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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Quest for Cosmic Justice by Thomas Sowell

I found this to be a well laid out, thought provoking treatise.
The Quest for Cosmic Justice
Written By: Thomas Sowell
Narrated By: Robertson Dean

Date: September 2017
Duration: 5 hours 52 minutes
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Genre: Jurisprudence, Non-Fiction, Social Studies
My Rating: 5.0 of 5.0

This book is about the great moral issues underlying many of the headline-making political controversies of our times. It is not a comforting book but a book about disturbing and dangerous trends.
The Quest for Cosmic Justice shows how confused conceptions of justice end up promoting injustice, how confused conceptions of equality end up promoting inequality, and how the tyranny of social visions prevents many people from confronting the actual consequences of their own beliefs and policies. Those consequences include the steady and dangerous erosion of fundamental principles of freedom-amounting to a quiet repeal of the American revolution.
The Quest for Cosmic Justice is the summation of a lifetime of study and thought about where we as a society are headed-and why we need to change course before we do irretrievable damage.

I really enjoyed listening to this treatise but found it hard to review. I took two and a half pages of notes while listening! My first review draft was 910 words and this is still long. This work was copywritten in 1999 but its discussion is timely in today’s distraught and divisive political atmosphere.

Some of the well stated points include: Social justice is not the same as true justice. Justice at all costs is not justice; it always costs someone.

Sowell discusses Traditional Justice v Cosmic Justice. Cosmic Justice often approaches issues with a theoretical stereotype rather than addressing flesh and blood reality. The cosmic arguments focus on emotion rather than objective, factual circumstances. Sowell shares many examples supporting his premise that the Cosmic Justice vision is self-serving as it is unwilling to look at the evidence of application. Cosmic Justice favors the abstract which is at odds with practicality in the everyday.

Sowell projects that there is a quiet repeal of the American Revolution which was based upon ideas of landmark freedom and a democratic society. The three branches of government were intended to balance each other. Now, as the legislative branch fails to agree and take action, they leave the door open to executive orders and legislation made through Supreme Court decisions. American freedoms were set forth with a stated Rule of Law that was tempered with controls and exemptions. The issues of Cosmic Justice versus Traditional Justice are a seesawing balance of public rights versus private rights. Traditional Justice permits individual rights while Cosmic Justice dictates through controlling requirements. Cosmic Justice is irreconcilable with personal freedom which is based on the Rule of Law.

Cosmic Justice seeks to further government powers while Traditional Justice seeks to maintain individual rights. Expansion of Federal powers erode individual freedoms. Sowell notes that state rights have continually been eroded in 20th century, not by legislation, but by judges. Traditional Justice applies laws. Cosmic Justice allows judges to input their view of right and wrong (the Rule of Men) rather than enforcing the Rule of Law. Burdens of proof on plaintiffs are now shifting to defendants encouraging a prima facie case without support. (This was in evidence in the recent hearings to approve Justice Kavanaugh and is also an underlying basis in the division of those seeking liberal justices rather than conservative justices.)

Impartiality of law is being disregarded in the face of Cosmic Justice which results in a political non sequetor, to wit: ‘Things are not right and government should make them right’. Increasing government control (especially Federal) is in conflict with freedoms and rights of the common man who wants to live peaceably in their (hopefully compatible) local communities. Cosmic Justice is pursuing Globalism instead of American rights.

As I listened to this it gave me better insight on the current extreme divide in our social and political views. I do widh that people would agree to civilly disagree. I pray Americans could recognize the privilege we have to live under such a unique system of government and I hope we don’t lose it. I recommend this to anyone interested in the topic. Although I enjoyed the audio, I think a print copy would work for a better resource.

Audio Notes: The narration by Robertson Dean was very well handled. The tone is direct and respectful. He managed to keep my interest in what could be at times a difficult work to follow and digest. I am glad I had the audio although, as noted above, a print copy would be worthwhile too.

Source: Audiobooks July 2018 credit purchase. This qualifies for Audiobook and Alphabet Challenges.

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