Jewish World Review Feb. 14, 2003 / 12 Adar I 5763

Thomas Sowell

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Random thoughts

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Everything is relative. In most of coastal California, Ted Kennedy would be politically middle of the road -- and, in San Francisco, right of center.

A lot of what is called "public service" consists of making hoops for other people to jump through. It is a great career for those who cannot feel fulfilled unless they are telling other people what to do.

The Empire State Building was built in less time than has already been spent debating what to build on the site of the World Trade Center.

One of these days the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals may declare the Constitution unconstitutional.

I hate listening to smoothies who talk about "implementing," "funding," and "empowerment."

Everything depends on what you are used to. There is a story about a man from Los Angeles who went up to a mountaintop, took a deep breath of the clear fresh air and said: "What's that funny smell?"

The end of the Cold War now reveals that many on the far left who were thought of as pro-Communist were in fact anti-American -- as they have remained, even as our enemies have changed.

Trying to explain inequality is like trying to explain why people don't flap their arms and fly. There was never any reason to expect people to fly and there was never any reason to expect people's performances to be equal, when there are innumerable influences at work differently for each individual and group.

Much of the agenda of the political left consists of self-dramatization, masquerading as concern for other people or for whales, climate or peace.

There is no such thing as the "best" camera. If I could have only one camera, it would be a Linhof. But if I could have three cameras, none of those three would be a Linhof, because there are other cameras which can do particular things better, even though none can do as many things well as a Linhof.

A district attorney opposes televising trials because of "the pressure the jury feels when there is a camera in the courtroom. All of a sudden 'proof beyond a reasonable doubt' becomes 'proof beyond any doubt'" and "the jury feels an added pressure to do what they perceive they 'should' do rather than what the evidence and the law require them to do."

Best talk-show theme song: "Let Freedom Ring" on the Shawn Hannity radio talk show.

Now that various nations in the Middle East have offered at least some cooperation with the American military forces assembling for a possible invasion of Iraq, if the attack is called off and Saddam Hussein survives as dictator, those nations will be in jeopardy of retaliation. More important, the willingness of other nations to stick their necks out to help us in future crises will be in jeopardy.

I hate to think that someday Americans will be looking at the ruins of their cities and saying that this happened because their leaders were afraid of the word "unilateral."

There is no excuse for sending grossly abused children back to their abusive parents, when there are plenty of people who want to adopt a child -- and who are being put through the wringer by the same social workers who want to give terrible parents second, third, and fourth chances.

The biggest difference between people is between those who are trying to do the right thing -- whether or not they succeed -- and those for whom the only question is how much they think they can get away with.

Once I realized how expensive funerals are, I began to exercise and watch my diet.

While discrimination is the pat explanation for differences between blacks and whites, whether these gaps are in income, test scores, or rates of unemployment, infant mortality, or approval of mortgage loan applications. Yet Asian Americans have the same advantage over whites that whites have over blacks -- and the pat explanation of discrimination cannot explain that.

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JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author of several books, including his latest, "Controversial Essays." (Sales help fund JWR.)

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