Thomas Sowell

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

 Nolan Ryan's baseball career was so long that he struck out seven guys whose fathers he had also struck out. (Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonds, for example.)

 Why do some people use a fancy mathematical term like "parameters" when all that they really mean is boundaries?

 Teresa Heinz Kerry's latest loony statement -- that pro-Bush hackers could have gotten into the electronic voting machines during last year's election -- gave me my first misgivings about having criticized her. She may not be playing with a full deck.

 This must be the golden age of euphemisms. When people deliberately violate our laws by crossing our borders illegally, they are called "undocumented workers." When people steal copyrighted material and exchange it among themselves, it is called "file swapping" instead of fencing stolen goods.

 If people who commit sex crimes against children are so dangerous that they have to be registered for life after serving their sentences, why are they let out of prison in the first place?

 Prince Charles' complaints about the media's "torturing" him with stories about his "private life" suggests that the Prince of Wales might better be called the Prince of Wails. If he wants a private life, he can do what the Duke of Windsor did -- renounce the throne. But he wants to have it both ways.

 It is fascinating to hear teachers say that having to "teach to the test" reduces their ability to engage in good teaching. What they call "good teaching" is the very reason our students do so badly in international comparisons and why colleges have to have large numbers of remedial courses to teach students what they didn't learn in school.

 One sign of the Democrats' desperation is that some of them continue to try to tar the Bush administration with innuendoes of racism, even though its Cabinet members have included people of Hispanic, Japanese American, Jewish, and Chinese American ancestry, as well as two consecutive black Secretaries of State.

 It is one of the sad signs of our times that the new bankruptcy legislation has been attacked as "favoring" a "special interest" because creditors now have more chance of getting paid what people owe them.

 Why transfer what has been produced by some to others when you could spread the productivity that produced this wealth, making everyone better off? Knowledge is one of the few things that can be given to others without reducing the amount you have left.

 One of the dumbest things you can do is have taxpayers supporting idle adolescents who have nothing but time on their hands to get into trouble. The money it costs is the least of the problems.

 I do not like to see the future mothers of America becoming soldiers. There are plenty of men who are capable of becoming soldiers and who are not capable of becoming mothers.

 In a market economy, the costs created by our decisions are explicit. In a government-controlled economy, those costs are not explicit. This is a great advantage for government officials and a great disadvantage for the general public, which ends up paying the costs, whether or not they are aware of what those costs are.

 Flattery makes the most effective chains. Hitler told the Germans that they were a master race -- and came very close to making them slaves.

 People on the political left not only have their own view of the world, they have a view of the world which they insist on attributing to others, regardless of what those others actually say. A classic example is the "trickle down theory," which no one has ever advocated, but which the left insists on fighting against.

 After years of living in apartments, I complained to my brother about the problems of being a home owner. His reply was: "If you think being a home owner is tough, you should try being a business owner."

 A reader wrote that Terri Schiavo's biggest mistake was that she did not kill anyone. If she were a murderer, she would not be allowed to be killed the way she is. Many of those who want her to die would be demanding that she live and many of those who want her to live would be demanding that she die.


Thomas Sowell

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

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