Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene
12/21/2001 12:00:00 AM - Thomas Sowell
Random thoughts on the passing scene.
- Doing the right thing is fun. If nothing else, it surprises people.
- Best television news anchor man: Brian Williams of MSNBC. The worst? Too many candidates and too close to call.
- It took September 11th to get some people to remember December 7th. An earlier study showed that most students at big name universities like Harvard and Stanford did not know the date of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
- You have to have a sense of humor if you follow politics. Otherwise, the sheer fraudulence of it all will get you down.
- One of the most important reasons for studying history is that virtually every stupid idea that is in vogue today has been tried before and proved disastrous before, time and again. Do we need to keep repeating the same mistakes forever?
- Time really does seem to speed up as you get older. Sometimes it seems as if every other day is the weekend.
- The one big advantage of California's outrageous housing prices is that, if things get really tough, you can always sell your California bungalow, go buy a mansion in some other state, and still have money left over.
- When Western countries in the past were as poor as Third World countries are today, these Western countries nevertheless had one big advantage: There was no large and influential class of the intelligentsia to impede their progress with unsubstantiated theories and counterproductive propaganda.
- Two things that seldom seem to go together are genius and common sense. When I try to think of people with both, the first name that comes to mind is Milton Friedman. But it is a struggle to try to come up with more names after that.
- Politicians who are nailed by their own words often try to evade responsibility by saying that their statements were "taken out of context." They should then be asked to explain just what those words meant when taken in context.
- A successful businessman who graduated from a well-known university that has the usual anti-business bias says: "When called for donations to the undergrad or law school, I politely refuse, using the analogy of asking a Jew to finance the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda."
- People are not stupid. There are just certain things that they do not think about. And if you don't think about those things, then it doesn't matter whether you are a genius or a moron.
- No one is more determined to maintain an ideological monopoly than those academics who talk most about "diversity" in a physical sense.
- The "self-esteem" dogma has triumphed so completely in our educational system that you have all sorts of people spouting off about all sorts of things that they know little or nothing about. Just recently, letters have come to me from people diagnosing individuals they have never laid eyes on -- saying that Andrea Yates was insane and that Einstein was autistic -- even when there is nothing to indicate that they have any expertise for diagnosing anybody.
- Wealth may provoke envy, but it seldom provokes the truly venomous levels of resentment provoked by achievement. There is no surer way for a minority group to become hated than to enter a country as destitute immigrants and then, through long hours of hard work, rise to a level of prosperity above that of the indigenous population.
- If you are going to travel halfway around the world, you may as well go all the way around the world, since it will take the same amount of time to get back home. And travel from east to west, because that means longer days and fewer of them -- more sunshine and smaller hotel bills.
- Say it ain't so! If Senator Phil Gramm and House Majority Leader Dick Armey retire from Congress at the end of their current terms, there will not be a single economist left in either House of Congress. The lawyers can then run amok unopposed.
- The last time the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, the winning pitcher in two of their four victories was Babe Ruth.