Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thomas Sowell Readers Digest Condensed Soup

mmm, mmm, good

I straight jacked this from the Thomas Sowell Appreciation Facebook group. They took it from Wiki, so my hands are clean. Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite columnists. I especially enjoy his "Random Thought" articles. They are kind of like Ben Franklin mixed with Yogi Berra for the modern age. Then again, many of the thoughts have been learned and forgotten several times. Enjoy.

"One of the bitter ironies of the 20th century was that communism, which began as an egalitarian doctrine accusing capitalism of selfishness and calloused sacrifices of others, became in power a system whose selfishness and callousness toward others made the sins of capitalism pale."

"'Entitlement' is not only the opposite of achievement, it undermines incentives to do all the hard work that leads to achievement. It is the people who were born and raised in the welfare state atmosphere who seem to have great difficulty finding jobs."

"Envy plus rhetoric equals 'social justice'."

"One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain."

"Blacks were not enslaved because they were black but because they were available. Slavery has existed in the world for thousands of years. Whites enslaved other whites in Europe for centuries before the first black was brought to the Western hemisphere. Asians enslaved Europeans. Asians enslaved other Asians. Africans enslaved other Africans, and indeed even today in North Africa, blacks continue to enslave blacks."

"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."

"Both free speech rights and property rights belong legally to individuals, but their real function is social, to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights."

"Prices are important not because money is considered paramount but because prices are a fast and effective conveyor of information through a vast society in which fragmented knowledge must be coordinated."

"The real minimum wage is zero [unemployment]."

"Imagine a political system so radical as to promise to move more of the poorest 20% of the population into the richest 20% than remain in the poorest bracket within the decade? You don't need to imagine it. It's called the United States of America."

"A recently reprinted memoir by Frederick Douglass has footnotes explaining what words like 'arraigned,' 'curried' and 'exculpate' meant, and explaining who Job was. In other words, this man who was born a slave and never went to school educated himself to the point where his words now have to be explained to today's expensively under-educated generation."

"Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late."

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

"One of the most fashionable notions of our times is that social problems like poverty and oppression breed wars. Most wars, however, are started by well-fed people with time on their hands to dream up half-baked ideologies or grandiose ambitions, and to nurse real or imagined grievances."

"Like a baseball game, wars are not over till they are over. Wars don't run on a clock like football. No previous generation was so hopelessly unrealistic that this had to be explained to them."

"Would you bet your paycheck on a weather forecast for tomorrow? If not, then why should this country bet billions on 'global warming' predictions that have even less foundation?

"Many of the same people who cry 'No blood for oil' also want higher gas-mileage standards for cars. But higher mileage standards have meant lighter and flimsier cars, leading to more injuries and deaths in accidents — in other words, trading blood for oil."

"It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance."

"The simplest and most psychologically satisfying explanation of any observed phenomenon is that it happened that way because someone wanted it to happen that way."

"Facts do not 'speak for themselves.' They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theories or visions are mere isolated curiosities."

"The march of science and technology does not imply growing intellectual complexity in the lives of most people. It often means the opposite."
You can find his columns over at Townhall.

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