Politics & Policy

Think Things, Not Words

Random thoughts on the passing scene.

Upon learning that the Constitution requires a president to be a natural-born citizen, a college student asked: “What makes a natural-born citizen any more qualified than one born by C-section?”

Airlines that keep passengers trapped for hours in planes sitting on the runway should be prosecuted for unlawful imprisonment.

When politicians propose some hugely expensive new program and are asked how the government is going to pay for it, a standard ploy over the years has been to claim that they will pay for it by eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse.” At a recent town-hall meeting, a citizen raised the obvious question: If you can do that, why haven’t you done it already?

Marxism is an ism that has become a wasm.

What is called “universal health care” can turn out to be universal “don’t care” medical treatment, when Washington bureaucrats can overrule what you and your doctor want to do.

What ever happened to Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel? Could she have met with foul play? Where is the FBI when we need it?

The older I get, the more I learn to tolerate human shortcomings — and the less I tolerate bad attitudes.

After political crusades for “affordable housing” ended up ruining the housing market and much of the economy with it, many of the same politicians are now carrying on a crusade for “affordable health care.” But what you can afford has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of producing anything. Refusing to pay those costs means that you are just not going to continue getting the same quantity and quality — regardless of what any politician says or how well he says it.

Want to win an easy bet? Bet someone that Babe Ruth had a lower lifetime earned-run average than Cy Young, Whitey Ford, or Sandy Koufax. During his early years with the Red Sox, Ruth pitched nine shutouts in a season, which is still the American League record for a left-handed pitcher. He would have made the baseball Hall of Fame, even if he had never hit a home run.

Joe Wilson got into more trouble for telling the truth than Barack Obama got into by telling a demonstrable lie about adding millions of people to the insurance rolls without adding a dime to the deficit. As regards providing medical insurance for illegal immigrants, I doubt that the president will do that. More likely, he will legalize them first and then give them medical insurance.

The way Hollywood elites have sprung to the defense of Roman Polanski to keep him from being extradited to the United States, despite the heinous crime he is accused of, suggests that — like other egalitarians — they consider those who are “one of us” to be more equal than others.

When I contemplate the direction in which this government and this society are moving, my biggest consolation is that economists’ predictions are often wrong. I can only hope that my expectations are wrong by miles.

What is most frightening about the political Left is that they seem to have no sense of the tragedy of the human condition. All problems seem to them to be due to other people not being as wise or as noble as they are.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Think things, not words.” In words, many see a need for “social justice” to override “the dictates of the market.” In reality, what is called “the market” consists of human beings making their own choices at their own cost. What is called “social justice” is government imposition of the notions of third parties, who pay no price for being wrong.

Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Moammar Qaddafi, and Vladimir Putin have all praised Barack Obama. When enemies of freedom and democracy praise your president, what are you to think? When you add to this Barack Obama’s many previous years of associations and alliances with people who hate America — Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Pfleger, and so on — at what point do you stop denying the obvious and start to connect the dots?

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2009 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Thomas SowellThomas 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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