This book's main emphasis is the need for "results oriented" social policy.
Sowell's fundamental argument is:
1. Social policy is often built based on a perceived, "crisis."
2. That a "crisis," even exists, usually goes unchallenged, or ignored.
3. When said social policy fails to accomplish its stated objective, attempts are made to change the initial objective, or simply ignore the outcome.
"The Anointed," as Sowell calls them, are those who identify the crisis, put forth the policies, and then, if they fail, obfuscate the results. They live in a self justifying world, where what they "envision" is correct and moral *a priori.* Those who disagree are demonized as simpleminded and mean-spirited.
Sowell offers a lot of examples that support his theory at varying degrees of success. From Sex Ed programs, Low Income Housing, to environment policy. It is certainly a fascinating read.
Whether you agree with him or not (I mostly agree with him), what this book accomplishes is that it forces you to refocus on facts and data to make decisions, as opposed to your own moral vision.