Carpe Diem

Some gems of wisdom from Thomas Sowell

From Thomas Sowell’s column last December:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.”

4. 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.

MP: For the last one (#4), I think we could also apply that conclusion to many other areas like: a) the history of education (e.g. replacing phonics with whole language and replacing traditional math with “rain forest math”), b) the history of public transportation (e.g. replacing cost-effective, convenient cars and freeways with expensive, cost-ineffective light rail transit systems that require massive taxpayer life support in cities like Minneapolis and Los Angeles), and c) the history of energy policy (e.g. trying to replace low-cost, energy-efficient, reliable fossil fuels with high-cost energy-inefficient alternatives like ethanol, wind, and solar, which typically require massive taxpayer life-support).

10 thoughts on “Some gems of wisdom from Thomas Sowell

  1. RE Point C. Recall that the car and freeways replaced streetcars and in LA light rail as well. Of course street car suburbs had smaller lot sizes and distributed retail. (Find a neighborhood laid out between 1880 and 1920 in a major city, and look how it was laid out. In a book on the History of Chicago, it related how the transit lines at the time were a great way for a real estate person to make money if they knew in advance where the line was going.

  2. In LA, it’s rush hour about 16 hours a day, Mon through Fri, and in the worst of rush hour, your car hardly moves.

    Of course, they keep building more freeways and lanes.

  3. “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.”

    Maybe, Republicans should talk to the American people about Keynesian economics, rather than what the NeoKeynesians, Democrats, and media want to talk about.

    I stated before:

    In the equation Y = C + I + G + NX, when Y is too low, more G will speed-up Y, and when Y is too high, less G, will slow Y.

    Reducing taxes and raising spending through borrowing are both expansionary fiscal policy. However, in the 1930s, taxes were too low to raise G.

    In Keynesian economics, government borrows in recessions and saves in expansions. However, government has been borrowing in both recessions and expansions.

    • And, more regulations, in recessions and expansions, slows growth.

      Federal regulations cost $2 trillion a year, which the American people pay for, one way or another.

  4. 2 things

    1) Rain forest math?

    2) I have to say, it’s rather funny I think that collective-decision is often billed as “power to the people.” In reality, it is exactly the opposite. It is power from the people to some “elite.” If the goal truly is power to the people, then only by shrinking the power of the “elite” and actually returning choice to the people can this be accomplished.

    Anyone who advocates for so-called “collective decision-making” (which is actually something of a misnomer since, like I said, it is not a collective making a decision but some arbitrarily chosen group), whether they argue for dictatorship, socialism, monarchy, unlimited majority rule, whatever, is really saying “power from the people.”

    • We can sure crack down on fraud. There’s a clown from my old unit who proudly announces on his Facebook page that he is a disabled vet. The Pentagon, or whoever it is that awards military disability, awarded him this status because of a so-called back injury he suffered at Ft McCoy, Wisconsin. Funny thing is I was there in the same barracks with him and not once do I ever remember an “ouch, my back hurts.” We were in the same platoon for a couple yrs afterwards and he was healthy as a horse. He’s just a loafer who thinks the world owes him a living. Oh, and do I really need to point out he’s a big Obama supporter who despises “Teabaggers”?

    • So since the government should provide some sort of insurance protection for veterans and military members who get hurt in the line of duty, this means that all government agencies are just and good and should be fully funded by American taxpayers? That’s some kinda logic you got there, Ben.

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