Random thoughts

Thomas Sowell

1/9/2007 12:00:00 AM - Thomas Sowell

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

They say that man cannot control the weather. But every time I buy photographic equipment, it rains.

Who says that there is no difference between the political parties? When Democrats are criticized, they counter-attack. When Republicans are criticized, they whine that they are innocent.

We all enter the world knowing nothing but, by the time we are teenagers, we know it all. Sometimes it is decades later before we know enough to realize how little we know.

Nothing is called "second-hand" any more, except "second-hand smoke." Why is it not called "pre-owned" smoke?

Civil rights used to be about treating everyone the same. But today some people are so used to special treatment that equal treatment is considered to be discrimination.

Some people seem to think that we live in more "liberated" times, when all that has happened is that one set of taboos has been replaced by another and more intolerantly enforced set of taboos.

If people had been as mealy-mouthed in centuries past as they are today, Ivan the Terrible would have been called Ivan the Inappropriate.

Sometimes you need a vacation just to recover from all the preparations you made before going on vacation.

Why would a boxer agree to a match in another boxer's home town?

Whatever the political benefits of making decisions by committees, the need for consensus virtually guarantees the lowest common denominator. A bipartisan committee with people of widely differing views has to paper over these differences and issue mushy pieties, like those of the Baker-Hamilton report on Iraq.

I don't feel any different as I get older. However, I do notice that, when I am out biking, a lot of other bikers seem to be passing me and I don't seem to be passing anybody.

What is especially disturbing about the political left is that they seem to have no sense of the tragedy of the human condition. Instead, they tend to see the problems of the world as due to other people not being as wise or as noble as themselves.

The next time somebody says that the government is forced to intervene in the economy to protect the poor, ask why the government is forcing taxpayers to subsidize municipal golf courses, the ballet, opera and -- the biggest subsidy of all -- surrounding affluent communities with vast amounts of expensive "open space."

Some days I don't seem to have much energy. Perhaps worse yet, I don't particularly want much energy.

One of the scariest aspects of our times is how easy it is for glib loudmouths to turn us against each other, weakening the whole framework of society, on which we all depend.

Despite the shameless propaganda of the environmentalist zealots about the loss of animal habitat, more than 90 percent of the land in the United States is undeveloped. Animals already have vastly more habitat than human beings have. How much is enough?

As much as I have enjoyed traveling, the older I get the sooner I become homesick.

The Detroit "big three" top automobile manufacturers in America have already become the "big two," as Toyota replaced DaimlerChrysler as the third largest seller of cars in the United States. An internal memo from the Ford Motor Company indicates that they expect Toyota to replace them in the number two spot.

It is hard to think of any word that has confused more issues than the word "rights." Nowadays, almost anything that anybody wants is called a "right" -- a magic word that does away with the need for evidence, logic or even common sense.

Many of the same people who are urging us to get out of Iraq are also urging us to go into Darfur. They say we should "do something" about the murderous horrors in Darfur. But you cannot simply "do something." You have to do something specific. Those who are urging intervention won't take the responsibility for specifying what we are to do -- and at what cost in American lives.

Compact disks are especially valuable to people who listen to classical music. Through CDs, they can now enjoy the music without having to watch the antics and rituals of classical concerts.

We can only hope that the rumor that Israel is going to take out Iran's nuclear weapons facilities is true. If they do, Israel will be widely condemned by governments that are breathing a sigh of relief that they did.