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Minister Farrakhan, The Human Conch Shell

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Most people believe you can hear the ocean roar if you place a conch shell to your ear. I’ve always thought the sound was more like a steady and annoying wind, the kind that blows endlessly in no particular direction. When you think about it in that light, Louis Farrakhan is quite like a conch shell. If you placed his head to your ear you’d likely hear the same sound.

Farrakhan, never a stranger to controversy, created quite a stir with his recent ramblings about people killing their leaders, about Jesus, David, and Solomon — all Hebrews — being African, and about Jesus himself being a Muslim despite having preceding Mohammad by six centuries. It’s rhetorical flamboyance extraordinaire, but coming from Farrakhan it’s not surprising. For him to utter an odd word here and there is more the rule than the exception. However, even Farrakhan can exceed his own high standard for balderdash, and this is one of those times.

Sure, Farrakhan’s remarks warranted a certain amount of outrage. However, his greatest offense was his ignorance of, or absolute disregard for, reality. While defending his claim that Jesus was a black man — Jesus was a Jew and neither white nor black — Farrakhan said, “You are not trained to accept wisdom from a black person, no matter how wise that black person is.”

Oh Louis, how can you, a single man, be so wrong?

There are people who readily accept wisdom from black people. We call them conservatives. In fact, I would argue that a conservative’s pursuit of wisdom transcends the racial and ethnic spectrum. However, there’s a catch. Since the goal is to gain understanding, conservatives will ignore fools, henceforth defined as anyone who makes Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton appear levelheaded. Mr. Farrakhan does just that, which is why he’s routinely dismissed as a certified nutcase.

How can Farrakhan lodge such a charge when he himself ignores wise individuals who share his racial heritage but shun his divisive political ideology? For example, does Farrakhan accept wisdom from syndicated columnist and George Mason University economics professor Walter E. Williams? Does he read Thomas Sowell, a black man whose wisdom propels him to write editorials, scholarly essays, and books as easily as most of us tie our shoes? Does Farrakhan seek the wisdom of former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts, or Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, or Shelby Steele, or Kevin Jackson, or Star Parker?

While Farrakhan undeniably harbors delusions of intellectual grandeur and fancies himself a serious contributor to public discourse, his charge is as laughable as it is false. Maybe this tirade resulted from Farrakhan’s jealousy of black men and women who impart genuine wisdom with relative ease. But most likely his rhetoric results from a mind that exists in a vacuum, where the only sound is the steady and annoying wind that blows endlessly in no particular direction.

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