Thomas Sowell

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

 Usually I like four-star hotels better than five-star hotels. The four-star hotels tend to be comfortable and attractive places with amenities, but without the pretentiousness and fussiness of five-star hotels.

 It is amazing how many problems are caused by the simple fact that somebody could not be bothered to listen.

 Why do we keep pretending that we know how to control child molesters after they are released from prison? How many more children must be killed before we face the plain reality that, if it is dangerous to let child molesters out of prison, then they should be kept in prison.

 Reading letters from liberals makes me fear that they are going to dislocate their shoulders from patting themselves on the back so much. The way they tell it, the reason they differ from others is that they are so much more compassionate, aware, concerned, nuanced, sophisticated and -- yes -- just plain smarter.

 The recent Supreme Court decision expanding government's power to seize private property gives added relevance to Steven Greenhut's book "Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain." If you think displaced homeowners actually get "just compensation" as the Constitution requires, this book should open your eyes to the painful reality.

 Now that Samatha Brown on the travel channel is overseas doing programs about outstanding hotels in Europe, I hope she will continue on to Asia and do a program on my favorite hotel in the world, the Shangri-la in Singapore.

 Will even the bloody terrorist attacks in London put a stop to the media's hand-wringing because they don't think we have been nice enough to some of the cut-throats who are locked up in Guantanamo? The media have never shown any such interest in how prisoners are treated anywhere else on the island of Cuba, such as in Castro's prisons.

 There have always been people without judgment but this is the first era in which being non-judgmental is considered good -- though how anything can be considered good if you are non-judgmental is another puzzle.

 The next time someone demands a timetable for the war in Iraq, ask them to name just one war -- anywhere -- that had such a thing.

 It was said of liberal legend Senator Hubert Humphrey that he had more solutions than there were problems. But today's liberals seem to have no solutions to anything, just carping, spin, and character-assassination.

 None of the people who said that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction -- and who said it before George W. Bush became President -- is accused of lying. Neither are foreign leaders or foreign intelligence services that said the same thing before or during this administration.

 Many people are so preoccupied with the notion that their own knowledge exceeds the average knowledge of millions of other people that they overlook the more important fact that their knowledge is not even one-tenth of the total knowledge of those millions. That is the crucial fallacy behind the repeated failures of central planning and other forms of social engineering which concentrate power in the hands of people with less knowledge and more presumption.

 Those of us who believe in the two-party system regard voting for a third party as throwing away your vote. However, we could use two new parties to replace the Democrats and Republicans.

 After so many media depictions of the "brilliance" of various liberals and the dullness or stupidity of conservatives, it should not be surprising that there was so little attention paid to the recent revelation that George W. Bush had a higher average at Yale than John Kerry did.

 My thanks to the hundreds of people who sent me birthday greetings recently. Despite my 75 years, I usually feel pretty much the same as I did 30 years ago. On the other hand, I didn't have to take a bunch of pills and visit medical specialists to feel that way then. Today I feel like an antique car that is being kept in running condition by high-priced mechanics.


Thomas Sowell

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

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