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Jewish World Review / May 11, 1998 / 15 Iyar, 5758

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell Random thoughts

AFTER THIS YEAR'S SLEAZY SCANDALS in Washington, I wonder how many college commencement speakers will repeat the old familiar theme about how much nobler it is to go into "public service" than into the private economy.

Could it be that the reason we have such low unemployment is that Vernon Jordan is getting jobs for everybody?

If we can't get rid of so-called "vocational education" in our public schools, then at least we can have the honesty to stop calling it vocational education and call it what it is -- non-academic courses. These courses are often of no use in any vocation.

The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take the people's money quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly.

I am so old that I can remember when cars had styling and women had shapes.

If politicians were serious about day care for children, instead of just sloganizing about it, nothing they could do would improve the quality of child care more than by lifting the heavy burden of taxation that forces so many families to have both parents working.

The Internet has probably made it impossible for any country to have the kind of censorship and propaganda monopoly that totalitarian countries achieved in the first half of this century.

It always amazes me to hear grown men and woman complaining that they are not paid what they are really worth. If each of us is to decide what our own value is, then all of us cannot possibly be paid what we are "really" worth, because there is not that much money in the world.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey objects to the IMF bailouts of Asian countries facing bankruptcy. "The cause of the bailouts has been the bailouts themselves," he says. "They have been caused by the growing assumption on the part of high-flying investors that any groups of bankruptcies anywhere will be covered in part by the American taxpayers."

Any attempt to allow any alternative to our failing public schools is met by cries that this would "siphon money away" from public education. If the public schools have fewer children left in them, why should educating fewer children require the same total amount of money as before?

If the tobacco companies have broken some laws, they should be prosecuted for crimes or sued for civil damages. If not, they should be left alone. The rule of law is too important to sacrifice because demagogues are shouting about "Big Tobacco" and trying to make a deal to get hundreds of billions of dollars for politicians to spend on their pet projects.

I am surprised that we can still use the word "sinister," since it derives from the word for left-handedness. It is probably only a matter of time before we hear about "handism" from politically correct quarters.

Now that banks are authorized to sell financial securities, it means that not all accounts you open in a bank are insured by the government. If the bank's official statement on your particular account does not make it clear whether it is or is not insured, you might want to think about putting your money in an honest bank.

When you go for a "second opinion" after a medical or other diagnosis, too often the second person wants to know what the first person said -- which defeats the whole purpose of a second opinion. It is not even advisable to seek a second opinion from someone who knows the first person.

If there is one common denominator among public school teachers and administrators, it is that the very idea of testing their beliefs against evidence never seems to occur to them. The educational dogmas of the day simply reign supreme until new dogmas come along.

A reader recently sent me a three-dollar bill with Bill Clinton's picture on it.

An organization called Christian Solidarity International is buying slaves -- for $100 apiece -- in the Sudan and then setting them free. But you hear very little about slavery that is still going on today in the Sudan, Mauritania and Nigeria, compared to what we hear about slavery in centuries past.

Someone has defined "baroque" as not having enough Monet. But I always thought Monet was the root of all evil.

5/7/98: Media obstruction of justice
5/4/98: Dangerous "safety"
5/1/98: Abolish Adolescence!
4/30/98: The naked truth
4/22/98: Playing fair and square
4/19/98: Bad teachers"
4/15/98: "Clinton in Africa "
4/13/98: "Bundling and unbundling "
4/9/98: "Rising or falling Starr "
4/6/98: "Was Clinton ‘vindicated'? "
3/26/98: "Diasters -- natural and political"
3/24/98: "A pattern of behavior"
3/22/98: Innocent explanations
3/19/98: Kathleen Willey and Anita Hill
3/17/98: Search and destroy
3/12/98: Media Circus versus Justice
3/6/98: Vindication
3/3/98: Cheap Shot Time
2/26/98: The Wrong Filter
2/24/98: Trial by Media
2/20/98: Dancing Around the Realities
2/19/98: A "Do Something" War?
2/12/98: Julian Simon, combatant in a 200-year war
2/6/98: A rush to rhetoric

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.