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Random Thoughts By: Thomas Sowell
Townhall.com | Sunday, November 03, 2002


Random thoughts on the passing scene:

People who cannot be bothered to learn both sides of the issues should not bother to vote.

Considering that we all enter the world the same way and leave in the same condition, we spend an awful lot of time in between trying to show that we are so different from other people.

It almost seems as if every time you see a teenage girl these days, you also see her navel.

"Anti-war" protesters seem not to understand that we are at war when others attack us. Our only choice then is whether to pretend that we are not at war, which would guarantee more and worse attacks.

Baseball fans who think that Pete Rose should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite having violated the rules, forget that Shoeless Joe Jackson is not in the Hall of Fame -- and his lifetime batting average was more than 50 points higher than that of Pete Rose.

What are bond issues on the ballot except taxes on future taxpayers who cannot yet vote? It is taxation without representation.

How did the British survive the nightly bombings of London during World War II without an army of shrinks giving them "grief counseling"? More important, could they have survived if there had been armies of shrinks urging them to wallow in their emotions?

There are people who can neither find happiness in their own lives nor permit those around them to be happy. The best you can do is get such people out of your life.

I will not vote for anyone who talks about the Social Security "trust fund," much less about preserving it in a "lockbox." There is no Social Security trust fund -- and never has been -- except in the sense of clever accounting gimmicks like those used by Enron.

People who mistreat children seem to forget that children grow up -- and that the children may not forget.

What is so terrible about "negative advertising" during political campaigns? If a candidate is lying, why shouldn't those lies be exposed? And why shouldn't a bad record be an issue?

The spectacular success of some people with no college degree, such as Bill Gates and Rush Limbaugh, may give college education a bad name -- justifiably, in some cases.

Every time you watch Congress on C-SPAN, you are seeing millions of dollars worth of free advertising for incumbents, while those same incumbents vote restrictions on their potential rivals' ability to raise money to pay for advertising, using the pretty phrase "campaign finance reform."

I will not vote for anyone who talks about "troubled youth," "open space" or "certified teachers." Politicians who use these phrases are either confused themselves or are trying to take advantage of other people's confusion.

People used to take pride in the reliability of their word. As one fellow said, "When I tell you that it's raining, don't go lookin' out the window. Just get your umbrella."

The first time I flew into London, I was stirred by the thought that, in these skies during World War II, a thousand men of the Royal Air Force saved Western civilization. Today, I wonder how many of our young people have any idea what that was all about, given how little time our schools devote to history, except as a source of grievances, whining and excuses.

The phrase "glass ceiling" is an insult to our intelligence. What does glass mean, except that we cannot see it? In other words, in the absence of evidence, we are expected to go along with what is said because it is said in accusatory and self-righteous tones.

Anyone who is serious about the evils of slavery should read the April 2 issue of Scientific American magazine -- which discusses the slavery that is still going on at this very moment in other countries around the world.

It is appalling to hear some of our elected representatives say that we should wait to defend the lives of Americans until we have been given permission to do so by the United Nations. If someone punched you in the mouth, would you ask bystanders what to do or would you hit him back "unilaterally"?


Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.


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