Jewish World Review Sept. 21, 2005 / 17 Elul, 5765

Thomas Sowell

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Random thoughts

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

Different people have different ideas about humility. One man said: "I don't think I'm half as good as I know I really am."

What can we be certain of from history? That human beings have been wrong innumerable times, by vast amounts, and with catastrophic results. Yet today there are still people who think that anyone who disagrees with them must be either bad or not know what he is talking about.

Each day, as I take various pills, I realize that without those pills I might not be alive — and, if I were, life would not be worth living. Yet those who produce these medications are under constant attack from people who produce nothing.

Students can graduate from even the most prestigious colleges and universities wholly unaware that there are not simply different opinions about particular issues but a whole comprehensive framework of ideas and analysis through which those issues can be seen in a way that leads to very different conclusions from the ones their professors have taught or insinuated.

Do the people who are making so much noise about the difficulties of creating a constitution in Iraq have any awareness that it was 13 years after the Declaration of Independence before the Constitution of the United States was created?

When Ronald Reagan said that the government was spending money like a drunken sailor, he apologized to the sailors, who were after all spending their own money.

Sometimes marriages break up, not because there are any big problems, but because every little problem becomes a confrontation and an impasse.

Not only does the passage of time produce knowledge, it also produces ignorance. You would have to be about 50 years old to remember what the situation was like before Roe v. Wade. As the passage of time removes people with first-hand knowledge of an earlier era, they are replaced by people ignorant of those times and therefore easy targets for demagogues.

In this era of political correctness, some people seem unaware that being squeamish about words can mean being blind to realities.

One of the consequences of such notions as "entitlements" is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.

Sports are the reason I am out of shape. I watch them all on TV.

A husband should not teach his wife to drive and a wife should not teach her husband to drive. Driving lessons are a lot cheaper than a divorce.

E-mail from a reader: "Here in Washington, we are looking at another round of teacher strikes because they want us to pay them more. And the literature they give us explaining their views contains so many errors in grammar and spelling that it really makes you wonder why we pay them at all."

I hate having some recorded voice telling me how much my phone call is valued, while they send me through a maze of numbers to push, and keep me waiting forever, before I can reach a human being.

It is a shame that ancient history is seldom taught in our schools. Finding out that people thousands of years ago were basically pretty much the way they are today — people of every race, color, creed, national origin, political ideology and sexual orientation — would reduce our chances of having Utopian hopes for big changes any time soon.

Is there a music video of "The Grand Canyon Suite"? This music seems ideal for a video, since it was written to depict things happening at the Grand Canyon.

With various people complaining about "price gouging" as gasoline prices rise and as higher prices are charged for other things in areas struck by hurricanes, economist Walter Williams has coined a new term: "Tax gouging." But government is never accused of either "greed" or "gouging" — not even when they bulldoze people's homes in order to turn the land over to businesses that will pay more taxes.

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This explosive new book challenges many of the long-prevailing assumptions about blacks, about Jews, about Germans, about slavery, and about education. Plainly written, powerfully reasoned and backed with a startling array of documented facts, Black Rednecks and White Liberals takes on not only the trendy intellectuals of our times but also such historic interpreters of American life as Alexis de Tocqueville and Frederick Law Olmsted. Sales help fund JWR.

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