Thomas Sowell

Despite years of getting a steady diet of "non-judgmental" attitudes from our educational system and the media, we have not yet lost all sense of right and wrong.

Our elites may have, which might explain how anyone could have thought that O.J. Simpson's book about the murder of his ex-wife and her friend would be accepted by the public. Apparently the clever people who put this deal together thought that a few glib words would defuse any serious objections and perhaps the few voices of outrage would be just enough to create more free publicity for the book.

We have been imposed on so often that it is understandable how some would think that we had reached the point where we would stand for anything.

After all, parents have come to accept the idea that schools have taken over the task of introducing their children to sex -- at whatever age and in whatever way, often crude, might be fashionable in education circles.

As taxpayers, we have quietly accepted the fact that our taxes will be spent to pay big bucks for all sorts of ugly, twisted metal to be displayed in front of or inside government buildings, in the name of "art" -- art that was obviously never meant to give the public any enjoyment and often represented a thumbing of the artist's nose at the public.

We have bowed to the little totalitarians like the so-called American Civil Liberties Union who try each year to stamp out more symbols of Christmas. They have even intimidated many schools and businesses into changing the name of their "Christmas vacation" to the "winter holiday." Some stores have been intimidated into dropping the phrase "Merry Christmas."

Yet now and then we sheep rebel. The issue may be large or small but in any event we let the clever folks know that we won't always buy their cleverness.

For years, the non-judgmental sophisticates argued that Pete Rose should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Whatever rules he may have violated, his record on the field was all that mattered -- or so they said.

By this reasoning, Shoeless Joe Jackson should also be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite his role in throwing the 1919 World Series. After all, Shoeless Joe hit .408 at his peak and had a lifetime batting average of .356. Those are Hall of Fame numbers.

Mark McGwire, with his 70 home runs in 1998, had a greater season than Pete Rose ever did, so you might think that the baseball writers who vote on such things would be all in favor of putting him in the Baseball Hall of Fame as well, despite the steroid scandal and McGwire's taking the Fifth Amendment when questioned in Congress about whether he used steroids.

Thomas Sowell

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

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