Thomas Sowell

Moreover, even if certain laws and policies may once have served a purpose, that does not mean that these laws and policies should last forever, in total disregard of their counterproductive effects today. For a California election in 2003 to be held up by the federal government because of what happened in Mississippi decades ago is ludicrous.

Finally, the argument that anyone who has benefitted from affirmative action should never oppose it is as illogical as it is ignorant of the facts. I certainly benefitted from the Korean War, which led to my being in the military and therefore getting the G.I. Bill that enabled me to go to college.

Does that mean that I should never be against any war? Was it wrong of me to be against the Vietnam War after I had personally benefitted from the Korean War? Are the duties of a citizen, not to mention the duty to be honest and truthful, to be over-ridden by what happened to benefit me personally?

Some of the things I advocate would ruin me personally if my recommendations were followed. For example, I am totally opposed to the environmentalist extremism that has made it an ordeal to try to build any kind of housing -- much less "affordable housing" -- on the San Francisco peninsula. But if such restrictive policies were repealed, the inflated value of my home would be cut at least in half.

Is myopic selfishness supposed to be a moral obligation?


Thomas Sowell

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

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