The wisest and most knowledgeable human being on the planet is utterly incompetent to make even 10 percent of the consequential decisions that have to be made in a modern nation. Yet all sorts of people want to decide how much money other people can make or keep, and to micro-manage how other people live their lives.
The real egalitarians are not the people who want to redistribute wealth to the poor, but those who want to extend to the poor the ability to create their own wealth, to lift themselves up, instead of trying to tear others down. Earning respect, including self-respect, is better than being a parasite.
Of all the arguments for giving amnesty to illegal immigrants, the most foolish is the argument that we can't find and expel all of them. There is not a law on the books that someone has not violated, including laws against murder, and we certainly have not found and prosecuted all the violators -- whether murderers or traffic law violators. But do we then legalize all the illegalities we haven't been able to detect and prosecute?
In the 1920s, Congressman Thomas S. Adams referred to "the ease with which the income tax may be legally avoided" but also said some Congressmen "so fervently believe that the rich ought to pay 40 or 50 per cent of their incomes" in taxes that they would rather make this a law, even if the government would get more revenue from a lower tax rate that people actually pay. Some also prefer class warfare politics that brings in votes, if not revenue.
Can you imagine a man who had never run any kind of organization, large or small, taking it upon himself to fundamentally change all kinds of organizations in a huge and complex economy? Yet that is what Barack Obama did when he said, "We are going to change the United States of America!" This was not "The Audacity of Hope." It was the audacity of hype.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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