Thomas Sowell

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

I am so old that I can remember when music was musical.

Now that the federal government says that it will stand behind the warranties on General Motors' automobiles, does that make you more likely or less likely to buy a car from GM? If you were a rising young executive with a promising future, would you be more likely or less likely to go to work for a company where politicians can fire you?

We have become such suckers for words that politicians can spend our tax money like a drunken sailor, provided they call it "investment." At least the drunken sailor is spending his own money but people look down on him because he doesn't call it "investment."

Barack Obama seems determined to repeat every disastrous mistake of the 1930s, at home and abroad. He has already repeated Herbert Hoover's policy of raising taxes on high income earners, FDR's policy of trying to micro-manage the economy and Neville Chamberlain's policy of seeking dialogues with hostile nations while downplaying the dangers they represent.

We seem to be moving steadily in the direction of a society where no one is responsible for what he himself did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did, either in the present or in the past.

The famous editorial cartoonist Herblock could write as well as draw. In one of his books, he said something like: "You too can have the soothing feeling of nature's own baby-soft wool being pulled gently over your resting eyes." I think of that every time I see Barack Obama talking.

It has long been said that uncertainty is the hardest thing for a market to adjust to. No one can generate uncertainty as much as the government, which can change the rules in midstream or come out with some new bright idea at any time, as the current administration has already demonstrated.

We have now reached the truly dangerous point where we cannot even be warned about the lethal, fanatical and suicidal hatred of our society by Islamic extremists, because to do so would be politically incorrect and, in some European countries, would be a violation of the law against inciting hostility to groups.

Perhaps the scariest aspect of our times is how many people think in talking points, rather than in terms of real world consequences.

Barack Obama's favorable reception during his tour in Europe may be the most enthusiastic international acclaim for a democratic government leader since Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich in 1938, proclaiming "peace in our time."


Thomas Sowell

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

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