Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What's Up, Doc Sowell?

A: Ordered Liberty in a Free Republic


Dr. Thomas Sowell: "Even the best things come to an end. After enjoying a quarter of a century of writing this column for Creators Syndicate, I have decided to stop. Age 86 is well past the usual retirement age, so the question is not why I am quitting, but why I kept at it so long.
It was very fulfilling to be able to share my thoughts on the events unfolding around us, and to receive feedback from readers across the country – even if it was impossible to answer them.
Being old-fashioned, I liked to know what the facts were before writing. That required not only a lot of research, it also required keeping up with what was being said in the media.
During a stay in Yosemite National Park last May, taking photos with a couple of my buddies, there were four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program – and it felt wonderful. With the political news being so awful this year, it felt especially wonderful.
This made me decide to spend less time following politics and more time on my photography, adding more pictures to my website (www.tsowell.com).".......

Thanks for a lifetime of service; you made it better, sir.

Let the graceful man speak:

"What do we know, at this point, about the people being tapped as nominees for key positions in the incoming Trump administration? By and large, they are of a higher caliber than usual, especially General James N. Mattis who has been selected to become Secretary of Defense."

"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."

“Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

“Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric.”

"If you want to understand the fatal dangers facing America today, read "The Gathering Storm" by Winston Churchill. The book is not about America, the Middle East or nuclear missiles. But it shows Europe's attitudes and delusions — aimed at peace in the years before the Second World War — which instead ended up bringing on that most terrible war in all of human history. ... Reading about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and the widespread retrogressions of Western civilization that followed, was an experience that was sobering, if not crushing. Ancient history in general lets us know how long human beings have been the way they are, and dampens giddy zeal for the latest panaceas, despite how politically correct those panaceas may be."

"Hillary Clinton's idea that we have to see the world from our adversaries' point of view — and even "empathize" with it — is not new. Back in 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said, "I have realized vividly how Herr Hitler feels." Ronald Reagan, however, made sure our adversaries understood how we felt. Reagan's approach turned out a lot better than Chamberlain's."

“The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.”  

“Whenever someone refers to me as someone "who happens to be black," I wonder if they realize that both my parents are black. If I had turned out to be Scandinavian or Chinese, people would have wondered what was going on.”  

“If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.”

"The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty."

“When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.”

“One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them.”  

“Ronald Reagan had a vision of America. Barack Obama has a vision of Barack Obama.”

“It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club. It was the Wright brothers who got us off the ground, not the Federal Aviation Administration. It was Henry Ford who ended the isolation of millions of Americans by making the automobile affordable, not Ralph Nader. Those who have helped the poor the most have not been those who have gone around loudly expressing 'compassion' for the poor, but those who found ways to make industry more productive and distribution more efficient, so that the poor of today can afford things that the affluent of yesterday could only dream about.”

“What is called “planning” in political rhetoric is the government’s suppression of other people’s plans by superimposing on them a collective plan, created by third parties, armed with the power of government and exempted from paying the costs that these collective plans impose on others.”

“As a young Marxist in college during the 1950s heyday of the anti-Communist crusade led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, I had more freedom to express my views in class, without fear of retaliation, than conservative students have on many campuses today.”

..."[W]hen loan approval rates are not cited, but loan denial rates are, that creates a larger statistical disparity, since most loans are approved. Even if 98 percent of blacks had their mortgage loan applications approved, if 99 percent of whites were approved than by quoting denial rates alone it could be said that blacks were rejected twice as often as whites.” [Which is how you lie with statistics--Ed.]

“Guns are completely inappropriate for the kind of sheep-like people the anointed envision or the orderly, prepackaged world in which they are to live. When you are in mortal danger, you are supposed to dial 911, so that the police can arrive on the scene some time later, identify your body, and file reports in triplicate.”  

"By the end of the 20th century, “liberals” had again discredited themselves, to the point where they went back to calling themselves “progressives” to escape their past, much as people do when they declare bankruptcy."

"What ‘multiculturalism’ boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture – and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture."

"People who pride themselves on their 'complexity" and deride others for being 'simplistic' should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth."

"Capitalism is not an ‘ism.’ It is closer to being the opposite of an ‘ism,’ because it is simply the freedom of ordinary people to make whatever economic transactions they can mutually agree to."

"In a sense, proponents of "social justice" are unduly modest. What they are seeking to correct are not merely the deficiencies of society, but of the cosmos. What they call social justice encompasses far more than any given society is causally responsible for. Crusaders for social justice seek to correct not merely the sins of man but the oversights of God or the accidents of history. What they are really seeking is a universe tailor-made to their vision of equality. They are seeking cosmic justice." ...

"Socially counterproductive policies are just one of the many costs of the quest for cosmic justice.  The rule of law, on which a free society depends, is inherently incompatible with cosmic justice.  Laws exist in all kinds of societies, from the freest to the most totalitarian.  But the rule of law-- a government of laws and not of men, as it used to be called-- is rare and vulnerable.  You cannot redress the myriad inequalities which pervade human life by applying the same rules to all or by applying any rules other than the arbitrary dispensations of those in power.  The final chapter of The Quest for Cosmic Justice is titled "The Quiet Repeal of the American Revolution"-- because that is what is happening piecemeal by zealots devoted to their own particular applications of cosmic justice."

"[F]ight back.  That spirit is the best birthday present for America."

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