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Random Thoughts for the New Year
Barack Obama and the audacity of hype


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Thomas Sowell

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Talk show host Dennis Miller said, “I don’t dig polo. It’s like miniature golf meets the Kentucky Derby.”

Nothing illustrates the superficiality of our times better than the enthusiasm for electric cars, because they are supposed to greatly reduce air pollution. But the electricity that ultimately powers these cars has to be generated somewhere — and nearly half the electricity generated in this country is generated by burning coal.

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The 2012 Republican primaries may be a rerun of the 2008 primaries, where the various conservative candidates split the conservative vote so many ways that the candidate of the mushy middle got the nomination — and then lost the election.

Because morality does not always prevail, by any means, too many of the intelligentsia act as if it has no effect. But, even in Nazi Germany, thousands of Germans hid Jews during the war, at the risk of their own lives, because it was the right thing to do.

In recent times, Christmas has brought not only holiday cheer but also attacks on the very word “Christmas,” chasing it from the vocabulary of institutions and even from most “holiday cards.” Like many other social crusades, this one is based on a lie — namely that the Constitution puts a wall of separation between church and state. It also shows how easily intimidated we are by strident zealots.

If you don’t like growing older, don’t worry about it. You may not be growing older much longer.

What do you call it when someone steals someone else’s money secretly? Theft. What do you call it when someone takes someone else’s money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else’s money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice.

When an organization has more of its decisions made by committees, that gives more influence to those who have more time available to attend committee meetings and to drag out each meeting longer. In other words, it reduces the influence of those who have work to do, and are doing it, while making those who are less productive more influential.

Anyone who studies the history of ideas should notice how much more often people on the political left, more so than others, denigrate and demonize those who disagree with them — instead of answering their arguments.

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.



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