Thomas Sowell
Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Some people think they have bad luck when the real problem is that they took bad chances.

Parents who are both conscientious and realistic discover sooner or later that they cannot do the job to their own complete satisfaction, much less to their children's complete satisfaction.

In a democracy, we have always had to worry about the ignorance of the uneducated. Today we have to worry about the ignorance of people with college degrees.

Helen Thomas has been called "the dean of White House correspondents." After some of her recent remarks, someone suggested that she should be called the Howard Dean of White House correspondents.

I love cheap watches. For no other product are the cheapest versions just as effective for their basic purpose as versions costing ten or a hundred times as much.

Does it tell you something about our times when a representative of the Taliban is welcome on the Yale University campus but representatives of our own military forces are not?

President Bush says that it is "unrealistic" to think that we can deport 12 million illegal immigrants. It is also unrealistic to think that we can catch all murderers, but does that mean that we should de-criminalize murder? Or turn loose the murderers we do catch?

The political left loves to depict its ideas as "new" — a practice which is itself centuries old on the left, as are the ideas themselves.

As rising rates of intermarriage erode race as a biological reality, political hype makes it an increasingly heated issue.

How can people who say we don't have enough troops in Iraq advocate that we intervene militarily in Darfur?

The biggest enemy of real equality is make-believe equality. Some peoples, such as the Scots and the Japanese, lagged far behind for centuries before moving to the forefront of achievement. Pretending that they were equal during the centuries when they were not might have prevented the changes that developed their ability.

Speakers at big rallies urging "guest worker" status for illegal immigrants remind me of no guest I have ever seen, except Sheridan Whiteside, the overbearing title character in "The Man Who Came to Dinner."

Compromising by splitting the difference may solve many immediate problems by creating bigger long-run problems. Splitting the difference rewards the side with the most extreme and most intransigent position, guaranteeing continuing unreasonable demands and the continuing strife this generates.

I am so old that I was on Jeopardy before Alex Trebek was on Jeopardy and on Meet the Press before Tim Russert.

Many of the same people who claim that mental tests are not valid for college admissions decisions, or for employment decisions, nevertheless consider these tests valid for deciding that a murderer cannot be executed when he scores low on such tests — even though he has no incentive to score high.

People who go ballistic over the high pay of some CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation seldom bother to figure out whether, if that CEO agreed to work for nothing, that would be enough to bring the price of a one-dollar product down to 99 cents.

Some people say it is "name-calling" if you refer to someone as a liberal. There is nothing inherently negative about the word "liberal." If it has acquired negative overtones, that is because of what liberals have done and the consequences that followed.

A number of the nation's leading colleges — including Harvard, Amherst, the University of Chicago and the Naval Academy — will admit students who have not finished high school. Many outstanding students would do well to get out of high schools that are wasting their time and go straight into college.

One of the few encouraging signs in the current political scene is that Senator John McCain finished behind several other candidates in a Republican straw poll for Presidential candidates. Apparently his self-centered opportunism has not gone unnoticed, despite the good press he has gotten by pandering to the media.


Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate