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A Conflict of Visions
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# A Conflict of Visions

***A Conflict of Visions*** is a book by Thomas Sowell. It was originally published in 1987; a revised edition appeared in 2007. Sowell's opening chapter
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This is absolutely fantastic! For those @memo, you have to view this on the member app.
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This post looks pretty bad on memo.cash, though. Markdown is fine, but the long chain of messages not so much. 😕
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Memo has a 'rollup' option that will improve readability.
Uther Pendragon
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How to make everything rollup by default, is it in settings?
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I had no idea "rollup" was a thing. Thanks.
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You have to read these long posts in member. In Memo they are hardly readable.
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quotation:
>The book could be compared with George Lakoff's *Moral Politics*, which aims to answer a very similar question.
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attempts to answer the question of why the same people tend to be political adversaries in issue after issue, when the issues vary enormously in subject matter and sometimes hardly
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seem connected to one another. The root of these conflicts, Sowell claims, are the "visions", or the intuitive feelings that people have about human nature; different visions imply
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radically different consequences for how they think about everything from war to justice.

The rest of the book describes two basic visions, the "constrained" and "unconstrained"
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visions, which are thought to capture opposite ends of a continuum of political thought on which one can place many contemporary Westerners, in addition to their intellectual
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ancestors of the past few centuries.

The book could be compared with George Lakoff's *Moral Politics*, which aims to answer a very similar question.

The book has been published both
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with and without the subtitle "Ideological Origins of Political Struggles".

Steven Pinker's book *The Blank Slate* calls Sowell's explanation the best theory given to date. In this
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book, Pinker refers to the "constrained vision" as the "tragic vision" and the "unconstrained vision" as the "utopian vision".

## The competing visions

Sowell lays out these
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concepts in his *A Conflict of Visions*, and *The Vision of the Anointed*. These two visions encompass a range of ideas and theories.

### The unconstrained vision

Sowell argues that
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the unconstrained vision relies heavily on the belief that human nature is essentially good. Those with an unconstrained vision distrust decentralized processes and are impatient with
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large institutions and systemic processes that constrain human action. They believe there is an ideal solution to every problem, and that compromise is never acceptable. Collateral
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damage is merely the price of moving forward on the road to perfection. Sowell often refers to them as "the self anointed." Ultimately they believe that man is morally perfectible.
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Because of this, they believe that there exist some people who are further along the path of moral development, have overcome self-interest and are immune to the influence of power
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and therefore can act as surrogate decision-makers for the rest of society.


### The constrained vision

Sowell argues that the constrained vision relies heavily on belief that human
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nature is essentially unchanging and that man is naturally inherently self-interested, regardless of the best intentions. Those with a constrained vision prefer the systematic
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processes of the rule of law and experience of tradition. Compromise is essential because there are no ideal solutions, only trade-offs. Those with a constrained vision favor solid
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empirical evidence and time-tested structures and processes over intervention and personal experience. Ultimately, the constrained vision demands checks and balances and refuses to
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accept that all people could put aside their innate self-interest.