I was pleased to see a new (2017) video of Thomas Sowell yesterday. I read somewhere a year or so back that he’d retired, so it was an unexpected pleasure to see him again.
I’ve begun to think, of people like him, that I just like the sound of their voices. Some people just seem to have golden voices. Some speakers seem to have golden voices just like some singers. Frank Sinatra was one example. Andy Williams another. They all seemed to come from a past era rather than a present one.
It’s not what they say, but how they say it. It’s almost as if they’re reciting poetry, although in fact they’re not.
Michael Savage has got a golden voice. I can listen to him for hours. It’s not the content of what he says that matters, so much as the way he says it. He’s got a rich voice that can move effortlessly over a whole octaves of emotion. It’s like listening to a symphony.
By comparison, his talk radio competitors Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin have both got thin reedy voices. They don’t have the emotional range of Savage. But I read somewhere once that Julius Caesar had a thin, high pitched voice, so it can’t be all that bad.
Another interesting voice is that of Alex Jones. And that’s a deep rumbling voice. It seems that the deeper a voice is, the more authority it has. But Jones has a tendency to rant. He gets a bit out of control.
Maybe men only tend to be in positions of authority because they usually have deeper voices than women and children? No other reason. Not size or intelligence or skill: just deeper voices.
I’ve been listening to Laura Ingraham a bit. She’s got a voice that’s a deeper than most women. I think that lends her a certain edge of authority. Ann Coulter’s voice can also drop pretty low, but frequently jumps a couple of octaves higher. She’s all over the place.
And maybe what I really liked about Lauren Bacall was not her beauty so much as her voice.
Hitler had interesting voice. I can still remember being shocked by the force and intensity of it, the first time I heard it, at age about seven, on radio. It was a raging, galvanising voice. And maybe that’s all Hitler ever had: a voice of remarkable power. And nothing else at all. He could use that voice not only as an orator before a crowd, but also to cow individual hardened veteran generals.
By comparison Churchill was a bit of a mumbler, who always sounded like he was reading his lines. But then Marlon Brando was a bit of a mumbler, so it can’t be that bad.
Anyway, back to Thomas Sowell. Here’s the video I saw yesterday. He’s another guy with a deep voice that rises and falls gently in a slow insistent swell. He tends to start every sentence on a high note, then rise a bit higher, and end on a deep flat note. It’s like listening to a jazz saxophone.
Thomas Sowell sounds authoritative and measured. But I immediately took issue with the content of what he was actually saying.
“Economics is the study of scarce resources which have alternative uses. In other words there was no economics in the garden of Eden. Because everything was available. In unlimited quantities. I think in thinking generally, whether in economics or otherwise, too many people do not begin by saying ‘what are the inherent constraints of the situation we’re talking about?’ and they act as if they’re God on the first day of creation and can follow whatever policies seem to them best. Each of us enters a world that is already completely elaborated and complex before we ever got here, and so you make your decisions within that context, and if you don’t think of it that way you can have all sorts of utopian notions.”
No economics in the garden of Eden? Because everything was available in unlimited quantities?
Well, if you think of the garden of Eden as an orchard full of trees with all sorts of fruit on them, like apples and oranges and bananas and mangoes and strawberries, hundreds and hundreds of big ones on every tree, had Adam and Eve escaped from economics? I don’t think so. Because they would still have to pick the fruit off the trees. And maybe they’d have climb quite high up the trees to get to them. And, last and not least, they’d have to eat them. And all those things take time. And so it’s perfectly possible that Adam and Eve spent more or less their whole time climbing the trees in the garden of Eden, looking for fruit in among their abundant leaves, and reaching out to grab hold of them and yank them loose. Just because everything’s available in unlimited quantities doesn’t mean that they’re easily obtainable.
I think if Sowell had said everything was readily available, or immediately available, or at hand (i.e. already in your hand) I wouldn’t have objected. And probably he meant to say that. But even if the floor of the garden was littered with fallen apples and bananas, they’d still have needed to eat them. And eating entails a conscious effort in ways that breathing mostly doesn’t (although on high mountains even breathing sometimes requires a conscious effort).
But aside from that, I agreed with every word he said. Who could possibly disagree for long with someone with such an insistent rhythmical voice?
And finally here’s another golden voice: