Thomas Sowell

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

 The very people who were telling us to "get over it" and "move on" during the Clinton scandals of the 1990s have been completely unable to get over the 2004 elections -- and some of them haven't even gotten over the 2000 elections yet.

 A church in Monterrey, Mexico, has installed equipment that jams cell phone calls, so that church services will not be disturbed by phones ringing. This equipment should be installed in every school, restaurant, auditorium, etc. Incidentally, the equipment used by this church was manufactured in Israel. Let's hear it for interfaith cooperation and the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

 Anyone who grew up in the South is bound to have heard the phrase "poor white trash." Teresa Heinz Kerry has given us a new category -- rich white trash.

 During his long tenure as NBC News anchorman, Tom Brokaw took that program from last place among the big three broadcast networks to first place. But he had more viewers when he was in last place, more than 20 years ago, than he had in first place this year. That is because fewer people now watch NBC, ABC, or CBS News. Good!

 Imagine that everyone in the older age brackets had to write two books -- "Smart Things I Have Done in My Life" and "Dumb Things I Have Done in My Life." Be frank. Which book do you think would be bigger? Even some of the smart things we did were a result of having done dumb things before and suffered the consequences.

 If the next time a President of the United States sees a mortal danger to this country looming on the horizon, he decides to wait for iron-clad proof in order to avoid political critics, we can be in truly big trouble.

 A couple of readers in Michigan ask: Since death is defined by the cessation of brain waves, why shouldn't life be defined by the beginning of brain waves?

 I am so old that I can remember when we called illegal aliens illegal aliens, when people paid their own medical bills, and when New Yorker cartoons were funny.

 It is fascinating to watch politicians come up with "solutions" to problems that are a direct result of their previous solutions. In many cases, the most efficient thing to do would be to repeal their previous solution and stop being so gung-ho for creating new solutions in the future. But, politically, that is the last thing they will do.

 If people are free to do as they wish, they are almost certain not to do as we wish. That is why Utopian planners end up as despots, whether at the national level or at the level of the local "redevelopment" agency.

 Why are we spending the taxpayers' money to allow ex-Presidents to build monuments to themselves? Whatever the historical value of material stored in Presidential Libraries, that same material can be stored in the National Archives, so that people doing research on former Presidents can go to one place, instead of having to run all over the country.

 Fears that the Iraq war would be seen in the Middle East as a clash between Islam and the West are being blunted to some extent by the actions of the terrorists themselves, who are killing far more Moslems than they are killing Americans or other members of the military coalition.

 People who believe in judicial activism often cite "good" policies imposed by judges and "bad" policies created by elected officials. But you could just as easily cite the reverse. It was the Supreme Court which enhanced the rights of slaveowners in the Dred Scott case and it was elected officials -- the President and Congress -- who abolished slavery.

 If we become a people who are willing to give up our money and our freedom in exchange for rhetoric and promises, then nothing can save us.

 It is amazing how many people think that they can answer an argument by attributing bad motives to those who disagree with them. Using this kind of reasoning, you can believe or not believe anything about anything, without having to bother to deal with facts or logic.


Thomas Sowell

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

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