Politics & Policy

His Royal Glibness

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Random thoughts on the passing scene.

Now that Barack Obama is ruling by decree, he seems more like a king than a president. Maybe it is time we change the way we address him. “Your Majesty” may be a little too much, but perhaps “Your Royal Glibness” might be appropriate.

It tells us a lot about academia that the president of Smith College quickly apologized for saying, “All lives matter,” after being criticized by those who are pushing the slogan, “Black lives matter.” If science could cross breed a jellyfish with a parrot, it could create academic administrators.

Mitt Romney seems to be ready to try again to run for president in 2016. But most defeated presidential candidates who ran again lost again. There are much stronger Republican candidates available now than there were in 2012, including governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. At this crucial juncture in the nation’s history, why run a retreaded candidate?

Explaining differences in achievements between groups often pits those who attribute these differences to ability against those who attribute differences to barriers. Neither seems to pay much attention to differences in what people want to do. Few guys from my old neighborhood were likely to end up as violinists or ballet dancers, simply because that was not what they were interested in.

When Professor Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T. boasted of fooling the “stupid” American public, that was not just a personal quirk of his. It epitomized a smug and arrogant attitude that is widespread among academics at elite institutions. There should be an annual “Jonathan Gruber award” for the most smug and arrogant statement by an academic. There would be thousands eligible every year.

Every society has some people who don’t respect the law. But, when it is the people in charge of the law — like the President of the United States and his attorney general — who don’t respect it, that is when we are in big trouble.

Has anyone asked the question, “How could so many people across the country spend so much time at night marching, rioting, and looting, if they had to get up and go to work the next morning?”

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.

Our schools and colleges are laying a guilt trip on those young people whose parents are productive, and who are raising them to become productive. What is amazing is how easily this has been done, largely just by replacing the word “achievement” with the word “privilege.”

There are few modest talents so richly rewarded — especially in politics and the media — as the ability to portray parasites as victims, and portray demands for preferential treatment as struggles for equal rights.

Republicans complain when Democrats call them racists. But when have you ever heard a Republican counterattack? You don’t win by protesting your innocence or whining about the unfairness of the charge. Yet when have you heard a Republican reply by saying, “You’re a lying demagogue without a speck of evidence. Put up or shut up!”

President Obama’s establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba was not due to what the American public wanted or even what his own party wanted. It was a decision in defiance of both, just as his decisions about military matters ignore what generals say and his decisions about medical matters ignore what doctors have said. Yet pundits continue to depict him as a helpless lame-duck president.

When the political Left wants to help the black community, they usually want to help the worst elements in that community — thugs they portray as martyrs, for example — without the slightest regard for the negative effect this can have on the lives of the majority of decent black people.

If anyone in the mainstream media is at a loss for what New Year’s resolution to make, try this: Stop “spinning” or censoring stories about race, and try telling the plain truth, if only for the novelty of it.

— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His website is www.tsowell.com. © 2014 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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