Thomas Sowell

Al Gore has long shown the same bold presumptions, waving aside the objections of scientists who argue against his "global warming" hysteria and the massive government programs he has proposed to deal with it. Gore has never been a scientist or even someone with a degree in science. He first got on this "global warming" kick while taking an undergraduate survey course, designed for students who wanted to fulfill their science requirement without taking hard subjects like physics or chemistry.

With this weak background, he dismisses the objections of those who have spent a lifetime studying weather, such as Dr. S. F. Singer, who set up this nation's weather satellite system. But this is nothing new in the history of the 20th century.

After all, what experience or expertise did Lenin have in industry before he took control of the industries in the Soviet Union? What experience did Stalin have in agriculture before he nationalized farms and turned a country which had historically exported its surplus food into a country suffering food shortages and even famine? What expertise did Hitler have in genetics before proclaiming his racial theories and the horrors they spawned?

Bold presumptions look dramatic and appealing in politics, but they look asinine and catastrophic in history. Playing the race card, as both Hillary Clinton and Al Gore are doing this year, has been a great game for politicians around the world, but it has proven to be playing Russian roulette for the societies in which it has happened in this century.

In Sri Lanka, a country once renowned for its harmonious intergroup relations, group polarization rhetoric and group preference policies enabled a long-shot politician to become prime minister in back in 1956 -- leading to mob violence and ultimately a civil war, with hideous atrocities, that is still going on at this moment. We don't need to go down that road when history already tells us where it leads.

But who studies history these days? Politicians like Al Gore and Hillary Clinton may get elected and lead us to repeat it.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate