And from Dr. Sowell…

From this week’s Random Thoughts column:

Once, when I was teaching at an institution that bent over backward for foreign students, I was asked in class one day: “What is your policy toward foreign students?” My reply was: “To me, all students are the same. I treat them all the same and hold them all to the same standards.” The next semester there was an organized boycott of my classes by foreign students. When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.

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Thomas Sowell’s Random Thoughts

They are usually a treat. Here are some of my favorites from his last batch:

How long do politicians have to keep on promising heaven and delivering hell before people catch on, and stop getting swept away by rhetoric?

With all the talk about people paying their “fair share” of income taxes, why do nearly half the people in this country pay no income taxes at all? Is that their “fair share”? Or is creating more recipients of government handouts, at no cost to themselves, simply a strategy to gain more votes?

In politics, few talents are as richly rewarded as the ability to convince parasites that they are victims. Welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic have discovered that largesse to losers does not reduce their hostility to society, but only increases it. Far from producing gratitude, generosity is seen as an admission of guilt, and the reparations as inadequate compensations for injustices — leading to worsening behavior by the recipients.

Some people say that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. But the runaway taxes of our time are the price we pay for being gullible.

Random Thoughts by Thomas Sowell and Seth

I enjoy Thomas Sowell‘s Random Thoughts columns.  A few this week, coincidentally, line up with recent posts of mine.

Here are a few gems from Sowell’s latest column.

Like so many people, in so many countries, who started out to “spread the wealth,” Barack Obama has ended up spreading poverty.


Most of us may lament the fact that so many more people are today dependent on food stamps and other government subsidies. But dependency usually translates into votes for whoever is handing out the benefits, so an economic disaster can be a political bonanza, as it was for Franklin D. Roosevelt. Don’t count Obama out in 2012.

These are related to my “invisible hand” post.

Whether the particular issue is housing, medical care or anything in between, the agenda of the left is to take the decision out of the hands of those directly involved and transfer that decision to third parties, who pay no price for making decisions that turn out to be counterproductive.

Politicians can solve almost any problem — usually by creating a bigger problem. But, so long as the voters are aware of the problem that the politicians have solved, and unaware of the bigger problems they have created, political “solutions” are a political success.

And this one goes nicely with my debate format post.

Regardless of how the current Republican presidential nomination process ends, I hope that they will never again have these televised “debates” among a crowd of candidates, which just turn into a circular firing squad — damaging whoever ends up with the nomination, and leaving the voters knowing only who is quickest with glib answers.

His column usually inspires some random thoughts practice of my own.

It seems a big problem in this country can be traced to the strong encouragement we give people to get their voice heard and vote, without first encouraging them to research their opinions, build well-reasoned arguments, listen to and fairly consider opposing viewpoints — and be able to address them without fallacy.

As Gov. Christie points out in the video below, it’s usually the folks screaming the loudest that those who disagree with them are dividing the country who are actually dividing the country.

For that matter, too few people know what fallacies are, but use them a great deal.  Straw men and red herrings litter the discussion landscape on all sides.

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators should give a good listen to Jack Black/Tenacious D’s song, City Hall.  I think libertarians might like their first decree.  OWS’ers will like decrees 2 & 3.  Though, as Black says about 3, “I don’t know, I gotta think about that one.”  Bottom line, OWS’ers will eventually become the people they are protesting (whoever that is).  And their children and grandchildren will protest against them.