- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hoover Institution senior fellow and prominent libertarian conservative philosopher Thomas Sowell announced his retirement in a final column Tuesday morning.

“Even the best things come to an end. After enjoying a quarter of a century of writing this column for Creators Syndicate, I have decided to stop,” the 86-year-old wrote in his column titled, “Farewell.”

Mr. Sowell said he made the decision to retire from writing and focus more on his photography after taking a much-need hiatus from following politics.

“During a stay in Yosemite National Park last May, taking photos with a couple of my buddies, there were four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program — and it felt wonderful,” he wrote. “With the political news being so awful this year, it felt especially wonderful.

Mr. Sowell was born in North Carolina in 1930 and grew up in Harlem, New York. He was drafted into the military in 1951 during the Korean War and served as a Marine Corps photographer. He later attended Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C., and then Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1958. He went on to receive his master’s degree in economics from Columbia University and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago.

Mr. Sowell spoke of the advancements in technology, medicine and civil rights that he’s seen over the course of his lifetime, but he also lamented the “serious retrogressions over the years” that he’s witnessed in politics and inner cities.

“Politics, and especially citizens’ trust in their government, has gone way downhill,” he said. “Years of lying Presidents — Democrat Lyndon Johnson and Republican Richard Nixon, especially — destroyed not only their own credibility, but the credibility which the office itself once conferred. The loss of that credibility was a loss to the country, not just to the people holding that office in later years.

“With all the advances of blacks over the years, nothing so brought home to me the social degeneration in black ghettoes like a visit to a Harlem high school some years ago,” he continued. “When I looked out the window at the park across the street, I mentioned that, as a child, I used to walk my dog in that park. Looks of horror came over the students’ faces, at the thought of a kid going into the hell hole which that park had become in their time.

“We cannot return to the past, even if we wanted to, but let us hope that we can learn something from the past to make for a better present and future,” Mr. Sowell concluded. “Goodbye and good luck to all.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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