Thomas Sowell

All human beings are guilty of being imperfect. But those who are quick to blame America or Western civilization are seldom willing to compare our imperfections with those of others. Instead, they condemn America or the West for failing to come up to their arbitrary standard, while showering others who fall even further below those standards with "understanding" in the psychobabble sense.

Some of the intelligentsia go beyond these double standards to claim that the success of the more prosperous is a result of their having somehow robbed or exploited the "dispossessed." Isolated examples of virtually anything can be found, including robbery and exploitation. But to argue that this explains vast disparities in income and wealth, whether among nations or within nations, requires a determination to defy both facts and logic.

Most prosperous countries have most of their economic transactions with other prosperous countries. Four-fifths of American investments in foreign countries are in high-income countries in Europe and Asia, and no more than one percent in poverty-stricken countries, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa.

If we really want to understand, then we can start by understanding that wealth is created, not simply transferred -- and that some know how to create more than others. But we also need to understand the poisonous role of envy and resentment, at home and abroad.

Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate