Politics & Policy

A Sowell Sampler

Random thoughts on the passing scene.

Different people have very different reactions to Pres. Barack Obama. Those who listen to his rhetoric are often inspired, while those who follow what he actually does are often appalled.

New York and Chicago have both recently had their coldest June in generations. If they had had their hottest month, it would have been trumpeted from the media 24/7 by “global warming” zealots. But the average surface temperature of the Earth has not changed in more than a decade, according to the Cato Institute.

Many years ago, there was a comic-book character who could say the magic word “shazam” and turn into Captain Marvel, a character with powers like Superman’s. Today, you can say the magic word “diversity” and turn reverse discrimination into social justice.

I would rather see politicians hanged than see their children smeared.

#ad#Someone pointed out that blaming economic crises on “greed” is like blaming plane crashes on gravity. Certainly planes wouldn’t crash if it weren’t for gravity. But when thousands of planes fly millions of miles every day without crashing, explaining why a particular plane crashed because of gravity gets you nowhere.

Neither does talking about “greed,” which is constant like gravity.

Political ideologies are fairy tales for adults.

What did we learn from the “beer summit” on the White House lawn, except that Vice President Joe Biden doesn’t drink alcoholic beverages? Considering the many gaffes that the vice president has made while cold sober, the thought of an intoxicated Joe Biden boggles the mind.

Seeing children repeating the cant they have been taught is not only depressing in itself, it provides a depressing preview of the future, when those children become voting adults, with a habit of reaching conclusions after hearing only one side of an issue.

Since no one seems overly concerned about putting a racist on the Supreme Court — provided it is a politically correct racist — the moral of the story seems to be that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, that doesn’t matter if it coos like a dove at Senate confirmation hearings.

I hate seeing a referee keep giving warnings to a boxer for low blows. Taking a point away is the only kind of warning that is likely to make the low blows stop. The rules of boxing don’t say you are entitled to one free low blow, much less repeated low blows.

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

Over the years, unions in the private sector have been declining, while unions in the public sector have been thriving. The United Automobile Workers are getting a big return on their investment in the election of Barack Obama because the government takeover of General Motors makes the UAW more like a public-sector union, whose demands can be met at the taxpayers’ expense.

Recently I was foolish enough to try to reason with an environmentalist. But it became obvious that he had his mind made up and didn’t want to hear any evidence to the contrary. The pope is more likely to have read Karl Marx than an environmentalist is to have read even a single book that criticized environmentalism.

With Velcro and other modern adhesives available, can’t someone design a boxing glove that doesn’t require fights to be stopped in the middle of a round so that loose tape can be repaired? Often the break in the action changes the whole tempo of the fight and can affect the outcome.

How long will it be before the public gets tired of the little know-it-all sermonettes by Barack Obama — especially since nothing that he is doing is actually working?

The 150-year prison sentence for Bernie Madoff has implications that go far beyond this particular swindler. There was a time when a simple life sentence would have kept him behind bars. But today the practice of over-stating the sentences that will actually be served — in order to soothe the public — has gotten so widespread that a ridiculous sentence like 150 years has to be given, in order to try to make sure he won’t be back on the streets again.

Thomas Sowell — Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author, whose books include Basic Economics. He is currently senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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