Jewish World Review Dec. 16, 2002 / 11 Teves 5763

Thomas Sowell

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Random thoughts

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

It is a little much when people come to this country preaching hatred against others and demanding tolerance for themselves. Thanksgiving may be our most old-fashioned holiday. Gratitude itself seems out of date at a time when so many people feel "entitled" to whatever they get -- and indignant that they didn't get more.

The Economist magazine says that the only people who were enthusiastic about the idea of Al Gore's becoming the Democrats' candidate for president again in 2004 are Republicans.

When this column predicted that a discredited study would continue to be cited by gun control advocates, I had no idea that it would happen the next week in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now that so many sports arenas are named for commercial enterprises, will Yankee Stadium become Microsoft Field or the Super Bowl become the Toyota Championship?

The recent endorsement by Senator Trent Lott of Senator Strom Thurmond's anti-civil rights candidacy for the presidency in 1948 would have been unbelievable for anyone except Senator Lott, who has long suffered from foot-in-mouth disease. The real question is how long Senate Republicans should suffer from his leadership.

Who selects the unlikable-looking people who appear in ads for high fashion clothes and luxury accessories? Is the message supposed to be that, if you are rich, you don't need to be likeable?

If Bill Clinton had been a virgin, he would still have been the most immoral president in this country's history. In exchange for illegal campaign contributions from the government of China, he allowed the Chinese to buy American technology, which now makes them capable of hitting American cities with nuclear missiles.

Incessant preoccupation with statistical disparities is one of the luxuries of an affluent and sheltered life. Do not expect someone who has ever had to go hungry to get upset because some people can only afford pizza while others can afford caviar.

Just as any moron can destroy a priceless Ming vase, so the shallow and ill-educated people who run our schools can undermine and destroy from within a great civilization that took centuries of dedicated effort to create and maintain.

One excuse for muzzling college students with restrictive speech codes and severe punishments is that this protects minority students from being insulted or harassed. Then why were such codes not used in the 1950s, when I was a student, and when neither blacks nor whites saw any need for them?

What can international terrorists hope to gain, except venting their spleen and indulging their egos by acquiring an importance that they cannot gain by any constructive contributions to the world?

Most -- if not all -- metropolitan school systems in this country have been controlled by the Democrats for decades. Yet the dismal failures of these schools never seem to cost urban Democrats any votes, least of all among minority voters, whose children's chances in life are destroyed in those schools before they ever reach a college or an employer.

I wish there were not so many people on television suggesting ways that terrorists could attack the United States. Let terrorists think up their own ideas!

Filters are often used to filter out things that do us harm. But what if the filter itself is dangerous? Increasingly, information filters are allowing us to learn only those facts which fit the prevailing preconceptions in the media, in academia, and wherever the intelligentsia are dominant.

Why must today's football players act like such jerks in the end zone after they score a touchdown? Jim Brown, Paul Hornung, Lynn Swann, etc., scored plenty of touchdowns for years without going through such juvenile antics.

Busybodies must be desperate for grievances when they launch a campaign to force the Augusta Golf Club to admit women -- who already play golf there, by the way. The Constitutional right to free association means that you can hang out with only left-handed Cajuns if you want to. More people need to stand up to self-righteous busybodies who try to tell everybody else how to live.

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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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