Thomas Sowell

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.

My New Year's resolution is to stop trying to reason with unreasonable people. This should reduce my correspondence considerably.

Benedict Arnold was a war hero, wounded in battle -- before he turned against his country. Hitler was likewise a decorated and wounded veteran of the First World War. Being a war hero is not a lifetime "get out of jail free" card, exempting you from responsibility for what you do thereafter.

E-mail from the mother of a late-talking child: "We didn't know Ryan could read letters and numbers until one day when he was two-and-a-half years old and I held up a number 9 and asked him what it was. He turned his back to me, bent over, looked between his legs and said, '6.' Then he stood up, faced me and said, '9'!"

Activism is a way for useless people to feel important, even if the consequences of their activism are counterproductive for those they claim to be helping and damaging to the fabric of society as a whole.

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer "universal health care."

When the president suggested sending a man to Mars, do you suppose he had Paul O'Neill in mind?

Let me seize a rare opportunity to recommend a book written by New York Times reporters: "Thunder from the East" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It is a very readable, enlightening and insightful account of life in various Asian countries, blending the factual, the personal, the historical and the cultural.

People who defended a draft dodger running for president a dozen years ago are now trying to make an issue out of President Bush's National Guard service. People who have been saying that everyone is "innocent until proven guilty" are now saying that whatever information is released about Mr. Bush's service "still leaves questions unanswered." The Encyclopedia Britannica leaves questions unanswered!

Whenever I am struggling to find space to put more research material into my 10 filing cabinets or to put more books into my 20 bookcases, I think of those irate readers who write in to say that I just make things up when I write something that conflicts with their beliefs. Wouldn't life be easier if that were true?

Thomas Sowell

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

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