Thomas Sowell

NOTHING is an outrage when the reigning fad is being non-judgmental. So perhaps it is not surprising that there has been no nationwide chorus of condemnation of Bill Clinton's anti-American speech at Georgetown University. According to the former president, America is "paying a price today" for slavery in the past and for that fact that "native Americans were dispossessed and killed."

Can you name a country, anywhere in the world, where there has never been slavery? Can you name a country, anywhere in the world, where land has not changed hands as a result of military conquest? It is a painful commentary on human beings that there are no such countries. But it is hogwash to single out the United States for sins that have afflicted the entire human race.

And to say that Americans are paying a price today because of those sins is grotesque. Nobody in the World Trade Center owned any slaves or killed any Indians. This pushing of collective guilt, inherited from centuries past, is a shameless hustle that insults our intelligence.

All around the world, there are cities that have had different names at different periods of history because they were conquered again and again by different invaders. Istanbul was Constantinople before it was conquered, Bratislava was Pressburg, New York was New Amsterdam -- and so on and on.

Just for the record, slavery was abolished throughout Western civilization more than a century before it was abolished in the Islamic world -- for it is not completely abolished in the Islamic world to this very moment. But double standards are at the heart of the hustle. Nobody else is going to cough up the money that the hustlers want from the United States.

Clinton wants us to pay for the education of children in other countries because it is "a lot cheaper than going to war." This kind of talk is considered Deep Stuff by shallow people.

According to Clinton, Americans "have to get rid of our arrogant self-righteousness so that we don't claim for ourselves things we deny to others." If other people don't have what we have, does that mean that we denied it to them?

Are people around the world to be encouraged to look to us as their sugar daddy, instead of looking to themselves to do the things that have lifted other countries from poverty to prosperity? The whole world was once poorer than today's Third World and there was nobody to give them foreign aid.

Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate