Fact Check

Thomas Sowell - Occupy Wall Street

Thomas Sowell penned a letter to the editor about the Occupy Wall Street movement?

Published Nov. 27, 2011


Claim:   Thomas Sowell penned a letter to the editor of the Knoxville News-Sentinel about the Occupy Wall Street movement.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2011]

Letter in the Knoxville News-Sentinel

This is a letter to the editor in last Monday's Knoxville News-Sentinel.

It is correct and true, and on the newspaper's website. The author, Thomas Sowell, is black, and a highly respected writer. He is at Stanford University.

The current Occupy Wall Street movement is the best illustration to date of what President Barack Obama's America looks like. It is an America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent rule. It is an America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage and destroy the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly. It is an America where history is rewritten to honor dictators, murderers and thieves. It is an America where violence, racism, hatred, class warfare and murder are all promoted as acceptable means of overturning the American civil society.

It is an America where humans have been degraded to the level of animals: defecating in public, having sex in public, devoid of basic hygiene. It is an America where the basic tenets of a civil society, including faith, family, a free press and individual rights, have been rejected. It is an America where our founding documents have been shredded and, with them, every person's guaranteed liberties.

It is an America where, ultimately, great suffering will come to the American people, but the rulers like Obama, Michelle Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, liberal college professors, union bosses and other loyal liberal/Communist Party members will live in opulent splendor. It is the America that Obama and the Democratic Party have created with the willing assistance of the American media, Hollywood, unions, universities, the Communist Party of America, the Black Panthers and numerous anti-American foreign entities.

Obama has brought more destruction upon this country in four years than any other event in the history of our nation, but it is just the beginning of what he and his comrades are capable of. The Occupy Wall Street movement is just another step in their plan for the annihilation of America.

"Socialism, in general, has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it." — Thomas Sowell

"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." — Samuel Adams, 1780

If not now, when? If not us, who?


Origins:   Thomas Sowell is described by Wikipedia as:

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 located at, but not affiliated with, 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 scholarship melding history, economics, and political science.

In 2008, a number of articles pertaining to that year's presidential election which were attributed (both correctly and incorrectly) to Thomas Sowell circulated widely on the Internet. This October 2011 piece on the Occupy Wall Street movement has likewise been attributed to Dr. Sowell, ostensibly in the form of a Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

The text of this item did appear as a Letter to the Editor published in that newspaper on 17 October 2011, but the letter was clearly attributed to Jack A. Furnari of Knoxville, not Thomas Sowell. Additionally, the News-Sentinel posted a disclaimer noting that:

A hot item making the rounds of the Internet these days is a letter to the Knoxville News Sentinel supposedly written by columnist Thomas Sowell. It's either a mix-up or a hoax.

The letter is one written by Jack A. Furnari, one of our regular letter-writers.

Sowell's column does appear weekly in the News Sentinel, but I have no evidence that he ever reads the paper.

The concluding quotes from Thomas Sowell and Samuel Adams which appear in the example reproduced above were not part of Jack Furnari's original. Most likely after someone tacked the former onto an Internet-circulated version of the letter, a subsequent recipient mistakenly assumed it to mean that the letter itself had been penned by Dr. Sowell.

Last updated:   27 November 2011

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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