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Jewish World Review May 24, 2000 / 19 Iyar, 5760

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell
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Random thoughts

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY, some people will hear only what they want to hear. Old age at least gives me an excuse for not being very good at things that I was not very good at when I was young.

  • It is amazing how many people consider it an answer to criticism to call it "bashing."

  • Apologizing for sins committed by other people in the past seems to have become a political vogue. Considering all the wrongs committed around the world for centuries -- against people of every race, color, creed, national origin, and sexual orientation -- if we are going to apologize for all that, we are not going to have any time left to get anything else done.

  • Why do the people who create computer software inundate you with so many confusing features that it is an ordeal to cut your way through the jungle of options to try to reach the simple thing you want to do?

  • It is painful watching Senator John McCain straining to keep himself in the public eye while the Republicans' choice of a vice presidential candidate is pending -- all the while protesting that he doesn't want the nomination.

  • First, there was his gratuitous revisit to South Carolina to flip-flop on the confederate flag issue, and then came his well-publicized visit to the prison where he was once held in Vietnam -- something he never did in all the years before.

  • The promotion of "self-esteem" in our schools has been so successful that people feel free to spout off about all sorts of things -- and see no reason why their opinions should not be taken as seriously as the views of people who actually know what they are talking about.

  • Being in the right place at the right time plays a bigger role in our lives than many are ready to admit. Earle Combs played center field for the New York Yankees for more than a decade and had the same lifetime batting average as Joe DiMaggio (.325). Yet Combs is virtually forgotten, because he played in the shadow of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

  • Doesn't anyone find it strange that Attorney General Janet Reno gave us sermonettes on "the rule of law" in the Elian Gonzalez case at the very same time when she was announcing that those who violated federal laws by making Linda Tripp's private personnel records public would not be prosecuted?

  • The political left's answer to Third World poverty is classic: Let Third World countries welsh on their loans, but don't let them sell the fruits of their labor in the United States, and harass multinational corporations that provide some of the best jobs in poor countries. What these policies have in common, besides being crazy, is that they all enable the left to feel morally superior.

  • Ours may become the first civilization destroyed, not by the power of our enemies, but by the ignorance of our teachers and the dangerous nonsense they are teaching our children. In an age of artificial intelligence, they are creating artificial stupidity.

  • One of the great meaningless phrases of our times is: "I take full responsibility." This does not mean that you are prepared to pay the consequences for what you have done. On the contrary, this statement is usually offered instead of taking the consequences.

  • If you don't believe that the relationship between men and women is being cheapened, non-stop around the clock, then just go channel-surfing on cable TV at any hour of the day or night.

  • Despite both liberals and conservatives piling on Hillsdale College, because of a personal tragedy there, I would send my children to Hillsdale over many other colleges with bigger names.

  • A recent television re-run showed the Lone Ranger shooting a gun out of the bad guy's hand, while galloping full speed on his horse Silver. Maybe that is why a generation raised on this kind of stuff has such unrealistic expectations of police shooting.

  • The political left loves to refer disdainfully to people who have "faith in the free market." Mountains of empirical evidence from countries around the world on the superior performances of free markets are thus dismissed as mere faith. Meanwhile, the repeated failures of government-run economies are attributed to personal mistakes by Stalin, Mao or others -- thereby preserving the left's faith in political control of economic decisions, if only the right people were in charge.

  • When you look at the actual consequences of "corporate greed" versus corporate philanthropy, you find that greed doesn't do nearly as much harm.


JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author, most recently, of The Quest for Cosmic Justice.

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© 2000, Creators Syndicate