we rarely see in the mainstream media. He points out that a Republican-controlled House of Representatives controls the purse strings. He even points out that if the Republicans were really against Obamacare, they could pass an appropriations bill that would deny money for it.
So this is the biggest difference between Sowell and Williams. Williams is highly critical of the Republicans. Sowell is mostly an apologist for the Republican Party. Sowell will criticize Obama and Democrats all day long, but then barely says a harsh word about Bush or the Republicans. (I say Bush because of the 8 years of damage that he did and the fact that Obama has simply continued most of his policies and spending.)
In conclusion, I will take Walter Williams over Thomas Sowell any time. At least Williams sounds like a libertarian a good part of the time. Sowell thinks we can get smaller government by turning to people like Newt Gingrich and other Republican hacks. Sowell will never learn. He will keep doing the same thing over and over again. He thinks this time is different, but we keep getting the same results: bigger government. Sowell is the definition of insanity. Meanwhile, Williams understands that the Republicans are a major part of the problem. He should pass the message along to his good friend.