Random thoughts on the passing scene:
When I was growing up, an older member of the family used to say, “What you don’t know would make a big book.” Now that I am an older member of the family, I would say to anyone, “What you don’t know would fill more books than the Encyclopedia Britannica.” At least half of our society’s troubles come from know-it-alls, in a world where nobody knows even 10 percent of all.
Some people seem to think that, if life is not fair, then the answer is to turn more of the nation’s resources over to politicians — who will, of course, then spend these resources in ways that increase the politicians’ chances of getting reelected.
The annual outbursts of intolerance toward any display of traditional Christmas scenes, or even daring to call a Christmas tree by its name, show that today’s liberals are by no means liberal. Behind the mist of their lofty words, the totalitarian mindset shows through.
If you don’t want to have a gun in your home or in your school, that’s your choice. But don’t be such a damn fool as to advertise to the whole world that you are in “a gun-free environment” where you are a helpless target for any homicidal fiend who is armed. Is it worth a human life to be a politically correct moral exhibitionist?
The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good.
Some people are wondering what takes so long for the negotiations about the “fiscal cliff.” Maybe both sides are waiting for supplies. Democrats may be waiting for more cans to kick down the road. Republicans may be waiting for more white flags to hold up in surrender.
If I were rich, I would have a plaque made up, and sent to every judge in America, bearing a statement made by Adam Smith more than two and a half centuries ago: “Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.”
If someone wrote a novel about a man who was raised from childhood to resent the successful and despise the basic values of America — and who then went on to become President of the United States — that novel would be considered too unbelievable, even for a work of fiction. Yet that is what has happened in real life.
Many people say, “War should be a last resort.” Of course it should be a last resort. So should heart surgery, divorce and many other things. But that does not mean that we should just continue to hope against hope indefinitely that things will work out, somehow, until catastrophe suddenly overtakes us.
Everybody is talking about how we are going to pay for the huge national debt, but nobody seems to be talking about the runaway spending which created that record-breaking debt. In other words, the big spenders get political benefits from handing out goodies, while those who resist giving them more money to spend will be blamed for sending the country off the “fiscal cliff.”
When Barack Obama refused to agree to a requested meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — the leader of a country publicly and repeatedly threatened with annihilation by Iran’s leaders, as the Iranians move toward creating nuclear bombs — I thought of a line from the old movie classic “Citizen Kane": “Charlie wasn’t cruel. He just did cruel things.”
There must be something liberating about ignorance. Back when most members of Congress had served in the military, there was a reluctance of politicians to try to tell military leaders how to run the military services. But, now that few members of Congress have ever served in the military, they are ready to impose all sorts of fashionable notions on the military.
After watching a documentary about the tragic story of Jonestown, I was struck by the utterly unthinking way that so many people put themselves completely at the mercy of a glib and warped man, who led them to degradation and destruction. And I could not help thinking of the parallel with the way we put a glib and warped man in the White House.
There are people calling for the banning of assault weapons who could not define an “assault weapon” if their life depended on it. Yet the ignorant expect others to take them seriously.
(Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.)
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
Rural homeless less obvious
As we transition from the traditional Thanksgiving feast into the Christmas season, it’s easy to forget that there are those for whom Thanksgiving and Christmas are just another day.
Budget can kicked down road
Many people take pride in defying the conventions of society. Those conventions of society are also known as civilization. Defying them wholesale means going back to barbarism. Barbarians with electronic devices are still barbarians.
MSU to host historic reunion game
Over the Thanksgiving holidays, the eyes of many Mississippi sports fans will be on the 86th renewal of the Egg Bowl football game between the 7-4 Ole Miss Rebels and the 5-6 Mississippi State University Bulldogs.
Still room for pragmatic Republicans?
We have a young friend who ran the Young Republicans during her college years and now works for a GOP consulting firm. She’s a loyal party member, but she has a problem. She’s from New York — her father and grandfather were both New York City cops — and she feels increasingly alienated from a party whose center of gravity has moved steadily to the South, the West and the Right.
Real health insurance not told
So here’s my advice: If you’re somebody who’s smoking hot about the Big Lie of the Affordable Care Act — you know, how President Obama told everybody that if they liked their current health insurance policy they could keep it — do yourself a favor. Avoid the county fair midway.
Half a boat came with other half attached
In a long and checkered career of finagling to live near water, I have owned a houseboat, two sailboats, stink boats, pontoon boats, canoes, rotten boats and a pirogue. Since the day at the county fair when my father lifted me into a toy boat traveling in circles in impossibly blue water, I have loved boats. Any old boat.
There’s lots to be thankful for in Mississippi
My annual thanksgiving column is the easiest of the year to write, because we have so much to be thankful for.
Collecting sales taxes for online sales fair
Back on April 25, the U.S. Senate by a vote of 63 to 30 passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, a measure which would empower states to collect sales tax on out-of-state online purchases. The bill would exempt small businesses that earn less than $1 million annually from out-of-state sales.
The bill now awaits action in the House Judiciary Committee, where a number of Southern Republicans — usually reliable “no new taxes” members — are expressing support for the legislation.
CBS should come clean on ethical lapse
CBS correspondent Lara Logan apologized on “60 Minutes” last Sunday for that program’s deeply flawed account of how four Americans were killed at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi. It turned out that their primary source, a government contractor named Dylan Davies, was never at the compound and lied repeatedly about his role in the whole tragic episode.
City, county plan for growth
Every economic development entity, every chamber of commerce and every regional economic alliance talks about growth, new jobs and ways to bring increased prosperity to their locales. But in Corinth and Alcorn County, their leaders are not just talking about growth — they’re planning for it.
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